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.
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?