Planning the Living Room Refresh

Living Room Before Ikea Replacement Slipcovers

Lately we’ve been feeling antsy about our living space. Feeling like we’re outgrowing our home. Wondering if we need more space or less things. (Less things.) We’ve put together a savings plan that should get us into another home (hopefully one we build) in five or so years, which means we’ll be in our little ranch for quite a while longer. I’d say a wee bit of attention is in order!

First I began purging some of our less sightly toys and trimming down the kiddo side of things. Then I began to reassess usability of spaces, organization, and- the fun part- decor! The biggest thing I don’t like about this space is the cover of our large Ikea Karlstad sectional. I’ve been wanting to get a custom cover for it for quite some time, and it’s finally happening! I ordered some fabric samples from Comfort Works, a slipcover company that specializes in custom-made Ikea slipcovers, and I am beginning to plan a few refreshes for our living room that will make this space feel a bit more cohesive and pleasant to be in.

Living Room Before Ikea Replacement Slipcovers

This is our only shared living space in our home, besides the kitchen and dining area, and also serves as an office and playroom. Things can get really cluttered really fast! So I decided it’s important to keep decor on the neutral side of things to maintain a calmer feelings in the midst of everything that has to fit inside this room. So here are a few things I’m hoping to change, and I’d really love your opinions before I make each change!

comfort works ikea karlstad slipcoverlamp / orange chair / slipcover / rug

 ikea slipcover replacement
 As I mentioned, I’m going to be recovering the sofa with a replacement slipcover from Comfort Works, which will probably be the biggest impact of this entire refresh. I’m very set on a light colored slipcover which we will have coated to protect from spills and dirt. It will have piping at the edges and also a skirt for a more tailored feel than what we have now. In addition to the cover, I’m going to remove the throw pillows and replace them with two custom-made bolsters from Comfort Works which will match the slipcover material and add to the tailored look of the newly slipcovered sofa. Having fewer pillows certainly takes away some interest from the sofa but helps calm the room overall with less visual clutter.

ikea slipcover replacement
Right now we have two large Ikea rugs that are similar in color to our terrazzo floors, so there is no delineation of zones with our rug choice, and also no decorative impact. I liked that it is a simple rug with no pattern, but I would like to have a little color on the floor in the seating area, so I think I’d like to replace the ivory low-pile rug with a light colored, dusty pink, medium-pile shag rug instead. Am I crazy? I’m thinking the dusty pink acts like a neutral, to a degree, but would contrast nicely alongside a light colored slipcover.

ikea slipcover replacement
The armchair featured in the collage above is actually from West Elm, but it’s similar in shape to the one I have now which was a thrift store score from years ago. The fabric is very worn down from my brother’s dogs, and in desperate need of reupholstering. I’m thinking I would like to go a bit darker with the material to contrast with the pink rug, but I don’t want it to be too dark and stand out too much in such a light space. I’m leaning towards this rusty orange shade featured in the image above, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger just yet. Also, I’m considering a fabric with a subtle pattern as well. Something 60s inspired- possibly geometric or floral. Would that be too crazy when I’m trying to go more neutral?

ikea slipcover replacement
At first I considered doing away with the gallery wall above the sofa and adding shelves to make the cabinet into more of a media center. I haven’t given up on the idea yet, but for now I’m just swapping out some art, as well as a couple of frames, and simplifying the colors of the gallery wall to be a bit more calm and neutral. The large yellow art over our sofa is something I found at the thrift store last summer, and certainly am not wedded to it, but I do love its shape, color, and content. However, is it too bright of a yellow for the calm look I’m trying to achieve? It would be nice to have a big pop of color since I am trying to go more neutral with other things, but what about the pink rug? And what about our armchair by the fireplace? Is having a pink rug, yellow art, and an orange armchair too much?

ikea slipcover replacement
This room has no overhead lighting, so we rely heavily on lamps to keep the space functional in the evenings. We do use the lamp by the television frequently, though I think that the current one is a bit overwhelming for the space. I like the idea of using a simple, vintage-inspired floor lamp that arcs over the cabinet so I can still have options for placing other objects on the tv cabinet, like plants or holiday decorations. I’d also love a bracketed light hanging near my computer at our office station on the opposite wall from the tv, but I don’t think I want to expand my current budget for this just yet, as the lamps I like are all above the $100 price range. I might choose to do that down the road.

ikea slipcover replacement
I have decided to keep the light color of the walls because of how long the room is and how low the ceiling is in comparison. Creating contrast between the ceiling and walls would just emphasize the low wall height, so I’m opting for the light color to keep things bright in a room that actually doesn’t get very much natural light thanks to our small windows and heavily wooded lot.

