Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Living Room Redux

After we got our bedroom in order, I turned my attention to our living room. Last I showed you, I had gone against my husband's wishes and painted it white. It was pretty stark, so naturally it drove me crazy and I had to fill in the Great Blank. Problem is I had pretty much blown my budget with paint supplies, so I had to get creative, as I had recently done in our bedroom. Little by little the white got filled in, and I gave a sigh of relief and thanked Past Christine for having the foresight to embrace the neutrality of white.

Behold, the neutrality of white:

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I, of course, didn't have the foresight to take a "before" picture (I just started moving furniture and splashing paint around, it was PRETTY INTENSE), but our previous paint color basically matched the furniture. And the wood flooring. Which meant everything was the same color, and it was making me a raving lunatic. White seemed like the neutral with the most longevity, and Pegasus (an Olympic paint--I used satin) is proving to be a paint kindred. It's clean and bright and on the cool side of things without being stark, and it makes our space feel HUGE. We used it in our upstairs bathroom last summer, and I'm still happy with it, even on this much wall space.

Here's a testament to the power of white paint: Before using it on the walls, I was starting to hate my beautiful, expensive, wonderfully-made couch, loveseat, and armchair simply because they were brown. I secretly wished for them to die in a fiery crash. (?? I don't know, I was irrational.) Who wishes such a fate on Bassett furniture? People surrounded by brown, that's whom. Then I painted the walls, and the brown furniture became beautiful and practical and timeless again. I once again thank Past Christine for her risky first-year-of-marriage purchase, because let's face it, Present Christine could never blow that much money on furniture. It's all due to the power of white paint, people.

As you might be able to see from the above picture, I like busyness. I like patterns (and lots of 'em!) all mixed together in what I hope are complementary ways. I got the biggest, baddest area rug I could find (this one from Rugs USA) in the boldest, most eyeball-watering pattern available. (Note: I don't have any other rugs on my wood floors, since we deal with allergies, but this is our only living space, so it needs a rug. This one is nearly 8' X 11' and it is PERFECT.) I decided to welcome every color but pink, although maybe pink will sneak in there without me noticing. I started throwing lots and lots of things on the walls, and my happy factor rose by about six thousand points, which is just shy of Total Bliss on the Happy Scale. Finally! My living room was eclectic, crazy, and print-happy, and I was truly enjoying it for the first time in years.

Now shut up, Christine. You talk too much.

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Let's see. Nothing here was new (the frames are the always popular and versatile Ribba frames from Ikea, and the pillow is Jori's favorite, from Pier 1 a couple years ago) except I found that new lampshade from Target and the green candlestick was a clearance special from Hobby Lobby. The kids' pictures used to be lined up in a row above our couch (as seen here, in our baby announcement), but I much rather like this close grouping. Bonus: Rae took that picture of H.
In this corner I both maintained some established elements and changed some stuff up.

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I spy three separate plants in this photo.
I have a lot of plants, y'all.
What we left the same was the grouping on the wall of the World's Fair poster and father-in-law-made shelving. (Those were the shelves borne of me handing him the Pottery Barn catalog, saying "I like these, please make them," and him performing miraculous miracles of carpentry.) It just worked for this space; the only change I made was to the stuff on the shelves.
The table is an old Hemnes from Ikea we've had for years. I can't even find this model online, so we officially have an Ikea antique. Fun fact: I really like it in the living room because it stands up to my kids and its doors hide useful things like coasters and babies who like to climb on its shelves. The glass antique lamp was a garage sale find from years ago. I did purchase the curtain (from World Market, here) and curtain rod (Hobby Lobby) specifically for this room, and I'm so happy I chose to go with a crazy mismatch of patterns. I left our star light (Ikea!) up after Christmas and made it permanent by containing its cord with a cable cover. It adds much whimsy. Whimsy pleases me.
Our one major change in this corner was shedding the Chair of Destiny. I still loved it, and always will, but it took up a ton of space in our narrow room and wasn't really serving us well. I passed it on to an appreciative and Chair of Destiny-loving friend and replaced it with this Klappsta from Ikea. I did NOT pay $150 for it--I paid $15 at a consignment store. It was in fabulous shape, aside from a few stains, and I went to work with both a bleach pen and some fabric at once. I managed to get out the arm stains, and the cushion is now happily ensconced in some fabric I found at--wait for it--Ikea a few years ago. I'd like to spray paint the legs some happy color, like red, once I figure out how to operate an allen wrench.

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I should note that we tried a few different furniture configurations in this room, but ultimately landed right back where we started. We have a long, narrow living room that doesn't allow for much versatility or for a coffee table. The lack of a coffee table might be my one great regret.
I've had this end table in the next shot for a couple years now, originally bought from another local consignment store. I bought it painted dark brown, but the paint/sealant job wasn't well done and it started scuffing and peeling in no time. I looked around downstairs for some paint that was a) punchy and b) enough to cover a small table, so yellow it was. Sorry the lamp is so bright. I never claimed to be a photographer. Oh, and the owl canvas was a present from my parents. It's from Pier 1. OH YEAH, and the lamp is from a consignment store. I think it looks like an aquamarine brain.


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My big project in this room was filling in the large amount of wall space over the couch. We had a lot of action and color going along the top of the wall (thanks again to my father-in-law for the amazing shelves!) and a lot going on with the chevron floor, but the big blank wall in between remained blank for some time due to its sheer level of daunt. Over time I gathered a whole bunch of possiblilities, mostly from my house or even my mom's house, and one night I finally said, "Husband, we have got to get hanging."

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The only things I bought specifically for this wall were the little yellow chair (Hobby Lobby), the blue Martha Stewart chalk paint for inside the large frame (Michael's) and the Shirley Poppy print. (I love The Black Apple and have been yearning to buy something of hers for several years now. I finally had a good excuse!) The weird mirrored shelf thing, found at the same store as my now-yellow table, houses my ever-burgeoning collection of cow creamers and serves a second, deeply satisfying function of annoying the heck out of my husband. I think he's creeped by the cows. You can't see it in this picture, but the red frame hosts a porcelain unicorn of King Peter the Boy's. (Perhaps you can spot it in the photo of the brain lamp.) The green pillow is one I found at Pier 1 many moons ago; I made the blue one; the purple one is from the-store-that-shall-not-be-named; and the multi-colored chevron was hanging out at our local Marshall's.
Here's a closer look at one side of that wall:

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So the blue chalkboard paint is right on the wall, framed by the old frame that used to house my high school senior photo. (I will never put that on the blog. Just FYI.) The cat/map canvas was made by my sister-in-law years ago; I think we actually stole it some time back. The black and white photograph is my husband's I had printed on canvas. The lamp was my last purchase for the room; it's also from Ikea, and I'm super duper happy with it. It's a seriously well-made lamp, and it comes in red, too!

I honestly didn't spend much money for this project. I used birthday and Christmas money, as well as money from a few things I sold, to fund anything I felt I needed to buy; the rest I either dug up out of my basement or dug up out of my mom's basement. Clearly whatever I couldn't find used I found at Ikea (honestly, I don't go there very often at all), and whatever I didn't like the color of I painted. These are my methods.

Thanks for putting up with my detailed blathering. I know it's not a major renovation, but I'm really happy with how this room is shaping up. I feel like finally my teenage self, who had purple walls and a crazy amount of wall hangings with no relation to one another, is justified in her eclectic tastes. It's like the 17-year-old me is now legitimate.

It feels awesome, you guys.

ps: Bonus points to my dad for changing out all of our old outlets, switches, and covers. He gets many virtual high fives, everyone.


Raechel said...

Ahh! So many things to love!!

1. the yellow chair on the wall. Not sure why I'm beginning with that, but I am and I think it's perfectly Case.

2. Virtual high fives to Mr. Becker. I'm in.

3. We have that same Ikea floor lamp. More virtual high fives!

4. Clever about the chalkboard paint on the wall!

5. My favorite lamp is the blue one with the tall tall shade. Fave.

6. The rug is brilliant. So was your fix on the chair.

7. I will miss the chair of destiny. But I think you made the right call.

8. It pleases me to see Mr. Raisin on the wall via my camera. Yay!

9. White walls look good on you (or so I assume)

10. I'd like to be in that living room with you right now!

Hugs and kisses and that picture of KPTB's mouth (nom nom nom...)


Tracy said...

It looks great!