We’ve made a lot of updates to our living room in the last year and I’m so excited to show y’all what we’ve changed. This post has been a long time in the making and your probably want to grab a coffee or a pumpkin spice latte and settle in. It’s taken a while for this room to come together and my original design plans ran into snags along the way—see below about the mantel art—that worked out in the end. But before we get started let’s take a little walk down memory lane.
This was what the living room looked like when we first moved moved in years ago. We had been married only a couple of years and were still in college so we didn’t have much furniture. I wanted to paint the back wall a cool accent color but I hated it—why I thought I would love flat, grey paint is still beyond me. As I stood there staring at the grey blob telling Sam how much I hated it he literally grabbed a paint sample from the garage and painted our initials over it. It’s was hideous but I loved that he’d inserted himself creatively and tried to make smile so I left it that way for a long time–to my mother’s horror.
After several years and the glue oozing up between the seams of the linoleum we asked our apartment complex to replace our carpets and old linoleum with a lament hardwood. We had to move all our furniture into the garage ourselves but it was worth it! Sam and I were so grateful and excited! They replaced all the flooring downstairs except for the bedroom.
These chairs were being used in our dining room and I decided to move them back to the living room where they belonged so we had more seating. I also found this cute rug at Tuesday Morning for a great price. It wasn’t big enough for the space but I loved it just the same. We need a coffee table so I took a palette and cut it in half and used extra slats from the opposite side for legs. I had some left over paint so I painted it blue and then distressed it. I loved that coffee table and everyone who ever came over always commented on how much they liked it. You’ll notice that by now the grey patch has been painted over but it’s not the same color as the wall. The apartment complex gave me the wrong paint color and it it would stay mismatched for a long time.
I took these photos of the living room last August and it was the last time I really photographed our living room. There were a few new furniture items such as the coffee table, the hammered brass side table, the pouf, and the 8 x 10 rug I found at Tuesday Morning for a whopping $38.94! The huge discolored paint blob was still on the wall.
And after an entire year of scouring Pinterest, tweaking my ideas, and waiting for sales, this is our living room today!
The biggest changes we made were; painting almost the entire downstairs white, new furniture, new art, and a new rug—basically everything. I’ve wanted white walls for years now, and even though this wasn’t my preferred shade of white, I’m never one to look free paint in the mouth. I asked our apartment complex if they would be willing to swap out paying for our carpets to be cleaned in exchange for repainting the walls and they said yes! Again, we had to move our belongings ourselves and tape a few walls off but it was totally worth it. Sam was the most excited because although he willingly helps me every time I ask he really detests painting. They ended up repainting the living room, the fire place, the dining room, the entryway, the stairwell, loft wall leading down into the living room, laundry room hall, and garage entrance. What a difference. Paint is so transformative y’all! The whole apartment looks light, bright, and airy!(Leanne Ford would be so proud!) It’s definitely more cohesive and the ceilings all look a foot taller. I think out of all the changes we made this was the most impactful. You can really feel the difference when you walk into the house. And bonus, no more giant blob of paint on the wall! My mom was cheering from Nashville so loud I could hear it in Dallas.
Lets talk about this couch. Oh my sweet goodness, I’ve been dreaming of owning this couch for years and I better get a good decade’s worth out if it too! It’s the perfect balance of Sam and I’s aesthetics. The leather is a warm butterscotch(which I live for), but it’s a masculine texture(Sam) with great midcentury bones(me), that’s deep/long enough for Sam (6’4″) to lounge on comfortably, and bonus, it’s great for cats(who knew cats don’t like leather)! Sam was actually not convinced about the leather because he thought it would get hot and sticky like the inside of a car during the summer, but it’s actually very cooling and durable.
And a note about cat’s and leather, cats aren’t drawn to leather like they are woven fabrics or velvets. They have never even expressed interest in taking out their natural scratching instincts on the couch like they do our two chairs. Cats are kind of repelled by leather so it’s an excellent furniture fabric choice if you have cats. Though, if a cat is bored and has no other alternative but your leather furniture I’m sure they would go to town.
The blue Strandmon chair(the blue is discontinued but the yellow looks real fun!)we bought earlier this year and was supposed to be living in the library. Sam loves it so much it kind of made it’s way downstairs and never went back. It sits alongside a beautiful vintage velvet wingback chair that the cats LOVE. Shocker. I’ve got to give a big shoutout to Ikea for making a quality product here. I know Ikea sometimes gets a bad wrap for it’s couches but this chair is really comfortable, durable, and the perfect depth for the tall husband in your life. I understand now why they are so popular! Raise your hand if you have a hard time getting your husband to come around to the pretty couches and chairs with great aesthetics because they aren’t comfortable for him? This chair is the perfect compromise! It comes in great colors and will suit the pickiest of couch potatoes.
