Rooms in a Box Series

Green Rooms in a Box: My Living Room Plan Under $1500

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I mentioned a couple of times that my husband and I are finally getting ready to move into our own place. After 2 years of living with family, it is a welcome change. This impending move has made me rack my brain trying to remember what furnishings we have in storage and what we need to make our new space complete. One detail I can’t possibly forget? We have a huge red sectional and blonde wood entertainment center that we bought when we didn’t know better. It wouldn’t be very green of me to get rid of them just because I don’t like the colors, so here’s my plan to make our new living room work around it. What do you think? Does it work?

Color Palette: Red (from the couch) and shades of gray, with pops of orange, white and a dab of yellow

  1. Organic Cotton Selvedge Window Panel from West Elm, Cinnabar, 96″ | $19.99/ea.; $39.98 for 2 | Made of organic cotton | I featured these panels a while back, and they are now steeply discounted. I LOVE this price, and I’ve already ordered them.
  2. Edition Wall Art from CB2 | $99.95 | Handwoven of recycled newspapers painted canvases. It is, however, imported.
  3. Fair and Square Lamp from Inhabit, Oak and Orange | $140 on sale | Made with 100% recovered wood fiber with no added formaldehyde and finished with no-VOC paints and stains. (aff)
  4. Soleil Serving Trays from Bambeco | $78 for set of 2 | Made of 100% recycled cardboard with a 100% biodegradable finish | I plan to use the larger one for collecting papers on the entry table and the second for collecting keys on the side table.
  5. Metal Chair from Craigslist | $20 | Used | I found this funky metal chair with a gaudy purple velvet seat on Craigslist. I love the shape of the chair, but I plan to recover the seat with a fabric that matches the rest of the room.
  6. Suspended Seagull Sculpture from three potato four | $28 | Used | I had to have it. You know I’m obsessed with birds, and I couldn’t resist this one no matter how hard I tried.
  7. Ceramic Owl Umbrella Stand | $139.99 | OK…so I’m cheating big time on this one. I love, love, LOVE this little owl, and I think it would look great in our new entryway, but it’s not green. At all. But I have to have him! (aff)
  8. Tiago Console Table from Crate & Barrel | $99.00 | Made with a recyclable steel base and top covered in bamboo veneer with an E1 low-emission engineered wood core | Has some eco qualities, though its not dark green, but I can’t argue with the price!
  9. Posters from The Poster List | $30.99 for 3 | Handprinted with organic vegetable inks on printers powered by wind energy | These posters are small (12″ x 18″), so I plan on grouping three of them together on the wall behind the sectional in 18″ x 24″ matted frames that I found on sale at my local Michael’s.
  10. Handmade Beanbag Cover from Etsy seller Mookah | $50 | Handmade | I love how this ties in the three main colors in the room, and it will give my 4-year-old a comfy place to sit that still meets my style qualifications 🙂 Since it doesn’t come filled, I may fill it with a trash bag full of old styrofoam packing peanuts that I refuse to throw away.
  11. Lotus Pillows from Inhabit | $60/ea., $240 for 4 | Handprinted with eco-friendly inks and handmade in the U.S. of recycled polyester in a zero-waste production process | You know how I love my Inhabit pillows. The Lotus pillows in gray and sunshine, front and back, are exactly what the doctor ordered to perfectly tie in my color palette. Still, I’ll readily admit that buying 4 of them constitutes a splurge for me. (aff)
  12. Papier Mache Cube from Viva Terra | $198 | Handmade of recycled cement bags and newspaper papier mache by Haitian artisans. (aff)
  13. Best of Both Wools Rug from FLOR, Gotland Stripe, 5′ x 7′ | $20.99/tile; $251.88 for 12 tiles | Made in the U.S. of 100% wool, and recyclable at the end of its life cycle via FLOR’s take back program.

TOTAL: 1415.79 | Not bad to make our living room look well-put-together around a ginormous red sectional and matching (equally large) ottoman. And we can still afford a couple of gallons of Olympic low-VOC paint. This plan may change as we unpack and remember what we have in storage, like wall art. Essentially, I may be able to get this look for even less.

If you are a new reader, you may want to consider subscribing to Green Your Decor via RSS or email newsletter to make sure you don’t miss the other great rooms in the “Green Rooms in a Box” series! Next week, I plan to reveal my plan for our dining room, which will have to work around a large blonde wood table with 2 red upholstered chairs (what were we thinking?!!). Also, follow me on Twitter to find out how you can get a customized Green Room in a Box for free so you can turn your “before” into a beautiful “after”, or purchase a room design consultation now at my steeply discounted rate!

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Beth
    September 8, 2009 at 11:54 am

    These are very cool colors! The posters are a perfect fit!

  • Jeanne
    September 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I think this looks great. The red chair and blonde table in the dining room will pull the two rooms together. I would add a little green — perhaps in the dining room???? Brings some ‘grounding’ of nature into the mix.

    Can’t wait to see the dining room.

  • jennae
    September 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    @Beth Thanks! I love The Poster List, because their stuff is so inexpensive and really my style.

    @Jeanne I never thought to add green, but that’s a great idea! I wish I could show the entertainment center in this board, but there wasn’t enough room. But it really does coordinate well with the dining table, so I’m thinking the two rooms will work well together 🙂

  • amanda
    September 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Love your choice of design, hope you have a great time living together in your new home.

  • Megan
    September 15, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    This room is fantastic! Can’t wait to see the final product. I have a suggestion for when you find must-have items that aren’t green. I’ve used alchemy on Etsy to find artists who are willing to recreate commercial pieces with eco friendly materials. I feel good about supporting an artist and always welcome them to make the piece their own rather than just copy – but I wouldn’t worry too much if it’s the only way to make it a truly green purchase 🙂

  • jennae
    September 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    @ amanda Thank you!

    @Megan That is an absolutely fabulous suggestion that I hadn’t thought of! Etsy and eBay were my first two stops in hopes I would find a vintage owl, but I couldn’t find one. I never thought to have an artist recreate it! As a graphic artist, I know how much of a pain it can be when someone asks you to make a replica of someone else’s work, but I could ask them to do an interpretation of it. Thanks again for the tip!

    As an update, I decided that $240 really was too much to spend on some pillows. Sooo…I bought a couple of yards of fabric (not organic, unfortunately) from Ikea that works perfectly with the color scheme of the room and I recovered a bunch of pillows I already had. More on that project later this week!

  • Tom Kay
    November 8, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for the inspiration and connections. It is so interesting to think of eco friendly everything when you are decorating a home. Gets me thinking how every little thing has a green soul. There is a eco way of living and a toxic way. Thanks for the post.


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