Living Room Before Ikea Replacement Slipcovers

We have a very useful toy storage situation behind our sofa which is actually the first thing you see when you walk into our living room. I don’t love how it looks, or love that it’s so clearly visible upon entry, but there is no other option for toy storage that would be so perfectly placed and out of the way. All of the toys are organized and the girls know how to clean up on their own, without me needing to do it for them. That’s sort of invaluable, if you ask me. I’ve considered building a nice top, sides, and doors for the toy cabinet, but I think it would be more difficult for the kids to get their toys in and out of here if I did that, and honestly the doors wouldn’t be closed except for after bedtime, most likely, and open doors might actually make the room seem more cluttered, rather than the opposite. Ah well, kids. Whatcha gonna do?

Mid Century Ranch Living Room

The last thing I feel a bit unsettled about is the fireplace wall. I guess it’s pretty stark and simple right now. Off to the left, outside this picture’s frame, is the girls’ kitchen set, which I will share more after the refresh is complete. Maybe it’s nice to have a more bare wall in such a jam-packed room? What do you think? What about the art? I keep overanalyzing it and am wondering if I should put a round mirror here instead.

Too many decisions, too little money, and I suppose lots of time to live in this home, so we really want to make this living room a space we can enjoy together!

Bedroom Makeover

small bedroom makeover

At long last, our bedroom is finally in order! It only took us three years of living in this house to touch this room. Yikes! I can’t believe we slept in that green room for so long! But, despite my best intentions, time has been marching on. And regrettably, in my haste to get things going for our little bedroom makeover, I didn’t take before pictures! Who am I? Sorry! But try to imagine just a room with green walls and clothes all over the place. A sad, lumpy bed in the middle of the little room under the window. Hodge podge. Nothing nice. You can sort of glimpse the order of things in the two pictures below that I did manage to take. It was so bad in here, I guess I just didn’t want to document any of it!

But here we are, on the other side of things. I installed a handy closet system to make up for our lack of closet space. I also designed and built new nightstands to flank the bed that my parents passed down to us. The bed was handmade by my dad, so I couldn’t say no! Besides, we had been sleeping on a plain metal bed frame before their gift. So it was very welcome.

You can check out my posts about the closet system and nightstands at A Beautiful Mess, as linked below:

Creating an Open Closet System
DIY Parsons Nightstand

open closet system

vintage dresser vanity

I’m quite sentimental, which explains the random notes from loved ones that I keep taped up around the house. This one (above) from my dad is on my dresser mirror. Also, behold the stack of hats which need to be put away into their boxes. Or else sold off to the highest bidder. I have way too many hats for my own good! But like I said, I’m a sentimental gal. I can’t bear to give them up, and besides— Lucy loves playing with them! It would’ve been my dream to have such hats for playing dress-up as a child. So I keep them around for her sake. (So I tell myself!)

small bedroom makeover

open closet system

small bedroom makeover

The view from the hallway is much nicer these days! Before, you would be likely to spy a pile of clothes that had no home, or boxes of things we’ve cleaned up from the rest of the house and decided to dump into our room…. because, well, why not? It was a wreck anyway. Bad, bad habits, I tell ya!

perfume bottles

When I first got into antiquing (as a middle schooler!) I started a collection of vintage perfume bottles and vanity accessories. These days I’ve donated or sold off most of my collection, but I have kept a few things which I keep on my dresser with other usual suspects, like my glasses and perfume of choice (Burburry).

We’re enjoying feeling more settled now that our bedroom has finally become a pretty and calm space. And in case you are interested in some of the decorations we’ve used, I linked ’em up below. Thanks for looking!

