So, back to the living room. Is this weird for you? I have to confess, it’s a little weird for me. But at this point in the blog’s life I figure almost everyone reading has actually been in my living room at some point. And if you haven’t, I should probably have you over soon. Many of you are probably just shocked at how it looks cleaned up. Don’t worry, I didn’t dust. Cause that would be crazy.

Last time we talked a bit about floor planning. Thinking through how you want to use the space and finding furniture that allows that to happen. Now let’s think about how you choose pieces for the space. We’ll start with the TV area. Image

This space needed to provide a lot of seating in a small area, as well as places to set drinks, magazines, etc. My furniture is about half thrifted/craigslist transformations and half new. With the exception of the two Room and Board sofas, none of it was purchased at the same time. Don’t worry about your furniture matching. Think about how you can use it to add layers of interest to the room instead. And in a small space like mine, think about how each piece can both serve double duty. What storage do you need in the space, what tends to accumulate there? This space is by my entry, so I needed it to house shoes, hats and gloves, as well as toys, books and magazines.

When thinking about the furniture you need, think about what shapes are available as well. The sofas are rectangular pieces, as are the shelves on the wall, the console and the room itself. So I looked for a round coffee table to break things up. It’s also great for a small space because it creates a better traffic pattern, no corners to bark shins on when space is tight. Unfortunately its just the right height for a five-year old boy to launch off of when jumping from couch to couch, but there’s only so much you can do about five-year old boys. The console, while still rectangular, brings in some curves as well with the shape of the drawers.

Once you have those set (or once you have part of them set, this is an evolving process) the other items in the space are layered in to add color, pattern and texture. The large painting above the couch is actually a collage Finn made from all of Emmeth’s preschool artwork. Blues and greens were well represented and are two of my favorite colors, so they became part of the color scheme. I wanted to lighten up the heavy brown couches, so I went with the lighter blues in the pillows and rug in this area.  None of the blues “match”, but they are similar in tone and play well together. Don’t think you have to match your sofa just because it’s so large, if I did that I’d end up with far too much dark brown and everything would blend together. Think about what creates interest and work from there.


There is a large window over the console, but it looks directly into my neighbors kitchen. Instead of making the window a focal point, we opted to cover the whole wall with curtains. They’re hung from a copper plumbing pipe, as its impossible to find window hardware that wide. The painting in the middle was a spur of the moment decision, I wanted something large to hang there and hadn’t been able to find anything I liked. We had a canvas and I’d seen a painting in a magazine I liked and thought I could copy. Mine is nowhere near as good, but it works for the space. And if it hadn’t worked, its easy to just paint over the canvas and keep looking. When thinking about art work, I like to choose pieces that add a new dimension to the space. They don’t have to match anything, but you can use them as jumping off points for other items you bring in, thinking about how the eye travels around to each item.

The final part of this section of the room is the wall of shelves. The middle of the room has a partial wall that sticks out about 10 inches into the space on either side (it houses a support beam). Rather than have useless space we opted to fill the wall with shelves and mount the TV. We don’t really need the shelves for storage, I try to keep them fairly open as clutter drives me a little (ok a lot) crazy. They are a great place to introduce more color and texture though and to connect to the artwork and rug to create a cohesive room. I have a green rug on the other side of the room, so I brought a little green on the shelves, mixing it with blue to connect the spaces together. I also have a lot of plants in this space, all chosen for their sculptural shapes. Items are grouped in odd numbers as that’s generally more interesting to the eye.  The items are a mix of personal memories, like the linoleum blocks that Finn carved with our kids images, and items I choose to bring in the colors I wanted to emphasize, like the teal vase with seed pods. The books up top once lived lower, but constantly picking them up off the floor got old. I could probably move them back down now that I no longer live with a toddler.

This was really long and we’re not even all the way through the room. Is this helpful or would you rather just see the pretty pictures and not worry about how it comes together? I tried to answer the question I get when people visit, how do you put everything together? It’s a process, hopefully a fun one. I think we tend to worry too much about making “mistakes”. Save your receipts, live with things for a bit, search new places, sell things on Craigslist if they don’t work.  Again if you’re interested in sources for anything here, check the Pinterest board for details.