Are you tired of hearing about my living room yet?

We are continuing to make more changes to the living room.  It’s STILL not complete, but sometimes I feel like no room in my house will ever be 100% complete.  I just thought I would share some of the updates since my last post

Before I begin, please excuse the junk on the coffee table and the large cardboard boxes behind the sofa in the top photo.  These big furniture deliveries always seem to come with HUGE amounts of cardboard and shipping materials.  We have broken down SO many boxes for recycling over the past few weeks, and obviously we still have a few more to go.  Also, on the coffee table are the components for some shelf lighting we purchased yesterday for the tops of the bookcases.  Apparently we need some kind of adapter for them, so we can’t install them yet, but Tadd was still in the process of sorting them out when I took that picture.

Yes, we added an armchair!  It’s so nice to have some extra seating.  We needed something small-scale that wouldn’t take up too much room, but I also wanted something that either had an ottoman or footstool.  This chair we ended up with is actually a recliner!  So it takes up even less space.  I love that it doesn’t look like a recliner.  We ordered it at

We finally got the baskets for the bottom shelves of the sofa table!  I love it…SO much storage.  One of the bins holds a small collection of household tools that we want to keep handy just in case (most of Tadd’s tools live in the garage); a hammer, a nail/wall hanger set, some basic screwdrivers, flashlights, etc.  One will hold spare vases.  And the rest is room to grow for now, until I decide on something else I want to store.

Ever since seeing this post by Thrifty Decor Chick, I have been wanting to buy a tillandsia (also known as an air plant).  I finally found one yesterday at Ikea for $6!  These are supposed to be really easy to care for…they don’t even need soil!

In addition to the tillandsia, I have been working on adding more decor (and color!) into the room.  I bought the little ceramic fish planter filled with succulents at Lowes.  The daisy plate and yellow/coral candle holders were from Hobby Lobby.  And the framed bird postcards were from Ikea ($0.99 for the entire pack of 5 postcards and $2.99 each for the pre-matted frames!)

Still in the plans for the near future:

  • Installing cabinet knobs on the bookshelves (we have the knobs, just need to install them).
  • Installing the cabinet lighting we already bought once Tadd gets the adapter he needs.
  • Paint/treatment on the backs of the shelves…still trying to decide exactly what I want to do with that.
  • Spray paint some of the existing accessories to match the new color scheme.
  • Curtains…Already found the panels I want.  Just have to buy them and a curtain rod and install.
  • Lamps…I want one table lamp for the sofa table and one floor lamp for over by the armchair.

And lower priority plans for a little bit further down the road:

  • Looking for a piece of furniture that we can use as a small bar near where the living room transitions into the kitchen.  We actually have a very small bar already (it was  formerly the ONLY storage piece in our living room and held all my candles), but it has been broken for years.  I would like something much larger, but it can’t be too deep because we don’t want the entrance to the living room to feel cramped and narrow.
  • This is technically more in the kitchen then the living room, but while at Ikea yesterday, we saw a small shoe rack/bench combo that would be PERFECT for the area of the kitchen that transitions into the living room.  That tends to be where our shoes pile up, and I thought the bench would be a nice place for me to set my purse down when I walk in the door.

By the way, now that we have been really living in it for a week or so, I can say that I am completely, totally in love with my new living room.  The new layout and furniture are doing exactly what I had hoped they would: provide a feeling of coziness, and an amazing amount of storage.

Living Room Reveal! (kind of…)

Well, my living room is not finished quite to my liking. BUT, I think it looks sufficiently complete to be able to share it with you here. Please keep in mind that this is still a work-in-progress!  But so far, we are loving our new room. It really does feel completely different!  I find it much more cozy, and it gives us a TON more storage options.

Click here to see some “before” pictures.

And without further ado…

Some things to consider while viewing the photo above:

  • The console table behind the sofa will soon have four large straw baskets in each of the bottom cubbyholes.  Just need to make the time to get back to Ikea to purchase them.  I am on the hunt for a set of 4 decorative items to live in the upper cubbyholes.  Thinking decorative bowls, but not sure yet.  I am also on the hunt for a lamp for the top of that table.
  • We have ordered a very sleek, small grey recliner for the now-empty righthand wall.  It should arrive later this week.
  • The bookshelves on either side of the TV will be in for a makeover soon.  My main goal is to get the backs of the shelves painted so the accessories don’t get lost in a dark abyss like they are now.
  • The cabinet doors on the bottom of the bookshelves are probably my #1 favorite thing about this room.  SOOOOOO much hidden storage.  We want to get some decorative knobs from Hobby Lobby to jazz them up a bit.
  • We have art to hang on the walls, but I’m not 100% sure where I want everything to go yet.  So we are living with mostly empty walls until I figure it out.
  • For some reason, the lighting makes the walls photograph brighter than they actually are.  It’s a much softer yellow in person.
  • Many of the accessories on the bookshelves will get a coat of spray paint in some brighter colors.  Again, this is just a rough draft and a definite work-in-progress.
  • The window needs curtains.

