A Custom Sectional for Downstairs at an Attainable Price

February 18, 2016

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We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

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The sectional hunt for the playroom was a bit of a rollercoaster but it ended in such a happy place. None of it will make sense though without this extremely awful photo of our downstairs. Let’s call this the before photo.


I use this photo I dug up on my phone because you can see where the “playroom side” lights and table are as a reference. The built-ins/television will be on that far wall with a sectional facing it. That was the dream. We just had to find the perfect one with the perfect configuration in the perfect size for a reasonable price. Cue nervous laughter.


This H2 Design + Build space is serving as a big inspiration for our downstairs. And the sofa with 2 chaises seemed perfect for our setup. Everyone would be facing the screen while still providing the extra feet-up comfort x 2. We have no problem paying a reasonable price for a good quality sofa that will last, but we checked everything from Restoration Hardware (the price literally knocked the wind out of me) to Crate & Barrel since we already know we love their Lounge (but the sizing was all wrong for this space). Finally, I ended up on Yellow Brick Home’s site (turns out, Kim is always my answer to everything!) after a search for affordable custom sectionals. She did a whole post about Interior Define, a company revolutionizing quality, custom upholstery at an attainable price.

They have a flagship store front in Chicago (another to open in NY later this year!), so Kim and Scott were able to see and lounge first hand and I’m so glad because she took these photos (below) of their Ainsley sofa that struck a heartstring–that piping!

interior-define-03 interior-define-04

Of course, it wasn’t exactly what we needed, but could they put another chaise on the other side? Could they make it around 155″ wide (the space budget we were working within). How “custom” were these custom sofas? I emailed them and the same day I got a response back that they could check off all the items on our wish-lists, and for a steal! Through its online focus and made-to-order approach (leading to no inventory overhead), Interior Define is able to serve customers with an exclusive custom furniture experience at an attainable price point (generally 30% to 40% less than comparable brands). Which meant, our dream Ainsley sectional in exactly the right dimensions and configuration was less than any other sectionals we had already seriously looking at.

The next step was picking our fabric. They offer complimentary swatches of all their fabric options (they came about 3 days later) and although I was pretty sure I wanted something gray, Chris tossed in a few varying options just in case.


TOP ROW Heavy Cloth Midnight Blue, Pebble Weave Zinc, Pebble Weave Storm, Linen Blend Pewter, Performance Felt Evergreen BOTTOM ROW Basketweave Stone, Performance Felt Ash, Pebble Weave Dove, Heavy Cloth Natural, Heavy Cloth Ivory

The Pebble Weave in Dove (bottom row, center) was a nice warm gray with some variance–always a plus when kids are involved!–had a lot of texture to it but still felt extremely soft. It was the winner! Our sectional came to about $3500, but they have really beautiful custom sofas beginning at just $900, including white glove delivery, a 365 day return policy, and a dedicated service concierge!!!

Full disclosure: Since getting in touch with Interior Define a few weeks ago, they’ve asked us to partner with them. We truly loving the service they provided and are really pinching ourselves about the custom sofa headed our way. This also means there is a big fat giveaway for you as soon as our sectional arrives. Can’t wait! Now for some throw pillow shopping. :)


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What do you think?

  1. I am interested in ordering/creating the same sofa sectional that you have selected. It’s just what we’re looking for. what is the nae of the sofa so that I can reference it to Interior Design. Thanks so much for sharing and I love your blogs and Instagram pics. The’re so inspiring.

  2. Brandy Peterson says:

    I want to buy our sectional by tomorrow because of their sale going on and have been using your blog as a checklist! It is wonderful. One question though, what type of cushion fill did you choose?? The standard, the double down, or the down alt.? I have no idea what to pick! Please help ????????

  3. Jaclyn says:

    I’m in the market to buy a couch and I want the Pebble weave in dove as well! I see thats what you purchased. Can you please describe any issues you’ve had with it? The designer told me this fabric is harder to keep clean and i worry about the cotton/ linen blend wearing and being fuzzy. Can you please email me? Interior Defines sale ends tomorrow so a response sooner than later would be MUCH APPRECIATED!


    • Julia says:

      Ours still looks good as new! We don’t allow our large dog on it (claws would be problematic for this fabric) but our little ones are all over it.

      • Jaclyn says:

        Thank you so much for your quick response! Did you treat or scotch guard your couch with anything to help with preventing stains? We don’t have any animals or kids, but spills seem to inevitably happen.

  4. Leah says:

    I’m sad to see such negativity from readers posted towards Julia. If she was creative enough to start such an inspiring blog and get sponsors more power to her. Her blogs have greatly helped me lean towards different directions. My husband and I are DIY’ERS and in the process of building our own home. When I say DIY I mean build and frame every wall in our home, drywall, countertops, flooring, paint, plumbing etc. Julia has been a huge inspiration to me. I never knew about Interior Define prior to reading her blog, and I am now inspired to save a few extra pennies to get a mid-priced sectional on their website. Thank you Julia for all of your tutorials and blog posts. I enjoy reading each and every one.

  5. Melissa says:

    Just a follow up question… I’ve been looking at Interior Define a lot since this post and I’m really thinking about pulling the trigger on a massive sectional for our family room in 2017. I’ve looked at swatches, and I really like the choices. My only concern is the cleaning/care instructions. Several choices mention that they cannot be cleaned with water, including the pebble weave you chose, and I’m wondering how that’s held up with kids and pets? If you spill water (or basically any beverage, really) does it leave a terrible stain? What do you use to spot treat?

    • Julia says:

      We’ve wiped up our couch with no issue at all. Although Interior Define does have fabric options that are more wipeable than others. And a little bird told me, that they are coming out with more fabrics REALLY soon for kids and pets specifically.

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi Julia,

    Although my decorating style is pretty traditional and different than yours, I really enjoy your blog, Julia! You share a lot of useful info, good ideas and I’m always impressed at your thorough research and organized blogging. It’s obvious that you put a lot of work into it.

    I’m shopping for a sectional from the comfort of my couch (broken ankle!) and saw your post about your sectional purchase. (See, useful info!) Anyway, I’m curious as to how yours is holding up. Is the material wearing well? How long did it take to get? I’m a little cautious ordering something like this without test driving it first so any thoughts you could share would be appreciated.

