Finishing Touches in the Family Room

It’s so nice to look at a room in your house (when it’s not a hot mess from the kids), and think that it’s exactly how you want it.  That’s how I feel about our family room… I may want to change everything in a few months, but for now, the family room finally feels like “us.”

I’ve been searching for a chair for the corner of the room for a few weeks now and couldn’t decide between something with a lot of color, like this:

klyne-chair-and-a-half or a neutral option.  I opted to go safe and leave the color for the accessories.  I also didn’t want to spend too much on the chair since really it’s more for decorative purposes than for meaningful seating since we have such a big sectional, so I checked the usual budget options (IKEA, Home Goods, Pier 1) and found what I needed at Target.

Target Chair

I also bought a side table from West Elm:

west elm table

Here is what the family room looked like when we moved in (minus the paint swatches, we did those):

Full Living Room

Notice the stained carpet, mustard walls, red brick on the fireplace, the mis-sized furniture, the gold fireplace insert, and the list goes on and on…

Now it looks like this:

Room Wide Angle

Side Chair

I still need to add a throw for the chair and a few accessories for the top of the gold and white box so this corner of the room is still looking a little sparse.

This is the little desk on the other side of the room where Tuscan likes to play on the computer:

Tuscan at Computer


Little Desk

I was really hoping to put the side table next to the chair by the fireplace, but it was too wide so… next to the desk it went.  It’s such a cute table that I wanted to incorporate it somewhere in the room.

And here is the bookshelf behind the couch (that still needs baskets on the bottom two shelves):

BookshelfAnd one more shot of our giant sectional that I love so much!:

The room is now bright and airy and just the way I like it!

I still have a small to-do list for this room, but I’m not in a hurry to get them done:

  • Paint the ceiling (really, really not in a hurry to do that)
  • Expand the mural wall since our couch is so much wider now
  • Find a storage cocktail ottoman for in front of the couch
  • Get a new blind to replace the one on the left side of the TV (there just isn’t enough wall space for curtains unfortunately)
  • Get four baskets to go on the bottom two shelves of our bookshelf (I want to dip the bottoms of the baskets white)
  • Get a colorful throw for the chair and also some accessories for the gold and white box next to the chair

Next on the list is to tackle installing new light fixtures… like 10 of them… Sigh…

More Light in the Family Room

I’ve been eyeing an arc lamp for the family room but just didn’t want to pony up the cash for a nice one (they can run upwards of $500), but when I found one on West Elm and they emailed me a coupon for 15%, I pulled the trigger.

And how did I get the coupon, you ask?  I was told that with some stores, if you add items to your cart and just let them sit, then the store will email you a coupon as an incentive to buy.  And that’s what I did.  My item sat for about a week in my cart, then I got a coupon.  Woo Hoo!

arc lamp

I’m glad I bought it because not only does it look so much nicer than the brown/black toned lamp we had before, but it provides so much more light than the old lamp.  Because there’s a covered porch attached to the house, then the only window light in the family room is blocked by the porch.  We have one measly little skylight but that doesn’t produce much light either (and to add another skylight would cost about $1,000… ouch!).

Family Room

I also bought a mirror from One Kings Lane a while ago and thought it’d look perfect behind the lamp so that’s where it went.

Mirror and Lamp

I still need to get a chair for the other side of the fireplace but I’m having such a hard time deciding on whether it should be a neutral color like a lighter gray or a crazy accent color like coral.

Need a chair!

I’ve moved on to the kitchen to patch up the holes in the ceiling from the electrician taking down the fluorescent lights and putting up recessed lights and I’ll post a little tutorial on that soon.


Mid-Century Dresser in Living Room

Ever since re-decorating the living room, the media cabinet was always supposed to be temporary.  Thomas got his big honkin’ TV and we needed a media cabinet for under the TV and I couldn’t find ANYTHING that looked nice and was reasonably priced so we went with good old IKEA.  It actually wasn’t bad as a placeholder until I found something else, but I really didn’t like the fact that all the cubbies were open and exposed our clutter.  I want our clutter hidden, then I can pretend it doesn’t exist.  🙂

Unfortunately I only have one really bad picture of the media cabinet and here it is:

Family Room Redo

This picture was taken before we replaced the carpet with hardwoods, replaced the couch, got rid of those two tables, etc. but you can see that the cabinet was just cubbies.

