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A Living Room Refresh with The Citizenry



As you know from yesterday’s post, my house has been on embargo for the last few months as we were waiting for the Real Simple feature to go live, which meant that any and all new projects, design posts and shoots in my place had to be put on hold. Which to a stylist – is like giving a child a piece of candy and then not letting them eat it, basically pure torture. But just because my house was off limits doesn’t meant that we couldn’t make our way into some other homes to refresh them in the interim, which is exactly what happened with this living room makeover.

In case you missed it a few months ago we showcased some of The Citizenry’s beautiful bedroom products with our good friend/go-to photographer here in LA, Tessa Neustadt. When they reached out again to showcase some of their new living room pieces, along with a brand new art collection they debuted this summer, it was a total no brainer that we wanted to see and use the product in person for a makeover. We have loved The Citizenry ever since they first introduced themselves to us years ago, and although small at the time they had a business plan that we could stand behind and beautiful goods that were all too easy to fall in love with. As a socially conscious company, they work with local artisans and communities around the world to handcraft capsule collections featuring a variety of products from a specific region. With fair trade practices, sustainable products and giving back 10% of proceeds to the community in which the designs were created, they have quickly made a name for themselves in the world of design goods.

So, we pulled some of our favorite products from their new collection and let Tessa transform her blank space of a living room with them, and we are very into how it all came together. But let’s first take a look at what it looked like before:

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When she started the space was pretty blank and empty space of beige on white on taupe. Full disclosure she had just moved into her BF’s place and although he had some simple and totally usable pieces already in the room like the couch and the long media unit, overall it was lacking some design direction and those special pieces to bring some character into the space. He just hadn’t devoted any attention to it yet or really designed it other than bringing in some of his old furniture. This is where The Citizenry came in.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 11

We love how neutral, layered and casual the space feels now and since she mixed in loads of texture and a few graphic elements like the black accessories, black iron work and graphic pillows it does not feel boring or expected. Starting with the rug on the floor, the Caminata Cowhide, it created the perfect palette for the rest of the room what with its creams, whites, browns, and blacks. It is tonal which visually creates interest without creating chaos in the room, and in case you haven’t heard my spiel about cowhide rugs – here it is. They are indestructible. We used to have one in our old living room and it withstood two kids, two cats, lots of accidental spills (wine, coffee, play dough – ANYTHING), and plenty of wear and tear and still looked so good when we moved out and styled the space to sell. If you have a high traffic area, are worried about dirt and spills, or have pets then these kind of rugs are such a good option for your space, so it was a no brainer for hers as she has two dogs of her own.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 10

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 16

Moving up to the sectional which was the ultimate battle for them (and all couples to be honest). He loved how comfy it was, she loved how well it fit the space and the neutral tone of it, but neither of them were obsessed with it. And although as a designer if a piece doesn’t work you can often suggest a replacement, that often doesn’t work for everyone’s budget or they don’t want to spend money replacing something that totally works. So by adding some different textured throws, pillows, and a sheepskin pelt to it, the couch got a new lease on life.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 2

She mixed a handful of their pillows in different colors (navy, light blue, grey, black) and patterns which works again as they are all subtle tones and the scale and size of the pattern is different on all of them so they play well together rather than compete. The colors in the textiles also help to pepper in the colors from the art around the room and make it all feel cohesive and intentional.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 5

Speaking of art, The Citizenry’s new collection of travel art prints is pretty wonderful. They worked with some very talented photographers to showcase some of the areas of the world where  their products are crafted. They have so many good options in their collection that can work with so many different styles. They also come in a range of sizes and frames. Tessa used their Cactus print here with their Aldama chair, and it is all working very nicely together if I must say so myself. I wouldn’t mind my morning cup of coffee in that chair.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 4

She obviously got the green thumb gene as well, as this little plant seems to be loving its new little setup.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 6

Behind the chair is her long media cabinet which she did some magic on, styling it out with some more of their art and accessories. Fun fact – those weird drawings were by my grandma. I didn’t even know Tessa borrowed it from the prop closet, but I sure do like them here 🙂

