I’m Back!

Ever since the school year started and the kids have gone back to school, I’ve been working. I’m lucky because I only work while the kids are at school, but when they get home, it’s snack time, homework time, soccer time, cleaning time, piano time… everything but blog time.  But, I’ve decided to start my New Year’s resolution early and start blogging consistently again. I don’t know how consistently, but more than once every 3 months!  I love documenting the progress of my house… it gives me motivation to look at the “after” pictures and think, “yeah, that room now looks like us!”

Since September, I am now so close to finishing the living room, I can taste it! The only things that needed to be done at last check in was to get an area rug (done!), get a side chair (done!), and put up a few more things on the walls (done!). Really the only thing not done is to get a pillow to put on the new side chair… that’s like nothing!

First up, the rug… I got this beauty from Joss and Main although they did have the same rug at RugsUSA.com if you’re looking for it. I wanted something light and since this room doesn’t see a lot of traffic, I don’t have to worry about getting dirt all over the rug. I also wanted some contrast with the dark floors and I wanted something classic (no large graphic prints). This rug fit the bill beautifully! It’s also super soft to walk on as a little bonus.

rug 2


white rug

Next up is the chair that I got from Home Goods. Normally I go to Home Goods and look at the furniture and think, “that’s a great piece, if only I had a place to put it.” This chair was just the perfect shade of brown to compliment the couch and print gave it some visual interest. I didn’t want something solid colored since the two blue side chairs and the couch was already solid colored. Honestly, the chair is not that comfortable to sit in, but hardly anyone sits in it anyway. Only when we have a lot of people over, does it get any use.

arm chair

Next is the mirrors next to the chair. I got these on clearance from Target and as much as I didn’t want even more mirrors in the living room (I have 4 already), I didn’t want to put up a print that competed with the kids’ portraits above the piano. Shelves also didn’t make sense since the space was so small, so mirrors it is!


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?