Category Archives: Living Room

Home Tour Tuesday: The Living Room

Ta-da! It’s Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I reveal a new area or room in our home. Since we’ve just moved in, for now I’m just experimenting with what I’d like to do to improve it or decorate it. Eventually, I’ll show off before and afters. (Can’t wait!) But for now, it’s just the “before” and an explanation of what I’d like to see happen in the near future.

Today’s tour is the room we spend our most time in–our living room. We watch movies, read, and sometimes eat in this room together. I blog, write, edit photos, list items for sale, and relax in this room. While Daniel spends most of his time working in the office, I like being able to turn the tv on during photo editing sessions, or keep up with the laundry and dishes while writing a blog post. It really is a living room.

Basically, it takes a beating. Our favorite spot for coats is hanging over the back of a chair (much to my chagrin) and it doesn’t take long for it to look cluttered or dirty due to all the functions it performs and all the traffic the floor gets.

Here is what it looks like currently:

… from another angle …

And here is what I’d like it to look like eventually:

Living Room Inspiration - Behind Closed Drawers

Painting, a lighting fixture/fan update, new tables, possible wood flooring, a fix for the awkward space between the chairs and the kitchen (bookcase installed under the counter overhang maybe?), curtain rod and drapes, and decor is all in the plan.

But whatever other improvements we make, we need to purchase a rug. I’ve had my eye on ivory flokati rugs for some time, but I have to admit I’ve been nervous to take the plunge. You have to rake them, for goodness’ sake, and they aren’t exactly kid juice friendly. We don’t have kids currently, but we do have friends and family with kids, so it doesn’t hurt to be ready for spills and messes.

I’ve considered a patterned rug, but if we go that route I’d like a simple geometric pattern and I’m picky and we have a limited (small) budget and Overstock.com only carries so many items in our budget … so … um … yeah. The hunt continues  and the money we’ve saved up stays stashed away.

It’s all a work in progress.

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Filed under Budget Decor, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Tour Tuesday, Living Room

An Organized Christmas

I love it when I actually think ahead and it pays off.

Our tree is up and decorated now, and I have to say, while real trees still have a warm fuzzy place in my heart, this year’s new pre-lit fake tree, though small, was a cinch to set up and decorate. We debated between it and the slightly cheaper no-lights one and realized a) we had thrown out all our Christmas lights because none of the strands fully worked and so we’d have to buy a bunch and b) we wouldn’t have to fight with the branches. Sold.

And then  …

We brought out the ornament box. I had been eying one at Target last year after the holidays and waited for it to go on a deep discount in January when we took down our tree. I was sick and tired of trying to figure out where all the ornaments were stuffed in this box or that bag. It isn’t my first choice in color, but in purpose it did the trick. All of our Christmas ornaments fit inside (we had to double-occupy some divided spaces, with plenty of cheap plastic bag padding.) When we picked up a couple of new ornaments along the way this year, they too went into our under-bed storage box full of ornaments. No hunting required to decorate. Yay!

Finally, the rest of our small decorating objects I had stored in an older popcorn tin I had been given as a Christmas present as a teenager. I no longer eat popcorn (insert sad allergy discovery tale here), but I kept the tin with its cheerful ice skating snowman. Not has it protected my little items through several moves, but it is also decorative in its own right, so it stays out through the Christmas season until I fill it once more and store it away in the attic until next year. For extra bonus organization points, I had kept some Christmas silk flowers inside the tin in a big freezer Ziploc bag, all sorted away, and it was super easy to add them to our tree without digging around for them.

I’m pretty proud. Why, last Christmas, I hadn’t even fully begun my organizational mission (I started this blog in February,) but yet I had given myself a head start. Now, as my year of organizing the house comes closer to the close, I am so grateful as the efforts have begun paying off. Little things I did a year ago are helping out today.

So today, I’m celebrating the little successes. They show me just how far we’ve come in a year. Oh, yeah!

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Filed under Living Room, Organizing

It’s December Already?

I was just getting used to Fall, and now it’s gone and become December and before you know it we’ll be into the official start of winter and then Christmas.

I broke out the Christmas decorations yesterday, only to realize, well, we don’t have many. And now I have an opened tin of what is basically Christmas tree ornaments with no Christmas tree. We’re still deciding on that one, since we’ll be spending the majority of the holidays with family.

I also have what seems like a mountain of packaging supplies I’ve amassed in my living room that need to be stored for Etsy sales. I have dishes that need to be washed, clothing that needs to be laundered, and a refrigerator that desperately needs to be cleaned. I need to take the dog for her shots this afternoon. I’m also out of my natural cleaning supplies I made, so I need to make more. Yet all I can do at the moment is stare at my laptop screen, hunt Pinterest numbly, blog, and hope my killer headache goes away. Quite frankly, I feel overwhelmed. I guess it happens to the best of us.

Maybe it’s just me? But sometimes the cleaning and the organizing that needs to happen makes me freeze in place and just want to leave the house so I don’t have to think about it. I know I’m avoiding making all the decisions necessary to tackle my projects, but man, today I just want to sit and veg and nurse my headache.

