Finally we’re at Week 8 of the One Room Challenge. If you’ve been following my living room transformation since Week 1, thank you so much for coming along on my little journey. In this post, you’ll finally see if I accomplished my goal of creating an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that looks right for our circa 1920s house. And, because we always seem to end up with at least one resident cat, it must also be able to withstand pet hair and pet stains.
Basically, my project consisted painting stuff, buying stuff, and moving stuff around. To see some really impressive projects, check out what the other Challenge participants have done. You can find their projects here.
The Room’s Challenges
In my Week 1 post, I went into detail on the challenges we were facing with the living room. But, in a nutshell, this is just a very tricky room to furnish. Because it has two huge windows, two doorways, and one large archway, there is very little actual wall space. Since there is no entry hall, traffic flow from the front door to any other place in the house radiates from the living room. So traffic flow also had to be taken into consideration when placing furniture.
As a result, most of the furniture was pushed against the walls. This made the living room feel more like a glorified hallway. And somehow it looked cluttered and empty at the same time.
The sofa blocked access to the garden view from one of the large windows. Anyone sitting on the sofa would be facing away from the view. Since I’m the type of person who loves to look out windows, this has always bugged me.
But turning the sofa at an angle from the window wouldn’t have worked either because that huge sofa would have impeded traffic flow to the dining room.
Also, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the room was a bit bland. The blandness actually did have a calming effect – which is why we kept it that way for so long. But this was not a room where we enjoyed spending a lot of time.
Although antiques are not trendy right now, we love ours. But they felt stagnant in the room. I needed to find locations that worked better for them.
So, here is what we did. And as I explain the project, I’ll also mention a couple of things that make the room pet-friendly.
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We mostly use this room for gatherings or for listening to music.
So, for a cozier gathering area, we replaced the sofa with a loveseat. That enabled us to create a U-shaped seating configuration that centered around the large window instead of blocking it.
The new loveseat is from World Market. I know from experience that it can comfortably seat two adults and one small child.
It was very affordable, and I am in love with its fun and classic design. The green upholstered chair is also new from World Market. They are both very soft and velvety.
Pet-Friendliness: Although I can’t speak for all cats, none of our cats have ever been compelled to use furniture covered in microsuede as a scratching post. It’s also easy to spot-clean and vacuum. So I made sure that my new furniture pieces (the loveseat and upholstered chair) were covered in microsuede fabrics.
The new furniture configuration called for a square area rug. The new area rug I found carries a bit of an arts and crafts theme that I think goes well with our 1920s house. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the fringe.
Pet-Friendliness: Maybe it’s just the particular vacuum that I have, but I find it impossible to vacuum cat hair from low-pile rugs. So, when shopping for a new rug, I didn’t consider rugs with a pile height shorter than a half inch.
I gave the tray of our old coffee table/ottoman an update (detailed in my Week 6 post). It not only looks better, it’s also easier to clean up spills since now it has a plexiglass cover.
Beyond it, under the window, is the little vintage bench that used to be in our bedroom. It works well here as extra seating yet it doesn’t block the window view.
This Hepplewhite-style chair was one of the first antiques I purchased (at a swap meet) as a young adult. I love it just as much now as when I first saw it.
In the corner behind it, a vintage lamp adds evening lighting. A majesty palm and a “string of bananas” succulent help to blur the line between indoors and outdoors.
A piece of abstract art done by my preschooler niece, and an oil painting of our cat, Eddie, painted by a friend, hang on the wall. (Now Eddie can give us his judgy look even when he’s not in the room.)
To the left of the palm is the dresser I revamped with chalk paint a few years ago.
As a side table between the two chairs, we are using a small vintage table that we inherited from my mother-in-law.
And next to the loveseat is the industrial glam campaign table that used to belong to my Mom. She graciously agreed to trade another table with me so I could have this one. So I guess I didn’t just shop my own house for this room, I also shopped Mom’s.
From the front door, traffic flow still works. But the living room no longer looks like a hallway – with furniture pushed against the walls. It’s cozier and more intimate.
The north wall is the longest stretch of uninterrupted wall space, but the front door also swings in here. Furniture placed on this wall needs to be fairly shallow for the sake of traffic flow.
Here we placed our wardrobe-turned-stereo-cabinet and an antique console.
This wall gets indirect light from two large windows, so plants here always seem to do well.
We don’t use the front door much ourselves, but guests and packages come in this way. So, other than the plants, I didn’t go overboard on styling the console as it will no doubt serve as a drop zone.
But of course I had to tweak something after this post was published. I remembered a friend’s advice to make the living room reflect our personalities – which I think I did for the most part. But the console felt impersonal. So I changed a few of things and added a couple of art pieces done by family members of all ages. There’s still space to use the console as a drop zone, but now it’s just more “us.”
Moving on to the west wall, we have our liquor cabinet. The large mirror was hanging in this location before. It’s the only piece in the room that went back to the same location.
We got the wood carving from a local artist in Kona, Hawaii, while vacationing on The Big Island.
From the dining room, there is ample space to enter the living room despite the placement of the loveseat.
As a transition between the living room and dining room, we hung a large print that we got at an arts and crafts fair in Newport, Oregon.
The photo was taken under the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport.
I really love how the photograph looks with our new wall color, and I’d like to talk a moment about the new color. It’s a PPG color called Iced Periwinkle. This color changes noticeably in any changing light.
For example, this color is in both our living room and our dining room. But, when the dining room light is on, it looks like a completely different color. So far I’m liking any color it decides to be.
Deep, moody colors and wall treatments like box moldings are trending now, and they look fantastic. But it’s not what I wanted for this room. So, once again, I’m flying my freak flag and going against trend.
Speaking of which, this is also a good time to mention the window coverings – or lack thereof:
If the windows were mullioned, I would have already replaced the dated mini blinds. But I have yet to find an alternative type of blind or shade that is as versatile or as suited for the expanse of these large picture windows. So, until I do, they have to stay.
Also, you might be wondering where the curtains are. The curtains that were in the room before actually look better with the new wall color but, for the time being, we are enjoying the windows without them.
But let’s get back to the single most important issue: Our resident cat Eddie. Before the room transformation, he loved sleeping on the large sofa against the window. So I was hoping he could find happiness in this room even after the transformation.
Well, the jury has come back.
And I think he’ll be okay.
So I can finally say that, as far as I’m concerned, the transformation was a success.
I will leave you with one last before . . .
The Camel Leanna tufted loveseat is from World Market.
The green upholstered chair is also from World Market, though I’m not seeing it on their website at the moment.
All throw pillows are from World Market.
I got the square area rug from another source, but it’s available on Amazon (and on sale as of this writing).
The felt rug pad under the rug is from RugPadUSA on Amazon.
The woven seagrass plant basket that the majesty palm is in is from Artera Home Store and available on Amazon.
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