Our living room has suffered an identity crisis for a very, very, long time. It’s gone through many attempted makeovers. The kind of makeovers where you have guests coming for dinner on Friday, and it’s Thursday night so you decide to scour your basement for picture frames that you can quickly nail to the wall, and then you head out to the store 30 minutes before it closes to buy a new lamp and some throw pillows, and maybe a new kitchen towel, and of course some more picture frames because the ones from your basement were kinda blah.
That’s how our living room got decorated for the last ten years! On the fly, with absolutely no plan.
Our living room is the hub of our home – I walk through it 187 times a day -- so I should probably like how it looks.
I finally put some time into creating a plan for the room, then shopped accordingly -- both at retail stores and secondhand. The couch, pillows, curtains, and large wall mirror were all purchased new. Nearly everything else was purchased secondhand at thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales. Here’s how it looks today!
And for reference, here's a few before pictures:
Below I'm sharing 5 tips on how I finally got my act together and decorated our living room to feel much more modern and reflective of our style...while still being functional for three boys!
1. GATHER INSPIRATION & CREATE A VISION
I pinned my little heart out on Pinterest to gather inspiration and determine what style of room I wanted to create. I pinned a lot of living room photos, but I also pinned specific colors, textures, and furniture. Here’s a look at some of my inspiration:
The common theme is neutral colors like gray, white, and black with pops of copper, pink and turquoise. Also lots of textures from natural wood, lace, baskets, and live greenery.
2. SHOP YOUR HOUSE
Given my love of thrifting, I always have a collection of housewares stored in the basement. I first pull items from my "stock" before buying something new. Like this three tiered table! This was one of the first pieces of secondhand furniture I ever repainted. It’s been used in our kitchen, hallway and now in the living room.
To give the space above the TV a little life I used fabric bunting that I had made for my fleamarket booth. The bunting was made using a thrifted lace table cloth, pillowcase, and sheets!
3. CREATE A LIST
If I don’t have a list when I shop at the thrift store I either 1)get overwhelmed and give up, or 2) buy things I don’t need that don’t match my vision.
The corner of the room between the two windows originally just had a lamp, but I wanted to add some interest back there so I added to my list: shelving unit for corner. It took a few different visits to the thrift store, but I finally found this one at Goodwill Waterloo for $8! It was originally a brown faux wood laminate that now looks totally different with a coat of white paint.
Also on my list were copper accents, woven baskets and pink books – all of which I easily found at Goodwill.
4. THINK ABOUT FUNCTION
Our living room is small and I wanted to make sure there was open space for the boys to do their favorite things -- hulk smash each other, jump off the couch into a swimming pool made from every. single. cushion. and. pillow., and of course breakdancing. That said, I kept furniture to a minimum so that they have a big, open space to practice their Austin Moon dance moves.
To avoid having extra furniture take up space, like a toybox, I used a secondhand vintage dresser for our TV stand that could double as toy storage. This is the same dresser I repainted for the Thrift Challenge last year. See the transformation here.
I also saved room by taking advantage of the empty space below the coffee table. This thrifted wire basket stores our blankets and fits perfectly in the space.
Instead of filling this open area with unnecessary furniture that would take up space, I added a large mirror to the wall, and included a $5 re-painted kids chair from Goodwill that the kids can easily move around for extra seating and/or a diving board.
5. MAKE A STATEMENT
On the large wall above our couch we originally had 3 picture frames hung horizontally in a row. I was pretty bored with it so I searched my Pinterest boards for inspiration. I loved how people were using large, unique statement pieces above their couches. I saw maps, old windows, big mirrors, and oversized artwork. When I stumbled upon this huge, vintage chalkboard at Goodwill Streetsboro for $8, I knew I had found my statement piece!
Our plan with the chalkboard was to put new inspirational/motivational words up there at the beginning of each month. I took this first message to heart and approached all projects slowwwwwwwwly, thus this message is still up 6 months later. Time to switch it up for the second half of the year. Maybe a special message for the boys... "No Lifeguard on Duty. Swimming Prohibited."
Hope these tips were hepful for anyone else stuck in a decorating rut. To recap:
1 – Gather Inspiration and create a vision
2 – Shop your house
3 – Create a List
4 – Think about function
5 – Make a statement
Are you a thrifter? Or do you want to try thrifting (but not do it alone?) Come hang out with Dina and I at 6PM TOMORROW NIGHT (Friday 8/21) at Goodwill Waterloo for a Thrift Night Out! We'll have a light dinner, we'll share tons of thrifting ideas for your home and wardrobe, and then the best part... we'll shop the store! Register here. Hope to see you!