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.


Jessica @ HomewithBaxter said...

Hi Lisa, I love the design board that you put together. I've been eyeing chairs with a black frame and think you could definitely paint the one you have. Have you thought about having your floral chairs reupholstered? I don't think the rug is that bad and I like the way you've incorporated it into you design. If you spent a lot of money on it, I'd probably keep it. I have an oriental style rug from PB in my den that I wish I hadn't bought, but I did, so I'm trying to live with it. Oh, and I think the armoire would look fantastic after a coat of paint, but I know it's a big job! Good luck!

Val said...

It is going to be so light and gorgeous.

Suzy www.savedbysuzy.blogspot.com said...

I think it's going to be very pretty and comfortable. I would work around the rug...especially since you don't HATE it and it's really not that bad. You already have some great pieces of furniture (I love the coffee table). I love the bamboo chair and think it would look nice in black. Of course, I say paint the armoire! I don't know what color though. I like the shape of your floral chairs. What about reupholstering?

Jessamie {Bird and Branch Redesign} said...

Your living room already looks so pretty! I definitely love the rug and the coffee table. It's going to look so great!

Ange said...

Love the coffee table and side tables, the bamboo chair in black will be awesome and I actually kind of like the rug in there. The curtains look much better, I think it's coming together slowly but surely. I know how you feel, I got rid of our formal living room because I couldn't stand it but we also never sat in it, the leather furniture was pretty much collecting dust. Now we have the family room and I like it a lot. Looking forward to seeing this come together.

Tiffany said...

I say if you don't love the rug get rid of it. You can sell it on craigslist. Love the idea of painting the chair frame black. Decorating can be so overwhelming at times but you can do it!

Dana Frieling said...

Definitely paint the chair black! I wouldn't keep the rug. I'm Mrs. Cheapo so I get where you're coming from but since this is a room you spend a ton of family time in, it's worth having it be a room you love, love. If you continue to design around it the entire room will take on a so-so feel instead of an awesome feel. Btw, your curtains look great!

Elizabeth (Blue Clear Sky) said...

No wonder you love the photo wall, it looks great. I totally understand trying to decorate with what you have or can eventually find free or on sale. Our living room, in fact most of our home, is still 'in progress.
Your room is looking good so far, especially with the new drapes. I think it is very wise to break things down into likes vs. dislikes.
From what I can see of it, I like the rug, but it is what you guys think that is important. No matter what you paid for it, if you REALLY don't like it, sell it. Our floors are bare until I can find something I can afford after our dog chewed two rugs.
As for the armoire, I like the wood tone but I also painted our armoire and love it. I may be repainting ours one of these days (it actually wasn't hard, just a bit time consuming.)
Good luck with it all and enjoy the family time.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

it is looking SO good and i love the idea of glossy black on your chair!

designchic said...

I think the chair will look amazing in black - love all of your picks and the colors!!

Jackie said...

Lisa, I love the floral chairs. I liked them in the first picture. However I totally get wanting something new. You would need about 5-6 yards of fabric to cover each chair. They would cost about 280 a piece to recover. (. This is what I am being charged to recover mine I think you should re stain the armoire. I adore your coffee table.

Jackie said...

Okay after completely staring at these pictures. I think the mirror is fine but the frame needs to be black. It would help pull the eye from the rug.

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

OK....I LOVE THE ROOM!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE, you have put so much detail and attention into everything. The chair is going to look amazing black, that is a must. Now that rug.....I'm with you, get rid of it....OK don't get rid of it, roll it up and store it. You picked out my paint color for me, I'm going to find a rug for you...

Mandi@TidbitsfromtheTremaynes said...

The green couch doesn't read green at all in that last pic-- and I adore the piping on it. Lovely piece of furniture. I don't know homegirl-- I think the room in its entirety is extremely pleasing to the eye!

classic • casual • home said...

I have black framed chairs in my living room that I love.
I switch out the covers when I feel like it.
I think your rug is pretty, too.

pam {simple details} said...

Your natural light in there is beautiful! And you know my philosphy with neutrals is the same. Yes to painting the chair and armoire. I'd make the changes you're thinking of first, they may be dramatic enough to take your attention away from the rug. Since you like some bold pattern & color I use it on the sofa pillows to give the room some life. I love this reasonable mirror from Ikea (in gold) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60178415/ The chairs, lamps and your gallery wall are gorgeous & timeless! How fun, Lisa! Can't wait!

Adelina Priddis said...

I will trade you living rooms (furniture and all! lol). Seriously, I could completely relax in that room as is. I think I need to just get rid of all our furniture and start from a totally blank canvas.

Btw, love the wicker in black. You should do it, and then pop a little color on it with a pillow.

Jenny said...

I think you can make it work! Rugs are so tricky, and I think that's why I'm a commitment phobe when it comes to buying them! I'm on the hunt for a new one for our entry area and don't even get me started on committing to one for our family room if/when we get the hardwood floors installed! I'm digging on the idea of painting that bamboo chair though - way cool.

living room furniture said...

Living room reflects your personality and style; here you can indulge into your heart contents because this is the place where you spend hours with your loved ones and guests. So you should decorate your living room with deep understanding and enthusiasm. Here are some tips that can help you in making the right choices while decorating your living room.

cestMoi Sandy said...

Hello Lisa!
I love your "gathering room" it has such gorgeous light.
Actually I think the mirror looks good there.
And armoire... rub it white or maybe ASCP in a smokey grey... Yummy.

Well, who am I? don't listen to me.
I will be done with my gathering room when it is time to move again.

Anyway I like your mood board... it made me smile... so that is good right?



kelly @ view along the way said...

LOVE that coffee table! I've learned after a lot of expensive mistakes to stop trying to decorate around things I don't love. I always end up buying more things I don't love in order to make it work.

Sixty-Fifth Avenue said...

Lisa your room is looking so pretty already. I am in love with that chair and think glossy black will be awesome, every room needs something black in it...or at least I think so.
Maybe keep the rug until you are done with the rest of your changes and see what happens. Rugs are so very expensive. Can't wait to see the progress.

Sixty-Fifth Avenue said...

I forgot about the mirror between the windows...I think it's great btw!

Julie B said...

I actually think the rug adds some "umph" to the room so think it should stay. Someone suggested painting the mirror black which is a great idea. I would leave the armoire, from the pictures it looks nice as it is and adds some colour. Paint the chair black and add it to the room. You have great style, but sometimes the hardest place to decorate is our own home.

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles said...

Lisa, I LOVE how this is coming along! Seriously, as I was scrolling down before I looked too closely, I thought your "where we are today" photo was a magazine inspiration pic! Absolutely gorgeous! Your coffee table is perfection, the palm in the corner, the soothing colors...it's all fantastic. And, that chair you're planning to do is awesome! Your design board just looks fabulous! Can't wait to see it finished up, although it's truly looking great!

Unknown said...

Hi - I just discovered your blog and love your style! I was wondering if you could tell me where you go the new curtains (the white with the beige band) and your coffee table? Love both!

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Thank you Unknown!! The curtains are from Ikea. I used latex wall paint to paint a border on them, but I would recommend if you paint on fabric to add a fabric medium to your paint so it doesn't get stiff. The edges of the curtains curl inward because they are so stiff.

The coffee table is from a store that has since closed - In. It's my favorite piece of furniture!

Thanks for visiting!