Our Bien Living Presentation Board

Kristin emailed me my inspiration board (similar to what you would receive with her long distance design service) and I’m thrilled with what she put together. It’s a variety of budget pieces that will really breathe life into our living room. My favorite piece is that blue bowl in the middle. It’s a splurge but I think it’s going to look so good it will be worth it!

We’re going to buy the rug in the bottom left corner, the white coffee table, the hanging vases, the blue bowl, the blue side table and lamp, and the pillows in the bottom right corner.

I’d like to replace the map you see in the top left corner with an antique map that we have from Poland, which shows the area where TH’s family is from, and that will hang next to the dining room table. The prints in the top right corner are a bit busy for my taste so I’ll be looking for something new, although I’m leaning toward buying a large frame and hanging a family photo (ok, let’s face it, I just want to hang a photo of little T1!) over the couch instead of the prints. I have so many photos that I really want to use them up somehow!

We’ll have three seating options in the living room. The chair that used to be in our bedroom (that chair helped inspire the blue theme that our living room will have!), the chair I bought for $10 at a yard sale, and our futon from Ikea (which you see pictured above, except we have a dark cover currently on it). I’m looking for someone to help me make covers for both the futon and chair, so if you know anyone in the Chicago area who I can hire to do that I would love the referral! I’m looking for someone who has a lot of sewing experience and can really make something that looks professional.

I really don’t have an eye for design, so I have no idea how all of this will come together to create something beautiful, but Kristin assures me it will and I trust that she knows what she is talking about. Time for me to do some shopping!

48 thoughts on “Our Bien Living Presentation Board

  1. LOVE LOVE that design board – a bit of that cool blue and red that I’ve been going for lately in my living room. LOVE the rug – love the map too, but pictures of baby will of course look amazing. I just redid our living room (the accessories, pillows, pictures – little stuff…I do that every so often!) and added some large pictures of the boys as tiny babies in B&W next to our large mirror over the sofa. Makes a nice big statement for our wall.

    Can’t wait to see it all put together – it will look great!

  2. LOVE this. Husband has the same futon in his apartment (we’re living apart during the week while he finishes his final internship) and I’m looking forward to incorporating it into our living room next year.

    Is that a map of Chicago in the left corner?

  3. I love those colors! I’m trying to do the same thing with my living room and I also lack the design eye. I’ve taken to ripping pages from magazines and trying to duplicate, but it’s not easy!

  4. It looks great, I am jealous of your new apartment.

    You might want to consider how sturdy the side table will be once T1 starts crawling and pulling up. I take care of my 9 month old nephew and he pulls up on everything.

    Brooke Reply:

    I’m going to have to second this recommendation. I bought this exact table, and a leg broke about two months into using it. I used real screws to put it back together (instead of that cheap IKEA hardware), but it was still wobbly, and the lower shelf caved in. Not the best piece of equipment out there! I’d vote to search on Craigslist first, and see if there’s a solid wood coffee table you like that you can paint white.

    Christiana (us meets uk) Reply:

    I have the coffee table too, except I haven’t had any problems with it at all! However, it was >$20, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t last forever.

    Lisa Reply:

    I was thinking about the side tray table, not the Lack table from Ikea.

    Genavee Reply:

    I have that same coffee table too. After two years, the top is really knicked up, the laminate is peeling and it just looks gross. More importantly, the legs bow out and we have to kick them back into place several times a day. Plus, the bottom shelf is just resting on screws, it’s not secured so T1 could pull it off in a heartbeat. It’s really cheap, but not sturdy at all.

  5. I love it! Also, I do like those busy prints, but just had a thought, you could easily make some cheap art buy buying fabric and framing it. I am not crafty/arty/design-y at all.

  6. I really admire you for putting so much effort into your space. I can never seem to finish design projects! I’m in the middle of painting my kitchen cabinets and have only gotten so far as destroying things and making the kitchen unusable, haha.

    I love the punches of blue! My living room walls are similar to what you’d painted, but I had punches of green. I’m thinking a fresh change of blue might be nice!

  7. That’s really really neat!! I absolutely love it!! I can’t wait to see it all together in your room, how cool! It’s going to look great. The blues are my favorite, that’s what I would choose to decorate my home with!

  8. For someone that talks all the time about living within your means, you sure spend a lot of money on non-necesities like interior design and trips around the country.

    Jenna Reply:

    But if we are living within our means, what does it matter?

    The beauty of a budget is that you can spend it HOWEVER YOU WANT. Just stay within the budget and you’re golden.

    I’m sorry you are jealous. Our vacation is going to be absolutely fantastic, and then we’re going to be able to come home to a gorgeous, well decorated apartment. We have a nice life.

    EmilyB Reply:

    Jenna, I love you :)

    Janie Reply:

    you tell her, jenna :) haha

    Jenna Reply:

    TH said this comment wasn’t kind, and he is right.

    I’m sorry for being rude. I should learn to turn the other cheek when people are rude for no reason. Maybe you just had a bad day Becca? I’m going to assume that was the case. You had a bad day, and you also are sorry for being critical of our decision to attend my SIL’s wedding (who you know, happens to be TH’s only sister) and spend a few hundred dollars decorating our apartment.

    Next time, I hope we’ll both be a little bit kinder.

    Sarah for Real Reply:

    I was going to say that everyone should budget vacations into their yearly spending and suggest that Becca do the same, she sounds cranky.

    Also, kudos for you for not removing your comment Jenna but apologizing instead. Good example!

