Hi! And welcome back to the latest installment of the Room by Room Summer Showcase, hosted by my friend Amy of My Life From Home.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my friends and I will be sharing one room in our homes per week through August 15th. I’ve already shared my newly made-over foyer.
This week, we are visiting our living rooms.
We all have them – those rooms that are constantly in a state of change. There are a few rooms in my home I’ve had the opportunity to make-over from scratch, but as a rule, that isn’t the typical way to do things. Not only can most of us not afford to do that, but it also doesn’t make a lot of sense to try to make-over a room all at one time because a truly unique room evolves.
For us, our living room is THAT room. We’ve owned this house for over ten years and have made numerous changes, each one getting us closer to our “dream.” If you have one of THOSE rooms and don’t know where to start the process, here are a few ideas that I found made the biggest impact as the room evolves.
If you’re looking for an immediate change, this is where to start. Try to relax when you’re picking a color – don’t feel like you’ll be living with the decision for the rest of your life. If you don’t like it, you can always paint over it!
For example, when we first moved in, this room had dark wood paneling, chair rail, and crown molding. The same tobacco-colored walls found in our foyer were in the living room as well. The fireplace was red brick and not trimmed.
Initially, we decided to keep the dark wood throughout, save for the paneling. We chose a light yellow for the walls and olive green on the paneling. It was dark. Very dark. Our leather furniture faded into the walls. I didn’t spend a lot of time in there.
So, we painted again. We went with white on all of the trim and Behr Marquee paint in Painters White. We love it. We may paint again, but if we don’t, I’ll still be happy – that tells me we got it right!
We also added a white, trim surround onto the fireplace and painted the fireplace bricks to compliment the kitchen tiles.
We’ve started making over the stairs, but it’s a work in progress. Nothing to see here – moving along!
Our living room has seen more than a few configurations. With a large family, we are always looking for the most flexible floor plan with the maximum seating.
We use ottomans throughout the room, both upholstered and ceramic, to extend our seating when necessary.
We added lighting
Probably the biggest and best investment we’ve made was to add overhead, recessed lighting. There is a sunroom off of the living room that sucks a vast majority of natural light from the living room. A lighter color paint helped significantly, but it wasn’t enough – it still felt cave-like. If you have a low light room, and you can afford to add recessed lighting, it would be well worth the investment. I can’t tell you what a difference it made.
Two of our lamps came from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Ironically, we found the same lamp at Goodwill a few years later! Someday, I’d like to give them a makeover or to mix them up with some other styles – next on my list!
We re-used furniture
My husband had the leather sofa and loveseat before we married and it’s been great with kids as far as spills go – it’s completely washable. When it comes to sofas, you get your money’s worth so be sure to get the best you can afford. We’ve had this set for over ten years, and it’s still going strong. I do, however, get tired of the dark color and may at some point do a slipcover to change things up.
Believe it or not, our coffee table is nearly twenty years old. It was one of those great TJ Maxx finds! I love the herringbone inset pattern on the center of the table.
The end tables are also pre-blog purchases. They are a bit small for the size of the sofa.. one day I’ll get around to giving them a make-over as well. For now, they work.
The bookshelves came from my husband’s office when they were redecorating – you can’t beat free! I have lofty plans to use them for built-ins with closed storage to hide all of the kid paraphernalia – we’ll see what happens!
To keep our room feeling fresh, we frequently change things up in the living room. You may remember these pillows were in my game room earlier this year, and have now found their way downstairs.
Our other accessories come from all over the place – things I’ve made, vacations we’ve taken, thrift stores, T.J. Maxx, Target and some from loved ones and each other.
Plants and flowers bring life to our living room. More often than not I use faux. It’s easy to move them around the house for pops of color, and I can’t kill them.
Trays keep coasters and books neat and tidy while adding a pop of color or contrast.
We purchased the rug before the lighting was installed to help bring light to the room. Now that we have a bit of light to play with I think our next rug will be able to incorporate some color.
The artwork is the area that I struggle with the most in my living room. The furniture is large, and I am always looking for art to balance that out, but my tastes change so frequently that I’m afraid to invest in real art for fear that I’ll lose interest in it. Instead, I strive for objects d’ art to act as long term temporary solutions.
The large botanical print above the sofa we’ve had for over ten years. I know it doesn’t accurately reflect our style but I like it, and until I find something that I like more it will stay.
It’s almost time to retire the scrapbooking paper collage, but I’ve not decided on a replacement.
I change the art above the fireplace with the season, flanking each side with art that either matches or compliments one another.
Take your time
If you have a room that is also in a state of constant change and you don’t know where to start, try adding new paint and inexpensive accessories for an immediate impact. Then, when you are able, look at adding quality furniture and art.
Here is what I’ll be working on in the days to come – most of which is merely a dream at this point!
Things I’d like to change in my living room:
- Make-over the end tables
- Focal wall above fireplace
- Slipcovers for Sofa and love seat
- Staircase make-over
- New Flooring
- Over-sized artwork
- Travel gallery wall
- Lamp Love
Thanks so much for taking a look and be sure to continue the living room tour by hopping over to visit my friends!