We're Maryal and Chris Carter, the crazy-in-love couple behind the blog and the specs. Our love of chambray and mutual blurred vision unites us, and this is where we share our adventures in love, style, food, DIY and so much more, seen through our bespectacled eyes. Thanks for joining our journey!

Our Farmhouse Living Room Makeover + Our Buffalo Check Chair!

Our Farmhouse Living Room Makeover + Our Buffalo Check Chair!


This moment has been about three months in the making for us, so we couldn't be more excited to finally share our living room makeover reveal with you guys today! If you missed the "Before" pictures of our living room space and our beloved armchair that Calico Corners has since so beautifully reupholstered and made new again, make sure to check out our previous post about this space. We hope you're as wowed by the transformation as we are! We've remodeled and updated a few rooms now in our little ranch home here in Phoenix, but we both agree that this living room space is our favorite revamped room so far. 


To quickly recap this living room makeover journey, we've known for quite some time that our living room space was in desperate need of a facelift. Eclectic is cool and we've never been afraid to mix patterns, periods and styles, but uninviting and a little too eclectic is definitely not cool. For so long, we struggled to find design inspiration that felt right for the space. That is, until we had a moment of genius!

For a long time, we'd been dying to somehow integrate a beautiful black/charcoal-and-white buffalo check into our home's design but had no idea how or where we'd do it. The black-and-white Scandinavian farmhouse vibe had slowly woven its way throughout our home's design, and we knew that the perfect black-and-white buffalo check piece would not only fit right in but also stand out in the best way possible. 

We looked at just about every buffalo check item your standard home store or home decor site has to offer (because... trends) and never came across the right thing that felt like it belonged in our space. That is until we realized we already had the perfect piece to integrate that design element and knew exactly who could bring it to life! 



Enter our funky, slightly dingy and outdated blush velvet armchair you see in the "Before" photos above. That's right! That $25 antique store gem that's so near and dear to my heart was the perfect piece to reupholster in a beautiful black/charcoal-and-white buffalo check fabric. And that, my friends, is what inspired this entire living room makeover. 

A Few Rules That Guided our Living Room Makeover:

  1. Stay within our black, white, wood/wheat and seafoam (accents) color palette.
  2. It all had to be budget friendly (which means we needed to make a lot of the existing pieces work like the couch, armchairs and sidetables and make a big impact with the updates).
  3. That charcoal chalkboard wall had to get a lighter facelift.
  4. Include a charcoal/black and white buffalo check in some creative way.

Shop Living Room Farmhouse Decor

This revelation meant that not only would we get to keep a timeless treasure with great bones and make it beautiful again (that wingback shape, those cabriole legs, oh my!), but that I'd get to spend some time at the place Chris so lovingly calls my design "zen zone"... Calico Corners. Total lightbulb moment! We would find the perfect buffalo check fabric at Calico that felt uniquely us, have them reupholster the chair, and in turn, create the centerpiece of our "new" living room space. 

And so we were off to visit our Calico store in Scottsdale and find that one buffalo check fabric that would bring this project to life. While there, we ran down our vision, budget and chair measurements with two extremely knowledgeable and unbelievably encouraging and enthusiastic design associates. We pored over tons of different black and charcoal-and-white buffalo check fabric options at every price point, pattern size and material. Then, at their brilliant suggestion, we created the coolest coordinating throw pillow. They walked us through every step of the (shockingly easy) reupholstery process, and the rest, as they say, is home decor history! 

I don't think I can properly describe our astonishment when we saw our gorgeously reupholstered chair for the first time just a couple of weeks later. What was once a worn, outdated (but oh-so-loved) armchair was now a uniquely beautiful masterpiece of craftsmanship.

The pattern of "Elwood Thunder", the fabric we chose, was perfectly placed across the chair to highlight all of its classic details, a little bit of extra fluff was added to the cushion to return the seat to its former glory, and the floral pillow (in Ralph Lauren's "Ashfield Floral") in that coordinating carbon and cream colorway is even more fun with the buffalo check than I thought it would be.

What had been a bit of an eyesore now makes this room, and we'll cherish it in our home for the rest of our lives. And yes, Chris got another manly moment in when he had the privilege of carrying our beautiful new chair out of the store over his shoulder. He lives for this stuff, guys! Totally unnecessary, but you do not turn a dude down when he volunteers to participate in a home decor project. I repeat, you do not turn that dude down. 


And the most surprising part of it all? How attainable and unintimidating the entire reupholstery process is. As I talked about in our previous post about this project, several generations of women in my family have looked to Calico Corners to reupholster beloved furniture pieces and create home decor treasures with their own unique style stamp.

Though I've often found fabric I absolutely love at Calico for smaller DIY projects, I've never had the pleasure of entrusting the reupholstery of a piece to them. So this was a first for me, and now I can't imagine approaching this kind of project any other way! 

