ORC Week 1: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I rarely share photos of my living room. That’s because it’s in dire need of a makeover.

So what’s been the holdup?  Indecision.  Some days, Chris and I still kind of like the wall color. Other days, we crave a change but can’t quite agree on how to proceed. The old battleship of a sofa really needs to go, but our cat just loves sleeping on it and basking in the sun.  And who are we to ruin his day?

So we have been doing what many people would do in this situation:  Nothing.

But, after spending a long pandemic year at home with this dated room, we finally got there:  We are ready for a change – a big one!  And, with the hope of having indoor guests again someday soon, it would be fun if the room had a fresh new look.

Recently, I started exploring paint colors.  Then I realized that the Spring 2021 One Room Challenge (ORC) was about to start.  So I made a last-minute decision to join the ORC as a guest participant!

My hope is that participating will motivate me to keep my living room makeover on schedule – once I actually have a schedule.  I’m not quite that far along yet.

What Is The One Room Challenge?

The ORC is a biannual event where participants are challenged to transform one room in their home over the course of several weeks, eight in this case, and post weekly progress updates – all leading to the big “final reveal” post at the end of the challenge.  There are many other participants, and you can check out their projects by going to the ORC blog.

I participated in the ORC once before.  In the 2019 Fall Challenge, Chris and I transformed a walk-in closet.  That small-space project was labor intensive and took a lot of planning and imagination.

The living room is a much larger space but, apart from painting, I don’t expect the project to be very labor intensive.  But, of course, it’s early days.

Let me show you the living room and point out some of the issues I have with it.

Our Living Room

Our house was built in 1927, and the living room has some nice period features like the original cove moldings on the ceiling,

period lighting, oak floors, and an archway between it and the dining room.  Strangely, there is no fireplace.  We don’t keep a television in this room, so we use it mainly for listening to music or entertaining.

This is the living room from the front door.  (You can see a few paint patches where I’ve started dabbling with wall color ideas.)

To get to any other room from the front door, one has to walk through the living room.  So, to provide convenient traffic flow between the living room and all other parts of the house, furnishings have been kept largely along with walls. 

Issue #1:  It’s as if the living room is just a giant hallway to other parts of the house and not a place to actually spend time.

The room has huge picture windows that bring in so much natural light and make the room look cheerful even on cloudy days.

But the sofa acts as an obstacle to accessing the room’s largest window. Sitting on the sofa means turning your back to the garden view.  That might not bother everyone, but for some reason I’m naturally drawn to windows.  And I’m a big fan of blurring the line between indoors and outdoors.

Issue #2:  The sofa blocks access to the large window.

Given the room’s configuration, can anything be done about this?  I hope so.

But there is one family member who does not want to see the sofa go anywhere, poor guy!

Issue #3:  Eddie needs a place to bask in the sun, but does it have to be the sofa?

Resident cats before him created a nice little concave nest on one particular sofa cushion.  And then, when Eddie moved in, he improved upon it.  Apparently, this exact spot is the ideal place for any feline to nap.  And it shows.

But moving along, the living room leads to our little dining room – possibly the smallest dining room in the world.

The dining room will also be getting a mini-makeover since my plan is to paint both the living room and the dining room the same color.  And speaking of color . . .

Here is the view of the living room from the dining room.


The existing wall color is painfully dated.  But then again, we chose it 14 years ago.  At the time, it was an intriguing choice because this room gets so much natural light that it can hold its own against a strong and moody color like this.  The color is also surprisingly neutral.  Just about any color works with it.

So why I haven’t I been taking advantage of that?

I adore the joyful, colorful paintings and drawings that my preschooler niece makes for me.  For lack of a better way to display them, I have been propping them vertically on a buffet in the living room.

They serve as a constant reminder that the room needs more color and more personality.

Issue #4:  The room is bland.

We have antiques in the room that we’ve collected or inherited over the years.

Antiques may be out of favor at the moment, but we like ours. So, for the most part, they’re staying.  I just need to find fresh ways of using them – and maybe add a few contemporary pieces to help balance the look.

Issue #5:  The room looks a bit like an antique store.

So, can we really create a cozier furniture arrangement with better access to the window without hampering traffic flow? Can Eddie find happiness without his sofa? Will our antiques continue to dominate the room? And what about color? Stay tuned. Hopefully, by next week’s post, I’ll have a little more to share about our plans for this space.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.



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