    Keep up the good work and thanks!


  7. Kirsten says:

    Wow–just came back to this post after visiting the Interior Define showroom in Chicago this weekend (thanks to your post–never would have known about them otherwise) and saw all the crazy comments!

    Just wanted to say you guys are awesome! Your house is gorgeous, and you deserve any benefits you might be attracting due to your success. All the hate is nuts–I read blogs because I find design inspiration in the photos and process, not because I’m expecting it could all be attainable to me! Also, I get it that people might feel suspicious of sponsored reviews, but as a long term reader I do trust that you guys wouldn’t share anything that you don’t yourselves love, and on top of that it’s not like you are making people buy these products that you get sponsored! We are adults that can make our own choices–if you aren’t sure if you trust the review, go check it out for yourself!

    Anyway, I can say after visiting the showroom that Interior Define couches are pretty comfortable for the price–especially the down-wrapped cushions! The non-down cushions felt suspiciously like my IKEA foam cushions, but the wrapped ones are a serious upgrade. The Sloan was very similar to the IKEA Karlstad we are replacing, but we really liked the Henry! And their customization options are great–we are looking for a sectional that would fit in a relatively small space, and they were willing to make one of their 113″ sofas around 100″. There is no customization fee, and because they charge based on materials, the more custom couch actually would have been about $300 cheaper than the standard size. Also, a reader above mentioned one of the couches feeling like it had flimsy arms–I think that was the Harper. I loved the back on that one but we thought the same thing–I would not think it would stand up to too much abuse.

    Ultimately, we are going for the Crate and Barrel Lounge II for our space (soooo comfy), but I’m so glad that I learned about Interior Define through your blog!

  8. Dani Grebe says:

    So many time I wish I could call you up for an opinion! In this case- I know you have some history on couch buying. How did you/have you decided on sectionals vs sofas vs chaises, etc? We have a large basement we are refinishing and I love the look of sectional with chaise, but I’m all about versatility, so I’m also thinking about sofa with ottoman. What have you been most happy with?

    • Julia says:

      I really try to think about how it will play with the rest of the room. We really didn’t want this space to feel closed in but wanted optimal lounge-y seating all facing the television which is how we landed on the 2 chaise sofa/sectional. It wouldn’t really make sense to go with a u-shaped sectional since we’d mostly be using this space to watch tv, movies, etc.. We thought about a sofa + a large ottoman, but we already ordered a coffee table for down here in November! Plus, a hard surface to place drinks and snacks was also important to us.

      A sofa + 2 chairs work great in our living room because the sofa doesn’t cut off the other areas of the space and creates a good conversation area.

  9. Tanya Thomas says:

    So I’m really digging this company! We got our fabric samples and I spoke with a representative for awhile on the phone. Any promo codes that you know of? There’s a $50 off when you sign up for their email, but I found some $100 off online that have expired. We’re looking at the Ainsley as well but in Basketweave. Possibly the 89′ sofa and chair :)

  10. sandi says:

    I love your blog, keep up the good work. I’m a little confused why people are offended by sponsored posts. Why does it matter to people so much? I read a few blogs a day and if I am not interested in a post here or there I just don’t take the time to read it. There is no part of me that feels the need to write a comment to tell the blogger that I am no longer reading. That seems, quite frankly, an odd thing for an adult to do.
    Stay positive people. Don’t be offended by sponsored posts, they seem like genuine people, believe their review, or don’t. Don’t let it effect your life in any way. xo

  11. alissa says:

    I am in the process of ordering a sofa, and what about shipping etc if you order online? Does that make a big dent in the process of saving vs going to a local store? I love the look of your sofa too!!

  12. Erin says:

    $3,500 is reasonable?? Wow. #toorichformyblood
    I wish I could afford that for a sofa. I was stuck buying from IKEA.

    • Amy says:

      I wish everyone could focus on the free design inspiration that is being offered so consistently here instead if the price of this (huge) sofa for the family room. Take the inspiration you have been generously given and explore options that work for your unuque situation. A well made, comfortable sofa is worth the investment in my opinion. If you love the design and it works for the family as a comfortable gathering spot, it’s worth every penny. People keep sofas for 10 years (or more). I think it’s wise to invest in a piece that will stand the test of time and get used every single day (by two tall adults, 2 kids, and one large dog!).

  13. Emilyjane says:

    I have long looked to CLJ for design inspiration. Love it! Our basement playroom is in the works and will be getting a IKEA sectional because we are currently financing a new business. But I tell you what, I appreciate knowing about companies like ID (that without this blog I would have never heard of) so in 5 years when the cheap furniture is dust and we are more able to spend on luxuries, I will know where to start lookin.

    Really love the blog. Keep it up!

  14. BeccaS says:

    First off $3500 for a sectional that large is fantastic! I am so glad you have worked your tail off and have sponsors wanting to partner with you. I also appreciate the fact that you hire out when needed and chose higher priced items mixed with lower priced items. I do not want my house to feel completely DIY when you walk in so I appreciate reading a blog that does not skimp at every chance you get. Sometimes you have to wait and save a little longer to get the better quality item because it is worth it in the long run. As for not actually sitting on the sofa first…..people order furniture online all the time without testing it out first so I am not sure why that is a foreign thought to so many. Can’t wait to see the basement evolve!!!

  15. Allison says:

    I don’t really mind when items are free – as long as it seems fair. I really enjoy the partnership this site has with Ace Hardware, I think some great posts have come out of it! What does bother me is when you have posts like this, that is basically a handout for a post (I’m assuming the couch wasn’t paid for – doesn’t really say in the disclosure). The carpet, for example, if they were looking at half a dozen different options – all free – which would they really choose? I have no doubt that had Viking offered up free appliances the appliance search would have ended immediately – that is not fair and balanced.

  16. Ange says:

    As a long time CLJ reader, I feel like I need to weigh in on this “discussion”. CLJ is one of my favourite blogs to read, I love their styling choices and writing style. After the kiwi crate/water pitcher fiasco, Julia and Chris have stuck by their commitment to only work with companies that can assist them in their current renovation. I admire that. Some blogs are just full of affiliate links and shamelessly irrelevant sponsored posts. To me those blogs that are so heavily monetized are not worth my time. I expect to see partnerships and ads, and I have no problem with it. Hence why I have stuck by CLJ from the start.