I wanted something mid-century to replace the cabinet and found a few on Craigslist that I liked and decided on this one for a whopping $285.

Mid Century from Left


MidCentury Dresser with couch


The dresser’s not perfect… It is 50+ years old and I might refinish it down the road.

MId Century Legs


You can see a few nicks in the above picture, but unless you’re up close, they’re not (that) noticeable.

I’ve seen some people do a two-tone dresser turn media cabinet like these:

Walnut-white mid century dresser WD 2

<The Weathered Door>

3 tone<>

Two tone<>

Because I have so much white in my family room as it is (and I like simple), I thought I’d keep the cabinet the same color but I might retrofit the cabinet so that it looks more like a media cabinet and less like a dresser, like this one:

media cabinet


In the meantime, I’ve ordered a mirror for the wall that’s waiting to be hung and a lamp.  Next on the list is completing Trajan’s room which is almost done.

Fall Mantle

It’s starting to turn cool here in Maryland which means that Fall decorating can commence!  I love decorating for Fall- the pumpkins, the gourds, the wreaths….  First on my list is always to decorate the mantle.  As in previous years, I headed to the farmer’s market to get some pumpkins and gourds -white pumpkins are my favorite to decorate with and I picked up two of those, two medium-sized bright orange pumpkins, and two light orange mini pumpkins and set out to arranging.  Before I show you the Fall arrangement, let’s say “so long” to the summer time mantle:

 Summer mantle

And “hello” the Fall mantle:

Fall Mantle

Left Side:

Fall Fireplace Left

Right Side:

Fall Fireplace right

Other than mixing in some pumpkins, I also stuck some sticks in the two brass colored pumpkins that I already had sitting on the mantle and viola!, from Summer to Fall.  I know that the art that I have in the middle of the mantel is very summery… but, I’m not changing that out mostly because I love the art and also because I have nothing to take its place!  Besides, I kind of like how the blues and the oranges look together with the brassy accents.  Almost like when I bought the art, I thought, “Hey, I”ll throw in some orange and it will totally work for Fall too!”  At least that’s what I’m telling myself. 🙂

The Most Beautiful Piece of Artwork Ever!

After much waiting… (okay, only a very little amount of waiting)… the new art work for the mantle has arrived (sound the trumpets!).  I saw the huge box sitting outside my front door while pulling into the driveway from an IKEA run and ran, ran, ran to the door to finagle the box into the house.  I am a short woman (5’2″) and the box was my height but I am also a determined woman so I wrested it inside and took a pair of scissors to the box to reveal the MOST PERFECT PIECE OF ARTWORK EVER!!!  Alright, so that’s obviously my opinion as artwork is entirely subjective, but to me, it’s perfect and I know that at least 5 out of 10 of you will agree. 🙂

So, as I said in my last post, I wanted to liven up my mantle because the gold-ish mirror that I had leaned up against the white brick was not cutting it.  It was too small and too monochromatic.  Here is the before:


And here is the after, with the most perfect piece of artwork E-VAH!:



The gold and silver trees are seasonal and when the weather warms up, they will go into hiding and I will put something else in their places.  Since it is currently butt-cold outside, I think they are appropriate for now.


After looking at the artwork, I couldn’t decide whether to lean the canvas horizontally or vertically, so I tried both ways:







After trying both ways, I think I like the horizontal layout better but it’s funny, I didn’t know that until I took photos of the mantle.  If I can’t decide on what I want or like, I like to take a picture of the space because I can then see the “scene” in a new, more objective way.  I also really like that the canvas looks great horizontally or vertically; that way if I change my mind on how to lay it out, it will still look great.