A few more detail pics:

I will keep you posted as we continue to work on this room!

Living Room Makeover…Before

So I am hoping that the weekend proves to be as productive as I intend it to be.  Currently the plan is that we are getting the new living room furniture delivered tomorrow.  As stated previously, we are getting the beige L-shaped Ektorp sectional sofa, 2 brown/black Billy bookcases (haven’t decided yet if I’m getting the cabinet doors for the bottom half of the Billys right away or waiting until a future date), a coffee table, console table, and possibly an end table.

I actually started clearing out the room last night.  I didn’t think we had too much “stuff” in that room aside from the furniture, but looks were quite deceiving.  I packed up all the decor and candles, cleaned out most of the coffee table shelf (where lots of odds and ends seem to accumulate), and made a pile of Tadd’s stuff that he will have to go through eventually.  Tonight we will move the coffee table, old sofa, and the few other small furniture pieces into my sewing room (still haven’t decided exactly where everything will be going permanently, so for now we are just going to cram everything in there).  Then we will deep clean the carpets with our handy dandy steam cleaner.

Unfortunately, I neglected to get a true “before” picture.  I was looking back through my collection of personal photos to see if I could find a good true “before” shot, and found some decent ones from one of our past Christmas parties…just so you can get a sense of what the room has looked like for the past few years.  Just ignore all the people and the extra kitchen chairs brought in temporarily for additional seating.

I admit I will miss the huge pop of red the old red sofa brought into the room.  I think when I initially bought it back in early 2005 several people in my life suspected I might live to regret buying a bright red sofa, but in almost 9 years and in 3 different homes, I never did.  Not even for a moment!

However, I am excited that I will get to go in a whole new direction with this makeover.  With the red sofa, my design philosophy involved toning down the red with lots of neutral accessories.  So with the beige sofa, expect lots of colorful accessories!  I don’t want to commit to a color scheme quite yet.  We are keeping the pale yellow walls, so whatever we choose will have to jive with that, but I find that it’s still fairly neutral and goes with most schemes that I would be drawn to anyways.  I am on the hunt for an inspiration piece (throw pillows, wall art, etc), and plan to pull the colors of the accessories from there.

For example, I LOVE this (unfortunately, discontinued) pillow from Pottery Barn!  If I could find something similar, I would easily be able to pull a color scheme together for the rest of the accessories.

Luckily, there are much less expensive and more readily available pillows with pretty florals and paisleys in almost any store that sells home decor.  So I am quite confident I will find one that I love just as much pretty quickly.  Hopefully we get a chance to shop for this type of stuff on Sunday!  Accessorizing is the best part!

This kind of thing always triggers my anxiety a little bit.  Big purchases, big changes, and big decisions always tend to do that to me.  But I am also very excited.  I feel like we have way underutilized this room since the beginning.  I am looking forward to a new layout that uses the space more effectively, gives us more flexible and attractive storage options, and more ways to show off our design personalities.  I hope the end result turns out the way I see it in my head.  I guess we will find out by Sunday night!

Master Bath Update…and a new project!

For some reason, summer puts me in house project mode.  It happened last summer too, when we updated our kitchen island.  And the summer before that, it was our powder room makeover.

We are still working little by little on the master bath refresh.  I showed you previously some of the items we had purchased.    I also used up some of my birthday giftcards to get a few more random things.  I picked up an oil-rubbed bronze vanity mirror from Bed Bath & Beyond. Similar to this one, but with a square base.

And just last night I went to Hobby Lobby and got some wall decor (a big iron leaf/feather that I have been eyeing for years)…

…a decorative basket that will live on the tub corner (to hold bath products), and this owl statue and lotus tealight holder:

Between BB&B and HL, I spent about $7 total out of pocket.  Love using the “shopper’s trinity” (sales, coupons, and giftcards)!  We also went to Lowes and picked up a hanging shower organizer and an over-the-door hook for our water closet.

I just have a few more items I would like to buy and/or install before I show you the final product.  I don’t have any before pics, because it was a disorganized wreck, and honestly the “after” pics probably won’t be all that exciting, since I didn’t do anything drastic like paint or replace fixtures (although we ARE seriously thinking about replacing the vanity lighting).  But we are both really enjoying the new set up so far.  It’s nice having a well-appointed, functional, refreshed space that is just for us.  And it was also nice having a low-key project that hasn’t taken much money to feel a big difference.