    Having said that, I was disappointed in this post. I am currently shopping for (and spending a lot of time thinking about!) a new sectional for our family room. I was super excited when I saw that your next post was about your hunt for a sectional! I was eagerly waiting to see your potential choices and your thoughts on them. Maybe you would have found a sectional I hadn’t seen that might be just what I’m looking for. Maybe you had sat in a sectional I had only seen online and could give an opinion on the comfort or quality. To then see it was a partnership post.. I was disappointed. I would never purchase a sofa online unless I had sat on it. And I wanted to see what you were considering! And I guess what a lot of people have a problem with is not the amount of freebies you have been getting, but a feeling of disconnection with you and your blog because of it. Most people in the non-blogger world can’t afford all new appliances when they renovate their kitchen and laundry, or a new sectional and carpet for a playroom/media room. And then suddenly your renovations start to feel unattainable. Keep up the good work though, I’m looking forward to seeing your completed room!

    • Julia says:

      If you follow me on Pinterest, you can always get a background of our thought process and choices we’re considering generally. For instance, on my sofa board ( you can see all the options we were considering about a month ago before landing on the Ainsley from Interior Define. It’s like a sneak peek! I’ll be more mindful of sharing our thought process of larger purchases like this in the future. Because it’s never as easy as it sounds!

      • Heather says:

        I see where you are trying to go here Julia – ‘hey look at my Pinterest boards and get a feel for my search for a new sectional’. The problem is that there are no couches from Interior Define on there at all, so how can you honestly expect your readers to believe this storyline that you were searching, ID was already on your radar, and you wound up partnering for a free sectional? Just be upfront with people, you are really starting to feel disingenuous here.

      • Julia says:

        I know that you don’t want to believe me, and that’s fine. But I really have ZERO reason to lie nor do I have anything to prove. We started the search for our sectional over a month ago and once Interior Define told us they could do the exact dimensions and configuration we wanted for less than any of the other sectionals we were looking at that fit those same parameters, it was a no brainer.

  17. Pamela says:

    Meh. There’s only so many ways to style an IKEA Kivik. I’m pretty sure it’s been done 1 million times already. I for one enjoy hearing about different companies even if they aren’t always in my price range. 3500 is not what I would have called “affordable” or even necessarily “attainable”. But it is a fair price for the quality of the sofa. A great price, even. I am excited about the opportunity to win one!

  18. Amy says:

    I too am a LONG time reader and I don’t really understand all of these negative comments. I just do not get it. People are weird. Yes, of course, if you aren’t into a blog, read others. Why the heck is that a problem? Have you all noticed CLJ is up to 20,000 in audience size? They must be doing something right! I think what we have here is a small minority of whiners, err I mean readers voicing their opinion. One by the way that doesn’t even need to be published by the blog author but they are allowing it anyway. Chris and Julia, you are very talented artists and hard workers and you are awesome. Please know that you are appreciated!

  19. Tanya says:

    We’ve been looking for a sectional for years. I have had two hand me down sofas in the process that are college dorm worthy. For 2 years I’ve been saving for a Lounge from Crate and Barrel after reading your post on the lounge. The full sectional was still not in my budget. I waited until Presidents Day to shop at several furniture stores. Once you throw in shipping and fabric protector, it was a lot. We just couldn’t find what we were looking for. Your post couldn’t have come at a better time. I already called ID for my samples. I’m so excited to get exactly what I was searching for at a price that we were looking!

  20. Gina says:

    Are you all reading the same blog as I am?

    This is what I read: Hi-Lo decor and we work our tails off to make things happen so you can have inspiration for your home.

    Not to mention- reader design giveaway to someone in need! If they weren’t partnering with Lowes that would have never happened.

    Also, family friendly decor post with VERY affordable options, don’t buy the expensive duvet- grab some
    Shams at Urban Outfitters, $100 fireplace makeover, ikea cabinets, DIY concrete counters. I feel like every choice is attainable and relatable!

    Be kind.

    • Brenda says:

      I agree 100%. I don’t understand all the upset about the sponsorships. That is how they are paid! I don’t know many people willing to work in an office for 40+ hours per week without compensation. For this type of blog/work, they get compensated partly in free stuff. Yay for them! I’m still totally inspired, hoping to put in an Ikea kitchen someday, and will continue to read. Thanks for all you do, Julia.

  21. Renee says:

    Love your style but sad to stop reading with all these sponsored posts I think I’m done.

  22. Naomi says:

    CLJ have worked hard to build an excellent business. The question has been asked…”isn’t it interesting that these companies find out about the blog when Julia contacts them for information on a product”. Where is the mystery? I am assuming that Julia would say “hey we have a blog with a large following, check us out” The company checks the blog out, discovers the readership and wants to be part of something that so clearly speaks to a lot of people! This is how business is conducted in every facet of life. I will shop at Kohl’s over another store when they’re running their cash back days because I will gladly take the $10 cash for every $50 I spend because that is FREE money!
    Keep up the great work CLJ!

  23. Wendy Kuch says:

    We have an Interior Define sofa which bought about 6 months ago after seeing their website advertised on another blog. We love the sofa. It’s a great size 77 inches log. Love the quality, fabric, look, etc. Honestly, it’s awesome. However there were two negatives to our experience….1st when they say it will take 8-12 weeks to deliver….it will. Ours took a bit over 12 weeks and Interior Define isn’t the best at keeping you informed as to the status of your order. The biggest negative was the “white glove” delivery, which it definitely was not. The shipping company called to cancel ( yes after being with out a sofa for 13 weeks, I was NOT canceling) because they only had one person on their crew. Then they show up, ask for tools to put on the legs and have absolutely no clue what to do. My husband ended up doing. I did follow up with ID and they gave me a small refund for the issues. So overall….. Love love love the sofa but be prepared to wait.

