It's taken a lot of back and forth and trial and error (with design plans, not actual furniture, thankfully!), but I've finally got a good plan in place for the living room.
If you're working on designing a space in your home, I highly recommend living in your space for a while and really paying attention to what works for you and what doesn't, how you wish it would function and feel. That has helped me a lot over the last six months as I've thought that I wanted some things and then realized there was a better option for us or for the space. For example, I thought I wanted a second sofa in the living room, and then we put up our Christmas tree and I realized how much easier it is to put a tree in front of the window if we have two chairs that can be split up and moved instead of one long sofa.
I also went back and forth a lot on color scheme, namely how much color to actually include in the room. I really love light neutrals and how a room feels calm when the tones are soft. But, I also want some interest in the space - pattern, texture, and at least some accents of navy and green (my favorite colors!). And it's really important that we're able to host guests in our home. Besides having enough seating, that means people feel comfortable, not like a little dirt will ruin something. So anything that's white/light needs to be durable, stain resistant, and easy to wash. Patterns and fabrics with variation also help conceal dirt, which I think is essential for a rug in a room that gets a lot of use.
Something else I got hung up on was the vintage dresser that we are using for a tv stand. It's a huge solid wood campaign style dresser that I found second hand at a resale shop in Georgia before we moved. It has brass hardware and was painted black (but chipping and in need of a refresh), which I don't hate but also wasn't exactly the vibe I was going for (check back to my inspiration post to see the white/light, natural textures, and blues and greens). So I went back and forth on if I should paint it white or use it as a colorful accent - either navy or forest green. Honestly, all of those options would be beautiful, but then I was grappling with how to add warmth and natural texture to the room. So I decided to strip the black paint from the dresser and go from there, which is exactly what I've been working on for the last few weeks - furniture refinishing is no joke! I started with the drawers, stripping the paint and sanding the surface smooth. Once I got those done, I realized that the paint was pretty easy to get off, and the wood grain was beautiful. There are some dings and a few small damaged spots on the body of the dresser, but overall it's in really good shape, so I decided to stain and refinish it instead of painting!
With the dresser finish decided, I was getting excited about how the room was shaping up. My last major decision was the coffee table. We have lots of friends with little kids, and seeing them made me strongly consider an ottoman instead of a coffee table. I think that's a really great option if you have small children (especially when they're learning to pull up and walk), but I felt like there was already a lot of fabric going on in here and I really wanted another warm wood tone and texture. Also, I like to have a coffee table to set drinks on, and it's just a lot easier to clean up a spilled drink on a wood table than it is on an upholstered ottoman. I decided on a round coffee table - no sharp corners for little ones, space for drinks, and warm wood texture. And because of the shape of our living room there is space to add small ottomans later on if I feel like I need somewhere to put my feet up (though the chaise on the sofa works for that!).
And the other hang up with the coffee table - price. I found one that I love the look of, but the price is just way more than I want to spend. I have yet to find one that's the right style, shape, and wood tone for a reasonable price. I prefer to find wood furniture second hand if possible because that's where the best deals are on high quality pieces, so I'll probably be hunting for that one for a while. But the main thing is to have a plan to follow - size, shape, style - for the core pieces of the living room!
We have three windows side by side, so I'm using bamboo shades on each individual window and then hanging soft white drapes on one rod across all three. We don't need to block light in here, but there is a period in the evening when the sun sets and there's a bad glare in this room, so I want to be able to shade the sun at that time. The drapes are mostly to add softness, and really to me they are one thing that makes a room feel polished and finished. But, we will probably also pull them closed at night so you can't see straight in our windows from the street, so they do have some function, too. Drapes can get super expensive, especially long ones (which is ESSENTIAL to make your room look polished), but I'm following this tutorial to make cheap Ikea curtains look good, and so far I'm loving the result (I just need to use some hem tape to neaten up the edges, and probably steam them, but you can see a peek here).
If you missed my post about how to choose a sofa, go back here and check that out! we picked ours because of the deep, soft (but not too soft!) seat, durable fabric, and chaise so that we could lay down and watch movies. I also love that the clean lines can lean contemporary but also feel at home in a classic space.I'm still not 100% on the chair pair, but I know I want a pair of light fabric chairs with taller backs so that if someone wants to sit more upright they can (our sofa is very deep and loungey). I like the chair's wingback style, but also how it's slightly modern, and I love the wood legs.
Next to the tv we have room for one additional chair, and I really love the Maxwell chair from Interior Define. I'm thrilled with the quality of our sectional from them, and I love the updated classic style of the Maxwell line. I thought about getting the Maxwell sectional instead of ours (we have the Charly), but I sat on one in their guideshop in Austin, and it just felt super low. I think it's fine for an accent chair, but for the sofa I sit on everyday I want to be able to reach the coffee table comfortably, so I prefer something slightly higher. That's why we passed on it for the sectional, but I think it will be perfect for an accent chair. It's big and comfy, is a great opportunity to do some color, and I'm obsessed with those turned legs.
The rug still may change because I'm waiting on one more sample to come in, but I do love this one! (This Instagram post shows the real life samples that I compared.) It's a great combination of warm and cool tones, has some texture and pattern to conceal dirt, and is super soft. I also love how the style feels classic in a really fresh way.
The color, pattern, and life in this space is definitely going to come in pillows, art, and accessories! I tend to have a less-is-more approach to accessories - I want everything to be comfortable and cozy, but I just don't like to clean clutter, dust, or have too many things hanging around. But I included a few examples of what I'm thinking (green and navy in the pillows mixed with some neutral patterns). However, it may not turn out exactly like this! The art example is from Hammade Furniture, but I will paint my own so it won't look exactly like that - though I plan to include lots of green! And the pillows may not be exactly the same, either. The olive-toned ones are from Design Loves Detail, but those patterns sold out super fast, so I'm just over here praying she brings them back!
One reason for keeping the major pieces in the room mostly neutral (besides just that I like light neutrals!) is because I don't think we're going to live in this house long term (more than 7 years), but I want to have some quality pieces that we can take to our next home. Since every house is different, this same arrangement may not work, but we could probably use the sectional in one room and pair of chairs in a different room, especially if the styles and colors are light and neutral.
We've been working away in this space getting window treatments hung, refinishing the dresser/tv stand, and making some changes to the fireplace, so look for an update soon!