The horse photo. Where do I even begin? You know when I was talking earlier about design “snags”? Well, this is more like a design pot hole from New Jersey. (I’ve been there and the pot holes are like next level–no offense to anyone from New Jersey) 🙂 Back to my design pot hole. So I’ve been staring at this art print on the Urban Outfitters website for like a year I just wasn’t sure where I wanted to hang it in my house. The artist name is Kevin Russ and I really love his photography and it just fits my personality and aesthetic so well. I decided one fated day–to be sure–that it would be perfect over our mantel, but it would need to be a massive print. UO carries prints in massive sizes at a very reasonable price point, but there was no way I could afford to buy it pre-framed. Without a second thought I bought a 44×44 print sure that I could just skip down to Hobby Lobby and use my 40% off coupon and get it framed for cheap. I was so sure of my genius, I reassured Sam it was no big deal and shushed him for worrying about it. Trust me, I’m a professional bargain shopper and I got this! My, oh, my. Maegan, Maegan, Maegan. I did skip on over to Hobby Lobby a few weeks later only to find out they don’t custom frame anything that large. Wait, what? And oh, the price for their largest custom orders is $350-$400 after coupon. WAIT, WHAT!? I was horrified. Here I thought I was so smart buying this huge infrared print at a really great price only to find out I wasn’t going to save any money at all—quite the opposite. I left Hobby Lobby with my huge cardboard tube in a fog. What was I going to do? Sam was with me and thank God he was laughing about it–laughing at me really. I mean he wasn’t happy about it but in retrospect it was funny. So, I knew how much regular framing places cost and I just couldn’t afford that.
There’s a Michael’s Craft Store down the street from our Hobby Lobby(God’s Craft Store and affectionately referred to around our house as the Lobby of Hobbies) and I called them in a last ditch effort. And shock of shock, they do costuming framing for even bigger pieces that 44 x 44. Wait, what?! So we hurried over there and it was really one of the Jesus things where in His omniscience He knew how bad I was about to mess it up and He made a road for me in the desert. The nicest lady was working at the custom framing counter and the framing I was considering just happened to mislabeled for a much cheaper option and she gave us the cheaper price AND she lets us use a coupon. But we were still over what both Sam and I were comfortable paying because the 44 x 44 frame needed acrylic instead of glass—which by the way, is crazy expensive. So we compromised and by trimming the two inch border off the ENTIRE photo–which was so nerve wracking–and using the wider discounted frame to create the “new boarder”. And because we dropped the size two inches all the way around we were able to use glass instead of acrylic! Sam and I were elated! We left the photo there and expected to pick it up the next week.
Well, I’ll spare y’all the gory details but the framing didn’t go well and we had to take it back three times before the actually got it right. But you know, Jesus is so good, because even though it was a hassle they ended up refunding us half the price of what we paid for the framing so by the time we got it home and hung it up we payed a tiny fraction of the original framing price. See, giant New Jersey design pot hole. But I learned two very valuable design lessons. Framing art is never cheap. No matter how cheap that giant beautiful art you want that costs pennies at that flea market, just know it’s going to cost big bucks to get it framed. And second, never shoot from the hip when dealing with a big budget item because it could cost you three times the amount in the end. Always do your research. Lesson learned. For sure. Also, Sam banned from buying anymore horse art for a long, long, time. Many, many, moons–his words. I humbly acquiesced.
And finally the new rug. I bought this soft jute rug during the Labor Day sale at Rugs USA and it just arrived a couple days ago. I’m in love! It added a texture to the room that it was missing and it’s very thick and soft. We’ve never had a rug big enough for this space and this massive 9 x 12 did the trick. The yarn tassels on the end are really fun too. Surprisingly the cats haven’t messed with them much—I’m waiting for it though. They’re more into chasing each other up and over our wingback chairs lately and we’ve got to get that cactus cat scratcher finished soon. They are driving us crazy with all the climbing. Cats are weird wonderful creatures.
I love everything we’ve done so far and I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made. We still have a few furniture pieces I’d like to replace like our TV console and the end table with one that actually has a functioning drawer. I also want to figure out a better lamp/lighting situation–specifically a floor lamp–and just better ambience lighting over all. I’d also like to try my hand at layering rugs and would really love a cowhide to go under the coffee table.
We finally made it to the end of my living room tour and I hope you really enjoyed it! Thank you so much for hanging out with me today and if you made it to the end of this really long entry bless you! I know it was crazy long but worth it! Have a super happy Monday!