The Living Room: From Sad Furniture Graveyard to Polished and Cozy Space
Our living room has been many things since moving in: staging area for moving boxes…
Sad empty room…
And even a graveyard for all the furniture we didn’t want anymore. Yep, our kitchen island lived in the living room for a good three or four months during and after our kitchen renovation before we finally sold it on Craigslist.
The one thing it hasn’t been? A living room. Comfortable seating, extra storage, and cohesive decor are just some of the things that this room had been lacking. With the holidays on the horizon, and the potential for hosting guests increasing, we knew that the living room needed to step up its game if we were going to be entertaining anyone anytime soon.
Inspired by our recent tours of historic homes in the area, our main goals for this room were to create a seating arrangement that encouraged conversation, create a space that was comfortable and inviting to sit in, and bring some calm sophistication and warmth into the decor. We started by establishing a color palette (which we ended up veering from slightly, but it was still a good jumping-off point) and ordering new curtains.
Hanging the curtains turned into touching up the paint, which turned into putting another full coat on all the walls because we had a lot of bare spots we hadn’t noticed before. Once the paint dried we tried out a not-so-obvious seating arrangement and ended up loving it, so it stayed that way.
Progress seemed like it slowed down, because no matter what we did to the room, there was an elephant in it that was dragging the whole thing down: the navy blue sofa cover. Luckily our new cover arrived just in time, and it made a huge difference in the room. With the new sofa cover we could finally see our vision coming together, and the door casing we installed added some much-needed character to the space.
Just last week the crowning piece arrived, our vintage Broyhill Brasilia chest that I scored for just $40 a few years back. With this final furniture item in place, we were able to clean up the dust, fluff the pillows, perfect the decor, and finally today I’m here to call the room “done”.
Here’s the finished DIY door casing. I hope to have a tutorial for this up sometime soon!
We even have a proper place for our record player and speakers now! Our records are currently living on the shelf of the sofa table, waiting to be alphabetized. Eventually we want to build a cabinet to house them, to replace the small table that the record player is sitting on now, so that we don’t have to go to opposite ends of the room to select a record and then play it.
For the decor, we decided to bring in warm tones like red and brown, and plenty of wood furniture, to ground the space and add a cozy factor. I love the way the colors play off the neutral-green walls (Brown Buzz by Valspar). We kept the wall art simple, with two large sepia-toned prints: one of Northern Point by Andrew Wyeth, seen above, and one an old photograph of Carnegie Lyceum, a.k.a. Carnegie Hall, which came folded up in Chicago’s Live at Carnegie Hall record set, which we hung above the Brasilia chest. We also hung a mirror at the far end of the room behind the couch, so that it reflects light from the window and also reflects the print of Northern Point from certain angles.
We also utilized lots of metallic accents to bring a touch of modern into the room, and peppered throughout are sentimental pieces such as photos, my wedding bouquet and our cake toppers, some inherited items from family members, and the “P” cork letter that I crafted from the corks from our winery wedding.
We are thrilled with how this room came out. It’s a room that has barely gotten any use since we moved in (unless you count being used as a junk room “use”), but now that it’s finished, we’re using it quite frequently. I’m writing this post from the living room couch! I like to come in here in the evenings to read or write and enjoy my evening cup of tea while Jason watches TV in the family room. It’s definitely meeting our desire for a comfortable, cozy, calm space, and we can’t wait to entertain our first guests in the new space. Who wants to come over? I’ll make butternut squash stuffed shells for you.
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