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Living Room Design Decisions

If you’re struggling with resolving awkward living room design decisions, or in a holding pattern waiting to start back to designing – you’re not alone!

After a bit of a break for the holidays, I’m back and excited to be moving forward on plans that have been on hold for a while. If you remember, I talked about my living room and the direction I was wanting to take it about a year ago!

You can see that post and some of the improvements that we got around to this year listed below for your reference if you need to get caught up!

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Current Design Dilemmas:

I’ve started working on this room again several times, and going several different directions – often ending up either distracted or confused. I just didn’t have the time (until now) to give it the full attention it deserved. I know that’s a common issue and I hope it’s helpful to you knowing that even interior designers run into it time and again!

So now I’m going to catch you up on what I have done, new decisions I’ve made, and a few places I’m still stuck!

A Bowling Alley for a Living Room

One of the things that has been tricky to navigate is that this room is long and narrow, and it opens directly off the front door. That’s made it necessary to have a good layout to not hinder traffic, a focal point for the eye to rest on, and to not be too crowded.

My Chicken Crate Coffee Table

We made this DIY chicken crate coffee table as a DIY years ago and then updated it this year by adding a darker stain and a precious “Swanson Chicken Farm Est 1906” sign to pay homage to the family we purchased the house from.

But as I was looking over the room as a whole, I realized that there were far too many straight lines, and this design started to feel a little too trendy for the vintage English cottage look I’m after.

So, I sold the chicken crate and hope it’s loved at it’s new home!

I’ll be looking for an oval or circle table to replace it as I finish the room.

Exchanging Drop Cloth Curtains to Pleated Drapes:

After many years, my drop cloth curtains got repurposed into new cushions for a thrifted chair on my front porch. (See the transformation HERE), and for the living room I DIY’d a set of beautiful pinch pleat drapes!

I loved how they turned out, but am considering moving them into the kitchen IF I end up choosing a wallpaper that competes too much with the pattern.

When I think about swapping these drapes out, I’m very drawn to the idea of replacing them with something in velvet… or possibly getting a velvet couch – but more on that later.

Trim & Millwork

I’ve always loved the trim & millwork in this old house (the craftsmanship of that time period really stands the test of time!) and we began painting it in the Fireside room to give it some contrast and to highlight it a bit more than it had been previously.

Because the fireside room and the living room are connected by an open doorway with beautiful pillars, our lovely khaki-grey trim color (Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore) has already started spilling into this room, but we’re strongly leaning toward continuing it around the entire space.

And that will include the trim in and around the window seat – which I’ve said before and will continue saying, was one of the selling points when we saw this home for the first time years ago.

The Dueling Pianos

Next up was the decision I had to make about the pianos! The one that has been in our home was my Grandfathers, and it became even more special to me this past year when I lost my Mom. She was a piano teacher herself as well, and the memory of two beloved family members makes this an even more sentimental piece.

The other piano we had been offered by the Swansons, who were the original owners of the home was a bit more my style, but in the end, sentiment won out.

I dressed up Grandpa’s piano by adding some wood applique trim pieces to the front and to the legs.

I’m still not completely happy with how the “frame” on the front ended up, but have some ideas stirring about using it to highlight a pretty picture frame inside.


I’ve now been through THREE different couches in this space trying to decide which one will best fit my families needs, and the English cottage design look. Currently we’re back to our Farlov IKEA couch, this time with a pretty velvet slipcover in mustard yellow.

It’s very comfortable, but I think the yellow is a color I’d rather introduce only seasonally in this space. I’m considering a green velvet slipcover in it’s place, and always keeping my eye out on Facebook Marketplace for another option that might work even better.

Kiera’s Corner

I had plans to set up a spot for our dog, Kiera near the front door – but she resisted because she wants to be where her people are. So we moved her smaller dog bed back into the fireside room, and I’m working through some plans to create a good spot for her to stretch out and lounge in the window seat.

The problem, it must be easy to clean, because, well a big dog on a farm brings in her share of dirt & grime.

The goal : to be a dog owner and still have a beautiful house. It’s a process, but not impossible!

In the mean time, I’m adding touches of dog decor that feel very English cottage, like these cute bookends that even look like Kiera!

Next Steps in My Design Plans

My next steps are to finalize my wallpaper choice… yep, I’m going floor to ceiling wall to wall wallpaper in here! It’s going to be stunning, and I am especially excited about it helping to make this room feel more cohesive. With the different doors and entrances it can easily feel disconnected and I’ve never enjoyed that about it!

I’ll also be working on finalizing a rug – the one I found feels a bit too modern and geometrical.

And then focusing on choosing great textiles for the window seat and couch pillows. I’ve been really inspired by the old English cabin feel of a great moody plaid!

And finally… I have one more exciting piece of news! There’s a new product joining the She Holds Dearly line up this Spring!

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