Loving the Living Room

I moved the best of two worlds (my apartment and my sister’s; she headed for California) into my condo, but the best of both worlds came with some drawbacks. Having all of the furniture I needed meant I didn’t need to buy anything (yay!) but I also didn’t get to choose anything (boo!).  In a few rooms that meant giving myself some time to choose what I wanted and upgrade over time to better pieces.

My living room, however, was another story. That room was fully furnished, and much of the furniture was very nice.  The centerpiece? A (very valuable) Oriental rug from my grandmother. I also had most of my father’s newly-divorced living room set, with a masculine/traditional look going. It wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t my taste either. Especially with my darker-gray walls in a North-facing room, it also made the room feel dark and small.

Living Room Old

Also, it looked like my grandparents lived here. I felt like the sofa was old-man, the table was old-lady and the rug just old-people. I am a brat, and I am sorry. The table on the left of the sofa was nice though…honestly, that was the only thing I genuinely liked. I was neutral on the other end table and the blue chair.

I considered repainting the walls to make it work, but my friend Brad (he of the brilliant paint choices) suggested a new rug might make a huge difference. (This is probably why he now works for a home staging company, right?)

We went on a mini shopping spree, picking up a new end table lamp in glass (much lighter then the heavy ceramic you see above), a rug that was both smaller AND lighter, and new throw pillows for the couch. On a whim, he also talked me in to a new lamp for the mantel. I was “meh” about it when he picked it, but now I love it. I still wouldn’t necessarily say its “my style” but it is so perfect for the space–a great lesson about style not being the only indicator that something is right!

Living Room ProgressThat was two years ago, and I instantly loved it more—it doesn’t even look like the same room! Incredible considering we changed only three things (and added a cream blanket that was formerly hanging out in my bedroom).

So. much. better. I hosted game club at my house shortly after this, and one girl asked if I’d gotten a new couch and told me she really liked it. A couple days later another friend said the same thing. I don’t love it still, but it was a great working-with-what-I’ve-got lesson.

Next up, that table. It belonged to my parents. Who are divorced, and have been for 19 years. They bought it when they got married. Goodbye. I pinned the heck out of various table ideas. I thought glass would be great for making the room look lighter still, but Brad (yep, the home styler again) pointed out that his glass coffee table it takes two people to move it. Oh. So I settled on two smaller glass cube tables. These are really similar (identical?) to Pottery Barn’s Tanner Cube tables, except they were less than $100 each on Overstock.com.

Living Room Feb 12Oh, and I got the same Target chair that everyone else has. Can you spot my Christmas presents? The pillow is sitting pretty on the couch (love the rectangular shape) and the blanket basket is diagonal from this shot.


Boyfriend got me a basket and a new blanket for Christmas. I don’t like the look of the red one, but its cozy so I live with it.

Blanket basketAnd the rest of the room? Here’s looking from the windows back towards the door…you can just make out the stenciled hallway reflecting in the mirror on the hall cabinet.

Living Room Door view

And from the center hallway, where you can see the lamp a little better. Both the base and shade are oval, and the color is just right.


I’m mostly happy with the mantel right now. The photo is me and my parents before my sister was born–my uncle took it. And the little photo canvas is one of my grandfather’s photos. There was a huge set that used to be hung in their house, and when we divided up their estate I got this one. It was taken before I was born when my grandparents (mothers) came out to my grandparents (fathers) house in Tahoe. He was an avid photographer and my mom has some of his old photos displayed too. I don’t love the framing, but its permanently attached so I’ll deal–and the picture is gorgeous. I’m still working on styling all this, but its much better than it used to be!

Living Room Mantel

What are your best tricks for styling mantels? Tables? Mine definitely still need some work!



6 thoughts on “Loving the Living Room

  1. I really think that cream chair made a huge difference. And I like the openness of the glass coffee tables. I’m contemplating copying you on those, but I have to admit that I want a surface I can put my feet on when I’m watching or reading.

    • I think so too…amazing what a little lightness can do! I love them, and I put my feet up on them too. Or are you thinking more an ottoman?

  2. Pingback: Style Evolution: Old Apartment | homemade•handmade

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