I'm going to preface this post by saying I know I think about these things way too much. Probably far more than is normal for most. Nothing you'll find here is earth shattering or terribly important in the grand scheme of what's going on in our world today. However, creating, puzzling over and enjoying my spaces really bring me great joy. They offer a soft place to land that can feel like a refuge from the stress of all the other stuff. There's certainly enough to feel crabby and frustrated about outside these four walls. I need the ones inside to feel good. When they're not working, I feel off, and so does everyone else I live with.
Over the years, my living room has been the one room I've struggled to pull together well. It's one long, narrow room that only feels balanced when the Christmas tree is up. Not so helpful for the other eleven months of the year. It also has no overhead lighting, few windows, and the light we do get is cool, Northern light. In the dead of winter especially, this drives me bananas. Coupled with the beige walls, rug and sofa we have, there are days I feel like I'm living inside a cardboard box. It seems though, that the more I try to tweak and work something out, the more I get stuck. It's like I can't get out of my own way and see the space with any objectivity. I nitpick and hem and haw and become my own worst client.
Through trial and error over the last few months, (and lots of texts to good friends with great eyes) I think I've gotten to the bottom of it. The answer? I need light. When you have none or very little, that means color. I think when I was in the thick of being a mom to toddlers, all the color that surrounded me everyday made me crave the neutral. The quiet. The tame. Now that we've all moved on a bit, it's time to bring in the bright, cheerful colors that reflect where we are in life now and how we feel today. (Trust me. That does not imply that we are bright and cheerful people all the time ; )
Here are a few recent shots of the room.
There are some pieces that are newer purchases that I love, but after 13 years of not updating too much besides pillows, a little facelift is due. Out with the greige, overscaled, saggy, dirty sofa and in with cleaner lines and more contrast.
Here's the plan I've been working on.
The rug just arrived yesterday. It's a vintage Persian rug I scored on eBay for less than the price of something synthetic from a big box store. It's 100% wool so it will stand up to my kids and 100 pound dog and all the gross things that go along with having both. The rest of the plan sprang from pieces I already have and colors that will play well with them and bring light to the room. I wanted a sofa with washable (bleachable) slipcovers, hence the white sofa. I know it sounds insane. But after reading Emily A. Clark's take on them here, as well as a few others, I think I'm up for the challenge.
So here's the to-do list:
- Add new sofa
- Lay new rug
- add new light fixtures
- add new pillows
- stencil or wallpaper entry and wall at top of stairs
- add ship lap to the dining room wall
- have cushion made for dining bench/church pew
- new blinds/drapes
- add more light (opening up the ceiling or walls for new windows and recessed lighting, sadly, is out of the question right now.)
Is there a space in your home that totally puzzles you? Please say that I'm not alone! Do any of you have a white slipcovered sofa? I'd love to hear your experience. My fingers are crossed that they're good.