Living Room:: In Process

Changing the way our house looks by painting the walls and trim was a piece of cake for me, but pulling the rooms together has turned out to be the most daunting part of making our newest house a home.  We have lived here for two years and in that time I’ve been trying to use what we had in our previous homes to create a more casual, comfortable, functional house for my family of five.  I want every room to welcome my kids, friends and family to be able to come through our door and curl up in a comfy spot and feel at home, and I want to utilize our old furniture and stuff in a fresh new way without spending a lot of money on decorating, since we have some big renovation projects on the horizon.

While figuring out how to decorate our house doesn’t keep me up at night (I have real life issues for that, don’t we all?), after two years of living with half-done rooms, I seriously need to FINISH up some things around here and move on!!!

Our living room.  Oh, woe is the living room.  Here it is 6 months after we moved in (more on that evolution here.)

It’s the room that we spend the most time in, and the one I have paid the least attention to.  This is a room that we read in, drink coffee, blog, entertain, and generally hang out.  It is also home to our armoire-turned-office that the kids use for homework.  I’m thinking about painting this bad boy.  There is no other spot for it in the house so I’m trying to work it into this room.

I wasn’t loving the feel of the living room, but I was happy to be able to use the room and it was fine for the time being.

What I didn’t love:
*the overall blah-ness of the room.  I think I tried too hard to pull a neutral color out of the chairs.  I love neutral, but blah?  Who likes blah???

*the faux-silk curtains.  Hated is too weak of a word.  I bought them because we left all our window treatments behind with our last house, and Mark wanted something like the heavy silk drapes I had hung there, so I tried to make him happy without spending a lot of $$$.  Total fail.  When the light came through them in the afternoon they looked so synthetic and the color was so blech.  (I tried painting them.  Didn’t work.)

*the burlap tableskirt on the round table, from Ballards about 10 years ago.  Mark has always despised this.  Time to go.

*the floral chairs.  I have learned over the years that while I’m great at committing to people, I cannot commit to any kind of pattern for a long time.  Throw pillows – yes.  Large pieces of furniture or window treatments with a major pattern?? – no.

What I did like:
*the black & white photo wall.  In fact I have loved this wall.  It makes me happy to look at these old family pictures, I love that my kids see them all the time, and I like the eclectic composition of the gallery wall.

*the green couch.  While I wish it was white or beige so I wouldn’t have to work around the color, it’s the most comfy couch ever, it is fairly neutral, and somehow red wine washes right out of it!

*the coffee table and side table between the chairs.

*I loved the seagrass rug that we had for 14 years – it was a great textured neutral.  Unfortunately it met it’s demise thanks to our pup (who doesn’t normally come into this room, but was left alone too long – I’ll spare you the details!)

When we had our basement finished last winter, we proceeded to shake up all the furniture in our house to furnish it, leaving the living room totally bare – a blank canvas.  We were just about to take the plunge on a white slipcovered sectional from Crate and Barrel when – dun dun duuuun – Mark lost his job in May.

Okay then!  Back to shaking up the furniture we already owned and pulling some things out of storage that were headed for Craigslist.  Here is a snippet of where we are today:

Getting rid of the curtains was the best decision I ever made!!  (More on my new curtains later!)  Now I’m on the hunt for a different mirror for between the windows and side tables (as in, I’m stalking the Salvation Army and thrift stores for potential makeovers).  And remember that chair that Mark’s parents gave to us?

I’ve been envisioning it in black for the living room – what do you think?

I put together a mood board to see if I can work around the rug.  I let a saleswoman talk me into it years ago and I’m mad at myself for investing in it.  It’s not offensive, but while we don’t LOVE it,  it seems so wasteful to not use it.  

*lamps/Ballard Designs (on sale right now!)
*chairs/Boston Interiors (also on sale right now!)

What do you think?  Would you keep an “investment” piece that you’re lukewarm on and try to work around it??  Paint the bamboo chair black?  Paint the armoire something???  Ugh.  This room makes me want to flop face down on my green couch and take a nap.