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When you’re decorating a home, it’s easy to get caught up in a dream world of perfectly organized closets and modern-retro kitchen remodels. It’s especially easy to fall into this trap when your job is to look at amazing, designer rooms five days a week. (By the way: Not complaining.)

The downside of all this dreaming is that the “right now” sometimes gets a little neglected. Case in point: My mudroom. Sure, one day I’d love to have built-in cabinetry and vaulted ceilings, but that doesn’t mean I should wait until the 12th of never to make the space functional. But still, I waited, meaning that the first thing I saw when I walked through the door every day for close to a year was this mess:

Entryway Before

Last weekend, I decided enough was enough. After all, I had most of the materials I’d need to turn this room around: framed photos, a mirror, rocking chairs, pillows, a bench.  All it needed was a few extra accessories and a little elbow grease. Read on to see the transformation.

I wanted the room to allude to the modern-natural vibe I’m going for in the rest of the house. The white, curvy cabinet — a Craigslist find — was my starting point. Then, I shopped around the house for photos, accessories and furniture that would provide both beauty and function to the dismal space. Here’s a shot of the finished entry table:

Entryway Console Makeover

I wanted this amazing handmade mirror to play center stage on the wall, with black-and-white artwork playing a supporting role. Chunky woven baskets juxtapose the sleek mid-century cabinet and provide a place for some of the clutter that builds up in this room, like hats, magazines and dog accessories. An old bamboo spice rack turned out to be the ideal size to hold important mail, while vintage milk bottles (all estate sale finds) and fresh flowers add brightness.

Flowers, Basket and Mail Holder - Entryway Details

This subtle chevron rug and geometric throw pillows add pattern without making this space too bold.

Chevron Woven Rug

I’d used this bookcase in the room since moving in, but it was a magnet for random, unattractive clutter: A dog leash here, a screwdriver there. Since shoe storage was, well, pretty much nonexistent, I opted to tuck the shelf under a window to keep shoes from piling up.

Bookshelf Turned Shoe Storage

This chair is one of my favorite pieces in the space. Another great Craigslist find (seriously, I’m addicted), I bought this handmade wood-and-leather chair several months ago, but never found quite the right spot…until now.  A faux fur rug masquerading as a blanket keeps this chair cozy as the days cool down…

Rocking Chair With Flokati Rug

…and provides the perfect place to enjoy the tabletop ceramic fireplace all winter long.

Tabletop Ceramic Fireplace

Now, this is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It’s amazing how having an organized, cohesive space to greet me makes me feel better every time I come home…and makes it easier to face the massive remodeling to-do list that’s waiting on the fridge.

How do you balance the “what ifs” and “one day I’lls” with reality in your home design? Tell me in the comments below.

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

12 Responses

  1. Connie Snyder says:

    Does any one know why love it or list it always has the little dog ceramic in the remodel? I want one, so adorable!

  2. I think so with the cell phone.

Liz GrayLiz is a senior editor at HGTV.com and an co-editor-in-chief for Design Happens. She lives in a midcentury tri-level that’s stuck in the ‘70s…for now. When she’s not working on...


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