To have and to love series: Austin Bungalow

I love looking at rooms and imagining myself living in them. There are some rooms that are easier to do that with than others (because some are out of reach of my lifestyle/budget). So, one of the reasons why I selected this room for this series was to showcase a room that I not only loved but was also more approachable. It’s easier to see yourself in this room because it’s not in some million dollar oasis in NYC or LA.

Plus, the pop of colors with the light wood and white tones is such on point right now.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why this room by Erin Williamson is successful and how we can incorporate this look into our home.

Photo courtesy of Erin Williamson

Photo courtesy of Erin Williamson

  1. You may know this about me by now, but I'm big on art. The reason why art is especially important in this design is because there isn’t a lot of wall space (they have tons of windows- not a bad problem to have, right?). That means that what is on the wall has to have some punch. Especially if the walls are white and there aren’t any window treatments. Since this artwork is simple and doesn’t use a lot of texture, it balances out the patterned rug and pillows (if it was super layered and complex it wouldn't look as good). If you have limited space, your artwork can’t be ugly. It’s got to really look good and be based on your style...don’t worry. I can help you figure that out with some things I’ll be introducing soon :)

  2. This little low table is such a great fit for this room. It’s round and the lattice work on the bottom adds such a great detail to the space. When you have corners like this, don’t assume you have to put a table that is a typical height and a rectangle. The variation in height will still work next to a sofa and even act like an ottoman. This family also has kids, and I’m pretty sure that this piece blocks any child from getting to that plant in the corner!

  3. Something that isn’t super obvious is the key elements in the room layout. For example, this living area is next to the dining area. Instead of looking from the dining room table into the living area and seeing the backs of chairs, it’s open. So it’s really easy to flow from eating to hanging out and vice versa. If the cream Knoll chairs were next to the sofa instead of across from it, the flow wouldn’t be the same. If your home has a layout where the living and dining are next to each other, this is a great design option.

Photo courtesy of Erin Williamson

Photo courtesy of Erin Williamson

  1. That sofa y’all...what a sofa! I love that it’s a deep navy to ground the room (and pops against the white). I love that it is a chesterfield style but has tufted sides and a tufted seat instead of just a tufted back. I love that it is the “drama” in the room and is the main focal point. No matter what kind of space you have, you have to have something that sticks out or is a focal point. Many things can be the focal points: sofas, ottomans/coffee tables, fireplaces, lighting and artwork are the options. You just want to make sure that your focal point contrasts against everything else in the room- that’s why it will stand out.

  2. I’m crazy about this rug! It’s full of pattern and color and stretches across most of the room. Specifically it defines the living room from the rest of the space- which is important. You might be wondering “How did they know that a crazy colored rug would look good in here”? And I’m going to go back to the design style. If you want a room to “feel” a certain way- bright, minimal, pops of color, eclectic, modern- then you pick your furniture and rugs around that. So, this rug is based on the overall design style. They probably wanted an "eclectic feel" and nothing else has a lot of color or pattern in the room, so this rug fit the bill.

  3. This table lamp and side table are crucial to this room’s design. It defines the edge of the living room and balances out the floor lamp on the other side of the sofa (the first picture shows the other lamp). Another thing you’ll notice, is that it blends in. The designer Erin didn’t want to call attention to them. She wanted you to look at the art, sofa and rug. It was necessary to have the lamp and table there for the room’s design but because she wanted to make sure the room had a calmness and simplicity to it, she made them both white. The big ideas to take away from this is that not everything needs to be a color or wood. By making both of these two pieces a neutral you can call attention to other aspects about a room.

Photo courtesy of Erin Williamson

Photo courtesy of Erin Williamson

  1. The ceiling in this room is not to be underrated. It’s wood tones are a perfect way to create warmth in a concrete floor + white wall room. The wood adds an architectural detail to the space that ties into the chairs and other wood in the room. The easiest take-away from this is to not ignore the ceiling. It’s okay if you don’t paint it a color or put wood on it like this room. But just remember it is sometimes the biggest weapon you have to take your room up a notch.

  2. A bench along that half wall is a perfect way to utilize that side of the room. I have a suspicion that before this room was overhauled, that was a fireplace. And instead of taking out the wall where it was on to begin with, Erin decided to make it into a storage spot (behind the wood doors is storage) and a seating bench. When you have areas of your room that are a little weird, don’t plan to automatically just get rid of them. They can be unique places of character in a room that still bring a lot of function to the design.

  3. I’m all about cool doors. My favorite part about this door is that it uses the same wood that is on the ceiling and is repeated on the trim work on that side of the room. Don’t settle for boring doors. They are a detail in a room that when treated with the same care as the rest of the space can look unbelievable.

There are many places about this room that I didn’t touch, but I covered the parts that I loved that really make this room stand out. I also think that since it’s one of the more approachable designs I’ve shown, I hope it’s a little easier to translate these ideas into your home.


Do you love this room? Are there parts that make up the design that I didn’t touch on that you want to know the reason why it works?