A few months ago I wrote about my desire to revamp our living room and turn it into a chic, comfortable space integrated with a kids’ play area. We’ve been living in this house for over a year and a half and my progress has been very slow and calculated. While I’m nowhere close to being done, here’s an update on what I’ve achieved so far.
First, I made this enormous abstract painting for above my sofa. After lusting after several paintings online, I decided to take matters into my own hands and put the lessons learned in my high school AP Studio Art class to use by creating my own abstract acrylic painting on a 48″x60″ canvas. It took over 6 weeks to complete because I could only work during the daytime so that I had natural light and only on weekends while my husband was home to help with Oliver. Abstract painting can be very frustrating – you have to find the balance of a feeling of spontaneity with a carefully planned composition, but I decided not to stress and just have fun with it. I found myself wanting every brushstroke to blend into the next like you would with eye makeup, so after every stroke I started smudging everything around with a damp paper towel until I was happy with it. I wanted it to evoke a watery shoreline and I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. It’s an incredibly soothing piece and every time I catch a glimpse of it I smile, which is exactly how the art in your home should make you feel. I especially love how personal it is and I know it’s going to a be a piece we take with us to every home we live in. For the canvas, paints, and new brushes, all of which I purchased with a coupon at Hobby Lobby, I spent $198 total on this project. That’s pretty good, right? I am letting all color decisions in the room from now on be dictated from the painting, which has lots of blues, lavenders, teals, greens, white, and a little bit of muddy brown.
Secondly, I found a beautiful vintage Oushak rug for a great price from an amazing Turkish seller on eBay to place underneath the vintage console and ground the play area. I’m really happy with it and love the soft muted colors it brings to the room. Plus, it’s super durable and I don’t have to worry a second about things spilling on it as everything just blends right in.
The wall in our shotgun-style living room is very long, so I needed something complementary to place on the other side of the wall above the rug and console. I thought a small-scale gallery wall of prints in the same water-inspired colors would be the perfect complement to my painting. When Minted reached out to me to partner on a living room refresh I leaped at the opportunity as I had been scratching my head as for what to do on that side of the wall. I selected several prints with a beachy theme including this one, this one, this one, and this one, and popped them into my existing IKEA Ribba frames. I mixed the Minted prints in with a small abstract piece I got at an consignment store and some Gauguin book prints I picked up in Paris. It took me an entire Sunday afternoon but once I was happy with the composition of the gallery wall, my handy husband hung them all up.
For the corner wall, I selected this piece and had it framed in a beautiful herringbone etched wood. I selected it because it reminds me of the swimming area of the home we stayed at in Jamaica last year, and I just love the little pop of pink in the woman’s towel. It really needs a little friend like a side chair below it and I’m wondering if I should just mix it in with the gallery wall and make another painting for the corner wall, but for now I’ll just let those ideas marinate a little and enjoy its pretty colors as I sit in the leather chair on the other side of the room. These prints combined with my new painting instantly make the living room a MILLION times cheerier. Though we live nowhere near the ocean, who says we can’t enjoy some beautiful beachy art? Even my husband, who doesn’t always have the strongest opinions when it comes to wall decor, commented on how the new art makes him love our home more. (Wow!)
Since the fabric on our last sofa was pilling all over, Pottery Barn graciously offered a credit for the sofa and I used it to get this one. The lines are gorgeous but sadly (actually more like, very depressingly) the seat was much firmer than I was expecting, so I remedied the situation by getting the seat cushions restuffed with a softer squishier foam at my upholsterer which thankfully wasn’t too expensive. With the new inserts the sofa doesn’t look quite as neat and tidy as it did before, but I don’t care anymore because it’s softer. I had the white slipcover treated with a product called MicroSeal which basically makes the fabric bulletproof makes all smudges and spills come out incredibly easily in the wash. We’ve literally spilled black paint, red wine, and pesto sauce on the sofa and everything has just lifted right up.
We also picked up a new coffee table. I had been LUSTING for months over this vintage bamboo coffee table on Chairish. I just think the design of it is so beautiful, but sadly the corners just looked too sharp for my little babies. So I set my sights on some retail options. I usually would never buy so many things from the same store but the size, price, style, and rounded corners of this Pottery Barn Hailey coffee table was exactly what I was looking for and we are happy with it so far. I like that it’s casual enough that my guests feel comfortable enough to put their feet on it. I don’t even try to style it because Oliver just removes everything, but that’s quite alright.
After living with a faux fiddle leaf fig for a year, I decided that faux plants made me sad. I delegated it to the basement seating area and invested in a new live fiddle leaf fig from my local nursery. It is simply GORGEOUS, like a living sculpture in my living room, and I want to take every precaution to make sure it stays alive. Please send any tips if you’ve ever taken care of a ficus plant yourself! I need a larger basket to put it in but I’m not too worried about that right now because the pot is mostly hidden behind all the furniture.
I shared with you a few weeks ago how I revamped a vintage bookcase and turned it into a media center. It’s proven to be incredibly functional and I love to change up the styling on top of the bookcase whenever I have a new pile of fruit or flowers.
I also told you how I replaced my wood blinds with kid-friendly cordless honeycomb shades, which I love.
This little corner is so sad, but it turns into a Mamaroo swing area once baby #2 arrives, so I don’t lose sleep at night over it.
This little dressing area corner remains unchanged but I’d like to swap out the pillow for the blue poppy one whenever I get new pillows for the sofa.
The things that I still have left to do include painting the doors to the front entryway and Oliver’s room (currently an ugly honey color – I didn’t even take pictures of it because it literally makes me cringe to look at it), buy a lamp for the side table because we really don’t have much in the way of lighting (I get hot flashes over this one), get new pillows in navy and lavender tones (totally obsessed with these and these), re-paint the ceiling white as there are splotches everywhere (haha don’t know if this is ever going to happen?), maybe update the rug in the living area with something more complementary like another larger Oushak rug, and maybe update the toy baskets underneath the console with matching seagrass baskets so that they look more cohesive. Though the decorator in me really just wants to get everything done in one full swoop, due to my shoestring budget all of this has to happen very piecemeal, so I just have to be patient. Thennnn I have to work on all the other rooms in our house, hah.
So, what do you think??
P.S. Minted is having 15% off $100+ and 20% off $150+ on holiday and art gifts today through Friday and 25% off all non-holiday items on Cyber Monday so if you’re thinking about refreshing your space with some new art now is the time to do it!