I’ll snap out of it, I know. I have a plan … start with the room that confuses me least. My master bathroom. Some people hate cleaning bathrooms. I actually don’t mind it. You wipe, scrub, shine, spiff, sweep, and straighten. Done. The obsessive compulsive side of me wants to re-fold the towels in our bathroom linen closet, just to feel like I have some level of order in place that is manageable and quick. I can fold a towel. You know, as opposed to organizing the pile of boxes and packaging supplies in my living room. Or somehow whipping up a bunch of charming Christmas decorations out of a miniscule budget.

Oops. I just revealed I’m not always a perky clutter-busting fiend. Today I’m exhausted and grumpy. Today I’m just the girl with the headache who wishes her house magically looked like those houses in beautiful blogs and magazines, decked out for Christmas and clean enough to pass a white-glove inspection. Does anyone know a real-life Mary Poppins I could borrow?

You know what? Don’t mind me. I’m just going to go take the dog for her shots and then come home and tidy my bathroom to regain my clutter control and composure. I’ll see you soon.

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Filed under Balance, Bathroom, Cleaning, Living Room, Ponderings

Moving in Progress Update

Well, folks, it’s been three weeks since we moved into this house and one month since I quit my day job. Here’s the progress, to date:

  • Kitchen fully unpacked. Still some organizing to do.
  • Living room unpacked. We plan on purchasing a rug and selling our current coffee table/end table combo; for now, though, they are doing just fine holding up coffee and lamps.
  • Dining room mostly unpacked. I’ve been ignoring the two upright laundry hampers that hold all the odds and ends we took out of the old house in a panic at the last hour. I should probably unpack those. Oh, and Daniel would probably appreciate me moving the broken down boxes and packing paper in a trash bag out of there. Probably.
  • Bedroom has two boxes left to unpack and a ton of clothing to figure out where to put it. Maybe I’ll just take it all to Goodwill. Oh, and I am storing ALL of our wall art in the bedroom, propped against walls. Again, Daniel would probably appreciate me moving that. Somewhere.
  • Office is 3/4 painted. We just have the IdeaPaint and green accents to add. Currently, it is a little crowded with all the vintage things I’m taking pictures of for my new little Etsy shop. Oh, you didn’t know I had a new little Etsy shop? Why, take a gander by clicking on this link or the one on the top of the lefthand sidebar. Please and thank you. Otherwise, and this will sound like a broken record, Daniel would probably appreciate if I put all those lovely vintagey things back in their storage space.
  • Second bedroom (oh, how I love having a three bedroom home now!) is sort of our storage facility for the time being. It is mostly inhabited by stacks of books on the floor and a large air mattress for guests. One day it will be a clear floor and a real bed. And probably storage for my Etsy stock.
  • Outdoors. We love our new grill! It’s grill out time in the Brame household at least once a week these days, while we stubbornly hold onto the last warm vestiges of Fall in Tennessee. I should probably rake those leaves.

And that about sums it up. Our current organizational progress is mainly of the “figure out where everything goes” category. The GREAT news is that we have only 8-10 boxes, total, that are still unpacked, and most of those are crafting and art supplies that are being stored on a huge industrial rack in the garage. We really only have 4 boxes unpacked in the house itself. So, technically, we’re pretty much moved in.

I have some Craigslisting of our furniture we’re selling to do, and I have some decorating to do, and I have some cleaning schedules to figure out, but for three weeks later, it ain’t too bad to have the house in livable condition. I’m thrilled.

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Filed under Dining Room, Home, Kitchen, Living Room, Moving, Office, Painting

How to Spray Paint Branches

Every room should have a statement piece–something that acts as a focal point and adds a finishing touch. Unfortunately, statement pieces often cost too much to invest in on a tight decorating budget. I was determined to make something work, so I went for impact over dollar signs and walked out to go pick up something for our home. Literally. I put on my trusty flip-flops, grabbed the dog leash, and walked out the door with my mutt, taking her for an impromptu jaunt around the parking lot, through the landscaping, and under the biggest trees.

About ten minutes (and one very confused dog) later, I came back inside carrying an armful of fallen branches, which I deposited in our dining room for safekeeping from potential rain. When Daniel came downstairs later on I heard a “what is THAT” from the general vicinity of my secret stash, so I sweetly explained to my dear hubby that THAT was our new artwork. He looked skeptical.

No really. It’s our new artwork. Ever since I minored in art in college, I’ve been a fan of designs that utilize white space to make interesting angles and dramatic “movement.” So I drew from nature’s designs and added a bit of Krylon spray paint to add height to my living room fireplace mantle. For only $6-10 and 45 minutes or so, you can, too.

*****

Supplies Needed:

  • Small branches
  • Krylon Matte Spray Paint (I used white)
  • Large plastic sheet or tarp
  • Sandpaper (I used whatever I had on hand already)
  • Some kind of hedge clippers or a similar tool

Directions:

1.  Find some loose fallen branches with interesting angles and nubby bits where twigs are or have been. Make sure they aren’t wet. If they’re damp … let them dry before continuing.