  24. Natalia says:

    I’m a long time reader and I’ve never commented before but I feel compelled too now. There are a lot of bummer comments in response to this post. You are running a home and a business and you are doing a kick ass job at it. Of course you deserve to be compensated for your work, in sofas or cold hard cash or whatever. We are all enjoying the fruits of your labor otherwise we wouldn’t be here. Keep it up lady. You’ve got a good thing going.

  25. Annise says:

    Seeing it’s out there, I’ve always been to shy to ask and absolutely no meaness meant at all. I’ve always wondered rather I can honestly trust comments on a product through sponsored posts also as being fully truthful even when they say they are. hugs xo

  26. Jessica says:

    I, too, have a hard time getting excited about a blog where everything is free. It’s not because I’m a jealous hater. It’s just that I think it makes a blog incredibly boring. Anyone can decorate a house if they have an endless supply of beautiful items at their disposal. It’s not interesting. I find it interesting when people without much in the way of resources can make their homes beautiful. It takes so much talent, creativity, and ingenuity that I’m naturally fascinated and come back every day to read. I rarely check in here anymore because of the freebies. But it’s ok. I can move along and find blogs that do interest me, and the folks who don’t mind the blog the way it is can stay. :) But I do think it’s kind to inform the bloggers why they are losing a reader, especially if the blog is their livliehood. That way, the bloggers can adjust and keep the maximum amount of readers happy so that the blog can continue to support them.

    • Kimberly says:

      My thoughts exactly Jessica! Not jealous here at all, its just kind of boring now. Anybody can make a beautiful home when everything is free(except the fireplace) . And we are actually shopping for a sectional right now and would have been interested in the reviews of this sofa but now that I know it was a sponsored sofa I can’t really trust an honest review. Bummer.

  27. Donald says:

    One time my neighbor gave me $2,000 for free. All i had to do was pour a concrete driveway for him. This is how the world works guys. Relax.

    Its her job, let her do it. Don’t like it? Totally fine, but don’t get mad because her job looks different than you want it to look. She is the furthest thing from disingenuous.

    My wife and I are remodeling our basement soon and look to CLJ for inspiration and we will do whatever our budget allows. The couch is amazing and I’m stoked for them to have it.

  28. Christina says:

    I don’t get to keep up with your blog everyday and rarely have time to read the comments. However, I saw in IG that there were some disheartening comments here. I wish it wasn’t the case, but with success always comes some dissent. I’m glad to see the last few comments have been supportive.

    I get the jealousy. It sounds like a dream job to improve my home and write about it! But the reality is that it isn’t my job and I’m not willing to leave the job I have to spend 7+ years updating 3 different homes, garnering a large readership, and slowly building a business that might eventually pay off in furniture offers or flooring supplies. Sheesh! If any complainers want to give it a go, they should know they are welcome to put in that work.

    There will eventually come a day that CLJ and I drift apart, but for now, I will continue to read your blog because:
    1) I love your style–as much work as goes into it, you make it look effortless. And you better believe I have you bookmarked for when we eventually start our kitchen reno!

    2) you’re a mom with kids about the same age as mine and I love seeing your version of kid-decor. I don’t always love your choices, but it’s always fun to see new ideas.

    3) I DO think most of the options you suggest are reasonably priced. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, but we are also in our hopefully-forever home and have splurged on some key pieces. IMO, $3500 is incredibly reasonable for a *quality* sectional.

    4) This may be silly, but I am borderline-petite and you are becoming my go-to blog for furniture suggestions. I have a hard time finding stylish furniture comfortable enough for my 6’3″ husband. Most of the furniture I had before we married was awesome for me, but way too small or fragile for him. The few pieces of furniture he had were…sturdy, but ugly. Thanks to you, I’ve gotten a few great leads on furniture that works for him and doesn’t make me want to cry.

    So…basically, go you! Take those sponsorships when they work for you and where you want to take your home. You’ve worked long and hard and you deserve it.

  29. Helen says:

    Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing your house with absolute strangers.

  30. Katy says:

    Haters gonna hate. Partnerships are part of the business and people who feel like you’re no longer relatable are being ridiculous. Their grapes must be particularly sour and I say their loss if they stop following you.

  31. Elizabeth Reynoso says:

    Just a quick comment to say you guys are awesome and I love your blog! I rarely comment but thought I should put some positive energy out there. Love you guys! Keep up the amazing and inspiring work!

  32. cd says:

    I think your sponsorships are okay. Better a post on finding the right piece for your space than ones on Nature Box is awesome (TM) or, like, that water pitcher that was suddenly god’s gift to water pouring. Likewise, I don’t mind that your appliances were sponsored. They were still basically in the realm of reasonable purchases I’d consider. (What you went with made more sense than, say, a $5k Viking stove or some such).

    $3500 is what you’d spend at LazyBoy or Macy’s. I live more on an Ikea budget, but I know from looking around that $3500 for something that should last you 20 years isn’t extravagant.

    Sponsorships here are MUCH more reasonable, than, say, Making It Lovely choosing (or “choosing”) to use Ballard’s closet stuff because it was free. That stuff seems overpriced for the sake of being overpriced, didn’t fit her space, and just didn’t seem to work at all. I don’t see why people pay 5x more for something when they could actually DIY something better from Ikea components, etc.

    So, yeah, I’ll admit to being jealous that you get comped BUT I didn’t set aside time to start a blog, grow a readership, and enable myself to partner with sponsors while renovating my house so that’s on me.

    Stick with reasonable, accessible things and I’ll keep reading. You stuck to your word after the post that went up around the time of that water pitcher for the most part and I appreciate that. You’re doing actual, realistic things. It’s a fine line, good luck with continued success sticking to it.

  33. You’re the bomb diggity, CLJ! Haters gonna hate, and if you’re feeling down, watch Taylor Swift’s Grammy acceptance speech on repeat :) xoxoxoxoxo

  34. Sara says:

    You guys work HARD for what you get, I hope you know that confidently regardless of people framing free items as handouts. They can make the choice to stop reading without spreading hate and hurt.

    Cheers to you for creating a life and job that you love. It’s something a lot of people don’t have the patience or perseverance to do ever in their life. It’s been neat to see where you are now compared to where you’ve come from, all because of the work you put in. Congratulations

  35. Jessica says:

    I just can’t wait to see how this space pulls together! Those long basements are always so tricky to work around. I love your blog and the inspiration I get from it!

