Tuesday, March 18, 2014

welcome to my (new) living room

You know how when you go to the eye doctor and get a new prescription, you can suddenly see so much better, even though you didn't know your vision was impaired in the first place? Or how when you fall in love, you don't know how you lived life without that person, and you only wish you had met them sooner?

Guys, that is how I feel about having a living room of my own. Yes, I have been an adult living in a house for nearly seven years and yes the room has technically been mine, but it has never felt that way. And I didn't realize it. Until now.

I never knew what my style was, so the most I would add to the space was a $5 picture frame here or there. I printed photos from our wedding and never displayed them. Never bought things because I had no shelves or space for stuff. So I had an empty, mostly bare, functional-but-not-inviting living room. And of course it served its purpose but now? Well I am dedicating a blog post to a room so you can see how I feel about it. The thing is, though - I didn't know I was missing out. I didn't know I could love a room. But I do.

Here's a little before and after...


I never knew how to decorate around that TV stand (it was too small for the wall it was on). I didn't know what colors to add to the blue and brown, a color scheme chosen based on some vases we agreed on at Garden Ridge years ago. Bauer ate our last toss pillows, and the coffee table was always getting rolled around because it was on wheels - the walkway to sit on the couch was very small and the chair was never used.

So it started with a flip of orientation and a decision to mount the TV. The only thing Andrew refused was new paint (I don't really blame him- the old TV stand is 6'8", to give you an idea of ceiling height). I had to work with the bright blue that I had grown so tired of. We chose a neutral sectional - an investment that will last. The dining table and chairs that we both loved (I think I may have gasped when I saw them) is what added an industrial touch to our house, though. Wish I could show them to you, but they won't arrive for two more weeks.


Keeping it real - my coffee table will never be free from clutter.

I fell in love with some very out-of-my-comfort zone curtains at World Market. They had light blue in them, but also red, yellow, orange, and green. I decided that if I got those panels, then anything could go. So I had to find them (I did) so matching wouldn't be as necessary. I found colorful pillows at Kirkland's and Target and even though I didn't know what I was doing, I just crossed my fingers that they would look good together. I found a rug on Target.com that was mostly neutral with enough color to match the accessories. I didn't want it to look like a kid's room, after all.

Hobby Lobby lantern, Walmart candle warmer, thrifted milk glass, crystal hurricane (gift), and HomeGoods candle holders. 

Since we don't have a truck and I didn't want to pay for any more delivery, all other furniture (buffet, sofa table, coffee table, and small media stand) were purchased online with coupon codes and free shipping. And using Ebates, of course. I wanted visible-grain wood and metal legs to match the dining room table, so we just had to hope that the wood finishes would blend well enough.

I've loved mercury glass and lanterns for as long as I can remember. There is going to be a subtle pig theme in the dining room, so I brought that in with a small brass pig in the living room. Most accessories were things I already had combined with Target lamps and some thrifted finds.

Target lamps, Garden Ridge shades, vintage railroad lantern, HomeGoods frame, Target clearance section vase | Crystal candlesticks (wedding gift), taller one thrifted but originally from Target, thrifted brass pig, wrapped candle from our wedding | Thrifted card-catalog style cabinet originally from Hobby Lobby, vases from Garden Ridge forever ago, thrifted bowl. The black leather thing actually stores my wedding album.

I had no idea what to do with the wall over the couch. I love decor that has meaning - I mean prints and paintings are nice but hanging a picture of something that has no significance to my life in my living room wasn't what I wanted. I toyed with floating shelves but I couldn't find any I liked, making them was out of the question, and they were expensive. I wanted a gallery wall but feared all the holes I was going to make. A coworker suggested Command strips and I went off to Michael's with a 40% off coupon to grab some. 

I swear it looks straight in person! Pillows with white background from Target, red and blue ones from Kirkland's.

The photo with the wide, white mat was a gift from my father-in-law; it's an edited version of the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, where he lives. That frame matched one I already had, the top middle frame that has a wedding photo in it. I found a few more frames to match that and then planned to use a lot of black frames I had left from our wedding. I found the 3D tree art (each color is a different cut piece of paper so it looks neat in person) at Target and a print that says "you are my sunshine" (a favorite, oft-parodied song in our house) in coordinating frames, then I went back to Target to grab a few more frames to coordinate with them. They are an unfinished, grey-ish wood. The shelf with a bud vase was a resale store find and the bud vase was Andrew's mom's. I think that's my favorite thing on the wall - it's different. The Blue Dog art was from a calendar from 1995 that has been saved all these years; we have other framed Blue Dog art in our house as that was one of Andrew's mom's favorites. I like that it's bright and quirky. I also have a sketch of our wedding cake, a shadow box of wedding stuff, framed bottle caps, and a decoupaged paper coaster on a bathroom tile. Oh, and the sideways pic of us isn't staying that way. I am going to make a simple print with lyrics from Dave Matthews Band's "The Best of What's Around" to put in there. I love the idea of a gallery wall because it can change or expand as we get tired of old things and find something new.

