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:
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.
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)!
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.
Once again, the after: