Living Room Sparks

22 Jul

Aside from the organizational challenges that come with a small house, my Achilles heel has been the living room.

I’ve been struggling with how to design the space to make it special without replacing all the furniture, which our budget and Hubby would totally let me do (said with dripping sarcasm).  It’s your standard small living room.  Nothing architecturally notable.  With pass-throughs to the hall and dining room, there was only 1 way to layout the tv and seating and the furniture, rug and curtains that looked so phenomenal in the apartment look lackluster in the house’s living room.

I’m always hesitant to admit this, but I preferred the layout of the living room when we first toured the house to our furniture layout.  The previous owner had more of a collection of smaller scaled pieces and not just your standard couch, chair, coffee table.  Although her pieces weren’t my style, the overall composition was effective:

Now I really don’t want to show you our current living room, but I will anyway….

It doesn’t help that I’m not particularly happy with our living room furniture.  The rug and coffee table were purchased when hubby and I moved in together (and I think both are too visually heavy for this space) and the couch and chair were purchased with wedding gift $.  Ugh, the couch and chair.  Let me just say- in the future, couches will be purchased for style AND construction, NOT style and low price.  In less than a year, the couch back cushions started looking terrible and the fabric started  bubbling.

The chair is not abused as much, so it’s in better shape, but its still not ideal.  When we were picking them out, I kept pushing toward a non-matching chair in a different pattern or color than the couch.  Hubby insisted on the matching chair, and I picked my battles.  Now, however he denies that the discussion went down that way, but we all know who’s right (eh hem, me).

Ok. Enough complaining and on to the “sparks” part.  Ideas are forming (FINALLY)!

I’ve been obsessed with this sofa image, and its gotten me thinking about what I love about certain spaces.

I love an eclectic and chic collection of pieces and textures.  I don’t want a living room that looks like I went to the furniture store and bought the complete vignette they had on display (which is the vibe I think our current living room is giving off).  As a designer myself, I feel like its the biggest cop-out for me to have a ‘collection’ that another designer selected to market to the masses.  Don’t get me wrong, furniture store collections look nice and I wouldn’t hate on you if you had them.  I personally want a distinctive space that you won’t find walking into any furniture store or anyone elses house.  I’m a design snob- I admit it.

Look, no cutains!

So here are my plans for our living room so far:

  • The curtains gotta go.  I love the look of floor to ceiling curtains, but after giving it the old college try, it’s just not effective in here.  We don’t need the curtains since we have the plantation shutters, so out they go.
  • Textured paint treatment.  In the apartment I had a satin stripe treatment in the same color and it was subtle but chic.  I’ll either do a similar satin stripe (at a smaller scale) or do a glossier stripe in 1 shade difference.
  • I’ve resigned to the fact that the sofa’s going to stick around for a little while.  I’m going to keep my eye out for chair(s) that I could reupholster, though.
  • Artwork or a mirror behind the couch.  I have some DIY thoughts on that, so it’ll be a surprise.
  • I need to do something with the sad little Starry Night canvas (from a fleamarket for just $10! I did have to fly home from Florida with it as my carry-on though).
  • Coffee table.  I’m looking for it’s perfect replacement.  When I see it, I’ll know.
  • Mount the TV on the wall.
  • Accessorize & style!

I will conquer this living room beast eventually!!

What do you think of these ideas?  What would you change/do differently?  I’d love your input!

*all images via Pinterest
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5 Responses to “Living Room Sparks”

  1. Real estate logo design 07.23.2011 at 7:35 am #

    Wow nice collection of rooms i like it

  2. Susan Koslow 07.25.2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Karen,
    You are not a design snob…I completely agree with you that your living room should never look like you bought the entire set of a showroom display. I see that in so many living rooms, and it always makes me shudder….it just does not feel like it reflects any warmth or creativity or personality. It looks like you have already painted the living room once, but have you thought about a lighter color? I love the last image you posted with the minty green walls and the awesome white wood blinds (I think the yellow area rug is West Elm??). Love your blog, and I have been following it on FB! It’s great to see that you have the same design frustrations that I have!

    • vintageviolet 07.26.2011 at 10:02 pm #

      Thanks Susan! It’s good to know I’m not alone. How’s your new house and renovations going?

  3. Susan Koslow 07.27.2011 at 9:28 am #

    The new house is great and we are enjoying our new digs! The renovation was finished back in March & we have a new kitchen, with a full view of the back yard and woods/trees now. I am finding the furniture and artwork placement to be the hardest part now….I can’t seem to commit to anything!

    I will try to send you my before and after shots now that the boxes are finally out of the way!

    • vintageviolet 07.27.2011 at 1:19 pm #

      That’s fantastic! I’d love to see the changes!!

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