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Living Room Progress and Design Questions

It’s time to get you caught up on our living room progress, and I have some questions I need YOUR help with!

Back in June during my Styling Thrifted Decorations series I shared some of my plans about how I was going to be redoing our living room to give it a more English Cottage feel.

Well, I’ve been working on pieces since then and I’m at the point where I’m ready to give you an update, and I really do need your help deciding on a few key things before I can get finished! My goal has been to finish before the holidays, but these speed bumps have slowed me down a bit.

Hopefully with your help I’ll get on track and finish in plenty of time!

*This post contains affiliate links to products I know &/or love.

Inspiration Recap:

If you remember, back in 2018 I used Artissimo* milk paint by Miss Mustard Seed to paint our front door.

*Artissimo has since been renamed “Ink Blue”, in case you’re ever in the market for it yourself!

As I started putting together my new living room plans, I knew I wanted navy blue to play a bigger role in the space, and for the room as a whole to have a more English cottage feel, but without losing all of its farmhouse charm.

I knew the room needed some formality and that swapping out some furniture and adding some more dark wood pieces would help create that.

What I’ve Done So Far…

One of the first things I did was to use the same shade of blue from my front door to paint both sides of our french door that leads into our walk in storage. (Formerly called the “toy closet“.)

Next I found a rug I loved from Rugs USA that was large enough for the space, had rustic elements for the farmhouse feel (the natural fibers), and also pulled in the formality and navy with the stripe around the edge.

My recommendation is always to look for a seagrass rug when you’re looking for natural fibers, due to ease of cleaning (the water reeds come clean quickly), but I had not been having any luck finding exactly what I wanted in seagrass.

I settled on this one, that is jute, because it checked off all the other boxes I had been looking for.

And now that it’s in our space, I do love it!

Furniture Updates:

One of my favorite new pieces is this couch I found on Facebook marketplace. I paid a little bit more for it than I would have liked, BUT I rationalized it since the cushion is from Urban Outfitters and is almost $300 alone! That really helped sweeten the deal.

The cushion is also really comfortable, perfect for napping on!

The couch back is a little less comfortable, but I know I’ll be able to beef up the comfort level with some more pillows.

I bought this second couch for $500 from hayneedle. I love the color, and the fabric feels great, but the seat itself is very stiff.

Sitting down takes me right back to my Grandma’s couch – and not in a good way.

I also have not been loving how the placement of this couch makes the surrounding areas feel more like hallways than the cozy living room I’m going for.

This room is the first thing you see upon walking in the front door and I want it to very clearly say ‘Welcome to our Home!”

It also has a very low back which is probably my least favorite part. You can’t lean back without feeling like you might topple over.

All that being said, I think I’m going to see about reselling it locally and then finding two chairs to add to this space instead.

I’d like to find options with higher backs that can be angled towards each other to create a curve in the room as well, because as it stands right now, it has a lot of very straight lines and they need to be broken up!

I’ve noticed that there seem to be usually four things in each room I work on that I end up needing to back track a little bit on. So if you’re in the middle of a project and needing to change gears, please know you’re not alone! It’s a normal part of the decorating and designing process!

Back to furniture pieces, next we have the coffee table!

This was another fun DIY project from a few years back where we converted a $9 table from goodwill into a faux chicken crate.

The family that built this house and owned this property used it as a chicken farm in their day, so I have always loved that connection to the story of this house!

I still like this piece, and especially the sentimental aspect, but I think it’s a bit too square for the space and needs a little update if it does end up staying.

The alternative would be this beautiful round coffee table from Pottery Barn with a marble top.

If I choose to keep the chicken crate, I’ll probably end up staining it darker, roughing it up a little to give it a bit more of an aged look, and adding some gold nails and maybe a little plaque that says “Swanson Chicken Farm”.

This vintage chicken crate is my inspiration for that.

Which option do YOU think I should go with?

More Progress in our Living Room:

Another project I’ve already completed is removing our old armoire and replacing our TV with a Samsung Frame TV with a DIY golden frame.

I really love how this project turned out, and that at first glance, AND upon further inspection, this looks like a piece of real art above a beautiful buffet.

Next on my List of Questions, The Piano:

This one is one of the harder questions I have to answer! This was my Grandfather’s piano, and no one else in our family has wanted it.

It’s been a standard feature here since before the beginning of the blog, and apart from a new coat of paint in 2017 and various different stylings over the years and seasons, hasn’t really changed much.