2. Trim the branches to the size needed, clipping twigs to streamline the branch into something that could easily be placed in a vase or other container. Leave enough of the branch bare of twigs so that it can be added to the bouquet of branches and not get too thick and scraggly around the bottom. The final effect should be like a flower stem.

3. Sand off the rough spots where you’ve clipped, where twigs have fallen off on their own, and any nubby patches. Gently blow or wipe off the dust from sanding.

4. Lay out your protective plastic sheet. Place the trimmed branches on the sheet, leaving enough room between each so that the spray paint can cover the entire exposed side. (Note: mine never liked to stay flat, so just be aware of this and make sure to maneuver through all the angles!)

5. Shake your spray paint can to prep the contents. I purchased the more expensive Krylon matte white paint for around $4 at Wal-Mart. You may choose something cheaper or a different color or finish, depending on your preference. However, from other spray-painting tutorials I’ve read, they said to use Krylon for its directional flow sprayer, and I can tell you they ain’t lyin’. That sucker is the BEST. I switched mine to a horizontal spray for this project so I could go back and forth over the branches. Worked like a charm.

6. Let this layer dry for about ten minutes, turn over the branches, and repeat. Continue turning and spraying until you have achieved the coat coverage you desire on all angles of the branches.

7. Let dry for one hour.

And that’s it! Seven simple steps. Now you just have to find the perfect vase to put them in, and set out the whole piece in a spot that could use a little dramatic impact. I used one we had received as a wedding present:

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Linked up at:

Centsational Girl’s Paint Projects Link Party

Tip Junkie handmade projects

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Filed under Art, Budget Decor, DIY, Living Room

Gray, Beige, Greige. Whatever You Call It, It’s Tricky to Pick

More paint selecting fun. I have a Behr color picked out; I have a Kilz budget, and I’m using the Sherwin-Williams paint selector tool again. Enough brands, you think?

One looks too pink, one looks green, one looks purple, one looks white. Greige is hard to find!

1) Roycroft Mist Gray; 2) Requisite Gray; 3) Fawn Brindle; 4) Perfect Greige; 5) Pewter Tankard; 6) Escape Gray

I think. It is somewhat possible two of them are the same image. I made a mistake and didn’t write the paint names on the layers in Photoshop. 3 and 5 look a lot alike. Overall, 2, 3, and 5 have the best tint for me. 6 is definitely too green. 4, or “Perfect Greige” is actually not so perfect. The search continues …

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Filed under Dining Room, Living Room, Painting

The Great Media Console Search

The dresser has to go.

The current arrangement is adequate, but not ideal. We have our flat-screen tv on a vintage dresser. The subwoofer, audio unit, and Blu-ray player sit to the side. Wires for the surround sound criss-cross the living room floor and I’ve tripped over one of them at least once a day. Not so fun. We both agree the time has come for a new media stand.

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Filed under Living Room, Media

Surrounded by Love

February is drawing to a close, and I’m feeling very introspective today. As I look over at the mantle above my fireplace, I see the cards I’ve saved from people recognizing Daniel’s and my first anniversary, side-by-side with the Valentine’s Day cards we gave each other (his to me was sweet, mine to him was silly). Zoe is sitting at my feet, lazing in the sunshine coming through the living room window. Scattered throughout the room are pictures of friends and family. In the bookcase to my right is the carefully curated, ever-changing collection of books that represent the many interests that we have, many of which Daniel and I share and discuss regularly together.

In short, I am surrounded by love. Sitting in, in this spot at this time, I am content. It’s a good place to be.

I hope you have a place like this … a spot where, for if only a moment in time, everything is quiet and calm and full of potential. When you find the spot, nurture it; bring out the beauty in it. Enjoy it. Share it.

I know I will.

{Image: rknds}

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Filed under Balance, Living Room, Ponderings

Shopping With Polyvore

Sunday night I decided to watch some television and just relax. I ended up at a site called Polyvore that lets you sift through the world of fashion and add items to your collection. Such fun! I found shoes, shirts, dresses, jewelry, and bags that I never could afford without giving up a year of chocolate, and yet I didn’t spend a dime.

I tried my hand at some home styling, too. Though I couldn’t find a ready supply of items to purchase from their regular list, playing with what they call “sets” allowed me to browse through items and create a living room just for the fun of it. Here’s what I came up with:

Spool Accent Table
$199 - crateandbarrel.com


Clearance home decor | Coldwater Creek
$40 - coldwatercreek.com


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Filed under Home, Living Room, Shopping

Picking Paints: Or, In Search of the Perfect Greige

We have swatches up all over our house. I got the idea from the ever-amazing dynamic duo behind Young House Love, but I admit I got a little carried away. From the dining room to the bedroom, I had them taped up by the dozens for easy viewing in all kinds of lighting. At one point, it looked like we had decorated the wall behind our bed in some kind of abstract multi-colored pixel painting. There were that many colors up there!

We whipped out a trusty extra-fine point Sharpie and starred the ones we like at different points of the day. If a color was obviously wrong for the space, we pulled it off the wall. One by one, the swatches came down, and now just a few are competing for space.

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Filed under Dining Room, Kitchen, Living Room, Painting