Making Room for Spring! A Living Room Update

Yes… it might be a little early to be thinking about Spring, but our living room was feeling a bit down and I’ve been itching at the bit to infuse a little color.

Actually, bright and cheery color might be a theme here this week now that I think about the DIY projects I’ve recently been working on and the awesome styleboards Maryam put together (her post soon to come).

Here’s our living room with its ‘Spring Infusion’ in full swing. It might not look that different from our previous set up but it’s four DIY pillows (+ two store bought versions), a new striped throw, a new addition to the wall collage, bookshelf revamp and mantle update away from how it used to be.

Go ahead and ignore that giant hole in the wall in our dining room (it’s the old door to the new bathroom that is getting plastered up soon). But! Check out the new pillows.

Let’s start with the pop of raspberry red. I found the beautiful velvet at our local discount fabric shop and made two easy pillow covers out of it for less than $12. The color is actually very similar to the coral West Elm versions I had there previously, but those guys were showing major sun wear-and-tear and were beginning to look tired and haggered (is that a word? spellcheck says no). These ones are more pink than they are coral and I love how they look with the other green accents in the room.

The brown and white trellis print is a new addition too. He’s from three cloth napkins from Target (bought them as part of my stenciled Christmas present kit and ended up not using them). Love the modern print!

Next to the velvet and trellis print pillows is another cloth napkin number. I’ve had this solo floral napkin in my collection for some time (why just one? not sure… maybe I thought it would work for a bread basket or something :)), but it’s getting much more use now as a horizontal pillow on the sofa! The backing is a tan linen from my remnant pile and the stuffing is just an everyday standard bed pillow (perfect length horizontally and a bit ‘stuffed’ vertically, but that lends itself to a nice soft ‘pouf’).

On the other side of the sofa is my World Market cow hide find (but a much softer version than a hide material) and my invisible zipper tan pillow from this tutorial. The green velvet version (love that texture! and mixing textures in pillows in general) is a C&B addition from a while back.

That new striped throw was from my holiday gift guide list (the rusty pink, green and brown versions are on sale for $13 right now in store!) from West Elm – it is sooo soft and the pop of blue balances out the pinks and greens and browns.

Other new room changes include moving a floral print (recognize one of my favorite artists from this post?) from the bookshelf to the wall collage along the back wall. (Looking at this photo I’m now thinking that the wall collage is way off center–note to self that I need to bump the bookshelves over about 6 inches).

A close up of the addition–I moved a few pieces around  to create a new layout, too. Love the silver frame and how it breaks up my traditional (and favorite) warm brown frames. Here’s another example of how linen mattes have become my second go-to after white! This frame/matte combo is actually from West Elm (I’m beginning to sound like an advertisement for them but we have one locally here in San Diego so I stop in periodically to check out the sale racks), but I’ve also had linen mattes made (like this set from the office) at Michaels, too.

Speaking of bookshelves, I like to use frames in bookshelves to help break up the solid brown backing (or whatever backing color is in the bookshelf I’m working with), so I replaced the silver frame with a framed piece of bright green handmade paper from Paper-Source (you might recognize it as my ‘pop’ of green on the mantle at Christmas).

I also added a white ceramic bird (the one with long tail feathers on the second shelf down on the right–found him at a second hand shop in Iowa) and a white bird candle to my accessories. I find that a commonality (i.e. the white color) amongst a handful of accessories brings unity to a shelf that could otherwise be too messy. Despite a consideration towards design with these shelves, this bookshelf is still functional for us with all of the books that we actually want to access on a regular basis stored in various baskets or by color (like those on the top shelf).

Moving further down the wall from the bookshelves, our rustic leather smoking chair (he’s been in the family for over 4o years) received a new silk green pillow that I found on sale.

Last but not least, the mantel received a little makeover post-Christmas. Instead of redressing it with my usual look, I took the opportunity to find new pieces to feature (plus, over the holidays I found better homes for most of the other photos that were up there originally).

My favorite new piece is the beautifully (and simply) embroidered print by Etsy artist Avery of Dear Night. It’s inspired by this print from Secrets from a Stylist (my favorite HDTV show) and despite my best efforts to track down the actual artist and to purchase a similar piece of embroidered art (which included unanswered emails and lots of tracking), I worked with Avery (who is Awesome! And so talented–I’m so lucky to have found her randomly on Etsy while searching) to create our own version on a linen fabric based around one of my favorite ‘home’ quotes that was unique enough as not to be a replica. I LOVE it. So much.

It was sort of a Christmas present for Kevin. But mostly one for me.

On the other side of the mantel are two branches of giant green billy balls! Yes, I believe that’s what they’re called, though Crate & Barrel calls them ‘Chestnut Branches‘ (which is admittedly a little more attractive). I began regretting my decision when the lady at check out referred to them as ‘very Dr. Seuss-ish’ but immediately retracted on that when I saw them in the house replacing the branches on the mantel. I think they look so cool!

I was ready for a change from the birch branches that originally filled this vase. I love the branches and I’m still looking for a new location for them, but they didn’t always look super on the mantel (they’d slip out of their arrangement and would poke out in random directions) and these guys are a bit more mold-able without looking and feeling like fake wire flowers (because they’re not really flowers). Plus, any opportunity to add a little green life to a room is one I’m happy to take.

A few more shots of the mantel:

The last update is moving our big brown ottoman from the dining room (used as extra seating as a bench) into the living room as an alternative to a coffee table. I loved the free space of not having anything in front of the fireplace and plenty of room for Liv to play, but it wasn’t realistic for hosting people, eating chips and guac in front of the football game, or for holding glasses of wine after a long day. This ottoman is sort of the best of both worlds, it has soft edges for Liv to bounce around, it’s light weight and can easily be pushed out of the way (under the front window behind me in the below shot) and it’s sturdy enough to hold plates of food or a wooden tray for glasses. I’m thinking I might reupholster it in something more creative than the store-bought faux brown leather though… we’ll see.

In every attempt to keep a somewhat normal living room set up, I try to limit Liv’s toys to just a single basket in each room she plays in outside of her room. You can see my World Market basket (which I snagged for $10-ish with a coupon) in the corner next to the fireplace.

And there you have it! My infusion of Spring into our neutral living room space. I’ll post more on those really simple envelope pillows I made (all four in just a couple of hours–no zippers required) later this week. Happy Monday!

More posts on our living room can be found right here.

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  1. says

    Thanks for the tour – your space is just lovely and you’ve done a beautiful job! I’ve got this linked to my living rooms post too today, for inspiration!

  2. says

    Everything looks great! I love the billy/chestnut balls on the mantel- the arrangement brings the green from your pillow & bookcase over to that side of the room, very nice.
    If you want to recover the ottoman, I think I’d just make a slipcover for it- good for baby spills (or grownup spills), and you don’t have to worry about stains seeping through to the padding if you keep the upholstery it has now.

    • Morgan says

      Sheila, a slip cover is a great idea! I love that. That would make for easy clean up :).

  3. says

    Lookin’ good! Just enough spring to get through the next couple of dreary months. Love the embroidered piece and the cowhide pillow!

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