My natural-modern-rustic living room refresh

I've finally finished a refresh on my own living room after moving into my brother's country home last summer. I had a very tiny budget to make this space my own, so I got creative with projects that add a sense of natural serenity and also meaning. As with all of my projects, the aim was to create a serene and comforting space with a low footprint on the earth and the wallet. 

my natural modern rustic living room refresh on a budget

First, of course, I painted the walls white with no-VOC paint. Sherwin Williams Pure White gives a fresh bright look that's just slightly softer than the untinted white I used for the trim work. The trim around all of the windows and floorboards was previously a dark beige and the walls were a builder beige. The space looks so much brighter now and shows off decorative elements that bring me joy - like artwork, books, plants and fun pillow cases. 

modern rustic living room refresh using Sherwin Williams Pure White
budget-friendly modern rustic living room redo

My grey sofa from my previous homes remained the same, with some new cushion covers on throw pillows. BUT, my old IKEA Karlstad chair got a refresh with a Comfort Works custom Karlstad armchair cover in Gaia White.

This was a more sustainable and budget-friendly way to update my furniture without buying new. My old Karlstad chair was a grey that clashed with the sofa, but IKEA discontinued the Karlstad line of cushion covers. I thought about shelling out for a new chair but realized that was silly since mine was still in perfectly good shape and very comfortable. I needed to make do. That was much easier when I found Comfort Works and their custom sofa covers, chair covers and IKEA slipcovers in a range of fabrics and patterns. I chose the Gaia White canvas cotton for its simplicity, natural fibre content, and durability (it's machine-washable!). It brightens the room and I just love how it turned out.

IKEA Karlstad chair with Comfort Works custom slipcover
Karstad chair in Comfort Works Gaia white slipcover

The chair's fab new look is also thanks to the four new replacement sofa legs I also snagged from Comfort Works - making this small change to mid-century modern style tapered legs changes the whole look of the chair and goes well with my other modern style furniture. The IKEA sofa legs were a breeze to unscrew and replace; the Karlstad armchair cover was a little more work to put on than a regular throw-on slip cover, as you need to take the arms off of the IKEA chair. But with one wrench it took me about half an hour to unbolt the two arms, take off the existing cover,  fit the new Comfort Works custom cover on by matching up the velcro strips, and bolt the arms back on. Easy enough! 

IKEA Karlstad custom slipcover DIY

One of the other major changes in the room was adding a reclaimed barn board feature wall. It covers up a cheater door into a bathroom on the main floor which was never used, and the wall now adds rustic warmth to the space. It's also very cool because the boards came from my grandparents' old farmhouse! 

Lots of books, both in a standing bookcase and on a built-in bookshelf around the perimeter of the tray ceiling (my brother's custom handiwork) add punches of colour and lets my own personality shine through. A vintage chest from my grandfather, used as a coffee table, adds charm. 

A gallery wall makes the TV not stand out so much and adds more colour and natural appeal through pieces of driftwood and botanical prints. The circle artwork is my own DIY handiwork to save more money and add a little fun. 

DIY vertical barn board wall in living room
tray ceiling bookshelves
DIY artwork and TV gallery wall
natural elements and artwork TV gallery wall

The console table (another handmade piece by my brother using reclaimed boards) adds rustic charm and is a great perch for plants in front of the window, as is the DIY hanging wood slice plant shelf in the window - DIY here

Of course, I had to add a little more reclaimed barn board with a sconce light hanging bulb and antique cage. I got the twisted cloth cord and antique-look socket from Snakehead Vintage. 

rustic console table and hanging plant shelf
reclaimed barn board wall and hanging sconce light

Another DIY was hacking the IKEA AROD floor lamp I've had for years. I wanted to modernize it so I spray painted it black and wrapped rope around the arm. Check out the DIY here. 

The sofa end table was a previous thrift store DIY I showed you here

DIY IKEA AROD floor lamp hack
DIY thrift store mid-century end table in modern rustic living room

Finally, adding a natural fibre jute rug to anchor the space is the finishing touch that I believe almost all living rooms need. It has beautiful warm colouring and is very forgiving to dirt and stains. 

This modern natural living room refresh had a very low cost and a low impact on the environment - the only new elements were the rug, which I got from Wayfair, the Comfort Works custom slipcover, and a tripod table lamp like this one from Canadian Tire

natural modern rustic living room

You can see in the before and after below what a difference a little white paint, a good rug, and natural materials can make, right? Keep your refresh simple: you don't have to spend a lot to achieve a bit impact.

natural living room before and after

This post was partially sponsored by Comfort Works but my high opinion of the slipcover is my own. I'm very happy with the service and product and am more than happy to promote it here! 

Kelly Anderson

Refreshed Designs

A re-designer focused on natural, sustainable and holistic design.