Living Room Tour

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I really enjoy decorating our home.  I’ve always found a good bit of fun in decorating – my mom decorated my room when I was younger based off of one of my favorite characters, Minnie Mouse, but I didn’t really play a starring role in the whole process.  She bought everything and was really good at styling and so she did it all and I lived with it for several years.  I tweaked things here and there though, nothing major, but what I really loved is that feeling when it was spotless.  Don’t get me wrong, I was very good at leaving my clothes scattered on the floor for days/weeks and clutter on my dressers and desk but I thoroughly enjoyed decluttering and placing the 3957 pillows I had on my bed perfectly once in that blue moon.

Fast forward to college when I really got to take decorating my own dorm room by the reins and went all out.  I spent $70 of my own, hard-earned money on a comforter I had to have at Linen’s and Things (now defunct) and made sure any other accessories I bought for the room coordinated. 

That passion for decorating still stands but I’m finding that I’m enjoying the process a little less than I did before.  I don’t think it’s that it’s just not as fun anymore though.  I think it’s kids.  Haha!  I decorated my entire dorm room in two whole days, ceiling to floor, and now it takes me weeks to get one room done.  Kids.  The satisfaction of decorating for me is more in the end result than the process anyway so when that end result is akin to the tiniest light in the longest tunnel, it feels overwhelming at times.  BUT, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I know that’s cliche but it’s truth.  These four chicklets have given me more satisfaction than the final reveal of a million decorated rooms.  :)

On the same note, my reasons for making our spaces pretty have changed a lot.  Whereas before I just wanted a pretty dorm room/first-home-before-kids to come home to, now changing up spaces breaks up the monotony that my life can sometimes be.  I’m a big routine kinda gal.  Growing up I would have said I leaned more towards the unplanned/spontaneous side of life but I think having twins pulled me full circle to the other side.  No routines/structure when you have newborn/toddler twins = lots of stress.  I can’t say that’s a fact but I can tell you that the days where we at least tried (even if we failed a little) to stick to our routine were a heck of a lot easier than days where we completely disregarded it.  And so, structured and rigid I’ve become and that I’m guessing I’ll stay until we’ve got four independent children running around vs. the current dependent ones.  The routine-based life is wonderful and I thrive in it but it can get boring day after day after day after day.  So, adding some new pillow covers here or slapping up a new paint color there, spending naptime making something to hang there or building this to fill this space brings a much-needed surprise visit to that routine and a happier mom makes me.

With all of that, we’re switching gears!  Strap yourselves in for a living room tour! 

I took this before we moved in and started tweaking things:

IMG_6830Covering up the one and only window in the room were some heavy, light-blocking curtains and it looked like there was an eruption of tan everywhere.

I couldn’t get those curtains down fast enough!  Let there be allll the light there can be, I say!  Here’s where painting the walls white and adding in our furniture has us so far:

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This is the darkest room in the house and the white walls (Pure White by Sherwin Williams) help brighten things up.  After I took these pictures, we ended up grabbing a storm door on sale at Home Depot and installing that at the back door to add even more light.

I didn’t hang anything around the TV because I just didn’t know what and I didn’t know if we would mount it above the mantel or not.  For now, it looks like it’s staying and I’m just relying on the arching branches of our rubber fig to fill in wall space until I get a bug to add something else. 

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We had a really hard time configuring our beloved sectional in this space.  For several weeks we had both pieces of it lined up flush against two walls and it just didn’t feel cozy or organized at all but we just didn’t know how else to swing it.  Then we tried it mid-wall and jutting out into the room and it all just clicked.

I blew up the kids and hung them over the couch like so many people have before.  :)  (I don’t know who came up with the idea first but search “engineer prints of kids” on Pinterest and you’ll find lots and lots.)IMG_9131x
I took the kids pictures outside on a cloudy day in front of a big beige door at Anthony’s office, turned them black & white, and had them printed as 24” x 36” engineering prints.  We don’t have a Staples close by (they’re the ones so many recommend for printing the engineer prints) and when I asked Office Max to do it, the lady behind the counter told me no.  :(  But, Fed Ex came to my rescue and printed them all for me, in-store, in five minutes.  The total to print all three came to about $14.  The frames are these poster frames from Michael’s that I got on sale for $15 each.  I wanted something medium wood-toned but couldn’t find any in my price range…even $15 was stretching it.  I almost tried to paint my new frames with a faux wood finish but chickened out because I have a hard time painting something I didn’t buy secondhand.  Ha!  Give me a few months maybe…  ;)   (Just noticed that these wood-toned frames are $20 on sale from $49 though!  Still out of my price range but a great buy at present!)