  36. meredith says:

    first– i just have to say that i love your style and you guys don’t deserve to be criticized for working hard and getting all the wonderful opportunities that have come to you!

    second– it took me almost a year to decide on a sectional for our family room and i ended up getting one from Crate and Barrel that we love, so it was worth the research! took me 6 months to buy a new car, and over a year to pick out our new mattress and bedframe– glad to have that FINALLY done! seeing your decision process (along with other bloggers out there) is super helpful. i am a classic “questioner”– i research the crap out of every decision whether it be seemingly small or large. (if you haven’t read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, it’s a recommended read– she talks about the four tendencies of people, one of which is “the questioner”!)

    third– i have never been to Rexburg and don’t know anyone who lives there other than students from church who have gone to college there. is it really as cold and windy as people say it is???

  37. Danielle says:

    Just wanted to drop by and say that I think you guys are killing it! Honestly, I have been noticing the sponsored posts too, but it doesn’t make me think you are disingenuous. It makes me a little jealous haha just because I want that cool couch, flooring, appliances too ;). BUT it doesn’t make me think less of your or your blog. I know you have worked really hard to get to this point- so keep on killing it and ignore all those that really are jealous, even if they pretend their attitude stems from other reasons. If only we could all remember not to say anything if we have nothing nice to say.

  38. Jill says:

    Just wanted to chime in about the ID sofa. I was in Chicago for a family function, and my husband and I went to the showroom to check out the sofas. We ordered the Asher sectional to be delivered to our home in Texas and we couldn’t be happier with it. The style is beautiful and it’s comfortable. The fact that you can fully customize it is a plus. Our fabric is a heathered gray in the felt like material. I love it and I know you guys will to!

    • EB says:

      Jill – Have you had your Asher for long? Has it held up well?? We are seriously considering I/D at the moment and the Asher is in the mix. Would love to hear your thoughts on the quality and sturdiness long term!

      • Jill says:

        EB- we have had it since November. So far so good. I have two boys ages 9 and 11 who are rough and it still looks new – although we have two sofas in the room so it doesn’t get full abuse. I am concerned about the fabric staining – I never sprayed it which was my plan. I’ve banned eating on it. I still plan to protect it with spray…one day hopefully before red wine is spilled!

      • EB says:

        Thanks, Jill!! I appreciate your thoughts!!

  39. Andrea says:

    Sound choice and custom is the way to go! ID seems like a great choice as well. ((I bought my Leesa mattress after reading a sponsored post about one (can’t remember where) and it’s the best darn thing I ever laid on. Something to be said for (mostly) internet only companies who can offer really great deals like ID.))

    You keep doing you, girl.

    A blog reader who doesn’t care how much free stuff you get as I get tons of free stuff from you (entertainment, diy tips, tricks, inspiration)

  40. Mallory says:

    I usually don’t post on such opinionated topics, (a basement sectional – who knew? Ha!) but I read blogs for inspiration. I find your home and the projects you do to be incredibly inspirational and I, not only like your design aesthetic, but I like to watch the progression of your style as well.

    To me, the choices you make should never be dictated by what others should be able to exactly replicate regardless of budget/position in life. Do I need a sectional with two chaise lounges to fit into a basement family room of a household with two kids? No, that’s really specific! But, I am grateful for you sharing a new company where I can order custom furniture. That to me is the takeaway from this post. “We had a very specific need and this company was able to make that happen! They want their name out there, so they gave us the couch, but they also want a reader to enjoy a new couch too!”

    Please continue sharing your home with your readers for inspiration, and I’ll continue reading regardless of sponsorships!

  41. Sarah says:

    Keep on rockin it Julia. Personally- I thought the meme (and this post) was spot on. Who cares if a post is sponsored? I love podcasts and I’m totally on board with sponsors that make it free for me to listen to Serial or How Stuff Works while I walk the dog in the morning. I dig that Pandora is free but I sometimes have to listen to ads. Just like I dig that browsing your blog for design inspiration is free. (If I didn’t like free then I’d subscribe to a bunch of decor magazines. Oh wait! Those slide have ads.) And honestly, your house = #housegoals. I love that you guys buy and talk about investment pieces. It makes me able to justify investing for them in my house someday too. And the difference between where to splurge and where to save when going for a cohesive look/makeover.

    Let’s all stop trying to make every blog into the next YHL. I miss YHL too, but catering to everyone wasn’t working for them and it’s an unattainable standard. If for whatever reason you don’t feel like you can read a blog anymore, then stop. You don’t need permission, you don’t need to justify your reasons for not reading, and you don’t need to leave passive aggressive comments.

  42. veronica says:

    Julia and Chris, I love everything you do. Thank you!

  43. EB says:

    Sheesh people. Your jealousy and bitterness are really shining through.

    C+J – I really enjoy your style and blog and hope you continue to keep sharing all of your projects. I also hope you continue to keep getting free stuff.

    • Jaime says:

      No one is jealous or bitter. She has a blog. People read it. She makes money from it. They have the right to question her authenticity when she taints her opinions by accepting free, or deeply discounted stuff all the time. The stoves…the carpet…the sectional…ugh. YHL was so successful because they didn’t accept gifts and therefore their readers felt what they said was honest. They also never insulted their followers with snippy gifs – Sherry deliberately stayed above the fray when she was criticized. No one is stupid here either – the readership of this blog will dwindle when people realize they are just supporting them getting her “dream home” in Idaho. And yes, I did take the time out of my day to post my opinions about a blog I once thought was decent.

      • Dawn says:

        And nobody ever gave YHL a hard time. Oh wait…

      • EB says:

        You’re right. She has a blog. People read it. She makes money from it. But she also has the right to accept free or deeply discounted stuff all the time if she wants. You defend everyone’s right to question/ criticize her but not her right to do what she want with her own blog.

      • Lisa says:

        Come on now. Sherry actually emailed people who left negative comments and was snarky. Also, YHL absolutely accepted items, they just did it more under the table. And there is nothing wrong with that! It’s a perk of this business!

