Living room makeover

Thank you everyone for your kind words and well-wishes in my last posts’ comments and on Facebook!  We are super excited about the impending arrival of our little one.   I’m also excited to plan and prepare for him/her, which ya’ll will be privy to I’m sure.  However, I did promise my friend Adam that this wouldn’t turn into a baby blog and I intend to keep that promise.  Most of the time.  Speaking of… 

I consider myself a fairly patient person.  But I am done, I repeat, DONE with our living room.    Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with it (a fact that The Hubs is much too quick to point out).   We have decent furniture (er, ok, “had”), things matched, and as a room it worked.  The room looked nice and even kind-of put together.  The problem is that I had always been “just dealing” with it.  So you have hand-me-down forest green couches that you can’t afford to replace?  Let’s buy some pillows, fancy it up and make it work (any idea how hard it is to coordinate with forest green?!).  Oh?  And the room is pretty dang small?  Well that’s ok, we’ll keep it minimal and pick out some smaller items to go with it.  Like a GIANT 52″ flat screen TV.  Side-eye to The Hubs.  

Perhaps it’s the pregnancy hormones kicking in, or perhaps it’s the fear that I’ll never be able to spend money on myself again come January…but I decided that I must tackle this project.  Now. 

I went ahead and put together a quick and dirty mock-up to portray our current situation.  I only included the major pieces of the room so it looks a little baron (I promise you it’s a bit more inviting than this floor plan leads you to believe).  The door to the bottom left is the front door to our house.  If you proceed through the room (to the left of the couch) you walk past the stairway (leading upstairs) and into the kitchen.   

Allow me to break down my annoyances for you:

1.  Turns out forest green couches just aren’t my thing!  It’s so hard to coordinate colors and accessories.  I always felt extremely limited when picking out pillows, rugs and decor for the room…often passing on items I loved because they just didn’t fit.  

2.  The couches are actually the “overstuffed” kind…which in my opinion is just too big for the size of the room we are working with.

3.  The whole style overall just isn’t me.  

4.  Lack of seating.  I think we could make better use of the limited space we have so more than a few people can sit down at once.   A 52″ HD TV typically means there’s a lot of hockey, football and (sigh) hunting-show watching done at our house and in reality about 5 people could sit comfortably in the room.  And five is generous because it includes me sitting on a trunk that sits in the entryway (not pictured above).

5.  It’s really hard to get to the closet (see it there in the back right hand corner) to get the vacuum out.  Maybe that’s why The Hubs never does it…

6.  The room feels very boxy to me.  Immediately upon walking in the front door you’re met with the coffee table which makes the room feel closed-off and uninviting. 

7.  I have tried every, and I mean EVERY furniture arrangement you can think of with this space.  And the only combination that works with our current furniture is what you see above.  I distinctly remember The Hubs coming home from hunting one weekend and asking me what I did that day, to which I replied “re-arranged the living room.”  He looked at me a bit like I’d gone crazy, peeked back in the living room and said “um, sweetie?  It looks exactly the same.”   Yes.  Yes it did look exactly the same despite the fact that I had spent my entire day pushing and moving heavy furniture around to every possible location.   

But I think the biggest irk about this room is that it’s just not me.  Sure, Monty Dolack paintings are great, but it’s not really the look I want in my house.   Sorry Monty. 

In addition, I feel I’m working hard (and a lot) and we should have stuff that is ours.  Not just hand-me-downs that we’ve “made work” for the past five years.

So one night while sitting on my beloved forest green couch I got to thinking…what if…

What if we scrapped this whole damn room? 
What if we got a new couch and put it on the opposite wall under the window?  Oh my god I’ve never been able to have those windows open or reap the benefits of glorious sunlight shining in…thanks to the giant TV placed in front of them. 
What if that meant the new couch could be a sectional that could seat multiple people?
What if we moved the TV to the opposite wall?

I was onto something and it wasn’t going away.  It was going to take some convincing, some reasearch and some saving, but in the end my vision was something like this:

I love that the layout addresses so many of my previous concerns:  it completely opens up the space, allows for more seating, offers new options for colors slash accessories and opens a whole new world of opportunities for decorating.  

I did have concerns with this design however.  The sectional had to be just the right dimensions to work in the proposed area, and moving the TV to the other wall meant that there is potential for glare from the window on the screen.  Also, there’s no cable hook-up on that wall so we’d either have to run a new cable, or deal with one stretched down the baseboard to the new TV location (um, no thanks).  

So it’s not like this idea didn’t have risks, but god bless hormones because as of last week our living room looked like this:

Aye Carumba

Sayonara couches and get ready to kick-the-curb coffee table and rug.  

Obviously I’ve pulled the trigger on the move, but it’s going a bit slower than I thought.  We’ve found (and purchased) a couch, but we are working on getting cabling done, carpets cleaned and the rest of the furniture sold before moving anything around.   And since you know I’m a planner, here’s my entire to-do list for the room:

  • Look into cabling for cat5 and coax 
  • Research and purchase a couch
  • Move couch inside!
  • Rearrange furniture and see what still works and what doesn’t 
  • Find or DIY some fun patterned pillows for the new couch
  • See if previously-purchased West Elm curtains will work, if not sell on Craigslist
  • Sew curtains (if West Elms don’t work)
  • Sew curtain for front door windows to reduce glare on TV
  • Consider painting living room
  • Be on the lookout for a console table for the entryway
  • Be on the lookout for cheap frames to put a frame gallery in the entry way
  • Paint mirror
  • Replace boob lamp with a some sort of drum shade light (Eden light at CB2?) and install dimmer
  • Find a fun patterned rug (8×10) 
  • Update the leather tray for table (line with fabric?)
  • Decide on wall art (maybe some covered fabric canvases) for the wall with the couch.  Something to fill up the big space and bring in some color. 

This list may take me 17 years to complete, and I’m not opposed to waiting on a few things so I can find something I love.  I don’t want to rush through the list just to cross something off….since I’m starting from scratch I really want this to be a room that makes me happy and is full of stuff I love.  Plus, aren’t time and budget always a concern (that was for you Hubs).   Luckily I have a whole lot of Janna-time coming up in the next few months while the Hubs is out hunting…so hopefully I can make a bit of progress soon! 

I’ll be keeping you in the loop as things progress, but for now you can imagine us sitting in our camp chairs when we need to veg.  Yes, the camp chairs are inside and let me tell you….we both agree they aren’t as comfortable when you’re not sitting by a campfire.



  1. Can’t wait to see the transformation! And good idea doing it sooner than later, you are right, come January you won’t to spend money on yourself anymore…do it while you still can! Summy looks so sad in the picture. :( I am currently on the lookout for fabric as well to hang a canvass in our living room too (great minds think a like)! Perhaps we can go shopping together. :) ….what is a boob lamp? The only one I can think of is the one by your C&B shelf.

  2. Wowza! This sounds like a fun project, I love the new layout! Can’t wait to see the new couch and then watch you pull it all together, I’m sure it will be fabulous! Lots to be on the lookout for and I could use some fabric for a project or two, so it sounds like the O’Connell girls need to go on a trip to Selvedge! Isn’t it amazing what hormones can drive you to do?! :)

    1. I like to have quick easy access to my beer. And the “His” and “Hers” are key…I don’t want The Hubs drinking my special selection. :)

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