Living Room Updates: The Sectional is Here!

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

When you first move into a new home, it’s a bit frustrating putting your old belongings to work in the new space. Sometimes you have to set aside cherished things because they don’t work with the floor plan, and other times you just need to make room for the awesome orange chairs you found at a garage sale for five bucks. (Try not to be jealous- but yes- that really happened!) But after living with hand-me-down furniture weirdly arranged to suit our lifestyle, it’s really fun to finally step back and see our home finally coming together! I think our new Ikea sectional is largely to thank for the dramatic difference.

We had been wanting a new sofa for a long time now, but there just wasn’t room in our meager budget. So we decided to pinch our pennies and every month put $100 into an envelope with the words “sofa fund” scrawled across it. I knew a sectional would be a great choice for this space- our one and only living/family room, but it seemed like we would never be able to afford the Room and Board sectional that I’d been pining after for so long. And really, after thinking about it through the months of saving, getting such an expensive sofa with a young family just didn’t seem prudent. We decided to no longer save for the pricier sectional and settle for the Karlstad from Ikea instead, ordering new legs (which I’m still waiting on) to help elevate the look of the less expensive Ikea sofa. So now we can continue to save $100 per month, but we’re putting it towards other needs- like dining room chairs!

Walking into Ikea with a fistful of cash was really satisfying, but I’m even more satisfied with how the sectional purchase has helped transform our living room. It’s much less disjointed than it was when we first settled in. Also, I think after getting rid of my doily decorations and whatnot, our home is becoming a great reflection of who we are as a family! If you have any questions about where anything is from, ask away and I’ll answer in the comments below.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

47 Responses

  1. Jenni says:

    This looks great, despite it being less expensive! And new legs with give it a unique look- I’m sure it will end up being perfect for your space :)

  2. Rebecca says:

    It’s looking fantastic!

  3. Stine says:

    HI! Great blog – I keep myself updated daily all the way from Denmark. Where did you get your art work hanging over the couch? It’s absolutely beautiful!

  4. Emmisen says:

    loving what you did in the corner with the shelves!

  5. wow that is one pretty living room! can I move in? :)

    Katrina Sophia Blog

  6. Zero Style says:

    Hi Mandi! I have been thinking about buying that exact same couch (in the same color even!) for a while now. I’ve never had an IKEA couch- or any IKEA furniture come to think of it- is it pretty comfy?

    • Mandi says:

      It’s comfy, yeah! I’m sure it won’t last as long as a more expensive sofa, but that’s okay! It’s a good sofa for the stage of life we’re in. :)

  7. Ana Pierce says:

    I love love love the corner shelving unit and the “Freelancing Ain’t Free” print. :)

  8. “Freelance Ain’t Free” haha love it! The couch looks great too :)

  9. Mandi! It is looking so wonderful.
    So cozy and personal. Love your style.

  10. Mandy says:

    Looks wonderful, Mandi! I absolutely love the orange and grey with the accompanying orange and grey throw pillows! I also like how you’ve changed the art up on your bookshelves. Beautiful room!

  11. Courteney says:

    Those orange chairs! Ohh…My living room is orange and grey, and I’ve been trying to find chairs like that forever. Lucky!

  12. Briseidy says:

    love it! such a nice space ;)

  13. Your living room is absolute perfection.

  14. I would die for your media center!!!!
    I am actually trying to get rid of all of our Ikea furniture. I find that you get what you pay for! We have the Karlstad too and it’s holding up fine, but the media center and our bed that is from Ikea are totally thrashed.
    I have been on the hunt for a 1960’s dresser or sideboard foreverrrrr! I search Craigslist daily and frequent thrift and antique shops. It’s all just so hard to find now.. especially with my one year old. A whole day at a Flea Market isn’t quite possible these days!
    I love when you share photos of your home.. it’s so gorgeous and your orange chairs are my favorite. I do miss your green velvet sofa though!

    • Mandi says:

      I found it at the thrift store for $20! I didn’t even have room for it. But I bought it when I lived with my brother, and then we just stored it somewhere. I can’t remember where. Maybe my parents’ barn? But it’s just one of those things you don’t pass up when you find it. :)

  15. Mallory says:

    We have this EXACT setup and it has been wonderful. Washable, expandable and updatable. It’s dog friendly and with a baby on the way, I think it will get us through that too!

  16. Danielle E says:

    I also upgraded from a hand-me-down to an IKEA sectional this year, and the difference is pretty dramatic. I think the mix allows your vintage pieces to really shine anyway.

    In my house we determined that if we can’t afford to replace something, we shouldn’t own it. Especially with kids, this couch should be more forgiving and encourage forgiveness. :) Enjoy!

    • Mandi says:

      Someone also mentioned to me that you don’t want to get a white sofa (which I was pining for too!) for hospitality reasons- can you imagine how bad you would feel spilling wine on someone’s white sofa? But you KNOW something like that is bound to happen. :)

  17. DIiana says:

    I LOVE IT! Everything looks so good. I never imagined a sectional to look so fab.

  18. Attygreen13 says:

    I love your shelving! Want to cover an entire wall in our office with shelves for my books, magazine collection etc and looking for options in our budget – please share details!

    Thank you!

  19. Jennifer says:

    Love how you incorporated the tv in with pictures! And thank you for including toys in the pictures. Makes it look like the real home that it is.

