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.
Tags: Accessories, Before & After, Blue, Decorating, DIY, Fabric, Green, Home, Living Room, Patterns & Color, Pink, Raspberry, Red
Posted in DIY, Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 6 Comments »
I love fresh flowers in the house. It’s one of my favorite splurges because flowers instantly brighten up a room, add that ‘pop’ of unexpected color (like fuchsia tulips in a navy bedroom) and bring life to a space of wood & textiles. I’m always on the look out for ways to bring in that floral feel in a more permanent way.
Branches have been a great way to do this, and the occasional faux can be pulled off if it’s just right (try using a realistic silk orchid in a single stem orchid pot when the flower is dormant). Another way? Dried flowers. I know, I know… not your Grandma’s bowl of potpourri or an upside down bouquet from last Valentine’s Day… but instead a few sprigs of lavender in the kitchen tied together with twine, or even a dozen yellow craspedia (billy balls) poking out of a tall vase with their modern, spherical shape lighting up a room. It’s a careful line between playfully artistic and horribly dated… no plastic ivy, if you know what I mean.
We have a unique plant in our front yard that I pass by everyday and adore, and when Kevin brought me a clipping of Sea Lavender (Statice) while he was pruning, I was pleasantly caught off guard at what a great cut flower it turned out to be.
Naturally dried looking by nature, the large clumps of paper-like blooms are beautiful on their own or when paired with a contrasting color. I opted for a sage green ceramic vase and a few bleached manzanita branches – and zero water.
I wanted to see how long the dried-looking flowers would last when, well, dried. Happy to say that five weeks later they’re still beautiful! Providing just enough contrasting color to a dark mantel with a few framed pictures (isn’t that shot of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk stunning? A gift from my dad who took it from the pier and had it printed on metal for that shimmery affect. Santa Cruz is my home town so it’s nice to have a few reminders around).
The shape almost reminds me of a Monterey Oak leaning over the edge of the cliffs up near the coast of Big Sur, another favorite spot. And I’m digging how purple way unexpected in a room full of tan, burnt orange and various greens.
That new rug is Liv and my favorite place to hang out during play time – we spread foam building blocks all over and then I build towers while Olivia takes great joy in knocking them down! I think the flowers will be sticking around for a little while, too!
More living room posts here.
Tags: Decorating, DIY, Flowers, Home, Living Room, Purple
Posted in Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 4 Comments »
The living room is secretly getting an overhaul without us even realizing it. As we’ve been concentrating on the new office/guestroom, I’ve casually found items to diy, that are on sale or while Craigslist shopping that happen to be on my ‘living room list,’ and have slowly added them to the mix. But without meaning to, really!
It started with this new mantel, then I jazzed up the new mantel with the mirror from the dining room and decor from the garden (more on that soon…), then added these new cloth napkin throw pillows, after that was a new lamp for the office – but it came in pairs so one ended up in the living room, and just this week – a new rug! For a mere $75, including the super sweet rug pad.
The rug came about quite accidentally. We’ve had the same chenille jute rug since moving in about three years ago and it definitely has seen better days. In fact, I can tell you with certainty which stain on the rug was associated with which unsupervised Bodie incident. Now Bodie is a great dog – never was a chewer and is usually quite obedient around the house. But if we leave him for an extended period of time and there’s, say, See’s candy on the dining room table, or an irresistible bowl of faux orange pumpkins for Halloween, he’ll help himself, settle down into the rug and create a ridiculous mess. Stomach issues aside, he’s inevitably ashamed when we get home and discover the new carpet spot. Bad dog.
This photo is pre-spots – but the circles show where the pumpkin and See’s suckers became engrained in our rug for all of eternity. We tried steam cleaning but it’s not recommended nor really possible on a natural fiber rug. We tried flipping the rug to hide the stains, but low and behold we had already used that trick for a spilled something a couple of years ago.
SO with Liv now crawling I’ve been on the look out for a new rug that would meet some criteria:
- Cheap! (we’re not ready to shell out $500-1000 for the traditional 8×10 rug)
- Soft and plush (no more jute – even though chenille jute is soft, we want something softer for little knees)
- Must be a cut pile rug (Bodie’s shedding gets caught in flat weave or dhurrie rugs which is such a shame, plus the cut pile rug means we can use a carpet cleaner on it, something you just can’t do with jute. And for us that’s huge.)
I really wanted something with a little interest and I have kept my eyes open for a great patterned rug.
But finding one on a small budget was tough. That plus a pattern that I thought would work well in the room.
And then I fell in love with stripes. How great would a striped rug be?
The above striped rug (in the Bower Power living room) is on sale for $159! Alas it’s a flat weave rug meaning Bodie’s shedding hair will be forever embedded in the fibers and your random stains won’t come up with a steam carpet cleaner (our favorite friend). The above right rug is from RugsUSA.org and while it’s cut pile, it was still to pricey for us right now.
I decided the CSN Nate Berkus chevron rug was perfect before I discovered it was both sold out and flat weave.
Time was a ticken’ (who knew Liv would crawl so soon) and I needed to find something that would work well in the space while meeting all of our criteria. Then I discovered this living room on Houzz:
Maybe a white rug wasn’t so boring after all? Maybe it was a great neutral that would both brighten up our living room and meet all of our needs in terms of cost, ease of cleaning (if it was cut pile we could use a shop vac and water to get those stains right up – it works wonders on white!) and could be found in a soft material for crawling?
I reached out to the designer of the above room on Houzz (a very cool feature, by the way) and this was a pricey pricey rug. But! I decided to track a cheaper version down anyway. It wouldn’t have that beautiful diamond pattern but heck, I needed a kid-friendly rug.
My first instinct was to see if Craigslist offered any options that were still in great shape. Low and behold! An Ethan Allen white cut pile rug for $100. The seller offered $75 if I picked it up right away, and to my surprise, it came with a really thick rug pag (Note: rug pads are awesome. Rug pads should never be skimped on, they make the biggest difference in softness and help to plump up even the cheapest, thinnest of rugs to help pass as the more expensive version!).
When the rug was home and rolled out it looked surprisingly like the carpet we had just installed in the new office. As in identical. Then I began thinking… we actually have remnants left over from that installation that would probably be the right size. A little research revealed a measly $2/foot will get you a brand new, bound carpet rug from a remnant shop.
So when this lovely gets too many baby & dog stains to keep up with, it’s replacement is waiting in the garage. And the price? Probably around $60 to have the edges bound.
Bodie digs the new rug and couldn’t wait to try it out.
You can’t beat perfect-condition, $75 rug that comes with a rug pad (probably more than $75 itself) that is both pet and baby friendly. One day we may get that striped or patterned rug, but for today this is a great solution.
The coffee table is missing in the above shot, for the moment we have it pushed up against the front window so that there’s premium crawling/entertaining space for Liv.
My main focus is still the office/guestroom – man I can’t wait to have that finished, though I do love the process. But as new little treasures are found for the living room, we’ll see what design ideas grow!
Tags: Before & After, Decorating, Home, Living Room, white
Posted in Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 10 Comments »