Living Room Progress

On Tuesday I gave you a sneak peek into my living room redecorating, which spontaneously happened over the weekend.  I blame it fully on cabin fever due to being cooped up with the kids for many days this month with school canceled.  Even Mom can go stir crazy, people.

I do have the Area of the Month system, which works wonderfully for me!  Part of the reason that it works so well is that it can be flexible.  Although my plan was to refresh the basement this month, I just felt really excited to work on our living room (it is on our main level).  So, I am swapping the living room for the basement and if I don’t get to the basement beforehand, I will hit it in April, when I would normally do the living room.  No harm, no foul.

To set the scene, we have a modified two story with a very open floor plan.  Great for entertaining, but unfortunately, when you repaint one area, it often leads to repainting other areas since they all flow together.

The front door has a bit of an entry (defined by wood flooring and a soffit) and it is open to the living room.  The living room is really more of a great room, kind of a living room and family room space combined. We have a large sectional focused on the fireplace and TV (to the left of the fireplace) and we leave space open near the front window for the kids to get all their stuff out and play.  Or for the dog and cat to chase each other.  Whatever.

Living Room Progress |

before – view as you enter from the kitchen/dining area

Here are some photos of our living room before the refresh started.  To be honest, I will always be fond of the dark brown wall.  But, things really do benefit from an update every decade or so, or before you know it you are sporting orange shag carpet and a vintage gothic chandelier in 2005.  You know what I mean?  We have all seen that house.

Living Room Progress |

before – view from the fireplace/tv area

And even though I am far from decades outdated, it is time for a refresh – it is something I enjoy (when I have time to do, not when I have to do it) and I love making my house a home for my family and friends. Plus, we have a graduation to prepare for this spring!

Living Room Progress |

before – view from the front window

The beauty of the refresh is that you rarely have to buy any furniture, you don’t have to do massive renovation or even move furniture around much if you don’t want to (if you do – go for it!).  You can change up a few things, move accessories, add a fun project or two and have a fresh, new feeling.

My struggle with the room as it was before was two fold, really.  The first problem is that darn fireplace.  It is basically gray, pink and purple.  I am not very fond of pink or purple – at least not in my house.  It’s OK a bit here and there, but let’s just say it is not really in my house color palette.  To be honest, my husband picked out the stone and since I could not be a super bossy pants and dictate every thing about the house, I compromised on the fireplace.  I kind of regret that, but what can you do?  Time to work with what I’ve got.

Living Room Progress |

before – view of fireplace

The brown sort of blended with the fireplace, but the tone was off.  The other walls were a creamy white.  All the walls had warm undertones and the fireplace has cool undertones. After I repainted my kitchen with a cool paint (Woodsmoke by Allen + Roth/Valspar Paint), the living room came off as very yellow, especially the previously creamy white.  I took it as long as I could, but this last cold snap just did me in.  I was sitting in the room discussing my dilemma with my friends, and the next thing you know I am stopping by the store to get some paint and the entire living room became this disaster.

Living Room Progress |

Insanity of painting the main room in a busy household

Because THAT will help with the sanity, right?!

As much as my husband and oldest son love to tease me that the room was fine before (and it WAS fine, but I want it to be better and I have some time and motivation to work on it now), even they have to admit the whole room is feeling crisp and bright, which is the change I was looking for.

Living Room Progress |

Progress – Paint!

I have been loving Layla’s use of Gray Owl (Benjamin Moore (BM))and I thought that might be my color, but it read as too taupe in the room, so I went one more down the gray scale to Stonington Gray (BM), lightened to 50%.  It is perfect – I am so happy with it.

I know these shots are pretty sparse and that is because after the birthing pains of painting all those walls, I want to enjoy the sweet baby (i.e., the decorating process).  Fear not, the piles of stuff taken down will morph into the new decor (or be donated) and I will be doing some new projects and bringing in some new decor items.

Living Room Progress |countingwillows.comI like to keep things pretty real, so you won’t very often see absolute perfection on my posts.  First of all, it is exhausting – you always see something later as you are editing the photos that needs to change (like that photo on the floor).    Second of all, perfection is everywhere online.  There are lots of places to find it, and I want to offer up some real solutions and a picture of what life really looks like.

Your home can be beautiful and inviting, but people live there.  That is what makes it a home, so we have to embrace those imperfections.  No one really wants to live in a sterile model home, anyway.  It’s too perfect (I can hardly believe I just said ‘too perfect’).

Living Room Progress |countingwillows.comFor example, in real life there are giant Mega Nerf guns leaning against my shelving.  That is where the reality for the moment.  There is also a pile of stuff I removed from the walls (see next photot) and a little nook behind the door that has stumped me for years.  I mean, what do you do with that space?

Living Room Progress |

Also reality – notice the switches.  Since the tones are now cool, the cream switches and outlets just do not jive for me, so I am in the process of switching out for white.  OK, to be truthful, I am waiting for my husband to help me with that so I don’t electrocute myself. That seems to be a prudent plan.

Living Room Progress |

So, to recap:

Living Room Progress |

I love lists, so here is a list of what I want to do in the space (and yay, one item is already crossed off!):

  • paint the room
  • recover the ottoman (with some lovely grain sack!) – already in progress
  • add some bright red or pink accents to the room and particularily to the mantle (I want to try the pink, so I might go with that for some Valentine’s Day accessories to test the waters)
  • rethink the pictures on the wall, come up with some new arrangements
  • repurpose or make new shelves for the wall by the TV (the ones we have are very frilly and don’t fit our style well)
  • new curtains and rods for both windows (one set might work well back in its original spot, but the others are way too short and I would like more of a punch to the pattern)
  • redo the bear chair (you cannot see it in the photos much, but it is a sad, but precious little chair from my husband’s childhood that needs some love)
  • paint and add a new top to the play table (blue or grey with a wood top)
  • paint the side and console tables (maybe Miss Mustard Seed Trophy?)
  • go through my Pinterest boards to see if I can DIY or repurpose some things I already own to add to the wall and shelving decor
  • get rid of the huge, Italian-looking vase in the nook behind the door and come up with something better for the space (a more modern vase?  display shelves?)

Any one else getting cabin fever with all this cold weather?

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