  20. Hannah says:

    You know, I tried to convince myself for a long time that I needed to save up for a fancy couch. When our last one was broken and I was dying for a comfortable place to sit I scrolled through Craigslist and found this same couch in dark gray for a fraction of even IKEA prices barely used. Needless to say I grabbed that shit so fast! Best decision ever and I’m looking into buying legs for it since I’m tired of the standard ones.

    Love how it incorporates into your home! It is a very beautiful space :)


  21. Heidi Jo says:


    I’ve always loved the look of your house, and it is so fun to see the updates.

    I remember that interview you did with ABM and I remember thinking then that you had created such a cute, yet sophisticated space.

    These pictures are lovely. The new sectional looks great! It really ties everything together. I always get so many good ideas from these types of posts. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Taylor says:

    I’m feeling the same way in our new home. It’s hard to make it feel like ours and since the space is small, it’s even more difficult to style it the way we want to. Luckily, we’ve been able to find a lot of our larger purchases at thrift stores. However, we’re still working on the whole couch situation and we’ve been pining after sectionals for some time, but I just don’t think they’ll work with our space, unfortunately. Yours looks fantastic though! I can’t wait to see the legs that you ordered for it; such an awesome and thrifty way to elevate a piece of (relatively) cheap furniture!


  23. Karen says:

    Do you mind sharing how you framed your Debbie Carlos print? It looks great.

    I love your living room, good work! Also, I wanted to say your blog is one of my favorites! Thank you for your honesty. I am a new-ish mama, and I find your energy and productivity inspiring.

  24. Mikalah says:

    I LOVE your living room. It is so inspiring to see how everything is coming together for you! And your “Freelance Isn’t Free” print is SO GREAT. =) Love the Karlstad in this space, it really is a classic look and ties in well with your mid-century style.

  25. Natanya says:

    Love the way this room has come together, Mandi! It has both such fun personality and sophistication. You’ve got some talent kid!!

  26. Laura chavous says:

    Your room looks great!!!! Love the sofa! Did you order pencil legs from the guy on etsy who makes them for the karlstad sofas? I’ve got a similar pair of chairs in my living room the same hue. And I just bought a charcoal gray mid century style sofa a month or so ago. I was glad to see your orange chairs and gray sofa it helped confirm for me that this does indeed work! Haha

    • Mandi says:

      Haha! Same goes for me hearing you are putting these colors together too! My brother loves those colors and floods his home with them. I did order the legs from the Etsy guy! Ordered them over a month ago, though and no word yet.

  27. Leah B says:

    I love the Freelance Ain’t Free poster!

    Also, is the large farmed print ebru art?

    • Mandi says:

      I’m not certain of the term. I just know it’s an enlarged copy of marbleized paper. It’s from Debbie Carlos’s shop and was designed by Scout and Catalogue. :)

  28. Amber says:

    it looks great! Do you follow Mains St. Modern on Facebook? They posted a link for a house for sale in your area that you would love!

    • Mandi says:

      Yes- I’m friends with Adam in real life! :) This home is basically right across the street from where my in-laws live, just a few miles from my own home! I love looking at it as I drive by, but I think I like minor renovations too much to ever buy a FLW home. It’s like sacrilege to renovate one of his homes, but I wouldn’t be able to help myself!

  29. Amber says:

    I always get nervous posting a link to someone’s comments for fear they’ll think it’s spam. The home is a mid-century home in the area where there are Frank Lloyd Wright homes.

  30. Amanda says:

    That house that’s for sale is actually the one across the street from the FLW house on Frazer. It’s definitely the same style, but it’s not one of his houses.

    • Mandi says:

      At some point in time, I had seen pictures of the Frank Lloyd Wright one, and definitely don’t remember what it’s like. And in my head, I’m getting its interior confused with the other ones in Canton. Is it the one that’s hiding behind the trees, or the one on the east side of Frazer with the carport beside 44th? I’ve never been inside. But I love this one, and would be likely (if we were in the buying position) to snag it up if it isn’t a FLW house, because then I could justify doing a little work on it. :)

      And, you seem to know what you’re talking about, so I was wondering… I know FLW didn’t really do a lot of hands-on small home design late in his career, but worked with his company to develop a variety of designs that his team would tweak for each home owner, and then he would step in and approve before each home was built. I think that may have been the case with the ones in Canton (or at least the two in that neighborhood off of 44th), so they’re technically FLW homes, but it’s not like he was heavily involved in their design. Do you know anything about the Canton homes? I’m insanely curious about them!

  31. Lynet says:

    I have two barrel chairs that i got for free that i REFUSE to discard because i think they are just AWESOME! they’re yellow and i wish i could reupholster them…two kids and 8 yrs later, they must have seen better days!!!

  32. Liz Higgins says:

    Hey Mandi,

    I have the same Karlstad, and I was wondering if you’ve had any issues with the back cushions slouching which cause the seat cushions to slide forward? Ours does it all the time and it is not so cute. If anyone had a DIY solution to this problem it would be you!


    • Mandi says:

      I haven’t had any issues with ours so far. I figured if our back cushions got slouchy, I would probably tuft them to give them a bit more structure.

  33. Christin says:

    Can you share where the black and cream graphic art over the TV is from?? I just love it! Your whole living room is just beautiful. :)

    • Mandi says:

      Do you mean the black and gold concentric circles? It’s a vintage piece I found at an antique mall. The back label says it’s from Sears.