If you came over to my house today, we would probably sit here in the living room with some coffee. I would stop our conversation every few minutes to stick my fingers down Louie’s throat because she found another contraband item to eat. (Usually a tiny thread of carpet she managed to pull up or a dead bug that never received a proper introduction to my vacuum cleaner. It’s a good thing she’s cute.) We would talk and relax and I’d keep making you coffee until you turned into a coffee bean. It would be awesome.
Sadly, this is the internet, and the chances of you actually coming to my house are pretty slim, and I can’t email you a cup of coffee. (I would if I could. Someone please invent that technology.) Since you can’t come hang out in my living room, I’ll take you on a virtual tour. This post will just be some current photos and photos of how the living room has evolved over the last two years. Later this week, I’ll post some tips for styling your own living room, and walk you through my thought process for styling and tweaking a space.
I’ll share the sources for furniture and decor at the end of the post, but won’t have many links. Almost everything in this room was either thrifted or given to us!
Let’s get started!
I love this corner. I rearranged this room after we took down the Christmas tree and this is my favorite of the 4 layouts we’ve tried. This room only has one outlet, and about 4 feet of actual wall space. Two walls are full of doors, and the radiator bench behind the couch previously dissuaded me from trying this layout. I like it though! It makes the most sense for the furniture we currently have.
The room you see here is my office. I’ll do an office tour sometime in the future! The other door is a coat closet.
Oh, the stairs. My two year project that I still haven’t finished. The wood trim and space between were painted maroon somewhere between 10-20 years ago. I didn’t like the red at alllll, so instead of being a normal person and painting over all of the red with a neutral color, I decided to take on the insane task of stripping and restoring the trim… I’ve spent hours and hours on those stairs stripping paint and sanding and stripping more paint. The landing is mostly finished, stained, and the walls painted blue. I still have to finish stripping, sanding, and staining the wood coming down the stairs. I don’t like how turquoise the paint is, so I’ll be repainting that when I finish the rest of the wood. (Any suggestions? I’m thinking something neutral like light grey, or just a more muted blue. I like that the coolness of the blue balances out the warm red tones in the wood.)
Those built-ins are a dream. They house my dishes and some books. The previous ministers ripped up the carpet and refinished the dining room floors. I’d love to do the same in the living room and my office! #restoreALLthewood!!!
If you can’t tell from my Instagram feed, I’m on a gingham kick! I made these pillow covers from Walmart flannel. I think black and white gingham and this kilim pillow are a match made in heaven.
There is a wood radiator bench behind the couch and it is Louie’s favorite spot. I’m laying down on the couch as I write, and she decided to jump from the floor to the top of the couch, flying over me as she went. Did I already say it’s a good thing she’s cute? Because it is.
My favorite Anthropologie candle , that is only sold in the winter and will be disappearing any day now. If you want one, run- don’t walk!
That succulent should’ve died months ago and that ADORABLE clock doesn’t work. It was only 10 cents at a thrift store so I’m not too mad about it. I also love that it says “big ben”.
I actually wear both of the hats on the walls in the summer. Storage in plain sight!
That blanket in the basket is my favorite. It’s also Louie’s favorite. If I want her to sit in my lap, I just spread it out fuzzy side up and she comes to cuddle! (It’s a sherpa blanket from Costco.)
This rug usually lives in the kitchen, but I thought I’d give it a shot in the living room. Ben LOVES it in here. In his words, “It just feels warm.”
That’s our living room currently! I love it. If I could design it from scratch, it probably wouldn’t look anything like this. I’d choose a linen couch and more neutrals. But, I am not an interior designer or a millionaire or a crazy person. Homes can’t be purchased. Homes evolve and grow and change over time. They’re rarely designed from scratch. Sure, you could probably see a designer’s photo on Instagram, then go out and buy an identical room. The rest of us normal people have to figure out how to work with what we’ve got. I don’t love the beige carpet, or that the couch is so dark in a room full of dark trim. I don’t love the short curtains, but I’ll get around to hanging up the new ones eventually. I don’t love the weird wicker ceiling fan with decorative light bulbs. What I do love is that I share this space with my husband, and that we are blessed with this beautiful home. I love that the couch is comfy and that every piece has a story. I love that my husband loves this room right now, just as it is. I love that we have a space to welcome others into. I want to help you love your home just as it is. Later this week, I’ll share a few posts about living room styling and how to shop your house to create a cozy space that you love. Thanks for visiting, and come back soon!
Below, I’ll give sources for most of the furniture and decor. I’ll include some photos at the very end of the living room over the last two years! It has changed a lot, but I haven’t really purchased many new things. I’ve mostly just gotten resourceful with what we already had, and found ways to make thrifty updates.
Rug: Bungalow Rose Iris Pink Area Rug size 9×12. I bought mine from Wayfair but it is currently cheaper and on sale at All Modern! I used to get commission for Wayfair sales if you clicked on their website from my site, but they changed their tax rules and Iowa is no longer eligible. So, I’ll direct you to the cheapest source, which is currently All Modern!
Couch: was in Ben’s house growing up. His parents gave it to us when they moved. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Coffee Table: from a thrift store in Joplin. It’s Ethan Allen. It’s pretty beat up but you can sit on it without worrying about collapsing and put your feet on it without feeling bad, so I’m good with it.
Blue Chair: Thrift store in Joplin. It is my favorite chair. It was $75 the first time I saw it and I couldn’t afford it even though I fell in love. I came back the next week and it was $35. I couldn’t carry it to the checkout fast enough. I shoved it in my Honda Accord and kept it in my dorm room until I could haul it to Iowa, where my fiancé Ben was living with his parents at the time. It was the first piece of furniture to move into our house!
Yellow Chair: Vintage La-Z-Boy from Goodwill. I’m kind of over the yellow but it is the comfiest chair on the planet so I can’t part with it. It rocks and reclines and the lumbar pillow makes it an A+
Grey chair: Was a $6 nightmare at Goodwill but had good bones. I trashed the old cushions and the scraped off the pads on the armrests, wrestled off the damaged cane siding, gave it a thorough sanding, stained the whole thing, and bought new cushions from the patio section of Walmart! It was a labor of love. Here are some before and after photos!
End Table: Also from Ben’s parents
TV Stand: IKEA
Live Edge Wood Bench: A vendor fair in Storm Lake. It was a birthday present from Ben!
Curtains: IKEA. I have longer ones and new black curtain rods to hang, but I keep forgetting! These are great for now, but will go in the dining room when I get around to ironing the new ones and getting out the drill. I’ll raise the curtain rods a few inches above the window trim to draw the eye upward. (It’s proper curtain etiquette, which is apparently a thing. #themoreyouknow)
Wood lamp: Target
Blue lamp: Walmart
Buffalo Plaid Pillows: I made the covers with fabric from Walmart. Check out my DIY Mudcloth Pillow post for instructions to sew your own pillow cover.
Kilim Pillows: From Istanbul! We bought them in the Grand Bazaar.
Letterfolk Board: Hey, this one has a source! Mine is The Writer Oak.
Framed Paintings: From my favorite artist, Emily Jeffords.
Wooden Clock: 25 cents at a Yard Sale in Alta. I found the same one on Ebay for $200.
Sunhats: Target and Walmart
Aloe Plant and Planter: Planter was actually a candle holder at a thrift store. It had orange glass but I spray painted it white.
Train Photos: Vintage, from Ben’s parents
A timeline of living room photos from May 2016 to today!