  44. Lindsey says:

    I get that DIY is work (I DIY most everything in my house as well, so I get the work put into it). Plus I know I don’t blog about it or photograph it or turn it into a business, and of course I get all the work that goes into that. I also don’t frown on bloggers taking on some sponsored posts or partnerships with businesses. I think the issue is how glaring it is in the basement area. All the large purchases are coming as part of partnerships, and it is very obvious to the readers. As I said previously in many comments, it becomes hard to judge the authenticity of opinions about quality and such when it seems like everything is provided in exchange for a media mention. Maybe consider just, I don’t know, spacing out sponsorships? It just sounds disingenuous when the lead up to something like a sofa buy is careful research about best quality, then reaching out to the company with questions, and then all of a sudden they want to work with you and you get free goods? I remember basically the same exact set up with the appliances for the kitchen. It just doesn’t seem plausible, that you asked questions about a purchase and all of a sudden they knew you had a well-read blog and they wanted to partner? Realistically, it had to be deeper than that, and your readers are smart.

    I really love your style, truly, and think you have a great family I love to read about. Just consider these points and the frequency and transparency of sponsored posts.

  45. Michelle says:

    Hi Julia! It has been interesting to read some of the comments here today. I think people forget that blogging is a business and business partnerships happen all of the time. I don’t see any issue with you being given a $3,500 sofa and holding a giveaway for your readers. That is good business for you and for Interior Define.

    That being said, just had a question regarding accepting free items. I remember you cutting back to only project related sponsorship. I know YHL had a “no swag” policy where they stopped accepting sponsored items. Have you considered taking that route?

    No judgement on your answer either way, just curious.

  46. Ina says:

    You should call the blog Chris and Julia love free things.
    You have never sat on the couch but it’s comfortable? So therefore it’s perfect? I don’t believe it.
    This is why Diy blogs are dead.

    • Jaime says:

      I’m always curious as to how “they agreed to partner with us!” comes up into the conversation. Does she always mention she has a blog? Good grief. I used to think this blog was interesting, but everything ends with “this is sponsored.” No one in my world owns a $3500 sectional. It doesn’t make me jealous, it just makes me look for more authentic players in the game.

  47. Jessica says:

    I’m a very new reader. And I would like to congratulate you on the amazing job you are doing both on your home, and on this blog.

    I can’t imagine that most people find it relatable to complete gut and replace all the flooring in your house. Or to repaint your bedroom, yourself, several times until you got it just right. Clearly everything you do is a deeply considered investment in a home that you plan to be in for a long time.

    I don’t think people realize that DIY is not “free” because the time and energy required to do it is often quite massive. Nor do I think people have ANY idea how much work all of this is. So again I congratulate you on having worked your asses off for the last 7 years and building value in a business that companies are recognizing and compensating you for. A nice couch, which you clearly chose, is a drop in the bucket compared to the sweat equity you put in here (while pregnant no less!)

    I love what you’ve done with all the windows in the main floor. Simply stunning!! I’d love a floor plan as sometimes it’s hard to visualize how the other room flow. Like how do you get to the basement?

    Rock on with your bad selves and don’t let the turkeys get you down.

  48. Jeni says:

    While I am not sure some of these comments could be called a “discussion,” I will throw in my 2 cents.

    I read blogs like CLJ because they are more than a design service or a catalog, they are a story! Blogs allow for a bigger picture that only makes the design process more inspiring. How were decisions made? What issues were addressed? And sometimes, without being creepy, what was happening in the writers’ life at the same time they were renovating or designing their home?

    This is why I don’t care if posts are inconsistent or unrelated content is shared. I am more interested and inspired by the organic development of a space and the story of a real family behind that space.

    And this is why, for me, a continuous cycle of sponsored posts changes the integrity of a blog. I don’t get angry or feel entitled to anything, but I will probably move on because there is nothing relatable or (IMO) very interesting to the story of “we picked out a mad expensive sofa and got it for free. Holla!”

    And while it may be disappointing, I am certainly not offended! It is like a television show that switches writers or develops a new storyline. If I am no longer engaged, I don’t watch anymore! Thankfully tv actors or bloggers don’t need my constant approval to continue working ;)

    P.S. And I hope all these nasty comments don’t get to you today. The fabric you picked is amazing. And your media room is going to be beautiful!

    • Julia says:

      I appreciate the constructive comment, Jeni. I’ve written this blog for 7 years now because I love to tell the story of renovating our home, but 7 years ago, it was a humble basement apartment. And then a starter home. And now this home, where we see ourselves staying for the long haul. Which means, we are actually making more intentional, and sometimes, relatively expensive decisions. When we spent $1500 on our big blue rug in the living room, some people found that unrelatable. Just like when we bought our Lounge sofa or bed or completely gutted our kitchen last year. Or installed an $8000 fence. We’re reminded every day how expensive home renovations are, which is why we balance it out with more budget-friendly projects–like earlier this week, when we posted about our fireplace makeover. Despite having someone that wanted to send us a new fireplace insert (that was beautiful and new and tempting!), we thought, “You know, there is a gem under there!”

      After 7 years of blogging, we have archives of consistent content and projects, that are apparently attractive to some companies. But there is no such thing as a free couch. We aren’t getting a free couch. Renovating our home is intensely time consuming, a bit chaotic and also, really rewarding. That’s why we do it. We have a passion for it, so we’re going to keep writing about the evolution of our home and we’re so, so appreciative of companies who believe in us enough to want to support that.

      • Jeni says:

        Good points! It’s definitely a relative thing. How dare you consider a couch that is out of my price range! Lol.

  49. Marie says:

    I will never understand people who can’t be happy for another person’s success. Some of these comments are so incredibly rude. Calling someone names for a sponsored post is so odd to me. Why does it bug you all so much? None of this stuff is actually ‘free’ you know. Julia has obviously worked her tail off to make this blog what it is. If you’ve been a long time reader, then you’d know that CLJ was Chris and Julia working endlessly for YEARS for FREE before it turned into a place where companies felt value in partnering and advertising. People are so quick to judge a sponsored post without thinking of the hours of work that go into any successful blog.
    Julia’s hard work and success benefits readers all the time. Did you all miss the part where they’re GIVING away a couch?

