Monday, January 25, 2010

My Living Room

I like looking at pictures of other peoples' houses a great deal. I like going in other peoples' houses even more. In the spirit of nosiness, today I've decided to show you my living room. It's annoyingly long and narrow, but I've tried to do a good, uncluttered and tasteful job of decorating. I'd prefer not to have a bulky air filter, but it really helps my husband's allergies. I'd also like it if he did something with his ugly laptop stand that he never uses too, but I can live with it for now. I think my coffee table is too big, and I hope to find a new home for it this year, although it does offer some good storage. I have a rule that my furniture, as much as possible, should have storage capabilities. I really try to keep my home as spare and un-junked-out as I can because I think it's healthier. At the same time, it has to feel pretty, cozy and homey and not completely sterile. There should also always be a cat on top of the couch as well and yes, that's Fox News on the TV. I made sure that was on in case any of my relatives were reading my blog and seeing this picture. I'd catch holy hell if I had CNN on or, God forbid, MSNBC. I might lost my inheritance over that. Let me know what you think and if you have any decorating ideas for me that might work. I want some kind of a bench in front of the window where I can grow some edible plants possibly, although every time I've had a plant, Canela has eaten it.


kerry said...

What is it with cats and plants? :) Mine eats the leaves of my cauliflower on my front porch.

Maybe give her a catnip plant to destroy and she'll leave the other stuff alone? Plant garlic with whatever you plant? Try different things until you find something she doesn't want to eat?

I think you have a very nice looking living room! I'm trying to work towards that same style that you describe- kind of utilitarian, but still comfortable. And I agree every couch ought to have a cat on it.

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

I agree about furniture having storage function. I live in a small space too, and Ikea has solved alot of storage dilemmas for me.

What is with people putting flat screen TVs so high up? It's not just you...everybody does it. It's not a natural or comfortable viewing angle. Our old floor standing models or entertainment centers were no more than 2ft off the ground.

Wide Lawns said...

It doesn't really feel that high when we watch it. I think because it's so close to the couch because the room is so narrow. I think people hang the TV so high because it reminds us of a picture and we hang pictures higher.

Lauren said...

Maybe you could get a new rug! Something more modern/less victorian? It isn't bad though. I like your furniture! The only other thing I would mention is your window coverings. I could barely tell that there was a window on the far tan colored wall! I could see it having a drape or blinds of a contrasting shade. (maybe red to tie in with your lampshade???) Gotta show off those windows! :-)

Carolyn said...

I'd love to see you put a pop or two of color in there. The lamp you have is great. What about taking the color and spreading it around the room in a couple of other places. Maybe in the form of some throw pillows or a piece of art? You have great taste btw.

Sundar said...

Thanks for clarifying your reason to show Fox News on the tv. I was almost begining to see you in a different light :) . (Just kidding).

Albany Jane said...

Your place looks great!

It's so clean, and I think it looks uncluttered.

Right now I'm trying to find a low table to eat from - like the Japanese have. That way it can double as a coffee table and dining room. Not really successful so far, but if it comes along, yay.

Today's Random said...

I would vote for contrast on the far wall as well, maybe painting the wall a bright color?

Laurie said...

Nice! I would definitely put curtains or shutters on the window to let the sunshine in - the room would look bigger with more natural light. I love your pretty wood floors and your ultra-comphy looking couch. Canela is a cutie!

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty tight space that, IMO, is overwhelmed with your furniture. I would try free up floor space by consolidating all your storage into a single taller unit, like Ikea's 6'x6' or 5'x5' Expedit. By placing it perpendicular to the TV wall just past the dining room table, it could also serve to visually separate your dining and living areas.

That's a pretty tight space that, IMO, is overwhelmed with your furniture. I would try free up floor space by consolidating all your storage into a single taller unit, like Ikea's 6'x6' or 5'x5' Expedit. By placing it perpendicular to the TV wall just past the dining room table, it could also serve to visually separate your dining and living areas.

