Sunday, 27 October 2013

our cold, uninviting living room

Okay people, I need some decor help ASAP! I am not good at decorating or DIYs (well, if I had an unlimited amount of money I would be). However, I am just so darn cheap that even a $20 DIY freaks me out, and therefore....my house looks very plain and boring.

In all our past homes I still felt cozy and warm in our living room. It's the central hub of the home, so it has to be cozy! Our first two homes were teeny tiny, but I always felt like our living room was the perfect size. Our limited amount of furniture fit in perfectly, and people always commented that our place felt very "homey" and "cozy". Nobody has said that yet about this place! In fact, most comments are that we need more furniture (which we can't really afford), or we need to rearrange the furniture (which we are also not sure about).

Right now I'm in the midst of adding some special touches to make it more cozy, I''ve taken some "before" pictures, with my re-do plans. Let me know what you think and share with me some ideas (but keep in mind, we are on the strictest of budgets right now!)

So far this just seems like the most reasonable place to put the couch (we have access to the back door, don't worry!) Any other way either blocks something important (like the furnace door), or just doesn't make sense with how the TV has to be situated. Tempted to just get rid of the TV, but...also not.

This couch is on it's last leg, but we can't be buying anything new right now. My plan is to find a very inexpensive way to cover the couch, while also adding lots of brightly coloured cushions for depth, and a pretty and cozy throw blanket. So far this tutorial seems like the best plan.

This is the wall opposite the couch, where our TV is. Pen likes to play in this area. This week I plan on buying 9 frames from the dollar store and making a frame wall above the horse/play house.

After Christmas I also plan on moving the play house downstairs and making that wall a play area for Penny. Her Grandparents are buying her the Ikea play kitchen, and I plan on getting her a chair to sit in and read, plus possibly a doll with a bed. That way it will be like her house inside a house, and it won't be ugly like the Play Skool toy!

This is the back corner of the room. Right now it houses all of Penny's toys (I realize she's not as spoiled as I think when all her toys fit into two small baskets). Today my plan is to move all the toys to our spare bedroom (aka: empty bedroom) as a separate play space for Penny. I might keep the small basket up here with just a few of her favourites.

Once Penny's toys are gone this side of the room will look even more lonely than it does now. This week I bought two white lack shelves from Ikea, and I'm going to have them installed here. I think the wall will still look pretty empty, so my plan is to buy another smaller chair from a local consignment shop that has beautiful upholstered chairs for about $50. 

So now it's your turn, is there anything you'd recommend? Speak now!


  1. It may not be homey *YET* but it's a lovely space! I'd kill for so much natural night in my living room! I think if you were to spend any money it should be on a coffee table to bring the space together. You might get lucky on craigslist and find one for cheap. and maybe match pillow cases to bring the space together too (ikea has pillow cases for $10), which would just go over your current ones. I'd move the couch to the other wall just to maximize the light since it's blocking part of the light, then maybe put the chair in the corner closer to the couch to make a sitting area an all the toys can go where the chair is currently to make a toy/play place?

    1. Yes I love this house, it's a beautiful place...but it doesn't at all feel like "home" and that is what drives me crazy I think! To answer some of your comments

      - we have a really nice matching coffee table but it's in storage because Penny has almost poked her eye out/split her head open on it one too many times. We call her the drunken sailor because she just falls onto everything! So unfortunately keeping the area open is the best option for now :(
      - I totally agree about the couch placement but my problem is that if we keep the TV where it is, we won't be able to see it from the other wall. The room is also so gigantic that if we put it on the completely opposite wall it would look ridiculous. What do you think??
      - I will have to check out ikea next time and try to get some matching pillows for the space!!

    2. I probably can't fully tell from the picture but I think it could work... You'd still be able to watch TV from the chair and half on the couch, plus you could angle the TV to make that easier (I assume you can angle the screen and keep the TV bench stationary)...

  2. Picture frames, look in thrift stores, or the wooden ones from Michael's paint and put up! They don't even need anything in them. I always get great deals of old wooden frames with no backing or glass at thrift stores and use them as I feel fit! You can leave them as they are, make them a little vintage, distressed, or put pictures in them. The pictures do not even have to fit the frame to look good! I learned from Maria at church that Chalk Paint is the best for distressing but I usually look for ones already really old or distressed naturally in the thrift stores.

  3. You could also move the couch where you can walk behind it and have the TV on the end wall. Would make the room feel less big and Penelope would have fun walking around it!

  4. Hi Brianna,

    I LOVE the space, and I also LOVE decorating. I know all about being on a limited budget, so here are my suggestions:

    1) I would have to agree with Em about moving the couch so it's not blocking the door. Just play around with the furniture placement when you have a bit of time. You could even angle it so that there's a bit of a gap between the back of the couch and the corner wall (I hope that makes sense!) Get the hubs to help you move things around until you find something interesting and functional that works for your family.

    2) Jazz up the walls! Even value village has some cute vintage pics, or you could frame pics of Penny or shots from your wedding. Frame walls are great, depending on the space, but also a big statement piece (like something on a canvas) would really fill up the space and make it feel more homey. Right now I am in love with MASSIVE canvas pieces that are so big, you lean them against the wall. But that's all personal preference. (Something else you could do, if you're daring enough, is make your own painting. I prefer abstract because I am TERRIBLE at making things look realistic. Also, homesense has some really well priced artwork in the clearance section.)

    3) Add texture! You alluded to the fact that you were going to get some throw pillows and blankets, which is a great start. You could also consider window coverings, if you can sew, and also use different pieces in the room to add depth of texture. Along with the couch and the chair you already have, you could add a wooden bench or a stool.

    4) One last thing: you mentioned you bought shelves. I'm not sure what those look like but I am an avid reader and I think books make a house a home. You could even find a cool way to display your books in that room to warm things up.

    I hope that helps, and I am excited to see the finished product when you guys have settled in! :)

    P.S. Definitely stop by www.apartmenttherapy.com for some great ideas. I like to go there for inspiration, and then find a cheaper alternative!

  5. I love coming up with home decor ideas! I am going to email you something I came up with ok? For now, here are a few easy crafts that wouldn't cost very much:

    - Put old handkerchiefs that have bright colours into frames. You could easily get the handkerchiefs at value village, or an antique place for super cheap, and frames at the dollar store or Walmart or something. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/150941024984561339/

    - Similar idea, but use pieces of tissue paper in vibrant colours to spell out words and frame that

    - Or frame some wrapping paper!

    I think adding anything to the walls, even just framed family photos will make a big impact. But make it big!


  6. Try the DOLLAR STORE!!! I know unbelievable right? You will be surprised at what you can find there with some imagination. My hubby and I just purchased some canvases and paint and went wild with our imagination. I made a canvas with wooden letters that said .."and they lived happily ever after" (inspiration from Pinterest) and it came out great! it was under $5 Don't be afraid to go to winners or Homesense they have some cheap stuff lurking around too! Oh any cute family pictures lying around? Make printed copies and distress them and frame them...there is an antiquing tutorial on my pinterest (that's crafty board). All of the supplies you can get from the dollar store. Also, fabric is really cheap if you have old pillows that are not getting used get some fabric and velcro and go to town and resurface them. Lots and lots of ideas on Pinterest as always! Hope this helps.