    R Reply:

    This comment (the original, not Jenna’s) makes me so irritated. It reminds me of the time that my partner and I were in Vegas and we were in line for dinner and were talking about all the traveling we had done that year. It was a very travel heavy year. I made a comment to him about something we didn’t do or some decision we made because it wasn’t cost-effective, and a stranger behind me snarked, “You’re not on a budget if you can go on five vacations in a year.” Not that I need to defend myself but only one was a real vacation, the rest were weddings and work related.

    I’m a grad student at the moment and I still travel a lot, and it’s been a sore point for one of my classmates who cannot seem to comprehend how I manage it and she complains about it all the time. It’s not that hard – it’s a big priority for us so instead of going out to dinner a lot, we travel. I have a scholarship and money from my school to live on, plus I have two small but lucrative part time jobs to earn a little more. We don’t keep any credit card debt either (we do put our purchases on the card to get frequent flyer miles and pay off the balance at the end of each month).

    This has turned into me venting, but it really bugs me when people criticize how other people spend their money. (More so when they criticize people who are responsible about their money!)

    Samantha Reply:

    This irritates me as well. My husband and I budget hardcore and will pay off my 10 year school loans in 3 years, and we are on track to pay off our 30 year mortgage in 10 years. I got snotty remarks from co-worker’s when I chose not to go buy lunch everyday, or go shopping. Then they would be baffled when I mentioned how close we are to paying off loans. Of course they are ones that carry extreme amount of credit card debt.

    It is all about deciding what to spend your money on- for us it is paying of school loans, and saving for our house, travel and gifts. We have a teensy clothes and eating out budget (which I guess others assume are necessities).

    Mary Reply:

    Jenna, I saw on facebook that you may do a blog in the future about money/debt/budgeting. I think that is a great idea! My husband and I started budgeting the first year of marriage and it has been so rewarding! (although some may say I am a little obsessed with my excel spreadsheet budget) I find that folks just need information or be shown how a budget works or see that it actually CAN work. When I’ve talked to people about money/debt/budging, I find that people aren’t so irritated at me for being able to decorate our house or not have any credit card debt, but are more frustrated because it hasn’t worked for them and that frustration is then projected on families where their finances aren’t controlling them. Budgeting and sticking to it isn’t easy (my husband and I have certainly struggled with ours along the way…but even with medical bills from our little one’s hospital stays, budgeting has saved us many times). I think it’s great that you are decorating your home and traveling to see your family AND that its all within your means. :) You have to show off little T1, right? I’m looking forward to that future blog.

    Katy Reply:

    Jenna, precisely.

    Besides, how the gosh darn heck does any of us know what exactly living within your means is for you? We’re not privy to your exact finances. Because you purchase something other than toilet paper that automatically qualifies as an extravagent, beyond your means purchase?

    Lynn Reply:

    Love this thread and love the sound advice! Budgeting has TOTALLY liberated me. and Jenna, I learned to when I got married. I also obsess over my excel spreadsheets. But with budgeting, I found out how I can work part time and live off of my husband’s dinky resident salary, and start a business.
    We get no help from my parents, have no debt, have money in savings, grocery shop at Central Market, and go on fabulous vacations.

    It’s hard work and NOT luck to live like this. We decided that the above is more important to us, and don’t eat out alot, didn’t buy a house, we use travelocity when we travel, I don’t buys designer shoes like I want. I turn off my lights when I’m not in the room, buy fabulous clothes on sale. Completely doable!

  9. i lurve the blue bowl and am a teensy bit jealous of your redecoration!

    BUT even on a tiny budget, we make room for what’s important to us (travel and books) and I’m glad to see you doing the same :-)

  10. I think everything looks fabulous! You’re going to have a beautifully styled apartment, something I wish I had. One of these days I’ll get my stuff together and make my space look nice. Until then, I’ll live vicariously through people like you, Young House Love, etc :)

  11. The first thing I thought when I saw the “busy” prints in the top right corner was that you could do something like that with fabric.

    Find a fabric you like, make a rectangular frame with 2x4s then pull the fabric taut and staple-gun to the back.

    Easy peasy!

  12. I love those colors, and that blue bowl too…but i am sure once T1 is pulling himself up on that table it probably wont be placed there for long!

  13. I keep picturing this with your big beautiful windows, and the view of the lake and the sky and it just looks so perfect. Can’t wait to see if how it turns out matches my mental picture.

  14. My best-friend’s mom can sew like none other and I know she’s reupholstered and made amazing slip covers before. Email me and I’ll put you in touch with her. I’m not sure your price range, but she might be able to accomplish what you need.

  15. omg I love the rug too!! why is it listed under outdoor rugs? I am going to be on this site all day now :) have fun on your trip, love!

  16. Where is the bowl from? LOVE!

    Jenna Reply:


    It’s my favorite thing :)

  17. I love that bowl and the side table. I’ve been thinking about buying it for a long time.


    I don’t think a trip to see family is excessive or spending a little to fix a place you are going to spend a lot of time in.

  18. I absolutely love pale blue and red together and the minute the hubs and I move somewhere we can paint, that’s going to be my kitchen’s color scheme. I would do it in my living room, too, but we have kind of orangey/tan couches and have more of a burnt orange/red aesthetic in there. Your home, with the gorgeous windows, is going to be amazing! Way to go, Bien Living!

    As for the budget thing, PLEASE do not humor that commenter with a post. People are tools when it comes the money judging. If you were saying you had no money for diapers for T1 and then went out and bought Manolos for yourself, that would be one thing. But you’re traveling for a wedding and spending a few bucks at Ikea and CB2 — no big whoop. I think a post about debt/no debt and these purchases would just fan the flames. Do not succumb!

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