Oct 16, 2009

Living Room Makeover

I'm participating in a party by Funky Junk! Head on over to join the fun!

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Our apartment is finally starting to feel more like home now that it's been given a little face-lift!

This is what the living room looked like on the day we moved in:

Here it is now:

I've been slowly piecing together our living room for months now and I still have a few projects I'd like to complete for this room (painting the coffee table black, sewing some new throw pillows and perhaps hanging up curtains). Here's how this room transformed over time:

For lack of an actual before shot of our previous setup, I quickly cobbed this picture together. This is what we started out with in the room. It took some major convincing for DH to part with his old TV (even once we had a new one!) but when a friend offered to take it, he knew it was going to a good home (which made both of us very happy)!

The couches and bookshelves were freebies from my husband's parents (given to us when they moved out of state. I still can't thank them enough!). Until recently, the bookshelves were used in other rooms. We then scored some great deals on a new TV, a TV stand, an area rug and a coffee table, all for a total of $600.

It took us a while to decide on a TV console. I was worried that by going dark there would be too much brown in the room. When we brought this one home I had a mini heart attack thinking, "Oh my goodness we live in a cave! Dark couches, dark TV, dark TV console, dark fireplace..." But I stuck with our decision and quickly came to realize that our windows let in a pleasing amount of light to break up all the darks and the walls and carpet provided a nice contrast. I liked the masculine feel the room was taking on as well.

I purchased a jute area rug to add some texture and fell in love with how soft it felt under my toes. *Edited to add* The jute rug was from Cost Plus World Market and is currently on sale for $99. There is also a printable coupon/coupon code (good through 11/16/09) you can use to receive 10% off here. If you don't have a store nearby, shipping is only $4.95 on all orders through the 23rd!

The coffee table was a craigslist find. Because everything else in the room was so dark, we wanted something that helped bounce light around the room, which is important when you live in a small apartment. The accessories on the mantel were mostly gifts from our wedding.

The bag near the fireplace was one of my DIY projects

Notice the giant blank wall behind the TV? I had planned on filling the entire wall with framed prints, but soon realized just how expensive buying a ton of large frames would be (and after our previous splurges we decided to cool it on spending for a while). With frames out of the question, I still felt like the wall needed something, but I couldn't put my finger on what.

As luck would have it, the solution was just around the corner. My mom purchased a sewing machine cabinet for me and when I brought it home I realized I would have to move things around in order to accommodate it.

I really liked the looks of bookshelves on either side of a TV console...

... and we happened to now have two bookshelves that needed a new home. By adding the shelves to either side of the TV, it filled the empty space and also provided a central place to store things (and it was free!). I decided to add some inexpensive picture frames ($7 each from Ben Franklin) above the TV to draw the eye up, and filled them with some of cheery yellow fruit prints from Vintage Printables.

{And yes that is a Batman DVD player!}

You may have noticed that most of the books on the shelves are turned around. I've read all of them through at least once, and many twice since many of them were books I've had since childhood (with the exception of the German books passed down to me from my Oma (Grandma). I've been learning German over the years but I don't think I'll be delving into any novels anytime soon, so it's nice to just have these out to remind me of her).

I need to start buying some new books (especially for all those rainy days here!), but that will have to wait until we get a bigger place! I love the way the pages yellow with age and thought they would be very fitting with the rest of the decor.

I've organized the books in a way that if I need a certain title I can find it very quickly, although this amount of "reversed" books is probably the most I would ever strive for. If I had a whole library like this I would probably start forgetting where I put what, although I have to say they do look striking (and easy on the eye)!

{Pottery Barn}

Some of my favorite accessories from this room are very simple things. For instance, this rock. I know it sounds silly, but this rock came from the woods where I used to play as a child. I spent so much time in those woods!

I found this neat old bottle when I was cleaning out one of the barns on my parent's property. I love the color of it and how it mimics the shape of the vase we purchased from Ikea on the opposite top shelf.

And there you have it! Our living room makeover.
Once again, the after:


  1. Your living room looks A-MAZING! So cozy!

  2. I have to agree! It looks amazing! I would love to have such a cozy living room!

  3. Very nice transformation! So homey. Great job on the shelf accesorizing!

  4. What a great transformation - I love how it looks!

    Where did you find the jute rug - I've been looking for one but so far they have all been too 'scratchy'!

  5. Wow - great job! There's so much to love in there: the mantle, your accessories on the shelves,and it's all so simple and pulled together. Love it!

  6. This is a wonderful makeover! Love the shelves on either side of the TV. Just makes it look more settled in. The room is so inviting. Love the idea of turning the page-side out on the books, but I have too many books to keep up with them that way. They look great though. Congratulations and thanks for sharing it. laurie

  7. Laura - I found the rug at Cost Plus World Market and it looks like it's on sale right now for $99.


    And here's a coupon for 10% off!


  8. Somebody deserves a HUGE pat on the back. This looks sooooo amazing!! I love how you have layered everything and well, just took it to the next level! :) It looks strait out of pottery barn!! :)

  9. Oh my goodness. Your living room looks wonderful! So cozy and comfy. I love the way that you have your bookshelves arranged. Just perfect.


    P.S. Love the bag too.

  10. Your makeover is great. I'm a sucker for brown leather, love it.

  11. What a great looking room. I love the fruit botanical prints!

  12. You've made a great home for your hubby and yourself! Not dark at all ~ I love how you've pulled it all together and made it homey, comfortable and someplace nice to come home to. Keep library book sales and yard sales in mind for books ~ I've seen practically new books selling at yard sales

  13. Looks like its straight from a magazine! Your bookshelf is arranged beautifully and I love those leather couches!

  14. This all looks wonderful!!!!

    Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment about my crow's nest creation.

    Off to look around some more.

    barbara jean

  15. Wow, this looks amazing! I love the way you accessorize...you really have an eye for it! It looks cozy AND designed well which I don't see often. Great job, so impressive!

  16. Honestly? Most would groan with a big wide expanse of empty wall. You've created something wonderful out of it! Your inspiration photos were bang on! Wonderful job!

    Thanks for all these new ideas swimming in my head! And for joining the linky party!

    Funky Junk Donna

  17. atta girl! It seriously looks BETTER than a magazine, so cozy..way to go.

  18. You did a great job... I love the way you included your inspiration pics also... makes you want to grab your blankey and settle in with a good book or movie...

  19. I love before and after pictures - and this is a FABULOUS transformation! I can't believe that you found that table on Craig's list! What a great find. (I want one too!). Happy week! Monika.

  20. Cozy and comfy and very Pottery Barn-ish. You've done a great job accessorizing and good call adding the shelves beside the tv console. This is my first time here... found you at Room Remix... and I'll be back for more!

  21. Your place is amazing. I love your style. You really have an eye for pulling everything together.

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