Waves over the Mantle

So in this post, I said that I wanted something new over the mantle other than the mirror that is currently hanging there and I also said that I’m not in a hurry to find anything…  Well, I MUST have lied because I kept looking at the mantle and having that mirror there instead of a perfect piece of art was eating away at me, so I searched and searched and searched.  The mirror is not big enough and although I like the lines on the mirror, it makes the mantle too monochromatic (silver, gold, blue, yawn…).

The colors in the family room are neutral with a little blue and I wanted to infuse more color in the room, so I found a few pieces online that I thought might work:

wall art


I liked this because it has blue in but it has other colors too and it’s abstract which I wanted.  But… it is too “blocky” for me.  After looking at it for a while, I thought it belonged in a doctor’s waiting room right next to the magazines, not in my house.

wall art 2


I like the colors on this one but, it seems like something I could paint so…  It’s out!

wall art 3 ballardI liked this one a lot!  The colors are nice and I like trees BUT it’s too “wintery” for me and I wanted something with a little more life in it so I went to Pinterest for inspiration and saw what I wanted ON MY OWN BOARD!  I pinned it a few months ago because I really liked it, but I didn’t know how it could fit into my dated brown family room.  But, our family room isn’t brown or dated anymore so it’s the perfect home for the “ONE”:





Ahhhh, as Goldilocks would say, “It’s just right!”  It’s got the exact colors I want and it’s abstract and wavy and it’s flows…  Just what I wanted (and you can find it here)!  I’ll post pictures when it comes in and I hang it on the mantle.

Oh, I also learned a little lesson here:  Look at your own boards before scouring the internet for something you’ve already pinned!  Pinning items is a way to remember them for later, right?  So head over there first.


Dressing a Mantle

After taking down all my Christmas mantle gear, I realized that my mantle was naked!  This was all I had left (I kept the Christmas tree because I thought it could pass for winter and not Christmas… maybe…maybe not).


My mantel needed some love so I headed over to my favorite store for home decorating, Tar-jay!  Yes, that’s right, Target is always my first stop for decorations.  Not furniture (because the quality is not so good), but knick knacks, tchotchkes, you know what I mean.  So, I loaded up my cart with whatever I thought might look good then I headed over to Home Goods and did the same.  I did this HGTV decorators style meaning that I bought way too much knowing that I could just return what I didn’t need.  Here is what I came home with:


My dog, Bandit, in case it isn’t clear, is posing for the camera and is not a decoration!  As you can see, I wanted to stick with a fairly neutral color palette with blue being my one accent color.  I know you can’t see the framed picture in the background because of the glare, but no worries, it didn’t work at all anyway.  So, I moved things around on the mantle according to a great template that I found on Pinterest that came off this site:

how to decorate a mantle

Here are my various combinations:


I knew that the visual weight (#3 in the above diagram) had to be on the left because my fireplace is slanted and there is more wall space on that side; however, this combination is no good because the artwork is not big enough.  When I went to Home Goods this time around, there was nothing to choose from so I grabbed what I thought might work knowing that it probably wouldn’t but you never know, right?  NEXT!


So, for this one, I switched out the artwork for my existing mirror and also switched out the light blue vase for the emerald one.  Emerald is the “IT” color this season, but I wasn’t feeling “IT.”  It was too bold for me and the shape was too traditional.  NEXT!


This one is better but I didn’t like the white candles up front because it felt too busy so… NEXT!


This one is too sparse and there’s not enough layering and dimension.  My mantle is on the narrow side so it’s hard to layer but this version was definitely out.  NEXT!


Okay, so here’s the keeper for now…  This feels visually symmetrical on both sides and not too busy or too sparse.  I would like to change out the mirror for some art work eventually but I’m not in a hurry to get that.  Also, I ordered a couple wood like sculptures from Joss and Main that I will use to replace the gold Christmas tree to give the mantle some “movement” (#2 on the above diagram).  They look like:

sculpture sculpture 2

I think that they play well with the color of the mantle and they also darken things up a bit and will also add some heft (they’re pretty tall, although one is about 10″ taller than the other).  Is anyone else working on decorating a mantle?  Where do you go to shop for mantle decorations and art work?