Mood Board Monday: A Neutral Living Room Under $5400 (Including a Custom Sofa!)

August 26, 2019

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

read more

What we're                   right now


browse the shop

Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

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

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

browse all

browse all

browse all




Popular Posts




Top Categories

Our living room is a part of the major renovation going on at our home, so while it’s currently in shambles, we’re looking ahead a couple months to what we want it to become. And there’s no better time because the Charly Sofa we designed with Interior Define two years ago is on sale right now! The 15% off everything Interior Define only happens ONCE A YEAR!–and I thought it would be fun to incorporate it in a high-end looking, but still very budget friendly design.

The Charly comes in 55+ fabrics (including pet + kid-friendly fabrics!) and a dozen configurations (sofas, chairs, ottomans, sectionals and sleepers!) and you can even customize it to the length and firmness that suits your home. In our last home, we had a long sofa in a pretty blue tone (Rain). For this house, we’re leaning toward something a little more neutral–like this Pebble Weave fabric in the Linen color way seen below.

Here’s how the rest of the rest of this imaginary living room comes together:

  1. Charly Chaise Sectional–I’m biased, but it’s a fantastic, classic, comfortable sofa and we are absolutely getting it in sectional form (maybe the U-shaped?) for somewhere in our house this time. Drew Barrymore says if there’s one thing to splurge on in a home–it’s a sofa and I whole heartedly agree. Customize it to your heart’s desire $2290 (Charly sofas start at $1270)

  2. Sand/Taupe Loren Area Rug–I love the look of this vintage-inspired persian rug. We have always gone darker with our vintage rugs and I’m ready to lighten things up! $399 for 8×10.

  3. Coffee Table— Solid wood, kid-friendly, interesting and not too visually heavy? This coffee table actually has it all. On sale for $319.

  4. Spindle Leg Side Table— This side table sports one of the hottest trends this year and it’s almost as old as furniture itself. Those spindle legs are back and dressed in a chic black, you can’t go wrong. $79

  5. Olive Accent Chairs — These look good from every angle! They’re modern and angular, but classic and cushy, too! The soft olive upholstery wraps around an oak frame. I added two to the space across from the sectional.  $699 each

  6. Leather Stools — These are some of the most versatile pieces you can have! Whether it’s to prop your feet up, use in a pinch for double seating or tuck under a console in the entry to sit down and tie your shoes, you’ll find a hundred places for these leather stools. I love a pair in this living room on the short side of the rug (opposite the chaise for balance) $129 each

  7. Cool Beige Velvet Curtains — My favorite blackout velvet curtains (they are incredible!!!) had to make an appearance in a lighter shade here. The double wide size maybe be more, but it looks doubly expensive even though it’s not. $91/panel

  8. Table Lamp — Lighting is key for any cozy living space, so don’t be shy about adding a couple of lamps. I love the subtle neutral design on the base of this table lamp. $58

  9. Floor Lamp — Black floor lamps can serve as a sculptural piece as much as a light source. This one has some really cool brass details that add so much, too! $93

  10. Arbequina Live Olive Tree— These promise to be hearty and perfect for indoors or a patio setting, in addition to being planted  and will produce olives the first year! (We’re gonna try it!) $179


Hopefully, even if you aren’t looking for a complete living room refresh, you can gain inspiration and ideas from this! If you are interested in taking advantage of the Interior Define sale to order a Charly, but aren’t sure what fabric you should get, you can choose the buy now, decide later option in the color swatches! They offer free swatches and I’d definitely recommend getting some. I’m happy to advise, too! Happy Monday!

What do you think?

  1. I am in LOVE with those olive chairs. I’m considering buying them for my new office as matching client chairs. They look velvet, are they?!?!?!

  2. Kim says:

    This looks great! What design/mood board do you use?

  3. lesa thomas says:

    I’m looking for carpet for our home and loved yours at your last home, but it’s discontinued! Do know of any similar ones and/or if you have suggestions for carpets that you consider relevant now and for years to come?

  4. Susan Malatesta says:

    Julia, you guys nailed it again, this is going to be beautiful! I like how you are going a little more formal.

  5. Megan says:

    Love that coffee table! If you had a brown leather sectional, would you still use a wood coffee table? Or would it be too much brown? I have a Burrard Sectional in brown from Article and I’m stumped for a coffee table.