Part of the furniture arranging problem was also solved by moving one of our club chairs out.  There’s just not enough space in here for two.  With the one left, we’ve created a cute little nook over by the window.IMG_9139x


I had Anthony hang a bamboo shade over the window (it matches the one in the kitchen) and, while I love layering windows, I just wasn’t feeling it.IMG_9154x
It might’ve been too plain, too farmhouse for me, or maybe just too much natural texturing going on aside the chimney so I tried slipping a valance over the top of it and…

BINGO.  Pattern is my friend, y’all.

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And speaking of that chimney, I’ve never had one that didn’t have a flatscreen above it so it’s been fun styling the mantel!  I couldn’t help but think of Bonnie as I piled stuff on and how excited I am to switch things every once in awhile like she does!

living room 
Right now, we’ll call this our summer mantel.  :)IMG_9148x
If you turn to the right and to the other side of the room, you’ll once again see the power of paint and sunlight! 

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Hard to believe it looked like this a few months ago…IMG_6831


As any room of a perpetual tweaker is, it’s probably not finished but it’s much better and it flows 1000 times better with the “new” kitchen…and it didn’t cost much to get it there.  You know me.  I’ve been having desires to slipcover that cranberry chair with something in the yellowy-citron neighborhood for fun (how many years have I been talking about slipcovering/recovering those things???!!) and I’d love to find a tall dresser to fit along the wall behind the couch to add storage space and visual interest in a plain corner.  I thought about painting the fireplace but I don’t know what its future is – if it will end up staying or not – and so it seems frivolous and really, I don’t hate the stone.  I don’t like it either but I can live with it.  I’m currently on the hunt for some new, smaller end tables too but I’ve been looking for months so that could be awhile.  A hook system of some sort is going to go up on the wall next to the back door soonish too.  I’m excited to have a sort of “drop-zone” there.  And then there’s our rug.  It was a great buy ($75) and it is literally (why can I not type that without  the softest rug I’ve ever laid my soles on.  We’ve had it for almost five years and it still feels and looks as good as the day we brought it home.  I wish I had a link but I’ve tried to find it online multiple times without luck.  So, it’s muy functional but the busy pattern has kind of gotten old…and I haven’t really found anything as soft/comfortable with a pattern I like.  I’m not into the whole form over function thing so in our nest, it stays…for now.  Our feet are happy about it, at least.  ;)  

Aaaandd…

Without skipping a beat, I’ve moved on to brightening up our dining room and the space next to it which has become a sort of multi-purpose room and it’s looking so good!  I have a few more things to finish up in there and then I’ll get up some visuals!  Until then, I’ll probably go the easy route and share a few sneak peeks on Instagram to keep all the toes hopping.  ;)

Sources:
dresser:  thrifted a few years ago (
here’s the matching tallboy!* Ha!)
rug: 
Old Time Pottery (similar pattern)
curtains: 
made from flat sheets
valance:  once a faux roman shade in our old master
club chair: 
similar* in a much more fun color
ceiling fan:  existing with an
upgrade
pillow covers:  made by me…check out my shop!
hanging vase:  tutorial here
framed Christ:  tutorial here
shoe cabinet:  Ikea Mackapar, hacked by us
yarn art:  tutorial here
”all you need is love” art:  thifted art with words added
<---click for tutorial
sectional:  by Advantage Furniture in a seafoam/minty blue/green color (we grabbed it at a local furniture store’s going-out-of-business sale in 2009) (similar*)
ottoman: 
made from a coffee table and then reupholstered again later (similar*)
set of three frames: 
Michael’s
… with engineer prints:  Fed Ex
lamps:  secondhand buys – painted and repainted

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1 comment

  1. It's amazing how different it looks!!! White paint is a cure-all.
    Chris Loves Julia was the first to do those engineer prints, I think! (At least they claim to be, haha. I'm sure SOMEONE else had done it before but they made it popular for sure.)

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