decorating

The living room needs updating

I’ve been mostly satisfied with my living room ever since I came up with this new arrangement by “floating” the sofa. It keeps the sitting area out of the line of traffic and makes for a nice energy flow around the room. The room is too big (and/or our TV too small) to put the sofa on one wall and the TV on another.

Still, now that we’ve emerged from the most challenging and sleep-deprived first year of my second son’s life, I’ve been getting the decorating and styling itch all over again. I rarely stay satisfied with my spaces for long, and I am just basically obsessed with interior styling.

My living room has been a casual, vintage-modern style for some time. The soft cozy rug has been a wonderful place for my kids to crawl and play (more on the rug in a bit) and the sofa is a nice dark velvety micro-suede that has held up very well to busy family life.

These pictures don’t really show it, but the space has been feeling a little tired lately, and there are definitely aspects of the room I’ve been wanting to change.

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  1. The dark gold curtains really limit the color palette I can use. They are a nice color and texture, but they definitely require that the rest of the space remain fairly muted. Bright blue is about the only saturated color that goes with the curtains. Red–the exact right red–looks OK too.
  2. The TV is fairly prominent. The window is probably the first thing people see when they walk in, and that’s good. But still… the TV could definitely be camouflaged.
  3. We’ve been missing a coffee table for quite some time. Our old one was a long rectangle and didn’t fit in this set-up, and the table corners were a hazard for our busy kids. We made do for some time with a pair of red storage ottomans, but I tired of them and sold them.

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That credenza anchors the space nicely, but I stole it from our dining room, and I often wish it still lived there. I also don’t have enough shelves for books and accessories; maybe a new solution could solve both issues.

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It doesn’t look too bad in this picture because the room is styled and cleaned up, but the electronics on top of the lone book shelf really highlight them in a not-so-great way. Like, HEY EVERYONE LOOK AT THIS SPEAKER AND MODEM AND ROUTER. Basically I’ve just been too lazy to drill a hole in the back of the shelves and move the electronics down. As in: too lazy for almost four years.

Also, the bookshelf is just a tad short and the empty space above seems to make the ceilings feel lower than they are. If the electronics were gone, I could style that top shelf to visually lift the ceiling.

Finally, the rug. It’s the West Elm pebble rug; I believe they no longer make it. It’s big and soft and cozy and has been wonderful in many ways. We originally bought it for our bedroom, but moved it downstairs when our first son started crawling. The size (8.6″ x 10″) has been just right to really anchor the space, maybe a bit short length-wise for the back legs of the wicker chairs, but overall great.

The problem with the rug is that it is impossible to keep clean with two kids and a dog. Considering how much this rug handles in a day, it has actually done surprisingly well. Spills and uh… other “liquid” messes actually clean up pretty easily because it is a wool rug and naturally water repellent. Dirt and dust is another matter. Grime loves to reside in the deep crevices between the huge looped felted wool piles. I vacuum it several times a week and it is still dirty if I pull the pile apart and get close. I’ve tried taking it outside and beating the back of it; doesn’t help much. I’ve used my vacuum’s crevice tool to clean between the felted piles, but it’s not a sustainable chore.

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Finally, I’ve come to believe that the rug in a room really defines the space and sets the tone. Aside from the walls, the rug takes up the most visual space in this room. I’ve realized recently that my style is more feminine and slightly more fancy/glam/traditional than I’ve allowed myself to be in the past.

Stay tuned!

Psst… you can see some progress here.

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