And our latest project is…a new living room!  Well, same living room, new furniture.  The plan (so far) is to replace our 8.5 year old red American Signature sectional sofa with a beige 2×2 Ektorp sectional from Ikea.  I love our red sofa, but it’s looking pretty worn and it’s just not easy to really clean red microfiber.  One of the things I love about the Ektorp is that it’s almost totally machine washable!  Great for pets and clumsy husbands!  And if you need to, you can just totally replace the slipcover and have what feels and looks like a whole new sofa for a couple hundred bucks.  Some of you may be skeptical about Ikea furniture, but I have done my research and it seems to be almost universally loved by many, many, many home bloggers out there.  I also love the look.  Reminds me of Pottery Barn’s classic slipcover sofas, with a MUCH more reasonable price tag!

Here is a pretty terrible picture of how our living room is configured now:

Unfortunately, it’s the only current pic that I have on hand.  This room is fairly large and opens to the kitchen.  I think my biggest problem with it is that the (obnoxiously huge) TV being at an angle like that takes up way too much space.  And we also have a lot of wasted space between this seating area and the kitchen.  My plan is to move the TV so that it is centered on the wall with all the floating shelves and flank it on either side with tall bookshelves.  I would like the kind that have cabinet doors on the bottom and open shelves on the top, like this:

The floating shelves we have on the wall now will obviously have to be moved elsewhere, but I am sure we can find some great spots for them.  The new sectional will be oriented with one end of the “L-shape” under the window that is just to the left of the TV in the pic above.  The other end will be with the back facing the kitchen.  I plan to put a decorative console table behind that end of the sofa, and if there is room, maybe an armchair against that right-side wall that the sofa is backed up to now.  I hope this will allow the room to feel bigger and will allow us to use more of the space effectively.  There will also be some additional new accent tables, perhaps some curtains, and definitely some new throw pillows for the new sofa.  If we get the bookshelves above with the cabinet doors, I would want to get some pretty decorative knobs for them as well (Hobby Lobby has a ton of really fun ones!).

So stay tuned!  Lots of house updates to come this summer!

Before & After: Entry table transition.

Monday is DONE!  Yay!  Onto the rest of the work week.  Let’s hope it passes quickly!

Just thought I would do a quick little post to show you how I redecorated the entry table to transition from 4th of July decor to a more generic summer look.

This is how the entry table looked a few days ago, still dressed up for the 4th:

When we went to Ikea a couple weeks ago, one of the items I picked up was a tall skinny lamp for this table.  I think it was $6 or $7.  Added a $10 lampshade from Target for a clean, simple look.  Kept my favorite kitty sculptures and jar of lemons, and added some more silk flowers and a wedding pic of me and Tadd (printed on regular printer paper!) in a pretty glass frame.   The two little pots of silk daisies are from Dollar Tree!  I love how colorful and fun they are.  The bud vase behind them with another silk daisy was actually a leftover bridal shower favor from my own bridal shower over 7 years ago!  I still love it and bring it out every so often.

And there you have it!

I am linking this post up with Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party!

Weekend Update

Friday night was very much like the previous Friday night.  Very low key.  We had grilled brats with spicy mustard and pierogies for dinner, and  I mixed up a small pitcher of simple rum punch (light rum, orange juice, and a little grenadine) for Tadd and I to share, and we watched some TV and vegged a bit.  By 10:30 I was sleepy and went to bed (pathetic, huh?).

Kodak Moment: Tadd teaching Keith how to tie a tie.

Saturday morning, we started to work on the powder room a bit, but ran into the aforementioned snag, when Tadd accidentally tried to install the toilet paper holder over a stud.  Then we took Keith to a job interview in the early afternoon.  While he was busy with that, Tadd and I headed over to check out the lighting clearance at Lowes.  Unfortunately, the one light we liked (which was originally $80, marked down to $20!) was sold out.  Early bird gets the worm, indeed.  Luckily Tadd was able to pick up a stud finder while we were there, to prevent future problems with the powder room, so the trip wasn’t totally wasted.

As we were checking out, Keith texted Tadd to say his interview was done.  The place he interviewed for is a new place which doesn’t actually open for another month or so.  So unfortunately the current interviews are more of a screening process and he wouldn’t start actually working for awhile yet.  He thinks it went well, though, and they stated he would get a call back in 2 weeks for a 2nd interview.  Who knows if Keith will still be around then, but aside from that it sounds promising.  He has 2 more interviews this week with 2 other companies.  Because things seemed to go well for him, and he really made the effort to prepare for this interview, we decided to treat Keith to lunch at Tijuana Flats, where he promptly told us that the only Mexican (errr..Tex/Mex, really) food he had ever had was Taco Bell!  The kid continues to amaze me with the stuff he hasn’t heard of, tried, or experienced.  Tijuana Flats was a big hit with him.