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 20

I love that cow print so much, and although I don’t have a space for it right now, I’ll be hoarding it for when I get a chance to design my country farmhouse.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 24

She snagged that wooden chain from the Round Top Team Shopping trip that she came along for, and man do those things make styling look easy. It pairs perfectly with The Citizenry’s pretty little soapstone lamp and leather folding stool.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 13

Their simple wood and metal coffee tables from Mexico work perfectly in this space, and I love that they are just the right size to be used in doubles like she did here. Put them side by side to create a larger table or you could use them as side tables on either side of a couch or bed.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 22

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 14

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 15

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 23

I could get very into binge watching some TV on this couch nuzzled up with their pillows and under one of those soft blankets. It looks so cozy, casual and inviting. Speaking of, is anyone else watching Younger as much as I am? It might be my new favorite – thus the braid and choker craze I’ve been on (that Brian is both disturbed by and attracted to …. ).

Emily Henderson Citizenry Photo Artwork Tessa Living Room Boho 17

So there you have it, a simple white room that was infused with texture, graphic accessories and a few beautiful pieces of art to give it a whole new look. Thanks again to The Citizenry who sponsored this post, and who created all the beautiful pieces.

Be sure to click through and support them as they are such a wonderful company that continues to introduce sustainable, beautiful, and stylish products to the market all while having a business model that gives back to the artisans and makers (Find the full look here). And a big thank you to the talented Tessa Neustadt who let us take over her living room and who styled all of it so beautifully to pull this post together.

Emily Henderson Citizenry Artwork Get The Look1

1. Chair | 2. Sentido Blanket | 3. Grey Vase | 4. Donegal Print | 5. Tweed Pillow | 6. Black Bud Vase (similar) | 7. White Dish (similar) | 8. White Tray (similar) | 9. Candle | 10. Black & White Box | 11. Horse | 12. Camp Stool | 13. Woven Basket (similar) | 14. Oaxaca .03 Print | 15. Side Table (no longer available – similar here)| 16. Console (similar) | 17. Pedestal Bowl (similar) | 18. Coasters | 19. Rug | 20. Modular Table | 21. Black Vase (similar) | 22. Marisol Pillow | 23. Marina Pillow | 24. Wood Lamp (no longer available – similar here) | 25. Stone Chain (similar) | 26. Soapstone Lamp | 27. Blue Vase (similar) | 28. Black Bowl | 29. White Planter (similar) | 30. Sheepskin Throw | 31. Brass Dot Box | 32. Ceramic Vase | 33. Estrato Pillow | 34. Oaxaca .01 Print | 35. Pink Linen Napkin (similar) | 36. Wood Plate (similar) | 37. Gold Spoon (similar) | 38. White Cup (similar) | 39. Helado Throw | 40. Urbano Pillow | 41. Sofa (similar)


*** Photos by Tessa Neustadt

Fin Mark


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This is a great refresh, but I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you guys would photograph a Before picture in the same light and give it the same Photoshop treatment as the Afters (the Before is taken at night, the After in daylight). The lighting in the two shots is SO different that it’s really hard to tell how much it actually brightened up the space. This is a pet peeve of mine on all blogs, to be honest, not just yours. But it makes the transformation look way more dramatic than it probably is (which I guess is… Read more »


Whoops, I just commented about the before and after thing, too. Agreed that everyone does it and it’s a little annoying.


Came here to say the exact same thing. Your site would be breaking new ground in honest styling if the before and afters were both treated to the same photo magic.


I wanted to leave the same comment – the after photos are awesome, but the lighting of the before pics seems a little unfair…

and in a separate note, I spent the majority of Labor Day Weekend watching Younger on your recommendation. Man, I am addicted!! Like stayed up until 2am watching addicted.


sorry, also, #TeamCharles though Josh is also lovely

Lynn 2

Agree with this — (although kind of understand that the “befores” might just be a snap from an IPhone or something, rather than dragging in a professional photographer & lighting).

That said, I really like your changes to the room & the Citizenry pieces — I have flagged several items for future reference!


