Every time I rearranged the living room, I would sit in my newly rearranged space to enjoy the latest living room makeover. And every time, there was this deep down knowing that I didn’t love it; that something wasn’t quite right. So, I’d spend the next several days, weeks and sometime months trying to pinpoint the problem and come up with a solution. Then, armed with new ideas, set out to rearrange the living room again. And, much to my dismay, still not get the results I wanted.
That mentally exhausting process has been going on for over nine years. The last time I rearranged the living room, I told myself to ignore that unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach; to compromise. Because after all, my family was happy with the living room just the way it was.
And I almost did. Until one day in the middle of Christmas season, I decided I deserve to enjoy my living room, too. So I rearranged it one more time.
This time, I made note of all my requirements:
- The t.v. must face the couch for optimal t.v. viewing.
- The furniture arrangement needs to promote conversation.
- I need plenty of seating for when I host my family.
- Every seat must have a place to set drinks.
- We need to be able to kick up our feet.
- There should be a good spot for reading.
- The furniture arrangement needs to be parallel to the fireplace.
- The fireplace wall needs to be strong focal point.
- The living room must look welcoming and inviting from the foyer.
Then, I assessed the living room according to those requirements, determined what was already working,
- The furniture arrangement already promoted conversation.
- The furniture arrangement was parallel to the fireplace.
- We had a place for drinks, a place to prop our feet and a comfortable reading spot.
and what wasn’t.
- The bookcase wall looked cluttered with the chairs in front of it.
- The couch was too much of a focal point in the room and didn’t look inviting from the foyer.
- The mantel wall was underwhelming.
- I didn’t have quite enough seating for hosting my family.
I followed my own advice to ‘go with what you know’, a method I created for myself years ago.
I knew that switching the couch and chairs would both create a more welcoming arrangement and solve the clutter problem on the bookshelf wall.
When I switched the couch and chairs, I also moved the t.v. console to the opposite wall. This way the couch still faced the television.
I wasn’t sure I would like having the t.v. in front of the window, but I do. I find something about it simple and charming.
Bringing in Accent Pieces
Moving furniture always creates a new problem. In this case, where to put the end tables.
I ended up bringing the vintage suitcase side table back into the living room, keeping the magazine table next to the leather chair and removing the round black end table altogether.
The ottomans stayed right where they were, between the chairs and couch serving both as a coffee table and foot ottomans.
I bought a couple of counter stools from At Home for extra seating. The ottomans provide extra seating, too.
The fireplace still looked underwhelming. I decided to go back to one of my favorite looks; a round mirror over the mantel. I also wanted something substantial to set on the mantel. Preferably a collection of blue and white ginger jars. But I don’t have a collection of blue and white ginger jars nor can I afford to buy a collection of blue and white ginger jars.
So, I did what I always do; shop my own home to see what I could find.
My set of blue and white table lamps just hadn’t quite fit anywhere I’d tried them over the last several years, so I decided to use them as a substitute for ginger jars. And they provide the extra lighting the space needed.
Now the lamp at the end of the couch competed with the blue and white lamps on the mantel. And the leather chair still needed a lamp.
Believe it or not, it took me awhile (as in days) to think of moving the lamp from the couch to the chair which turned out to be the perfect solution.
I use the decorative book box to store remote controls and what not.
The round tray holds beverages.
And a basket next to the couch stores cat toys, a back scratcher and my yoga mat.
I had the most fun deciding what to set out that would add a personal touch as well as tell our story.
The vintage suitcase belonged to my grandmother and my niece used it as a prop in a play she was in.
Eventually, this little print landed on the magazine table along with an owl trinket tray my daughter bought me.
My daughter’s silhouette from our first trip to Disney World got a prominent spot on the black bookcase. The mirror above the bookcase was a Christmas gift from my Dad one year. And the black bookcase was built by a family member.
The tic-tac-toe game on the ottoman represents our love of spending time together as well as our playful nature.
Books from our studies, interests, and even childhood fill the bookcases along with family photos and memorabilia like the engraved leather bracelet I wore every single day in fourth grade and the wine corks collected from time spent with friends and family.
Everything about this space feels right; it reflects our interests, tells our story, keeps us comfortable and serves our lifestyle.
And I learned something significant from this latest (last) living room arrangement. That thing that was always not quite right? It was me; because my needs weren’t being met before.
They are now.
And as a result, I am at peace in this space.
See you in class,