In this day and age, I've become so accustomed to hunting for pre-fabbed pieces online and in the nearest big box store that I'm used to having to shape my design dreams around someone else's idea of what's beautiful. When I step inside Calico, it's a blank canvas filled with endless possibilities that don't have to fit within someone else's design vision. The process is pure magic. What's more, it can be done with ease and within all kinds of budgets.


But as you may have noticed, the chair isn't the only part of this space that got a major facelift. So we're sharing all of the details about how we turned this space around and gave it that black-and-white Scandinavian farmhouse feel by keeping some of the old, bringing in some new and making it as budget-friendly (and headache-free) as humanly possible. Read all about how we pulled it off, piece by piece, below!

Decor Treasures We Already Had & Repurposed In The Space

My wheat chenille "nap" couch. Best napping couch ever!

The antique wood side table in between the two armchairs.

That charcoal grey tufted armchair.

The vintage books - all in some form of seafoam, of course. Those are prized posessions!

That seafoam Ikat throw pillow.

That woven grey rug with natural fiber fringe.


The Makeover Details

The Buffalo Check Wingback Armchair

The crown jewel of our living room facelift! Our old $25 blush velvet chair was reupholstered by Calico Corners in their beautiful buffalo check fabric called "Elwood Thunder". That gorgeous coordinating throw pillow is also a Calico creation and is covered in another fabric from their selection that I've fallen in love with called "Ashfield Floral" by Ralph Lauren.

The Wallpaper

The old, dark charcoal chalkboard paint got the boot and we decided to replace it with a lighter, brighter and slightly Scandinavian-cool wallpaper that would perfectly complement our buffalo check chair and make a statement on that wall. We couldn't be happier with the result. Wallpaper is new territory for us, and we love going this route for an accent wall because it's a budget-friendly way to make a big impact. All the things we love! Hat tip to my mom for finding the perfect wallpaper -- she's truly a design genius!

The Prints

This, my friends, is my go-to budget-friendly hack for adding art to a room. The frames are from Ikea, and I just painted them black (took me 20 minutes). The prints are actually $6 downloads from Etsy (pig, horse and sheep) that I then had printed at the cheapest place I know to get poster-sized prints... Walgreens! In total, those three prints and frames together cost me about $120. And technically, they're one of a kind. Boom!

The Pillows

We already had those white pom pillows from Target, but I opened them up and replaced the poly filling with down inserts for a more luxe feel. I then had our seamstress add a zipper to the bottom so we can easily remove the inserts and wash those white pillow covers when they inevitably get dirty. The grey-and-white wool pillows are new and are from Crate and Barrel.

The Lamp

I didn't think I could love a lamp so much, but this budget-friendly, beaded seafoam wonder totally stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on it. I found it for $35 at At Home and the shade is from Target. In some of the photos you may notice that we also tried this pretty double gourd lamp from Target, but ultimately the beaded seafoam wonder inched it out for the win. This amazing grayed jade apothecary lamp from Lamps Plus was also in the mix at one point, and all are great options to add a fun pop of color.

The White Side Tables

These adorable Jenny Lind-style side tables were on sale for $145 at Wayfair recently and it seriously surprised me when they arrived and were so well made. They were incredibly easy to assemble all by myself, and those turned posts (or what we call spindles) are perfect for bringing that Scandinavian farmhouse vibe into this space. Jenny Lind was born in Sweden, after all!

The Bud Vases

These bud vases from Anthropologie are one of those decor finds that you treasure forever and that find their way to almost every room in the house over the years. The sweet black-and-white watercolor designs and the sizes are just perfect.

The Large Clear Jug

You didn't think we'd let this black-and-white farmhouse project pass us by without adding a little bit of Chip and Jo into the mix, did you? As luck would have it, their Hearth & Hand line debuted at Target on Sunday. Right before we snapped these pics, we put the final touch on our living room makeover by grabbing this super cool tall glass jug with a pretty gold handle and filling it with some eucalyptus branches that are making the whole room smell heavenly!

Black & White Inlay Trays

These are two other gems that I found while perusing At Home. The inlay detail is so beautiful on these and made them a perfect fit for the space. They're two different sizes, so one fits inside the other and they'll definitely be paired up, moved around and rearranged throughout the years.

So there you have it, guys! All of the delightful details that now encompass our favorite room revamp in our house to date! This was such a fun space to reimagine and we absolutely love that it was all inspired by one treasured old armchair and the perfect buffalo check fabric from Calico Corners.

Isn't it funny how one great idea can be the spark that ignites so many more great ideas with what seems like such ease? That's exactly why I tell everyone that Calico should be your very first stop when approaching a home decor project. It lights up that creative space in your brain and opens your eyes to new ideas and fresh possibilities, which is exactly what was required to finally tackle this living room makeover. 

We loved how many of you left us comments expressing your excitement about this project in the "Before" post, so definitely let us know what you think of the "After" and ask us any questions you have about what we did, how we did it and any of the pieces you see in the comments section below. We can't wait to hear your thoughts and absolutely love sharing this moment with you guys!

Shop Living Room Farmhouse Decor

This post was created in partnership with Calico Corners who provided products and services we love. All opinions are our own.

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