Saturday, January 28, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} the living room edition

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Last week I was having some serious contentment issues with my living room.

Though we make do with lots of thrifted and hand me down furniture, this room was driving me crazy. I looked around and there wasn't one thing in it that I liked. I was not happy.

I can't really find many good "before" pictures, but I'll give you an idea.

Here is the room at its best, decorated for fall. 
The couches are comfortable enough, and purchased very cheaply when we first moved to the island and didn't have anything on which to sit. But I don't like the colour and pattern.  The rug that we got for cheap to keep the floor warm actually matches the colour of the couches and matches the rusty colour of my great-grandfather's old recliner (complete with duct tape). It almost looks like I planned it!!

The other furniture is a mish-mash of styles and wood finishes. The only thing I really like is the coffee table, which Micah designed and made.

There's a brass lamp, very functional, not my style.

Due to the placement of outlets, there's only one place to put the tv. It's a big old tv that we have to whack from time to time to get the picture to appear, with rabbit ears sitting on top, and the surround sound wires and speakers are hard to confine.

The room is also awkward for furniture placement, because there are 2 regular sized doors and a set of double french doors leading into the room.

There's only one coat of off-white paint on the walls. You can see where the previous owners cut in a second coat around the trim. The white curtains were hanging from a tension rod inside the window frame, crowded into the narrow frame, in need of hemming, looking very blah against the walls.

Here you can kind of see the curtains, and part of the tv in the corner,
blocked off by some furniture to keep this little bundle of mischief away. 

And the room also needs to be safe for Arden to play in, as it's where most of her toys and books are.

I looked around and felt VERY discontent. I was on the point of doing something drastic - looking online for new couches, or at least new couch covers (which are very expensive!), searching for new rugs, thinking of switching the contents of this room entirely with the room next door (our music room and library), sampling paint colours. . . in other words, I was on the verge of spending a lot of money we didn't have!

So I called Mom.

I vented my frustration to her. That felt good! After talking it out, I realized that part of the problem was the room just didn't feel like "me." Other than the coffee table and a plaid wool blanket I brought home from Scotland, there was nothing really personal in the room. Nothing to make it feel like home, like our living room, instead of a second hand show room. We talked about a few different things I could do with the stuff I already had. After hanging up, I felt much better.

I prayed for some contentment and some creativity. And then got to work with a determination to make a difference.

The results aren't drastic at all, but they do feel different to me.

Here comes the {prettier} and {happier} part.

The main thing I did was add one of my big bookshelves to the room. I put some of Arden's toys on the lower shelves, and picture books and my LM Montgomery collection on the higher shelves, accompanied by a few little knick-knacks. I think it helps give the room more presence and personality.

It feels more balanced to me now.

I do love my books!

My little Gog and Magog.

I got rid of the big dark end table (dark wood is not so much my thing) and used one of my little pine tables instead.

While I'm not sure these curtains are the best fit for this room (at least with the colour it is currently painted), I did spend $9 and bought a proper tension rod that fits up inside the valance, so the curtains aren't squished into the frame or piling up on the floor. The valance is not centered over the window, which I find odd, especially when the curtains are open. But it's better!

Right now the chair is pushed against the tv to keep Arden from turning on the power to the whole tv set up.

And here is the room from a few other angles.

French doors which lead into the music room/library. 

Door to the hallway.

Thus endeth the tour.

I would still like to paint the walls, which is in our budget for the next few months. I'm not sure how to best work with the furniture though. I could do a richer creamy colour. I'm also considering a netural sort of understated green. Green is very tricky. I also want something to complement the music room/library next door, since the rooms are often open to each other. (That room only has white primer on the walls right now, so it will need to be painted too.) Any ideas??

I have a few items which are my palette inspiration, but it's too dark to take any good pictures at the moment, so maybe I'll show them next week!

BUT, my victory consists in the fact that I overcame my discontent, made some changes with what I had on hand, and am now feeling more positive about the room and its future! :)

{funny} & {real}

This is the light fixture in the living room. It's just not the right kind of vintage to be considered pretty in my books!

The exposed spiral bulb is classy, don't you think? What a nice yellow glow it casts over the room. Eek. I am on the lookout for an inexpensive replacement!

And in the meantime I will try to ignore it.

round button chicken



  1. You're on the way, Lindsey - good luck to you! How about some color/decorating books from the library, if you don't know which color to choose?

    Who wouldn't feel better just seeing their L.M. Montgomery books near at hand? With Gog and Magog to watch them!!

    * Light Rye and Caraway Bread

    one pound loaf -

    scant cup water
    1 tsp. lemon juice
    1 T. sunflower oil (I used canola)
    3/4 c. rye flour
    2 1/2 c. bread flour
    1 T. powdered milk
    1 tsp. caraway seeds
    1 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. light brown sugar
    3/4 tsp. quick rise yeast

    Put water, oil and lemon juice in pan, unless your machine tells you to do the opposite. Sprinkle flours over the liquid, then add milk powder and seeds. Put salt and sugar in opposite corners of the pan, then yeast on top. Basic setting, medium crust.

    If you want the amounts for medium or large loaves, let me know. I think it's a tasty recipe - enjoy!

    Your living room is better

  2. Sorry, before I get to saying how much your living room has improved (which it has) I just wanted to say I got a laugh from the names of your china dogs. When I was little I had two imaginary friends - one was named 'chip shop' and the other 'gog'.

    I always amazed at how some nice curtains cosy up a room. Your white ones are nice. In terms of future projects - what about sewing some simple envelope cushions for your couch and chair to tie the colours together.

  3. I'm going to add that it goes without saying the water has to be a certain temperature. But I'm saying it anyway. :)

  4. I love the idea of using what you have and making it more yours, and I think your living room is looking really nice! I struggled with the same things, ours was so dark and gloomy, I don't know how we ended up with so many dark woods and reddish things. Anyway - liking it a lot :-)

  5. Thanks for the recipe Lisa! I look forward to trying it out :)

    Provincial Homemaker - I really need to learn how to sew so your suggestion could become a possibility!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...