My Home Tour: The Living Room
Welcome to my house tour, the living room edition! I previously wrote about revamping the guest room and my bedroom, both of which were pretty straightforward. But the living room has always been an exercise in frustration. The good news is, I think I finally cracked the nut on it! Let's take a look:
The living room is a tricky layout -- it's essentially a wide hallway between the front hallway and the kitchen. It's hard to create much of a cozy space when you have to account for walking back and forth through the middle of the room all day. And I realized we never, ever elected to sit in the living room or hang out there.
This is what it looked like previously, mid-re-arranging:
I asked myself why we didn't sit in the living room... and all arrows pointed to the pink couch. My beloved pink couch was very shallow (maybe people did less lounging in the 60's?), and the velvet was beautiful but on the scratchy side. It wasn't a couch to lounge on -- it was a couch to Instagram, tbh.
So I faced facts and listed the pink couch on Chairish (sort of an eBay meets Craigslist for nice vintage furniture), and eventually it sold for 10X what I paid for it. (Maybe I should go into business as a vintage couch flipper?) This softened the blow of admitting my beautiful couch was not that practical, and I sadly bid it goodbye.
So I decided to re-think the living room, using my profits from the couch and any other furniture sales, to make it a cozy room for lounging instead of a hallway.
I'm a huge fan of mid-century modern design, but I realized my dark wood credenza and leather armchair were making the room feel heavy and crowded.
Victoria's living room inspired me with its white linen sectional and good lounge vibes. I particularly loved her black CB2 wall sconce over her sofa, which I was unashamed to copy completely:
My natural instinct was that my living room was crying out for an L-shaped couch under the window. It's the corner with the most wall space, and the nicest light in the room for reading or working. It would also solve the problem of dead corners that the long skinny couch had created.
My heart wanted the leather Sven sectional from Article, but I didn't want to spend $3k on a couch.
So instead, I got creative. While perusing Craigslist, I found a white Crate and Barrel Petrie sofa for only $400, and the corresponding ottoman for a mere $25. Sure, it involved a trek to Oakland to pick it up, and bringing it home on Bart (gross), and it desperately needed to be professionally cleaned, but for $25 I was willing to work for my treasure.
The couch and ottoman are the same Crate and Barrel "Petrie" line that makes my white chair in my bedroom, another Craigslist find that's held up well over the years.
I put the ottoman in front of the couch under the window, and voila! An almost-sectional for the price of tax on the Article sofa. I was worried the ottoman wouldn't stay put, but it's been no problem at all:
The CB2 coffee table was an impromptu Craigslist find. Definitely not my usual style, but I loved the pretty grey color of the concrete. And I felt like it would provide a good contrast to all the white linen. It's now my favorite piece in the room.
The rug is a 9x12 jute number from Amazon, and it's great for the price. I would recommend it. You definitely have to be okay with a little shedding, but that's true of most jute rugs, and I'm not willing to pay 5X the price for a West Elm version that might have slightly less shedding.
I found this pair of white Lee Industries chairs on Craigslist for $100 for the pair. I sank into them in the lady's garage, and knew I wanted them immediately. They're so well-made, they perfectly exemplify why I love Craigslist -- they let me purchase quality, heirloom furniture at Target prices.
But then I had a problem on my hands -- I had unintentionally ended up with a white couch and white chairs, and I didn't want the room to veer too 90's Pottery Barn. So I looked for black, grey, and dark green accents to make the room more sophisticated.
On Instagram I asked people to vote for white or pom pom lampshade. I don't know why I bothered asking, because I LOVE the pom poms, okay? Your overwhelming vote for white didn't persuade me. The reason: pom poms are awesome, but I also needed some texture and pattern in a very white room. I wish the shade was a little bigger, but it was on super sale from Anthropologie and at the end of the day, I love it.
Would you believe me if I told you my two routers were hidden in those books? I tried to hide the router on the ground, but turns out that doesn't create a very good wifi signal. The fat green book is from Amazon here, but I realized it was basically a cardboard box with a hole in the back and I could just as easily make one. So the other fat book I made from cardboard, wrapped in an old book cover. Ideally I would find a cover that actually fits the "book," but it's fine for now.
I majorly struggled with lighting in this room. I originally ordered wall sconces to mount to the wall over each chair, but as my friend said, suddenly it looked like a hair salon. The black task lamp was on super sale from West Elm and looks different enough from the others that it worked out.
The black and purple painting over the chair I won in an auction from Everything But the House. A silly name for a not silly concept, EBTH is an online auction site. I'm not sure why I'm telling you about it, because I want to keep it all to myself. It's particularly fun to window shop for insane estate sale items.
That pom pom white pillow is $19 from Target and it's from their new Project 62 collection. It's the perfect example of how you can create visual interest with texture.
The wall with the TV is a lot better than before, but it's still the part of the room that's still slightly struggling. The planter technically lives in my bedroom, and has to go back eventually. The TV is sitting on my old coffee table -- a huge improvement over a tall credenza that was previously there, but potentially not the true solution.
Turns out, having the TV down lower makes it feel much less imposing on the room. But the coffee table doesn't do a great job hiding cords and plugs, a necessity.
Ideally, I'd love an old vintage steamer trunk for the TV to sit on, but it would need to be very long and skinny to fit in that space and look balanced under the TV (who knew all trunks are basically the same size?) I could also see a long wood blanket chest looking good too. Something to consider.
This light fixture was a classic scheme gone awry, that eventually turned out okay, but I wouldn't recommend. It's a design by Lindsey Adelman that you can purchase the parts to make yourself.
Except somehow the pipe parts I received were too small for electrical wiring to fit through. So I had to take it to an electrician to re-wire when I admitted defeat. I love the final look though!
The Joan Didion photo is a Google Image search result printed really huge at Walgreens and framed in a Ribba frame. Now you know all my framing secrets from this post, you'll see them everywhere...
So that's pretty much it! This is where all the lounging and blogging happens now, and we couldn't be happier. It's crazy how much time we spend in this room now, that previously would have been spent in bed or at the kitchen table. No we just have to not spill red wine or chocolate on the couch, and we're good to go.
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