Here's a few pics from last week's Family Room install. 
I worked with this young family to design their 3 main living spaces (Family, Office, Dining Room) and devised a great high/low mix that doesn't skimp on style! We started with my favorite designer selections--fabrics--and because I knew the homeowners loved color (take a look at the original paint colors below), I presented several fabric schemes with pops of color and a neutral background to allow for easy color changes in the future. Though it was a pricy pick, once they saw Martin Lawrence Bullard's Adras Ikat in Caravan paired with a green & white Cabana Stripe linen (Kravet), Celerie Kemble's Betwixt in Spark and Windsor Smith's Riad in Indigo, they were hooked! To stay within their modest budget and still meet their need for spacious seating, I used my favorite Ikea sofa (Karlstad) as a U-shaped sectional with the upgraded Isunda slipcover. I can't say enough about this sectional! If you're in need of spacious seating and a $3500 sofa/sectional is out of the question, don't sleep on this one...I promise. It's a modern take on a classic Tuxedo sofa , wears very well (I know 'cause I have one in my office) and is super sturdy (with a 10 warranty on defects in materials/workmanship). And for further proof, my clients love it and so do their parents (speaking from experience, parents can be hard to please). 
The remaining furniture pieces are a mix of vintage, second-hand, new & repurposed. I used my favorite neva-fail Ikea Ritva drapery hung as close to the ceiling as possible to highlight the height of their Family Room. Want to know another secret trick? That super large shaggy area rug is actually two rugs combined to make one and is a 1/3 of the cost of a 11x8 rug off the shelf. Great trick for an accessory that can easily eat up a huge chunk of your budget.
And now for the Befores:

Tips & Takeaways:
1. Explore mass retail options for sofas if you're on a tight budget. Places like Ikea & World Market have great sofas at prices you can't beat anywhere...but you also need to be realistic about what that will get you. Don't expect a $600 sofa to last 10 years--you can consider yourself lucky if it does. If you want heirloom quality furniture (pieces you can pass down or continually recover--think Lee Industries, MGBW, Century, Henredon), be prepared to pay $$. That being said, don't turn your nose up at Ikea! All of their furniture is not poorly made and/or cheap(I hate to hear clients say that), you just have to know the right pieces to get! 
2. Splurge wisely. Almost every budget can afford a splurge, so give some thought to where/how you want to spend your design dollars. On the spectrum of expenses, custom pillows are a great way to add personality & a one-of-a-kind look without breaking the bank. Paint treatments (color coordinated ceilings, wall stencils a la KFD Designs ) and wallpaper, even if it's only 1 wall, can add a lot of bang for your buck as well. If you're in the market for new flooring, definitely make that your splurge  and hire a designer to consult you through the process to help you make the best selection for your lifestyle and aesthetic desires. Flooring mishaps can be a costly mistake that you'll have to live with for years (again, I know from experience!).
3. Shop your home. Always, always, always. No matter what your budget, always shop your home first to determine the things you want/should/need to keep and if you're working with a designer, let them take a look as well. What's trash to you can easily be treasure to them! Unless your stuff is just really, really ugly (hey, it happens!) there's always something that can be repurposed from your current look. 
4. Ikea drapery is your friend. If fully custom drapery panels aren't an option, run (don't walk) to your nearest Ikea and buy a pair of the Ritva, Aina or Merete drapery (or curtains in layman's terms). Sometimes simple can be best, and when the non-grommeted drapes are simply hung on curtain rings with drapery pins, you'd be surprised at how tailored they can look. 
5. Hire a designer. Seriously. There are many different ways to work with an Interior  Designer these days (paint consultations, hourly shopping, full service) and even if you can only afford E-Design, there's nothing like having a well-thoughtout plan to achieve the look of your dreams. While you might spend a little more to hire a designer, their expertise can keep you from wasting your money on unsightly furniture, awkward floorplans, tile mishaps, lighting failures & paint/flooring mistakes.
Class dismissed.
Any questions??