I also came here to say this, except I wouldn’t want the before pics altered — just, please, show us the realistic after pic. These blown-out bright white rooms are lovely and all, but not attainable!


I agree with all of these comments. Why is the door photoshopped? Isn’t this just a bad as everyone editing their bodies to look perfect on instagram? Editing something so small just for a blog post seems to be a little much and creates unrealistic expectations.


I didn’t notice the Photoshop until others commented, but now I see their point. A realistic lighting after shot (with wrinkles in fabric, if applicable, the crappy blinds, etc.) would really break new ground! It would probably make me feel like my home has a fighting chance of looking good.


same! even if it’s only one after photo that’s unedited, and if the before is shot in the same light. I thought it was a completely different couch (or cover) haha.

otherwise, love the new styling!


Yeah, I sort of agree. Usually I don’t mind a bit of overdramatising the befores and afters, or a bit of photoshopping but as I scrolled through I was distracted by trying to figure out if that little side window had somehow gotten bigger, and I was looking to see what was done about those extra cabinet doors on the console.
I’d be curious about whether this is going in print somewhere. If it’s only for this website I’d debate whether you really need to photoshop out the light switch and the can lights…
Critical today aren’t we!


Agree! Came here to say the same thing – I can’t ‘photoshop’ my house each day so it’s unhelpful in working out whether I want any of these pieces because I have no idea how they will look in real life.


Yep to all of the above. Where’d the eyebrow arch go? And the can lights? And the light switch? It’s hard to trust the after when you start to suspect photoshop…this doesn’t sell me on anything other than this is unattainable unless you can magically edit your surroundings with photoshop ????

angelica m fernandez

yup. coming here to say the photoshopping is really distracting. Am i supposed to believe they got rid of their light switch and door? And now they dont have a deadbolt?


All of this — please take more realistic pictures with way less editing!


Love this. Great blend of comfort, function, and style. How does the cow hide rug feel on bare feet?


We have a cowhide in our bedroom and although the rug doesn’t have much cushion to it, we put a thick rug pad under it and that helps soften it a lot. If you are looking for a super plush and cozy rug then it might not be for you but if you have to deal with pets and kids then its a great option.


Tessa has too many talents. <3

Can anyone share their cowhide cleaning secrets? They do appear to be indestructible but from what I've read, also not really cleanable. Which is gross.

My dog peed…and it went through the back. I let it dry out for a day after spot-cleaning and blotting and while it's invisible (it was immediately invisible when I initially mopped up)…I know it's there. Which is not okay. Even though it's beautiful as ever. I can't put a pee rug back down on the floor. Please help.


I have straight up taken mine to the porch and hosed it off several times. I know that’s probably a no no but it has turned out perfect every time. I hose it off and lay either on the patio or trampoline to dry off lol. I also live in AZ so it’s hot and things dry fast.


Ha! Thanks–that’s good to know! I’m probably going to use some soap bc how can I not. Fingers crossed.


I love this, it looks so cosy and welcoming! But is it weird that I just really, really want to know what’s in the opposite direction, ie shooting away from the door? Even if it’s less than perfect it somehow just irks me that I’m only getting a partial picture of the room. I totally understand all the possible reasons why it’s probably not an option but I guess it’s in my nature to want the full story!


The finished product is lovely! What I wish you (and sooo many other bloggers!) wouldn’t do is the “super crappy before photo” thing – it feels sort of misleading. That before was taken at night with overhead lights and a super smudged camera phone lens. It’s hard to believe that a photographer like Tessa would be okay with that photo 🙂 It’s pretty obvious to me that this is a tactic to make the “after” photo really shine, but is there any other reason you do this? I’m curious!


Really nice make over, however the Get The Look is highlighting the furniture and accessories, the make over would still have been beautiful and impactful within the same confines. In the After photo the light switch next to the door is gone, there is a new door- the hardware is different, there is a see through eyebrow panel in the Before picture whereas the top panel in the door in the After photo is rectangular and solid. The ceiling also looks different, no vent in the After photo. In summary, while the After photo is stunning, you could leave those… Read more »


That’s what I don’t get- somebody put work into editing out such small things- what was the point? The updated decor is really lovely and transformed the space nicely, but it makes it feel like they didn’t think the room looked good enough without faking a new door and removing all signs of normal household utilities… Houses have switches and vents- and for goodness sake they were already white and hardly noticeable!