Sources:
-Art: Debbie Carlos x Scout & Catalogue
-Lights: Urban Outfitters
-Rug: Amazon
-Radio: Vermont Country Store
-Bedding: Target
-Pillow: West Elm (no longer available)
-Bed: Handmade by my dad (proud daughter!)

small bedroom makeover

Lucy’s New Room

vintage little girl's room It seems like just yesterday I was all wrapped up in the excitement of decorating Lucy’s nursery. She was on the inside then. (….of my womb, that is.) And as much as I knew a little infant wouldn’t care about the color of the walls or the cute toys on display, the whole process was certainly thrilling for a new mom. But as fun as all that was, decorating a space for a toddler is at least ten times as exciting! You can suggestively sell Lucy on just about anything with the right tone of voice, but I was careful to include her in most of the decisions for her new room. (Or “womb,” as she calls it— can’t miss the irony in that!) She wanted blue walls, yellow flowers, and lots of books that she could get out to read at any time, without having to ask for help. After all, her motto is, “I do it myselfs!”

So here is her room, after rearranging once already to make room for better playing, and with her walls finally decorated— though, don’t be surprised if I change things up from time to time. (I’m a little nervous about those figurines in the interlocking shelves!) Pretty much everything you see here was thrifted, found at a garage sale, or purchased from a flea market or antique shop, with the exception of the following:

The following items were DIY. Click the link for the full projects I shared at A Beautiful Mess.

We just love having a cute, put-together place that Lucy can call her own, and I promise you, if you ever come over to our house, one of the first things Lucy will say is, “See my new womb?” blabla kids doll

vintage little girl's room

vintage little girl's room

vintage peanuts banner Lucy

picture rail DIY

interlocking vintage shelves

vintage little girl's room

vintage little girl's room

vintage little girl's room

vintage clothing hangers with faces

vintage little girl's room

vintage little girl's room

My First Quilt

Rectangle Block Quilt

Last week at a craft night with friends, someone asked me what my favorite craft medium is. Obviously I love crafting and all things DIY, but I’d honestly never thought about what my favorite medium is! I told her maybe woodworking or sewing. They’re both forms of sculpture for me— I can take something flat and giving it a new shape and new life with a little vision, time, and work. But after saying this, I felt the need to clarify something about the sewing thing.

Not quilts. I love sewing, just not quilts.

Give me a few months, and just like a difficult child birthing experience, I’ll most likely forget my back pain and woes and be ready to give it another go. (Though if quilting is anything like birthing babies, I’ll need a few years between each one!) But as of now, I’m very proud to have finished my first quilt, though I cut a few corners along the way and definitely compromised on my original vision. This was certainly an instance of “Done is better than perfect.”

Rectangle Block Quilt

The top of the quilt is a simple rectangular block construction. At first I wanted to keep things super easy and figured I would just hand tie the quilt, but I really love how quilts get crinkly when machine stitching the layers together. So I watched this very helpful YouTube tutorial and bought myself a free-motion quilting foot for my sewing machine. I designed an elaborate geometric pattern that I had planned to draw on the top of my quilt and then go over with machine stitching. But by the time I had basted together the layers, I had sunk many hours and late nights into the project and thought it might be better than I just finish it up, instead of dragging it out while tediously stitching a complex pattern onto a heavy quilt without the assistance of an extension table on my sewing machine. Not a prospect I relished much, considering the work load I had waiting for A Beautiful Mess projects.

So I decided. Done is better than perfect. I made binding for the quilt and machine stitched it in place, instead of blind stitching it— another compromise. Oh well! I don’t think anyone beside me would have noticed that detail anyway.

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest

Rectangle Block Quilt

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest

Happily, Lucy loves getting tucked in under her new quilt in her new bed. She gets a little distressed if I don’t cover her with it before leaving the room. And my heart melts. I suppose it’s perfect for her, and I hope that she will always treasure it, knowing that I made it just for her!

It’s fun to do these little projects to make my firstborn feel special, knowing that a new kiddo will soon be sleeping in her old room and old bed, and she’ll most likely have some trouble adjusting.

Have you ever had trouble finishing projects that you end up not enjoying as much as you thought you would? My issue is that I always add more details and tend to make each project more complicated than I have time for. Gotta keep at least one foot on the ground, right?

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest 

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