Our living room has been pieced together over the years with a lot of quick fixes and hand-me-down items. We never planned the room as a whole or looked at the big picture although it has changed a lot over the years. We started out at this house with two couches (a very generous gift from my parents!) in a floral pattern we didn't love so we bought some slip covers for it. If you have ever bought slip covers for a sofa you know the choices are not super awesome. We ended up with some stretchy ones that fit great but the color was an olive green. Not our first choice (mistake number one) but a significant upgrade from the way they were before. We had those for a while and were very happy with them, so we built the rest of the room around the olive green color of our sofas (mistake number two). Eventually we decided the two couches were too large for our small living room so we downgraded to a sectional. Since our room had already been designed around olive green sofas (and we didn't have the money to completely redecorate) we went ahead and bought our new sectional in the same olive green so it would fit in with our existing decor (if you can even call it that). Fast forward a year later and (big surprise) we are already sick of it. We like the size of the sectional but not the color, and what's worse is all the decor we attempted to coordinate with that color we don't like. So we started over and changed everything with new colors but in a way that downplays the olive rather than features it like before.
Here is what it looked like before.
The mantel held a random rotation of photos, knick knacks, vases, etc. with the clock above. Since getting rid of the TV the bookcase moved out from Kaden's room and was filled with toys. The small table and chair was moved out from Jack's room but has since been moved back in because it was too much of a problem (Kaden climbing on it and moving it around). The curtains were cheap, chocolate brown. They were not long enough to close all the way so they weren't so much curtains as just panels. If you look closely at the first photo you can see the rug in front of the garage door was the one thing that pulled it all together - chocolate brown, olive green, and the orange/rust colors in the throw pillows. What you can't see is the entry or dining room. The entry had a pathetic beige rug that was completely unfit for an entry, really it was more of a utility rug which is why it was so plain. We also had a small shoe shelf and a floor lamp along the wall behind the sofa. Above the shoe shelf were a few floating black shelves and some black collage frames filled with family photos. Noticing a trend? Family photos everywhere and not a single piece of art. BORING. We had it like this for a while and it was always just "good enough". As for the dining room, it hasn't changed much other than the ugly vertical blinds.
Here is what it looks like now.
When you walk in the door you are no longer greeted by a cheap excuse for a rug and ugly brown linoleum with gold trim. We put down a durable flatwoven rug that completely covers the linoleum. We replaced the shoe shelf with a bench which has bins for shoes underneath. Much tidier! We took down the shelves that were on that wall as they now presented a head-hitting hazard for anyone sitting on the bench and replaced them with two photographs in large frames (ART, finally!).
Looking back at the front door we also put up a wall lamp in the space between the front door and the window. We will staple the cord to the wall so it hangs straight down and wont get pulled on by little hands and feet.
We also added a small side table, which I am still undecided on. This was a garage sale find (thanks Mom!) for just $5! I am going to paint it black and I think it will look a lot better then, but it's still on the small side so we will see. As for the succulent on top, that may or may not stay there. Kaden has pretty much no self control at this age so things like that generally have to be put up high.
Here is looking back toward the entry at the sectional. The pillows shown here are the same pillows we had before but I eliminated the bright orange that was was there with them. Soon all those pillows will be replaced, we have some lighter ones on order from Etsy that should be here in a few weeks.
We replaced the non-functional (and ugly) brown curtains with light white curtains with a neutral wavy stripe pattern. They are a heavy canvas so they offer plenty of privacy but still let in lots of light. They have grommet tops which makes them look a lot cleaner and allows them to open and close easily.
We kept the bookcase in the same place but I simplified it by removing some of the toy clutter and adding some of our adult books to the two eye-level cubbies at the top. As much as I would like to get all the toys out of this space, it just isn't practical when we have little ones around. We also added a lamp and potted plant to the top and moved the clock over to the corner. I'm still not 100% sold on that location for the clock. After moving the clock we were left with a large blank space over the mantel so we put up a nice big photo wall.
Since it was such a large space we added some mirrors to fill it out a bit and keep it from being way too many photos. I printed all the photos in black and white so the colors wouldn't be distracting or overwhelming. Justin and I are very happy with the way it turned out!
The dining room, as mentioned above, has stayed more or less the same. We absolutely love our black table and chairs so there was no need to change anything here! We did however take down the horrible vertical blinds and hang white curtains that match those in the living room. What a difference that made! We got rid of the rug that was in front of the garage door and got two matching rugs (same as the one in the entry) to go in front of the garage door and sliding glass door (which previously had no rug). We love that these rugs are super durable for high traffic and dark so they will hide dirt and stains (kids are messy!).
Over the desk I added another art piece using a garage sale frame and some art cards from Ikea. This one is my favorite! The blank wall to the right of the desk will eventually need something on it as well.
My Living Room pinboard has links to everything we used including the pillows which aren't here yet, the silver letters I plan to make, and the possible bookshelf change up we are considering (low on the priority list). We had a lot of help on this from my parents, we couldn't have done it without them! Thank you so much!
Still on the to-do list -
- Paint the small side table black
- Hang a frame (the print that was previously in our bathroom)on the wall directly facing the entry
- Paint/re-style the paperboard boxes that are on top of the desk
- Paint the walls, mostly to cover up all the dirt and scuffs everywhere but hopefully also add an accent wall
- Craft some knock off zinc anthropologie letters spelling "EST 2006" to go above the kitchen
- Possibly paint the mirror frames on the photo wall to add some color to that area (it is a LOT of black)
- Clean or paint the brick around the fireplace, the "covered in soot" look isn't working for me
- Find/make something for the blank wall to the right of the desk
- (Maybe) Replace the birch bookcase and brown bins with a black bookcase and khaki bins
My next post will included details and photos on our yard makeover, stay tuned!