We've made some significant changes in the living room since I last shared any photos. You can see previous posts here, here and here for comparison.
The first change we made was adding two bookshelves as you can see above. Since everything in the room was low (couch, coffee table, console sale, bench, etc.), we needed to bring some height into the room. While I honestly really liked the collage of white frames we had on that wall, there was no furniture under them and I felt like we were wasting a huge piece of space in that room that could be better used.
We purchased two Ikea Billy bookcases, built them and mounted them side by side to the wall. Now we have a nice balance in the room and a ton more storage. I also feel like it gave the room some purpose and a much cozier feel by having some books and personal photos. Since we don't have a television in this room, we tend to use it more for socializing when we host parties/dinners or to relax with a good book or magazine.
Of course I have to add the staging photos for comparison to really show how much the space has changed. Above is how the room looked when we purchased our house. We initially stuck with the layout that the stagers used, having the couch facing the fireplace. It made sense at first, but after a few cramped birthday parties and a year with that layout, I felt like we were wasting all the space behind the couch.
I decided to purchase a larger rug (taking advantage of a great deal from RugsUSA) and pull the furniture out to fill more of the space. Now we have a more open layout where people in the living room can socialize with those in the kitchen at the table. Also, there is a ton of floor space for the kids to play in my eyesight when I do things like cook dinner or clean up. You may remember this room is where we have our toy closet so having them play here is convenient and makes for easy cleanup.
I was very hesitant to put the couch under the window because of how close the window is to the fireplace. I thought the room would be unbalanced and heavy towards that side and the corner would be crammed. Once we added the bookshelves to the room, moving the couch under the window suddenly looked totally different other than times I had tried before. Things were much more balanced and I was surprised how much I really liked how it looked. I also took that opportunity to raise the curtains to the ceiling. I don't know why I didn't originally do that, but floor to ceiling curtains really open up a space.
I love these bookshelves. It took me some time to get them arranged in a way I was happy with, but the storage below is a huge upgrade. Plus the chair in front creates a cozy little reading nook in an otherwise open floor plan.
One part of the room where I still feel stumped is the fireplace. First, a before photo.
The fireplace is beautiful and I really do love it, although we have yet to make our first fire! Soon after moving in I put some fresh white paint over the cream that was there before. The wood shelves are gorgeous and the built in nooks provide a ton of storage. Still I struggle with ways to functionally use and style the fireplace without junking up the space. I'm wondering if a more neutral staple piece like a mirror in place of the napkin artwork might do the trick, even though this is one of my favorite DIY projects. So much that the other one is currently hanging above our bed.
The small black square next to the fireplace is actually a door to a wood storage nook. We had all our wood stored on the bottom brick shelf until we used it all in our fire pit outside. It's an odd space to fill that I haven't quite figured out. I thought about putting a plant there like the stagers did, but I love the snake plant where it is and don't want the living room to feel like a jungle with a ton of greens everywhere. We use the top brick shelf in the fire place for our record player. Now that the wood is gone I'd like to find a clean, safe way to store our records on the bottom shelf. The girls and I listen to music in that room every day so having a good space to store our collection would be beneficial. The two wooden shelves up near the ceiling are kind of pointless and I've tried candles or knick knacks there but don't really like how it looks.
Any suggestions for our fireplace are welcome!
I love, love this console table we received for Christas from my parents last year. It's from CB2 and I chose it after seeing it in Sarah Sherman Samuel's living room. It's almost like it was made for this tiny wall because it's super narrow (10") and hardly takes up any space. I'd like to find a larger, round or similar silhouette mirror to replace the rectangle one above the table. I'm currently digging the Parsons mirror (herringbone and bone) from West Elm.
If you look closely you can see I haven't filled two of the pictures frames, but secretly I love the pretty paper Anthropologie uses to display them and sometimes just keep them that way for a while.
I still need to purchase a matching pillow for the other white chair. My go-to shops for great, vintage pillow covers are Boho Pillow and The Mod Boho. This particular cover is from The Mod Boho and I love the subtle pop of color it provides.
Another small change I made was swapping out the bench from the mud room. I like the idea of having a place large enough for the kids to sit and put their shoes on or drop my purse when we walk in the door. I always really liked this bench and keeping it hidden in a mudroom that no one sees felt like a waste, so it moved here. The bench that was here before now resides in our bedroom. The narrow space between this bench and rug creates a faux entryway so people don't necessarily feel like they are walking right into our living room.
And of course another shot of our beautiful front door.
Certainly not completely where I hope to be in this room, but it's definitely quite an improvement from where we started when we moved. In the end, this room just feels comfortable to hang out in and the girls love being able to dump toys all over the rug and play.