Fair Trade & Ethically Made, Sustainable Living

Socially Conscious Living Room Makeover with Gratify Home

Socially Conscious Living Room Makeover with Gratify Home

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Wes and I are building a house! As we look to furnish and decorate our new space in a socially conscious way, we are hoping to find ethically and sustainably produced decor and furniture. Not being a naturally gifted decorator myself, I am thrilled to be working with Kelly Butler of Gratify Home to create a beautiful and mindfully designed living room in the new house!

Over the next year or so as our house is built, I am going to take you behind the scenes of our socially conscious living room design process with Kelly (who, by the way, is generously gifting y’all a resource guide to get you started creating your own conscious home!). This post is part 1, where I’ll give a little bit of background on what I’m hoping our living room will look like, as well as the beginning of the design process with Kelly!

My Current Living Room Situation

In our current house, the living room has vexed me from day one. This is the room I have put the most time and money into, yet ultimately have been the most dissatisfied with. It never felt as cozy or inviting as I wanted, and we never use it! We don’t hang out in it, don’t watch TV in it, and even when we have friends or family over, people appear to avoid the living room like the plague. I kept trying new things to make it feel “right,” but it never did.

Gray living room | Fairly Southern

As I’ve started the process of designing a new living room, I have been able to start pinpointing what I dislike about our current living room. The furniture is a bit more formal than I’d like, and the monochromatic gray color scheme feels sterile and dim.

Starting Over with My Living Room

I knew something needed to change from the current living room to the new one in the new house. I decided we should start from scratch and build our living room from the ground up (literally!).

Being ethically and sustainably focused, I also wanted to make sure I was being mindful about the furniture and decor I selected. Many major furniture and decor companies participate in inhumane labor practices and pollute our earth.

I was so excited to connect with Kelly Butler of Gratify Home to help me with this project. We met through an ethical purchasing Facebook group! As the owner and founder of Gratify Home, Kelly teaches socially conscious women how to be their own interior stylist, to confidently create a home they love while leaving a positive legacy on the world. Her goal is to help women overcome comparison and overwhelm to transform their homes into a space they can be proud of, that tells their story and aligns with the values they care about most.

Kelly Butler of Gratify Home | Fairly Southern

I can’t wait for you to get to know Kelly more through this post!

Personalized Style Analysis – Defining My Decorating Style

Prior to starting the design process with Kelly, I created a Pinterest board of living rooms I liked. I’m great at spotting designs I like…just not as good at executing good design myself!

Living Room Inspiration Board on Pinterest | Fairly Southern

I then sent my Pinterest board to Kelly ahead of our first phone call so she could do a personalized style analysis and get an idea of my desired decorating style.

Chatting with Kelly during our first call was such a joy! She is so kind and gracious. You can tell that Kelly truly cares about you, not just as one of her clients, but as a person. When I hung up the phone afterward, I couldn’t believe an hour had passed. She is such a joy to talk with!

As part of her analysis, Kelly had reviewed my Pinterest board and come up with a list of words and phrases to help define my style: gracious, welcoming, airy, breezy, classic, coastal-inspired, Southern sensibility, and upscale casual.

Home Vision Word Cloud by Gratify Home | Fairly Southern

Kelly nailed it! Hearing her read out these guiding words and phrases made me feel so excited about our new living room. This is exactly how I want it to look and feel! We will both continue to refer back to these guiding words as we move forward with the design to ensure the items we select match the look and feel we are going for.

Kelly also analyzed my Pinterest board for repeating elements to help us narrow in more specifically on what design elements catch my eye:

  • Wood accents
  • Deep, comfortable seating
  • Blues
  • Whites/Creams
  • Stripes
  • Lantern lighting 
  • Poufs/ottomans
  • Natural rugs 
  • Woven stools

The design element list provided me insight on my own personal style that I wasn’t previously aware of! I already knew I was drawn to blues and whites, but I hadn’t realized my penchant for natural rugs, lantern lighting, and poufs/ottomans. Yet when I look at my Pinterest board, sure enough, there they all are! I’m glad I had Kelly to help me identify these specific elements I am naturally drawn to.

Finally, Kelly provided me with a list of existing home decor brands and designers I might like to look at for additional inspiration. These aren’t necessarily brands she recommends I purchase from, as not all are producing ethically and sustainably. Rather, I can peruse these brands’ websites and social media accounts for additional design ideas!

  • Serena & Lily
  • Lulu + Georgia
  • Mark D Sikes
  • Dear Keaton
  • Jolie Marche
  • Bloomist

Practical Use of the Living Room

After defining my design style, Kelly worked to identify how I plan to use our living room space. We discussed who will be using the room and when, what we plan to do in the room, what we see as the highlights of the room, and our “must haves” for the room. I was so glad to have Kelly know the right questions to ask. I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to consider whether or not I wanted a place to put my feet up while I watched TV, but when she asked about it, I realized that was something that would make the room more enjoyable for me. Clearly defining how we plan to use the living room will make the end product a place where I actually want to spend time, unlike our current living room! Here are some highlights from this portion of the conversation:

  • Want the living room to be a comfortable and inviting space to watch TV or hang out with family and friends.
  • Focal points of the room: the built-ins on the main wall as well as the sliding glass doors leading out to our back patio.
  • We are flexible on the seating arrangement as long as it is comfortable and inviting.

Adding our Personalities to the Space

At the end of the call, Kelly asked some questions to get to know me and Wes better. Her goal is to make sure the designs she puts together are personalized and reflect a family’s personalities and hobbies. We discussed existing sentimental decor that I want to incorporate into the space, special places where we have traveled, our love for our foster dogs, and more!

Next Steps: A Living Room Layout + Mood Board

Kelly’s next steps are working on a proposed layout for our living room space as well as a mood board to guide us as we begin to choose specific pieces for my new living room! Stay tuned for my next post in this series to continue to follow along on my living room makeover journey!

Start Creating Your Own Consciously Styled Home

Are you also thinking about where and how to start creating your own socially conscious home? Kelly very generously created a free resource guide for y’all – 5 Tips: How to Start Creating a Consciously Chic HomeYou can also follow Kelly on Instagram @gratify_home for tips and inspiration. 

xoxo Laura


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