  50. JOdy says:

    I love your blog and your taste in decor. But I am with some of the others and am starting to feel a bit offended at the “attainable, custom” mentality. For most of your readers, I feel $3,500 is not attainable for a custom play room sofa. Just my opinion but I’m sick of it. .

    • Julia says:

      Oh this isn’t just the playroom. It’s also the “media” room I guess? Maybe some people would call it a theater room but it won’t be super dark and we opted to get a big tv instead of a projector.

  51. Kristin says:

    I am excited to see your review of an interior define sofa. I have been considering the Rose because our mini schnauzer loves to sit on the back cushions and look out our window… I figure with the Rose there is no way for him to ruin the back pillows!! It’s hard to make a big purchase without seeing it first! How long will it take to arrive?

  52. Laura says:

    I used to really enjoy your blog but the constant sponsored posts have gotten to be way over the top. Especially to go on about needing to find a sofa that’s not too expensive and you found one that’s “only” $3500, and then “oh ps we got it for free” is really off putting. This plus the snarky meme you posted in response to one of your reader’s comments … I think I’m officially done reading.

    • Julia says:

      The gif was all in good fun! I’m sorry that you don’t find this post relatable–not every post will be for everyone, but I think that’s okay! Hopefully we’ll have something helpful to you in the future as you work on your own home. :)

      • Laura says:

        Unless you stop having constant sponsored posts, I sincerely doubt it. I actually have to like, you know, pay for things for my house.

      • Hannah says:

        Super classy response, Julia. :)

        For what it’s worth, I think it’s absolutely appropriate that you be paid for your work, whether that’s in cash or home furnishings. I doubt the negative commenters here go to work for free, and neither should you. That being said, as a longtime blog reader, I understand that it can be discouraging to see bloggers getting presumably “free” stuff, because home blogs started out without compensation and have grown to be less attainable that they used to be. Still, I think it’s great that you’re able to support your family (or at least your remodeling projects!) through this blog. All your hard work to get to this point is admirable, and I’ve really enjoyed watching the process. Thanks for keeping it real, even though putting yourself out there can bring on some (unnecessarily harsh) criticism!

      • Hannah says:

        Just wanted to add that the difference in price between what you buy for a dorm apartment, starter home, or long-haul home are completely different. I used to buy most of my things on the Target clearance racks or thrift stores (which I still do, from time to time), but I’ve learned that some things are worth investing in. And those investments look different for everyone.

    • Meghan says:

      Maybe a series called:

      How to Have Everything In Your House Paid For by Others

      :D That would definitely be a series I would look forward too!

      • Molly K says:

        Excuse me, but who is being passive-aggressive here?

      • Meghan says:

        Totally not passive aggressive! It would be something I would enjoy reading and learning from. Wouldn’t you want basically your whole house furnished and renovated for free?

  53. Jaime says:

    You always manage to get something fdon’t you? No matter how may times you say the opinions are your own, who can believe you when you accept so much for free? Tacky.

  54. Evelina says:

    I love the swatch bottom row, number 3. So pretty and I think it would stand up pretty well in a well-loved playroom

  55. Brianna says:

    I recently bought the Rose sofa in Basketweave Graphite. I absolutely love the sofa, but was a little disappointed with the I/D customer service. This was particularly annoying because one of the main reasons I chose to buy my sofa through them is their reputation for terrific customer service. However, I still love the couch, it has broken in nicely, and the price was just what we were able to spend.

  56. Michelle says:

    How do you trust getting a sofa (sectional) without sitting on it first and testing it out? There are a lot of not so comfy couches out there that look great.

    • Stephanie says:

      Yes, how do you know?!

    • Stephanie says:

      I like the “zinc” color! We are currently finishing our basement so all the inspiration is awesome! Our ceiling will not be finished. What is your opinion for ceiling paint colors? I love your style and would love your opinion!

      Just remember haters gonna hate. We are nothing but love over here!

      • Julia says:

        I just love white ceilings in a home. But if I’m in a restaurant and the ceiling is white, I cringe. So funny, huh? When you say unfinished, do you mean exposed duct work? I’m trying to imagine here.

      • Stephanie says:

        Yes, exposed duct work and everything else! I see tons of people paint the exposed basement ceiling black and it just doesn’t settle well for me.

      • Julia says:

        Oh my goodness, I love that!!! I don’t think you could go wrong. I would paint it all white. Sounds beautiful!

    • Julia says:

      True! Luckily, my friend Kim did a bum test for me. :)

    • Julia says:

      Also! Interior Define has a 365 day return policy if we get it and decide it’s not comfortable.

  57. Debby says:

    I’m just wondering, did you consider the ikea Kivik? The look is super similar and the price is obviously good. Was the quality an issue? I understand that of course it makes sense to partner with Interior Define, I’m just asking if you had considered before this partnership was an option.

    • Julia says:

      We briefly considered Ikea–we actually have an Ikea Kivik chaise! But we don’t find it comfortable for long periods of time. Which is what this room is meant for. So, we’re happy to spend a bit more for quality.

  58. Julie says:

    I just came across your blog researching IKEA kitchens, and I love your style. Are you in Boise? I ask because we are building a house here in Boise?

  59. Lucas says:

    I live down the street from the Chicago store and I can vouch for the quality. We nearly bought a sectional from ID. The only qualm I had was that the arms on one of the sofa felt a bit wobbly. I forget the model but the arm was very narrow. Otherwise everything was comfortable and seemed really well constructed. Can’t wait to see yours in the space!

  60. Molly K says:

    What a stunning room and sectional. I would have picked the Dove, too.

    I’m sure you are being annoyed to death by this question, but do you know when Lowe’s will get back to you about the contest? I’m anxiously awaiting results. :)

  61. Missy says:

    I really used to love your blog but sadly I think will have to stop following you. I just love the look of your home, but the sponsored posts are too much anymore. I understand the blog is your business and it is helping provide for your family. I can’t blame you for accepting all this free stuff. If my entire house renovation was basically free, I wouldn’t say no either!!! I totally get it. I just can’t log on anymore to see what else you are getting free. It’s discouraging to look at your house and know you’ve received probably $30,000+ in free stuff – appliances (!!!), complete flooring (all that tile and carpet – a dream!!), paint, light bulbs even! Sorry, I know you’ve worked hard to get where you are so companies give you all this, but it’s just too hard to read anymore.

