The eclectic space is filled with living room decorating ideas for places with limited square footage.
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couple looking at each other on couch
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

Moving is never easy. Especially when it's 5,000+ miles away from the place you call home. One of the most difficult parts of the process is figuring out what to bring with you, what to let go of, and what to replace or purchase when you reach your final destination. For Tessa and Sébastien, a nomadic couple who moved from Paris to Sacramento, the main challenge of their move was bringing their adventurous lifestyle to the place they planned to put down roots.

"We worked together in Paris. I was the enthusiastic American and he was the stylish, creative type," Tessa recalls. After traveling the world together and marrying in Paris' Montmartre neighborhood, the pair decided to move to Sacramento for its proximity to family and the exciting cultural scene taking off there.

apartment exterior
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

Having moved from one tiny, over-priced Paris apartment to the next for nearly ten years, the couple was pleasantly surprised by the affordability of Sacramento. Their new home is on the second floor of a 100-year-old Victorian building with beautiful bones. Though the place is still small by American standards, the 700-square-foot apartment, which they nicknamed "The Treehouse," is nearly double the size of any spot they could get in Paris. Despite having room to spread out, the couple still needed help to make it their own.

"We decided to try Laurel & Wolf because we're big believers in the power of online collaboration," says Tessa.

sunny living room
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

Designing a room with spacial limitations is always a challenge, but the couple's interior designer, Andrea Taylor, was able to work around them. In Tessa and Sébastien's living room, each wall has a doorway or a window, so all of their things had to be arranged very strategically. When decorating a space like this, you may want to opt for furniture in shorter heights so it can sit comfortably below windows.

For example, their couch is positioned snugly below two windows, making the living room feel cozy yet roomy due to the ample natural light that flows in from outside. Varying heights are brought in through art and décor like the modern, three-legged lamp beside the sofa.

book collection
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

Rather than a tall, traditional bookcase, the couple's expansive book collection is housed in a series of freestanding antique apple crates, which they picked up from a farmer's barn outside Orléans, France. The books are arranged as décor, adding visual interest and color to the space, which are great living room decorating ideas for smaller areas.

wooden bookcase
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

Tucked among the books are other French artifacts, like a few toy cars and vintage cameras passed down from Sébastien's father. Rather than filling your living room with décor from mass-retailers, opt for a mix of personal items and new ones. Living rooms feel much homier when complemented by pieces with personal significance.

couch pillow
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

When decorating a living room in an eclectic fashion, it's important to include an array of patterns and textures. Andrea created a "lived-in" look for the space by adding woven, decorative pillows, comfortable midcentury modern-inspired seating, and warm colors that harmonize with the room's existing elements.

side table with antique
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

Tessa and her husband may have left a fair amount behind when they moved to Sacramento, but they brought along the things that reflect their past adventures together as well as their individual personalities.

"When we left France, we spent the better part of a year backpacking through Asia and road tripping across the Western United States, so these places have special meaning for us. Some of the colors and patterns reminiscent of the Southwest can be found [in our home], and the use of dark wood is a nod to Nepal, one of our favorite places."

couple on couch
Credit: Dustin Walker for Laurel & Wolf

Now a place that feels both functional and fun, Tessa and Sébastien's new living room is a loving blend of their travels and respective cultures. Both are able to work and be productive in the space by day, but love its ability to transform into a place for cocktails and conversation when the night falls.

Though it may be small, this apartment within the trees is a lesson in packing the important things when moving to a new space and decorating with a healthy mix of function, style, and of course, personality.

Comments (10)

Martha Stewart Member
April 8, 2020
The word is MEMENTO!
Martha Stewart Member
September 1, 2018
This was okay, but pretty much left me feeling nothing - how did it inspire me? Nice that Tessa and Sebastien brought apple crates from France, but how do I incorporate Grannie's cups and saucer collection into my living spaces? Need more outreach, less adulation of the one couple.
Martha Stewart Member
August 27, 2018
I agree with daria011. It used to be that the major city newspapers could be relied upon to have absolute correct grammar, spelling and overall proper word usage. Not any more. I find many mistakes like daria did in "momento". Does no one ever proof read any more? Come on, Martha, you are an old fashioned stickler for these kinds of things. P.S. I do like the way this couple's living room has been designed since the room has windows and doors on all its walls. My family room is very similar and it is truly hard to design around.
Martha Stewart Member
August 26, 2018
Thank you for showing an example of a home with furnishings that don't cost a fortune but are unique and interesting.. It is also nice to see a sofa that isn't white! This apartment has personality, and I enjoyed the pictures and article. Thank you.
Martha Stewart Member
August 26, 2018
Please! THey are MEMENTOS (like MEMories) not MOMentos (like MOMents). Journalists are meant to be the wordsmiths of our time, but so often misuse words and grammar. Please get it right!!!
Martha Stewart Member
August 26, 2018
Love the decorating ideas, and I am all about collectibles and memorabilia. Gave me some new ideas to try.
Martha Stewart Member
August 26, 2018
Love to see a real life example of the couple's new home. The outside was especially incredible. What a find!
Martha Stewart Member
August 26, 2018
I love articles like this one. I always take away at least one tip/idea that helps me transform a room. In this case it's the colorful throw draped over top of the wire storage bin, covering the functional while adding a beautiful pop of color to the room!
Martha Stewart Member
August 26, 2018
Beutiful articule and instructive thanks
Martha Stewart Member
August 26, 2018
Lovely apartment, but strange to me that there is absolutely no artwork on the walls. Or that they never bought art to remember all their travels