The problem, it’s not really a very English cottage style.

I had thought about repainting it to match the new direction of the room, and then a few months ago I received a call from the Swanson family (yes, those same Swansons!) saying they had the original piano from the house and wanted to know if I’d like it.

And here’s the problem, from a purely design aspect, I like their piano better!

But sentimental Sarah feels the heart tug towards keeping the piano that my Grandfather used to play for me.

A few other aspects to think about are that I hate moving pianos, it’s just no fun.

I’m also not sure what I would do with my family’s piano if we did decide to switch them out. It’s pretty difficult to even give pianos away, much less selling them.

And lastly, if I do get the older vintage piano, should I paint it to a shade of blue to match the living room?

I already mentioned to the Swansons that if I did take it, there’s a chance that it would be remade or changed (as that’s exactly what I do for a living), and they said that was OK.

They were OK with it when I changed the desk chair they gifted us into a rocking chair, too!

So here’s where I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do I keep my family’s heirloom piano, or do I reunite the Swanson’s piano and former house again?

Next Up, the window seat, and another big question:

I made the french cushion for our window seat a few years back, and it’s seen lots of love from family, friends, and our sweet dog, Kiera, since then. It’s gotten a little flattened over time, so I’m wanting to give this a good clean, then re-stuff and re-tuft it with real buttons.

Previously I had just tufted it with thread, and that wasn’t quite enough to stand up to constant 4-legged friend use.

I would also like to repaint the trim around the windows, and possibly around the entire room a light grey.

But sometimes I over-do it a bit with the ideas, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

Another new furniture piece I almost forgot to tell you about is this new to us desk that I found on Facebook Marketplace for $260.

I’m leaning toward not painting this and leaving the dark, rich wood.

Some of my children do end up using this desk for their college work, so my plan will be to have two of these white slipcovered parsons chairs here at the ready.

Above the desk I’m going to make and hang a second knock-off ballard designs bulletin board. The first one I made ended up having a permanent home in our master bedroom.

Above the desk I’ve also swapped out the chandelier that we had previously for one I found on Craigslist for $60. It had a really in-expensive looking chrome on it that I repainted in gold, but I’m actually not too happy with how the gold turned out either.

My plan is to take it all apart again (remember what I said about having 4 big derailments per project) and repainting the gold accents to match the sconce we have above our couch. Then I’ll hot glue some crystals onto that sconce (remember how I did that with the chandelier in our bedroom) to make the two pieces tie together even more seamlessly.

Kiera’s Corner

So as you saw up above, Kiera our Rhodesian ridgeback loves sitting on furniture (I know, I know, that’s a habit we should have probably focused on staying away from when she was little, but I digress), and I have finally given in and figured out a way to incorporate her own chair into our living room.

I ordered this really pretty settee from wayfair that will fit perfectly in this corner.

And I’m going to make it extra cozy, AND easier to keep clean by layering this lovely washable white fur dog bed pad from Paw.com on top.

What’s your guess? Will Kiera like it more than sitting on my french cushion and our couches? The settee should arrive around Thanksgiving, so we’ll know after that!

Above her new bed I’m going to hang a little shelf that will be painted to match the room.

It will hold her leather leash, collar, and a small jar of dog treats.

I’m also really excited to order a custom paint by number based off a picture of her that I’ll paint and display in her corner. I think it will round out her spot perfectly!

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Next, the corner Bookcase:

I have just one other idea for this bookcase, other than just freshening up and changing out the decor that’s styled inside.

I’m considering a project (and tutorial for you) where I’ll starch some checkered chocolate brown fabric and wallpaper it onto the back wall of the bookshelf.

Would you love to see a tutorial?

Or do you think that would look too busy next to the curtain fabric I’m working with?

And that brings me to my last question!

Thank you so much for following along through this longer than usual post with lots of questions! I just love the community here, and it almost feels like I’m getting to invite you in to ask you questions like I would with a close friend!

I appreciate your thoughts and ideas!

Here’s where I am with the curtains:

I ordered this beautiful linen fabric with a block print detail and it finally arrived after 8 weeks! I ordered enough for two panels per window, but now that I have just one of my pinch pleat panels done, (tutorial coming soon!) I’m thinking it looks too thin and a little cheap – and it was not cheap fabric.

Do you think I should order additional yards of this same fabric to add more panels for some fullness, or should I use a light sheer white embroidered panel on the inside of the rods (towards the middle) to help bulk up the look and make it feel more cozy and luxurious?

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