Media Center Revamp

Record Player Media Center

You guys! Our living room revamp is so close to being completed! I’m just waiting on one piece of art to be custom framed (it’s been sent out, I’m waiting for a call to pick it up), and then I’m callin’ it. I thought in the meantime I would discuss one of my favorite aspects of the revamp: the media center!

First, let’s take a trip on the way-back-machine. The first image below is from right after we moved into our home from our big, gorgeous 1920s apartment. (You’ll have to browse through old posts in my “home” category to see the beautiful old apartment and my granny-chic style.) Things from our old home didn’t fit or feel right in our new home, but because money was an issue, we just had to ride that wave for a while.

living room before (2012)

We literally saved up money in an envelope until we had the funds to buy an Ikea sectional. Along the way I collected some plants, rearranged art, and found a pair of orange armchairs at a garage sale for $5! It all was an improvement for our space, but still wasn’t tailored to our taste. But it fit the price point, and that’s all that mattered, really.

living room before (2014)

Finally, four years later, we’ve slowly been able to make enough changes to this room by selling off some things (rugs, art, furniture) in order to buy some new items which fit the style of our home as a whole and also went along with a more refined color palette and aesthetic. In addition to swapping out items, tweaking the arrangement of objects has made a large impact in the space. Removing the gallery wall and installing shelves to create a media center is one of the biggest changes we’ve made as far as the balance of the room goes. It feels much more calm, and is way more useful than the random assortment of art, which may have helped our t.v. blend in a bit better, but maybe didn’t suit our needs so well in the end.

Entertainment Center

So here it is now! I purchased some new boards which are supported by a shelving standards system I had taken down from the the wall on the other side of the room when we installed our office set-up. (See the post about our office wall here at A Beautiful Mess.) Finally our record player is set-up in a convenient place with access to our receiver and speakers. We have movies, blankets, and media equipment stored in the sideboard, and— no longer in hiding— our t.v. enjoys prime real estate, because let’s be real guys, we watch a lot of t.v. Ain’t no shame in that! (I call myself a movie buff to make my habits seem more refined.)

Media Center Shelving System

Record Player Media Center

The girls and I have been listening to records almost every day now, and our room feels way more put together with this set-up than it had before. I still need to work on some cord control, but overall, I’m really pleased with how it has affected our overall enjoyment of our living room.

Dr. Dog Be the Void

I can’t wait to share the rest of the space with you, and! Our new slipcover, which arrived last week during a really frustrating and dark time in my Summer— so I just couldn’t be happier about it. What a fun experience this revamp has been! So happy to share the process with you all. -Mandi

Living Room Progress

mandimakes living room

Slowly but surely, some really fun changes are happening in my home, and the living room is becoming transformed to a place of peace, rest, and fun! Most importantly, it’s a place where we all enjoy spending time together, and while I attribute that to familial affection, I also like to think that my recent decorating decisions have something to do with our enjoyment of the space. Check out this post from a month ago to see what I had originally planned for this room’s little makeover.

I’ve been focused on limiting the color palette of the room, and actually severely decreased the amount of art on the walls. In turn, the space feels calmer and the decor more intentional. The most dramatic change so far has definitely been the installation of shelving around the television in lieu of a gallery wall. I love the balance this wall of shelves has given to the room, and the additional surface space for houseplants allows for more chances to add life and in turn more calming, natural elements.

mandimakes living room

mandimakes living room

mid century boho living room details

links to above products: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / rug

This little living room refresh has turned into a bit of a bigger deal than I had originally planned (should’ve seen it comin’!), which prompted the selling of some of my old beloved home accessories in order to buy new things. (If you follow me on Instagram, you most likely caught wind of the sale, and you can still check out available items here!) I sold furniture, art, lamps, rugs, and more, which allowed me to buy some new things that aligned better with my vision for the space. See the link list under the image above to check out some of the new additions to our living room, though the toy storage credenza was a DIY project as featured on A Beautiful Mess, and my live-edge coffee table was part DIY/part Craigslist sourcing, and I’ll share more about that later.

Deciding to put doors on our toy storage situation was a huge change to my own enjoyment of this space! It’s minimized a lot of the plastic visible in the room, which makes the everything else feel more put together, even when there are toys all over the floor. Bonus— the kids don’t drag out as many toys because there are now doors between them and the toy bins!

Also, opting for a more organic shape coffee table was a great way to break up all of the angles and straight lines of most of the items in this room. Thank you, to those of you who suggested a different coffee table for this space! I’m in love! Adding a couple of knit poufs also helps with this, and is a great place for kids and extra guests to pop a squat next to the coffee table.

I did move the art (ski jumping guy) from the fireplace wall to over the sofa, and now there is nothing by the fireplace except for some plants— including a big ficus tree, all of which fill out the space quite nicely. So I’m not sure if I actually want to hang anything above the fireplace, or just leave it up to the plants to adorn this corner of the room. I’m digging the more minimal vibes of that white brick fireplace wall, so for now, plants it is! (Check out the new ficus in this recent post about houseplants.)

 And finally, the limited color palette really helps tie together everything in the room, which encompasses the media wall, the seating area, the play area, as well as the office area that all coexist in this room, which is actually a decent size for such a small ranch. (Keep in mine we have no other living space nor basement in our home.) Choosing something besides off-white for a rug helps ground the space, considering all the walls are white, and the dusty pink rug in the seating area provides contrast against the taupe terrazzo floors elsewhere in the room.

mandimakes living room

Things are coming along quite nicely in here! I’m just waiting on the new sofa slipcover from Comfort Works and a couple of styling touches, and then I’ll be ready to share the grand reveal with you all! I can’t thank you enough for your input on my last post about the living room, and all the helpful comments and encouragement on Instagram. The living room would be looking mighty different if it wasn’t for the input, and it definitely wouldn’t be coming along as well. So, thank you! -Mandi

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!

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