Welcome to our living room! We spend lots of time in this space, from reading, to building magna-tiles, to Netflixing, to blogging, to hanging out with friends and family. When we bought this home two years ago, the wide open doorways between the dining room, foyer, living room, and “lego” room, were such a nice feature for our young family. Older homes can often feel closed off and tight, but our 1926 girl has high ceilings and spacious rooms. We’ve really loved living here.
Originally, the whole house felt dark, so the day we signed the papers I took down every single curtain. Then in the week before our move-in date we painted almost every wall Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. It brightened everything up! I really like having the same color in all the rooms, because it eliminated the choppy feeling the house had before.
I wasn’t sure about the dark trim, but we put it off since it’s such a big task to tackle. Thankfully now the contrasting trim feels unique to the house, but it’s still bright and happy. I’m glad we didn’t white wash it after all.
We also changed out most of the light fixtures including the two in the living room. Even though I’m not a purist about decorating old homes, I love how these look like they could be original. Here’s what she looks like now…
This isn’t my favorite view of the room. It looks a bit cluttered, but it’s good for a before and after view. The living room is long and narrow with three big openings into other rooms and one whole wall of a fireplace. Finding a furniture layout that works for how we use the space and looks good has been a little challenging to figure out. Ideally, I wish this cream loveseat didn’t break the room in half and block some of the light. It’s seen better days, so I may eventually like a pair of chairs there instead. There’s still a good 7 feet from the back of the sofa to the window, so it’s tricky to know how to use that extra space too. Since, I’m still playing around with it, let me know if you have any ideas below in the comments.
See how the room opens into the foyer with that blue rug and the dining room beyond? (This shot was taken from the front of our house looking towards the back.) We started by placing the couch on this wall and bought the large US map to go above it. I love those two together. The side tables were bought at a vintage store and I painted them. On the opposite wall, we put the TV on a vintage dresser.
A gallery wall surrounds the television and pulls out colors from the US map and the rug. To the left of the television is the “lego room” with three walls of windows. To the right are french doors leading to the screened porch.
Here you can see what’s behind the loveseat. We put one of our blue velvet vintage chairs in this corner because with the radiator and sunshine it is the warmest place to sit in the winter.
The rug is also something we bought once we had lived in the house for about a year. Our old cream 8×10 wasn’t long enough for the room and it was pretty boring with white walls and cream sofas. I love the character of this Persian my husband found on eBay. He’s got quite a knack for finding good rugs, which is a secret skill he pulled out after 8 years of marriage! Randomly, the rug was made the same year as our house was built.
This wall of fireplace and built-ins is both awesome and hard to manage. It’s pretty dark. The tiles are a well-known brand from Cincinnati, Rookwood Pottery, and original to the house. One of the first things I did to brighten it up was to paint the back of the built-ins white (they were a weird faux-wood material, not that beautiful stained wood.) Then I filled them with hobnail milk glass, photos and some books. I think maybe a different fireplace screen could help? I’d love to put in a gas fireplace too, but I have to convince Zach it’s a good idea first.
The round mirror helps break up all the hard angles and reflect some light since this side of the room is north-facing and a little darker. There’s a lot of different furniture going on in here, and something just isn’t quite right, but I can’t put my finger on it. It is really comfortable and cozy at night. I love lighting all the candles and watching a show or reading.
Here are the two corners behind the loveseat. There’s such good light from this big south-facing window. Someday I’ll get around to painting the radiator cover white, the same as the walls. If you look closely, there are also two small sconces on either side of the window that we think were original too.
It was surprisingly helpful to take photos of the living room. It’s such an unwieldy space that it helped to break it up and see what works and what doesn’t. In fact, once I had them uploaded on my computer I went ahead and changed a few things in the room – I swapped the pair of lamps with a set from our bedroom, which helped both spaces! And my mom brought over a few pieces handed-down from my grandma, so I moved around some things from the mantle and long dresser. My favorite change is bringing the fiddle-leaf fig trees back inside from the porch, since they are basically a living sculpture to add to my house.
It’s fun to have these rooms documented since I’m always messing with them to make them a little more beautiful and functional for our family. Here are more posts about our home: the before pictures, downstairs & upstairs // a girl’s bedroom // a boy’s bedroom // the kitchen // the lego room // the backyard // the screened porch
wall paint, Benjamin Moore simply white
leather couch, West Elm
large map, Schoolhouse Electric
ceiling lights, Rejuvenation
large ottoman, Pottery Barn
marble side table, gift (similar)
metal side table, Target (similar)
table lamps, West Elm (similar)
blue velvet chairs, vintage (similar)
brass floor lamp, Target
small ottoman, Overstock
pillows, Pottery Barn + West Elm
round mirror, West Elm
black globe, Target
floral art print, Rifle Paper Co.
magnolia photograph, Kari Herer
triangle art print, Nan Lawson
landscape art print, Emily Jeffords
pool photograph, 20×200 Jeremy Kohm
clock, Pottery Barn
blankets, West Elm
glass desk lamp, West Elm
white desk, Target