    • Anne S says:

      I can see where you’re coming from…it’s easy to (no offense, Julia!) roll your eyes a bit and think “well yeah, I’d have an awesome couch/home/etc, too, if only someone would comp it for me!” ;) BUT…it’s a business and in her business that’s how money is made to allow her to entertain the rest of us that are working in other professions (inc. stay at home parents). Bloggers spend a TON of time writing, editing, coding, photographing, DIYing, etc. so the rest of us can spend just a few minutes looking at pretty pictures and grabbing ideas that might work for our own homes. Also, while some of us might be at office jobs doing other work that typically yields us cash bonuses, she receives her bonus in the form of goods and services so it’s not really any different. Yes, my house won’t be as inexpensively decorated (out of pocket cost), but she’s not collecting some of the benefits that come with some of our jobs. Our benefits just aren’t on public display like hers are thereby garnering more attention. :)

    • Jen says:

      Free would be attainable. $3500 not so much!

      • Britt says:

        Honestly $3500 for a couch you love and will use a TON, is not outrageous–especially for sectional couches like this. Trust me after having gone to Lazy Boy to have a customized couch, we could have walked out paying $5000 for our customized couch. We went to Ashley Furniture and found their cheapest one fit our bill pretty well, but even that after the shipping and extra tag ons was $1300. So $3500 sounds right in the middle to me! It always sucker punches me when I have to spit out a lot of money for quality furniture, but you’re paying for quality and customization.

        Although free, always better! :)

      • Julie says:

        I agree with Anne that it is unfair to say that Chris Loves Julia receives all of these items for “free.” I can only imagine how much work it is to write a useful, coherent, and interesting blog, and the fact companies want to partner with this blog shows how successfully Chris Loves Julia has done that. Companies benefit greatly from being featured on a good blog – to illustrate, I now think we will purchase two sofas from Interior Define, and I never would have found the company had I not stumbled across this blog and kept reading because I liked the content. Indeed, we the readers are essentially getting design services for free.

      • Ryder says:

        The only difference is that it changes what your blog is about. The people who came for inspiration will no longer be able to relate. You have now changed what you are about completely. Who can relate to DIY when money and time are no object.

    • Lindsey says:

      I have to say I totally agree with this post. I’m a long time reader and it seems like it’s gotten to the point that everything is given to you in sponsorship. The lights, the rugs, the appliances. As with the previous poster, I get it, I’d take it too. But it’s no longer a blog where it’s inspirational in that most other people could achieve that look.

      I also have to say I’m disappointed with Julia’s meme in response to this fairly constructive comment. It’s a valid point and the silly meme in response is really immature and off-putting. You rely on your blog readership for those sofas you get and revenue you pull in. It’s really not a good look to basically be flippant when someone addresses something I’m sure a lot of readers are thinking. I’m not stopping reading (yet) but maybe you might want to actually think about this rather than blow your readers off.

      • Lindsey says:

        The posts didn’t stack right but I was referring to Missy’s comment with my own.

      • Molly K says:

        I don’t think she meant anything rude by a meme that says “I’ll miss you.” I thought it was cute and friendly, especially since that’s the context of the meme. A “bye Felicia” meme would have been rude and immature. “I’ll miss you” is perfectly appropriate. Perhaps she will take the feedback into consideration for future blog posts. Julia doesn’t strike me as the type of person who would be deliberately rude in response to a comment that everyone can see.

      • Meghan says:

        The meme was so passive aggressive. Definitely off putting. What have they bought in this house with their own money? Ikea kitchen cabinets and a window it seems. How do we even know what they would REALLY pick and recommend since everything is comped?

      • Jenn W says:

        Well said Lindsey, I have to agree with you. I wouldn’t say I’m jealous of all the items that appear from partnering with various companies, there are just so many now that you have to wonder if this would sway ones decision when looking at various options and trying to choose whats best and truly loved.
        The partnering posts make the blog feel like its no longer about the small items that you just absolutely fall in love with….that don’t necessarily cost a ton of money but show the passion that goes into creating something more than just a living space.
        Instead of blowing off the “jealous haters”, shouldn’t you listen to their opinions as well, they are coming from the readers that continue to come back to the site as well.

      • Julia says:

        I encourage you to check out Tuesday’s post about our fireplace makeover on a budget! We believe in balance. :)

    • Jessie says:

      I came here to say just this. The sponsored posts are too frequent to ignore anymore. Sorry to say good bye but I don’t want to support this blog anymore. Ads as a revenue stream are not offensive or offputting but sponsored posts at this rate are. I don’t believe the neutrality of your opinions or posts anymore.

      • Whitney says:

        Would you fill up your home with things you don’t like? Where you stare at them and people come in and see them? Anyway, you can read or not read – that’s your prerogative, just saying that she isn’t agreeing to WORK with every company that asks.

  62. Hi Julia – the Interior Define link isn’t working…just fyi
    When we do save to replace ours in our space it will need to be custom as well, so I’d love to check out what they offer! Thanks!

  63. kates says:

    I am super excited to see what your thoughts are once you get your couch. I have an ID chair (the ROSE) being delivered sometime this month or early march! I considered many of the same fabric/color choices as you. I do like how easy their ordering process is and their customer service is great!!

    • Julia says:

      Ooo! What color did you end up with?

      • kates says:

        I chose their textured linen in sand. It is going in our daughters bedroom to start (probably will move around the house). I almost went with one of the gray colors but I just bought a gray sofa in May and if would clash if I ever chose to move the chair in the living room.

      • Julia says:

        smart! shoot me a pic or tag me on instagram when you get it. Love their Rose collection!

  64. Courtney says:

    Oh I love this! We are beginning the process of building a new home, but I already know I want a huge sectional in our new living room. I’ll have to check out Interior Define when we are ready to purchase!

    PS: Good choice with the pebble weave in dove. So pretty and it looks super versatile!

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