There is still room to get new decor (and say goodbye to some of the old stuff for good) but mostly, I am in love with my living room. I didn't want to write this to brag or show off,  but it is what's going on in my life right now and I often like a peek at other people's houses. Since I don't consider myself to have an eye for design, I also feel accomplished for creating a space that represents us and that I can't wait to welcome family and friends into. If you don't love your space, you definitely should, and I never knew that love was missing from my home. The stuff we have isn't important, but the fact that this feels like ours and we did it together just makes it feel special and like home. I love that we reoriented the room, but that was definitely an expense; I wish I would have done some of the low-cost things, like new curtains and pillows, long ago! Using things I had in new ways and making my own art was a lot more fun than just picking out framed art, so tomorrow I am going to share my super-easy DIYs that require little to no artistic talent or skill. If you are pinterest-averse, this will help you out! Is there anything you've done to make your house feel more yours?

27 comments:

  1. It's beautiful Lauren! I'm the same way with holes in the wall, and a lot of times it scares me away from doing anything...I guess it's just a bad excuse now.

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  2. this gave me a huge decorating and organizing boner. i love before/afters and i love what you've done! be proud :)

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

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  3. Oh, my gosh. This is gorgeous. You guys did SUCH a good job. I can totally relate on the whole "never connecting with the space" thing. Just putting things in a room to make it functional but NOT making it mine. I think that comes from so much moving around. I can't bring myself to make the investments or to take the time because I know it'll all change sooner or later. That couch is absolutely gorgeous, and you did SUCH a good job with that gallery wall! It looks like a totally different room. So, so pretty!

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  4. It looks so good! Love the new couch! My coffee table will never be clutter free either. Such a difference in the before and after!

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  5. Looks so awesome!! I want a sectional so bad and I love the wall-mounted TV. Brian and I are probably going to do that when we finally find a house. You are making me itch to decorate a room, I can't wait! You are going to have to come help me though haha

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  6. It looks amazing! I'm so glad you finally feel like you have a living room that is inviting. :) And my coffee table will be forever cluttered also.

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  7. You've done an amazing job! What room is next??

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  8. I love it! It is amazing what a difference just rearranging the furniture in a room can make.

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  9. Question, where do I purchase the furry cat? :)

    I LOVE IT! It looks so wonderful and personalized with all the little touches here and there. Those curtains are just beautiful!!! Loving the pillows, I used to work at Kirkland's so I am a little partial. And the gallery wall. Just perfect! I love that everything up there has a story! Now come help me with my gallery wall. I will pay in food, surely there are places in Birmingham you want to try!

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  10. Wow I love the transformation! This looks awesome Lauren. The room looks completely different, and much bigger. I'm so glad that you're enjoying it!!!! And because I always love a good before and after post like this, I can't wait to see the dining room transformation :-)

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  11. Looks incredible! I especially love the gallery wall.

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  12. This looks phenomenal Lauren! Great job on the gallery wall and I love the table scene.

    The curtains are beautiful too!

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  13. LOVE the gallery wall! i am slowly starting one now too, but so far it only has 3 pieces too it.

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  14. I love it and so happy you decided to make it your own!!!!

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  15. Oh my gosh! It looks so good! I love those pillows and your gallery wall! Lovely :)

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  16. OMG I love it and I am so glad you didn't change the paint color. Simply adding new lamps gives the paint a totally different feel in the pictures.

    Also I LOVE that red lantern, I need to find one like that in one of my colors!

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  17. It looks amazing! You have fabulous taste. Where did you get the coffee table from?

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  18. This is what I have been waiting to see, I LOVE it! Looks awesome, you guys did a great job! Even though I just moved into my house in October I'm already itching to redecorate.

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  19. This looks so good! I love the new pathway behind the sectional, much better lines in the room. Great gallery wall, I would like to do that too!

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  20. It's GORGEOUS!!! I absolutely love all of it. The gallery wall is perfect :-)

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  21. I LOVE your new gallery wall! So gorgeous!

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  22. Wow it looks awesome! I love your gallery wall. And that sectional works so nicely.

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  23. I LOVE what you did with it!!

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  24. Wow! I am so impressed Lauren! Y'all did an awesome job. I love how everything is not matchy-matchy. I especially love the meaning behind your gallery wall and everything on it.
    I can NEVER commit to buying pillows. Ugh. Going to try and do that in our next house since we have neutral couches and anything should go.
    Where is your table from (the one behind the couch)?
    YAY for a space that feels like yours! :)

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  25. I seriously love all the changes you made! It looks so good. I personally love the bright blue wall and I think the color takes on a whole new life with all of the changes! The gallery wall turned out really nice, and I love that each component is meaningful to you both - that's what a home should be! Can't wait to see more!

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  26. Beautiful! Come give my living room a makeover next! :)

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