I'd also replace the coffee table with something visually lighter, a little taller and that has a single shelf underneath for current reading materials/projects - a coffee table really isn't the place for long-term storage of stuff. Something like Ikea's Klingsbro would work and looks more appropriate for Florida. This would also give you an excuse to dump the laptop table. While you at Ikea, you can get a new rug. Please.

- lowwall

Anonymous said...

Plants and cats.

I have two cats who devour almost all plants. (Seriously. One of these cats once ate a miniature rose bush.)

However, I have managed to find plants that will survive my cats.

1) Any kind of citrus. Cats don't like citrus, so my potted orange tree remains safe.

2) Succulents. For some reason my cats don't like succulents (maybe it is the rubbery texture of the leaves?) so the jade plants, aloe, and the christmas cacti may be nibbled on occasionally, but remain largely untouched.

And did you get your coffee table at Target? Because I would swear that you have the exact same coffee table that I do.

Cassandra said...

Remember - you said you liked seeing pictures of other peoples houses. This was mine Jan 2008:

Yeah I know you're sorry you mentioned it now :)

Wide Lawns said...

Ok people. I had no idea my rug was that bad. I don't love it. It's a big fuzz collector. How about I donate it to a jam band to put on stage when they play and go to IKEA and get a new one? What kind of rug should I get? I am NOT GOOD at decorating at all. Or dressing. Which is why I will never post any photos of my outfits.

Kelli said...

The first thing that popped into my head was "window treatment". I think even a valance to just give a little pop of color.

Other than that: lovely!

Joy said...

I love the room. Don't change anything for me. Fox news. Wow these folks must have strong opinions. Just curious, how'd you manage to take the picture without running away from the TV talking heads. I don't think I could do it.

gabriellemv said...

i relate about the laptop stand...i got one for christmas from the 'rents, and while i don't think it's ugly (a matter of opinion i suppose) it's used maybe 10% of the time to hold the laptop. the rest of the time i put my laptop of my lap...(counter intuitive, i know...)

Delainie said...

Ikea has the most awesome rugs EVER.

I envision your living room with the windowed wall and wall behind the couch in a pale slate gray (about the color of that chair in the right corner, maybe slightly darker). I loooove the red tone of the furniture with gray. The white couch will 'pop' on the wall too. Either red or black shutters on the window would be neat. A more modern rug, and a couple plants, and it's a whole new room!

I like the simplicity off it right now too though.

I just bought a house, I wish I had more rooms to decorate! I'll have pics on my blog, I just can't post them til we close, don't want to jinx it... 3 more weeks!!

Sixteen Chickens said...

You might think about balancing the red lamp shade by putting something red on the other side of the room.

Anonymous said...

One of the decorating 'dictums' of this particular period in time is to aspire to the minimum\minimalist decor. Please do not buy in to that completely. Do not get rid of your area rug!! A happy and complete home decor is most often an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary.

Think in terms of what will make you happy in five, ten, twenty years. Will you be still be pleased with some funky and cool area rug that was the flavor of the day in 2010, or will the tried and true traditional style work better? Usually the traditional rugs work because one can change one's furniture stylings quite easily - and modern\contemporary can work very well with the tried and true basics. And don't forget, area rugs are quite pricey. Stick with traditional and then you are not phaffing around with having to switch them out as your taste evolves.

Green said...

I say just go stash the laptop stand in some closet somewhere and see if he even notices.

Then, unless you actually use the chair by the window on a regular basis, stash it. Then move the air purifier so it's partially hidden by the plant.

The room isn't cluttered with stuff, but there is a lot of furniture. I think if there was a tiny bit less, and it was spread out a bit more, each piece of furniture could be better appreciated.

If you really like your lamp but don't love the rug, I'd say get a new rug that's got more red accents. I also suggest consolidating all the storage units into just one or two rather than the five there.