  6. Linda Grubbs says:

    Love this mood board!….Such calming and soft colors….Whatever you do will be stunning!

  7. Jenna says:

    This is beautiful! What do you think is coming up for rugs? I am ready for some new ones but am overwhelmed by all the options!

  8. Megan says:

    I love that coffee table so much! I have been waiting to find one I love. Question though, if you had a brown leather couch (Burrard from Article to be exact) would you get a wood coffee table? Is it too much brown? I’m so confused on how to do my living room even with your two awesome mood board Mondays! Please HELLLLP.

  9. Julia says:

    I am in the market for a sleeper sofa. How comfortable is the Charly sleeper as both a sofa and a bed? I am really nervous to buy. Would they be able to make the sleeper sofa longer? I want plenty of lounge space (we have 3 kids). I would consider the chaise sleeper sectional but not sure I want to give up the floor space for the chaise (it’s a smaller size room). Thanks!

  10. Robin Hammack says:

    Love the olive tree! Since I was a child, we have always had live Christmas trees that we plant after Christmas. Practical question ;)… What size pot do you need for the olive tree? I assume its roots are going to grow massively!

  11. Sarah says:

    Curious how the Charly back pillows hold up? I love the look and am seriously considering, but can’t stand when everything gets rumpled on the back of a sofa even though they are much more comfy for the media room I am considering.

  12. Angela Gibson says:

    Tell me about how deep the Charley is… when you sit upright in it, does your back hit the cushions or do you need extra pillows? I’m 5’9 but there are some couches (my sister has an RH one for instance) that are too deep even for me!

  13. Katie Weigle says:

    LOVE! What color would you paint the walls?

  14. Erin says:

    Olive trees are so beautiful! But I would definitely put something under it. I’ve seen many victims of olive slicked sidewalks and I can only imagine what the oil might do to carpeting/flooring/decking/patio surfaces. Excited to hear what solution you come up with!

  15. Maureen Lindenau says:

    We have olive trees outside. They are a huge mess and you can’t eat olives off the tree, they have to be processed. Just my 2 cents. Other than that I LOVE this design! Neutral gives you a beautiful place and then you can add color seasonally if you want to.

    • EP says:

      This. You can’t readily eat the olives anyway (the ones in the store are cured), and they are messy. I would get a Fruitless variety. If you want the fun of fruit with less mess try a lemon tree or even fruiting fig (figs typically lose their leaves in the winter though — not sure if that would happen if you kept it inside year round.)

  16. Noreen says:

    Love those olive chairs!!! This would be a gorgeous living room!!! I’d love to make a mood board like this, just wondering what program you used? Thanks!!

  17. Cf Betcher says:

    I would love to know how you creat these mood boards! How do you get the pictures to all be the right scale?!? It looks so appealing!

  18. Kari Murray says:

    Oh my goodness so gorgeous! Love olive trees but If they’re producing olives, do you suggest putting something under the tree so a fallen olive doesn’t ruin carpets or rugs? Or do you suggest only putting it over hardwood surfaces?

    • Julia says:

      I’ve never actually had a real life olive tree.

      • Rachel Guymon says:

        We have a lot of olive trees here in Phoenix and I had a messy one in my yard growing up. FYI, there are fruit bearing AND non fruit bearing varieties. If you make sure to get the fruitless type you won’t have to worry about the mess.

  19. Chelsea says:

    Wow. I love the neutral palette of this. I feel like I am the student and you are the teacher with all of your posts and Instagram stories. What you do is truly appreciated! I love how this light and airy neutral room will flow over into the moody kitchen (if I’m remembering your new house layout correctly).

  20. Cheryl says:

    Love this look! Question: how do you keep a sofa and rug like this clean with kids and a dog? Do you have a specific cleaning solvent or steam cleaner that you use? I want to take the plunge with a light living room, but I’m scared I’ll have to replace everything in a couple years!

all the latest

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 


looking for inspiration? 

Last week, Chris and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to London for work. We were invited by Williams Sonoma and William Morris and Co to preview their newest collaboration and the inspiration behind it. It was my first time in London and although it was a quick trip, they brought us all over […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations