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Living Room Update: One Year Later

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

It's still hard for me to believe that we've owned our house for over a year now, but at the same time we have come a long way! Of course nothing is totally finished, but we've made a lot of progress in the last year, and our house feels more like home every day. And because I don't think your home needs to be "done" for you to love and enjoy it, I thought it would be fun to take a look at our spaces one year after we moved in - first up, the living room!

This room was essentially empty when we moved in except for an old sofa (now the dogs' couch until we are able to replace it), the trunk that we use for the coffee table, and the tv, which sits on a large vintage dresser. Before we did anything with the furniture, we first replaced a few lights. I would love to replace the ceiling fan with a more modern one, but it's not terrible, and there are other lights in the house that are more pressing to replace! Our front door enters into our living room (though we hardly use it), and for some reason the builder put two boob lights in the ceiling to mark the entry. They really made no sense just on one side of the living room, not to mention they were ugly, so one of the first things we did was replace those with recessed lights that match the ones in the kitchen. Thankfully my husband and his dad were able to figure out how to do this themselves!

Our first major furniture purchase was the sectional - something that we had planned on purchasing before we even moved, but we didn't want to deal with moving it, and of course wanted to make sure we got the right piece to fit the new living room. We chose a light grey (super durable fabric that has been so easy to clean!) chaise sectional from Interior Define, and after ten months I can honestly say that we still love it. It's comfortable, easy to clean, and looks great!

We also added the super affordable wall ledges behind the sofa - the perfect spot to lean frames that I can easily switch out with different photos from our travels. The ledges and white frames are from IKEA, and the wood frames are from Target (the Hydrangeas print on the far right is available in my print shop!).

Another major purchase was the vintage rug that I found on etsy. I spent forever hunting for a rug that was fairly light and neutral, a little warm, and with hints of grey and blue in a faded classic pattern - nothing too bold or with too much contrast. It's always a gamble when you're ordering something that's one of a kind online, but I found this beauty and it was large enough (bigger than 9x12), so I ordered it! It's no easy feat to find a vintage rug that large in a non-red pattern at a reasonable price, but I'm really happy with it - such great color, texture, and character!

I also picked up a few new pillows from etsy and Willa Skye, which is really the extent of the changes on this side of the room. The trunk is still serving as the coffee table while we hunt for one that's the right shape (round), style, and size at a good price. Since I'm not opposed to refinishing, auctions and craigslist are my best friend right now!

On the wall by the front door we have three big windows, where we added bamboo shades and white curtains. I really love the layered look for windows, especially with woven shades that bring texture combined with the softness of curtains. And with a little bit of effort (clipping off those tab tops and using no-sew hem tape on the curtains) we have a high end look for not a lot of money! You can't see them in the picture, but I used a black curtain rod and clip rings for a little contrast. I always recommend clip rings for curtains because they make it easier to slide them open and closed, prevent them from bunching, and they add a little polish for minimal investment.

On the opposite side of the room from the sectional we added this white chair, which we're very happy with so far. It wasn't in my original design plan, but I love the look of it, plus it has great reviews and we got it on sale. It's down-filled, which means it's sink-in soft and comfortable, which is nice for an accent chair, but I prefer a bit more structure in something that I sit in frequently. Since it's next to the tv and you can't really view from that angle, the chair really only gets used when we have company/people chatting in the living room, and for that light use it's perfect. I wouldn't suggest it for a chair that gets sat in many times a day, as the fabric seems fairly durable but not super high end, and every time it's sat in the cushions sink and need to be fluffed. Queen Lucy is the only one at our house who uses it on a regular basis ;)

Another major change is that I refinished the dresser that the tv sits on. It's vintage Henredon that I found at a second hand store in Georgia. If you follow me on Instagram you may remember seeing it in it's original form - with chipping black paint and dull hardware. Originally I was thinking of painting it, but when I stripped off the paint (it came off super easy!) I decided that the wood was too pretty to cover with paint again. It took a while to sand it down smooth, and then there was a bit of a learning curve with the gel stain (a technique that was new to me) but I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Lastly, when my in-laws were in town this spring we put them to work and finished a little facelift on the fireplace mantel. If you don't remember what it looked like before, here's the post that includes all the pictures of the house before we moved in. There was a layer of tile ABOVE the mantel attached to the wall, plus some mosaic tile inset in the actual wood mantel (none of which made any sense!). We removed the tile above the mantel, patched and painted the wall, and then cut some wood to fit on the face of the mantel and cover the tile so it looks like a plain wood mantel. This was a super cost effective solution, and it just cleaned things up a bit for a simple fresh look.

I took these pictures in May, which was a year after we moved in, but even since then we've made progress! I hung some art on the tv wall and picked up a basket to hide dog toys. Even though there's still lots that I want to do (replace the second sofa and add pillows, find a coffee table, paint the front door, add lamps and side tables), I love how this room is coming together and it definitely feels like home, even if it's forever in progress!

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