We headed home to relax for awhile before Tadd and I left Keith behind to meet up with another couple down at Disney World on Saturday night.  Read about our lovely evening here if you haven’t already!

Sunday morning, we were on a mission to spend some quality time at our local IKEA store, which I am sure most of you know is always an epic event.  We started with breakfast, because you always need to fuel up before a jaunt through any IKEA, which can sometimes last several hours, because it literally goes on and on, seemingly without end.  Only $8 total for 2 large breakfasts (bacon, eggs, french toast sticks, and hash browns), a couple small pastries, and 3 coffees.  Bargain!

The only things I knew for sure I wanted to get here were my 2 $9 porch planters, which we did get.  But I also wanted to browse around for a couple of furniture pieces to buy sometime in the near future.  I want some kind of shelf/hutch type of piece for the living room, and I wanted to look at buffets for the dining room.  I already pretty much know which buffet I want, which matches my dining room set (I know, it’s bad to go too matchy, but I love this furniture line!):

LEKSVIK Sideboard, $225

And this is what we are looking at for the living room, but we would get glass doors to go over the shelves (for an extra $50).  Still not sure if we want to get it in white or black…

SMÅDAL Bookcase with drawer, white $99.00

AND…Now I find myself wanting to swap out our cheapie little entryway table/shelf with something prettier (and with more storage!) like this:

EDLAND Chest with 2 drawers, gray $199.00

Anyways, by the time we got to the art/decor/candles/garden/patio portion of our trek through IKEA, Tadd had just about had it with my slow, careful meandering and Keith was complaining that his feet hurt.  So I relented and we rushed through the last part of the store, grabbed the planters in the gardening section, and got in line to check out.

Once we finally got to the car, Tadd softened a bit and graciously suggested that we check out what looked like a fairly large Dollar Tree in a shopping plaza near IKEA.  I love Dollar Tree!  Especially the big ones…the location closest to my house is tiny, so I love any opportunity to check out other locations.  While we were there, I finally (FINALLY!) bought the supplies to make those $2 hurricane candle holders that were so popular in the DIY blog world last winter.  Once I get the right kind of adhesive for the project, I will show you exactly what I mean.  Super easy and very cute.  It’s like something straight out of Pottery Barn, but it will only cost you $2 to make with very little effort or skill.  So stay tuned for that!

After shopping, we came home and the boys started priming the vanity cabinets.  One coat of primer is as far as we got, but it’s a start!  We pretty much relaxed the rest of the day and enjoyed what little was left of the weekend.

7 Day Blog Challenge! Day 1: IKEA Hackers

Well, we didn’t get as far as we had hoped on the powder room project, but the walls are pretty much done.  I had hoped to have the cabinets started, but not this weekend.  We might be able to finish next weekend, but I’m not totally sure because we have much more planned than we did this weekend.  So worst case, it will take us a couple of weeks, which is fine because I still have a few items I need to decide on.

Anyways, I randomly happened upon this post from a social media blog by a guy named Danny Brown.  Basically, he devised something called the 7 Day Blog Challenge.  The idea is to expand your own horizons while simultaneously expanding the horizons of others, both readers and other bloggers, by seeking out interesting new blogs, and sharing them with your various social networks, and in your own blog.  So I thought I would do my own little version of this over the next week…

Basically, each day over the next seven days, I am going to highlight a blog that I have found and enjoy.  At the end of the week, hopefully my readers will have several interesting new blogs to check out…and maybe some of the blogs that I highlight will have some new loyal followers.  I encourage all of my other bloggy friends to do the same (feel free to use the graphic above too).

First up, is a blog that Tadd actually brought to my attention.  IKEA Hackers!

IKEA HackersThis is a blog where they take common objects, furniture, decor items, etc purchased at IKEA and modify and customize them.  You can find some very clever project ideas here, both the simple, like this pendant lamp made out of a cheese grater

…and the more complex, like this kitchen island that sinks into the floor when not in use (how cool is that!?)…

I wouldn’t consider myself excessively handy, but I do like creative ways to decorate for less, so I find this blog fascinating.  I would love to try a few of the projects myself very soon.  For example, check out this decoupaged $20 LACK coffee table.  So pretty, no?

So if you have access to an IKEA store and like to creatively furnish your home inexpensively, give the IKEA Hackers blog a try!

There you have it…Day 1 of the challenge complete.  Hope some of you other bloggers join me in taking up the challenge!