A Warmer Welcome: (Finally) Decorating the Living Room
Well! I certainly didn’t mean to take two weeks off from blogging, but we have been doing a whole lot of nothing over here lately, so there hasn’t been much to tell about. We still haven’t fixed the wine glass shelves…and that’s okay. Someday.
In the past two weeks we have gone on two tours of historic homes in the area (for those of you familiar with Pittsburgh, one was in Friendship and the other in Penn Hills) and let me just say, it was both incredibly inspirational and incredibly overwhelming at the same time. These homes were absolutely gorgeous, but not in a designer, glossy magazine way — they were old, lived-in, well-loved, and decorated in such a way that you could tell real people lived there. I found a certain beauty in that that is hard to find in the world of Pinterest and “blog-worthy” homes. Here are a few snaps from the tours — I don’t want to post too many, out of respect for the people who are living in these homes, but I have to show a couple favorites.
The flooring details in these homes were stunning.
See what I mean? Imperfect decor, nothing “designer” about it — but you could totally picture curling up here with a mug of tea and a book at the end of the day, right?
The fireplaces in these homes were to die for. I think this was one of my favorites, located in the very grand foyer of a Victorian mansion.
I just love the warmth in these homes, with all the wood and earthy tones in the decor — and yet they never felt stifling or dark because there was so much natural light.
I think these home tours can be partially blamed for my recent bout of “decorator’s block”. I gathered so much inspiration and left each home with ideas buzzing around in my head, but coming home to my house that’s half-decorated, half-unpacked, half-apartment furniture has a way of sucking the inspiration right out of me. So I’ve spent the past couple of weeks puttering around the house, trying to clean some things up and get organized, looking at all the areas of our house that need work and thinking, “I hate that. I hate that too. Yep. That too!” And then I become overwhelmed with the work that needs to be done, and I plop down on the couch (and think, “Oh, and we still have to order a new cover for this too”) and watch TV instead.But I think I’ve finally wrapped my head around some of it, and I’m going to use these ideas towards redoing the living room. With the holidays on the horizon, and the possibility in mind that we may be hosting something (Halloween movie night? Thanksgiving? Out of town family at Christmas? Who knows), I want to make sure that the first thing our guests see when they walk in the door (and the room they have to walk through to get to the dining room) is warm and inviting, and not…this:
This is an older picture, but not much has changed in there — if anything, it’s gotten worse (read: messier). Overall this room is pretty sad, and it’s a bad first impression to make. This room gets a ton of natural light because of the big picture window, so like the inspiring Victorian homes above, I think it can handle some darker, warmer colors. I used Sherwin Williams’ Chip It! tool to get a color palette from my favorite image above, and this is what it came up with:
I absolutely love it. It’s got the warmth we’re going for, with a little bit of cool blue thrown in to balance it out. The current paint color (Brown Buzz by Valspar) is staying, but I think it’s enough of a neutral that it can handle a palette like this.
First off, we’ll finally be ordering the new cover for our couch that we’ve been intending to order for the past, oh, four months? Five? We haven’t quite decided on a color yet, but that’s one of my top priorities for this room.We also want to add more comfortable seating to the room by way of a loveseat in front of the window. The cane chairs we have there now are fine, but I’d like them to be less “main seating” and more “extra seating” for when we have a larger number of people.
They’ll get moved to the far end of the room, one in each corner. The biggest project we’ll be doing in here will also take place at that end of the room: building a new faux fireplace. We wanted to have a real (ventless) one put in, and build a mantel around it, but the problem is that our thermostat is right next to that area.
Having an actual heat-generating fireplace in that room would mean that the thermostat would be judging the whole house’s heat by the heat coming from the fireplace — which would make it think it was hotter than it really was, and cause it to turn off before the rest of the house had warmed up to the set temperature. I admit that I haven’t been the biggest fan of faux fireplaces in the past, but on the historic home tours there were plenty of once-functional, now-decorative-only fireplaces, and they still added so much depth and character to the space even though they no longer worked. Plus, I grew up in a house with a non-functional fireplace, and I loved having a mantel to decorate and hang stockings on at Christmas. So with our options being faux fireplace or no fireplace, I’m choosing faux.
The rest of the room will get freshened up with new window treatments and accessories as well. Hopefully when we’re done, we’ll have a warm, inviting living room — just in time for the holidays!
As seen on…