What’s that beautiful sprawling plant by the front door? As a high-rise apartment dweller, I’m always keeping my eyes open for pretty new house plants 🙂


Love love love it!


I’m loving the Arizona meets Cali vibe!

–Less the mint peach colors from the 80’s


I have that same chair from The Citizenry and I love it so much. So much fun to see it styled out here in this space. Keep up the beautiful makeovers .


So many pretty products and vignettes, I want it all


I’m definitely watching Younger as much as you are 🙂 As a woman in my early 40s currently trying to get any kind of entry level job in my dream field, who looks a decade younger than my age, and who’s in a relationship with a younger man (for eight years now–and I told him my age on our third date), I love the escapism of seeing Liza successfully tackle it all. I like how it highlights the benefits and challenges of both age brackets, specifically for women, personally and professionally. It’s a lighthearted show with broad comedic moments and… Read more »

Erin Marie

Gorgeous! I need a Target-version with my current budget, but would love to spend the money to support artisans in the future. I just moved in with my boyfriend and feel inspired by the space!


What a transformation! Unbelievable! Looking so good!

Lynda Kettler

What is the source of the new door lever?


Looks amazing. That new or photoshopped front door helps too 😉


Thanks for using the existing couch and TV console! This is what I consider a true “refresh”, where big pieces are worked into a new design. It’s more inspiring for someone like me, and I assume a lot of your readers, who can’t afford all new everything all the time, especially when the existing pieces are in good shape and a neutral style. Love this room – great job!


Thanks very much for showcasing a new online retailer that I wouldn’t necessarily know about. They have so many things to love, but with all the big store options out there and limited time, I tend to go back to the default(s). So it’s nice to introduce us to new marketplaces and show how to use them. Thanks Emily!


Did they paint? It looks like the walls in the after are a different color.


I love this post, and this company. We recently ‘did’ our bedroom, which we had neglected to do anything with forever because it felt indulgent and expensive for a room only we see. My husband had just been told he needed open heart surgery, and I decided he needed a beautiful, calm, grown-up zone to recover in. Even though the look we went for is quite minimal, and I worked hard to keep the budget in check, it did cost a pretty penny. At the end of the day, though, it brings us so much peace and joy I can’t… Read more »


The refresh is really nice, however I struggle to see how an air conditioning vent and a light switch really takes away the design. Is it really that serious? Realistically most rooms will have them. It just seems weird and misleading for no good reason.


I do feel like this was more an example of the wonders good photography can do, rather than redecorating! Would love to see more examples of the before-and-after photos shot under similar circumstances, to really showcase the redesign.


Wow, I’ve always found the overuse of brightness filter a bit suspect, but this seems especially egregious. It’s ok for the changes to be small (literally just buying a bunch of new do-dads) since it’s a pitch to buy pillows and such. But yeah stuff like leaving the console doors open to make it seem messier and then closing them is such a low bar.

Rabin Sharma

All of the options you have provided here are simply amazing I like most of them thanks for your great share, please keep sharing.


I completely agree with all of the comments about the lighting and before/after shots. A “before” shot at night with the shade intentionally pulled down just doesn’t seem like a fair representation of what the space looks like, when the “after” is in bright light. If scientists have to do their experiments comparing apples to apples (i.e., standardized conditions), then I think designers should too. I love the blog, but like many others this is also a pet peeve of mine. The after shot is still gorgeous so I think you should have the confidence to show both at the… Read more »


Love this post and all the great pieces shown! And-No, your not alone Younger is awesome and I have been binging it too!! Can’t wait for the new season!


Your blog website was helpful and Informative. I have seen your blog topic is well written Interesting.
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Essentially, other than styling the only thing you changed was the lighting. Opening the blinds on a sunny day will always brighten a room. And styling is really unsustainable in a room that is actually going to be lived in.

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