If you get a cabinet that opens from both ends and put it near the dining room table it can serve to separate the two rooms a little more, while still leaving the flow open.

Anonymous said...

You asked :) I immediately thought that the rug looked out of place, and I also love the red in your lamp. Area rugs come in all
sizes and prices. Even Home Depot
has some inexpensive, but nice looking area rugs, and it would be
purrrfect if you had a rug with that same /or close shade of candy
apple red. I read today that the
new colours for 20l0 were gray/grey
and orange, and although I never thought of those two colours together, (much like robin's egg blue and
chocolate brown that started to be
everywhere a few years ago I do love the myriad of colours available to play with.

Our businesss dictates lots of hours involved with interior designers, however, when they
aren't involved, and people feel
uncomfortable making such a huge
decision (choice of granite)I enjoy
helping them, as every one really
does know what colours they like,
they just don't trust their own

The Behr website used to let you
upload pictures of the room you
wanted to work on, and change colours to see what you like before
you paint. Not suggesting you need
to paint at all,but it's the quickest and least expensive way
to change the whole room.

I still say a rug with red as the
main colour would be a great way
to change it up.


avanitas said...

Oh my God, my apartment has about the same measurements! It's really hard to decorate. But your apartment looks very warm and cozy!
I wish I had a picture of my apartment to compare right now.
My living room is very dark, because I only have windows on one side. Do you have that too?
I painted my side walls a yellow-y camel tone (wasn't meant to be yellow, but the lack of light makes it so) and the far ends of the room a sort of olive/brown/camel tone. I like your white(-ish) walls better than my yellow-y.
We've got about the same color floors, but I'd rather have something us Dutchies call "steigerhout".
My furniture is a little less massive. I just have one giant couch and everything else is (visually) as small as possible.
I got rid of my rug some time ago because it was collecting too much dust and I think that made the room bigger, so you might want to try that too.
Personally I would have opted for a square/rectangular dinner table, but that's just because I like square shapes.
But what I think would make a great difference: less fabric for the dinner chairs. Now it kind of blocks the rest of the room from sight.
What I notice both of us do: placing all kinds of cabinets and stuff along the walls, which accentuates the long and narrow shape of the room. However, bringing the interior into the room is tricky; big furniture makes the room look small again and open stuff (like the Expedit mentioned) makes to room look cluttered. Therefore most of my furniture is still vertically placed.
It really is harder than it looks to decorate such a room, I think you did a great job.

Anyhoo: thanks for sharing this with us. I really like scoping out other people's houses as well.

Anonymous said...

If you can paint it (it's a rental, right?), use one color in the living area and another in the dining area. Or just paint the wall behind the dining table a different color. The idea is to visually break up the one long room into distinct areas.

Since your husband has allergies, you might want to get rid of the rug altogether. Maybe a small runner under the coffee table if you think it looks too unfinished without anything. That will also let you slide the coffee table around easily (so you can toss the laptop table). And I would not do fabric window treatments, they collect dust, pollen and dander. They would also make the room look smaller.

- lowwall
If you do decide to stick with a large rug, there are plenty of cheap and cheerful options at Ikea. Since you aren't getting it to keep your feet warm, you don't need a heavy wool rug. If it's thin enough you can even launder it, which will also help your husband's allergies. (Can you guess I have pretty bad allergies myself?) Last word on allergies. I hate to say it, because I imagine you really like them, but unless those covers are washable, your upholstered dining room chairs provide a vast surface area for allergens.

mcgrimus said...

Hey, cool, you have DirecTV too.

Michael said...

I think I'd get rid of the tall storage in the corner and replace it with a long, low credenza or book case under the window. Some cushions on the top and it can serve as overflow seating or a nice place for Canela to nap. You's also end up with more storage and could get a visually lighter coffee table.
Just my 0.02 worth...

elle said...

altho i find it totally nauseating to drink the juice, i've always been fond of wheatgrass in a planter on the sill...

i'm a newcomer to your blog & just read about your & cat's visit to the strip club...and must say i'm already addicted to your blog.

here's my anemic attempt at blogging:
...enjoy :)


BoB said...

I find these guys to be kind of expensive, but the have prettier stuff than I build out of scrap lumber. The plant terraces may take up too much space for you, but my wife and I like browsing their catalog and the have some nice stuff.

It's not a concern at your latitude, but they also have some nice shelving systems w/ lights.

Ashtar said...

Hi there! Long-time reader, first time poster! I love your blog.

Your wooden floor is fabulous--I am so jealous! I love the couch and most of the furniture, too.

There are a few items that I can't really make out what they are beyond your couch... So, please bear with me in my ignorance of what all you have to work with.

A few things that I might do with that space and working with the furniture you have:

Everything is arranged in a linear fashion along the walls, which makes the room seem more narrow, in my opinion. I would leave the couch in the same general location, but set the couch "off-square" with the "far end" (the end near the windows) kicked out slightly into the room (toward the TV). The side table would need to be set off center to the same degree. If you decide to keep that rug, set it off center in the same manner as well.

I would be tempted to move the rug elsewhere in your living space, however. I like it, but it's small, dark, and feels "heavy" for the room. Your floor is beautiful. If you *must* have a rug, I would go with a larger one in a light/natural color that complements the floor. I like the idea of sisal rug. Nice!

I would paint the back wall and trim white and get simple white fabric window-blind treatments to make that back wall "disappear" and give the illusion of more space. I would move the cabinet near the windows somewhere else in your living quarters altogether.

The very tall plant could still reside behind the couch, but I'd move it a tad more into the center of the room behind the off-center couch to give vertical interest.

I would move the existing coffee table under the TV, and display something sort of large/tall/dark and "heavy" there to provide a visual "anchor" for the "floating" TV. I would purchase a small, rigid, cube-shaped, ottoman (in a light, neutral color), which could triple as a coffee table, storage space, and additional seating. I would keep the ottoman pushed up (flush) to the front of the couch on the end closest to the windows.

I think the wall opposite the TV is sort of important in terms of interest both when you enter the space, and from the vantage point provided while seated on the off-center couch. The one large framed piece on that wall doesn't "grab" any attention... Maybe a collection of small pictures or even better, small antique mirrors arranged close together on the wall (mirrors give the illusion of more space, also)? You could find them cheap, spread out over time if you wish, and build a collection for that wall.

Since everything would be so neutral in terms of color in my re-design, I would buy a couple of throw pillows and a throw for the couch to be the items that provide a splash of color and that change with seasons (bright, vivid colors in the spring/summer--maybe bright red like your lamp? or complementing the red lamp- chartreuse would be fun-- and more subdued, rich colors for the fall/winter-- you could pick colors for those seasons that complement your red lamp, also).

I would buy a new set of slip covers for the dining room chairs- either white- or in a color to complement the throw pillow/throw blanket colors chosen, to help the eye tie together the living room and the separate space where you dine.

OK, I've gone a little crazy here! Sorry. I love to re-design spaces. Your place has good bones (the floor- wow, I love it), and your furniture is tasteful. No need to start completely over!

Thanks so much.

skip 2 colorado said...

You know, I love the room- but can't get past the fauxnews...based on what I've read so far, you have the spirit of a lion and are scary smart, as well as honest about the ugliness you've seen...and wouldn't give a big rat's ass if anyone (family or not) approved of CNN or MSNBC...seriously,sister- is it a florida thing? Perhaps I'm just not getting it...I would rather read your blog than watch anything on TV, deal with my own family drama or a multitude of other activities that just flat out are not that interesting. You & what you write about pretty fascinating. And on top of everything else, you write well. But FOX NEWS???? Yeeeccchhh. I have to go wash my hands for a while. I'm just sayin' Sometimes being judgemental...not a bad thing.

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