6 Years of Our Reading Room

January 21, 2019

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Last year, I shared an evolution over the years of our living room and then a few weeks ago, I found some old (low quality–sorry!) photos of our home before we bought it and I have been having so much fun walking down memory lane. You know how everyone is sharing the How Aging has Affected You challenge. Well, consider this the house version. This year it will be 6 years of living in our home and like people, I believe homes are supposed to evolve and change. Maybe a room has a really good year, straight-up bad year or some awkward years in there. Our reading room has had all of the above.

Here’s the listing photo I found of the space before we bought it. When we looked at the home it had been empty for a few months so I didn’t get the chance too see any furnishings anywhere. But I do remember seeing this room and thinking–Well, that’s where the Christmas tree goes. 

• Before our big Halloween party in 2013, I remember picking out this green color (it was a custom color I had mixed) to serve as a backdrop for photos. And then I kind of fell in love with it. (That pillow combination is hurting my eyes)

• This room had/has zero lighting–overhead, accent or otherwise so we spent some time building a header and adding sconces and building wall to wall shelves. Even though this was the first version of those shelves (Dec 2013), they’ve stuck around and I still love them.

• In the Spring of 2014, right before Faye was born, we tore up all the flooring and laid faux wood tile throughout the entire main level. It must have been around this time that we also inherited Chris’s great grandmother’s piano and it once again became a piano room. Ha! Truthfully this is probably my least favorite version of this room because the tone of the green mixed with a lot of medium wood tones feels pretty 80s to me.

• Fortunately, by 2015 (I had a BABY in 2014, so progression slowed way down. I think I remember those baseboards taking months to replace!), I had figured out that the green needed to go a little darker. We brought back in the former couch and things were looking a little better…but awfully busy looking back.

• Then we got a dark black leather sofa, I swapped out the art and I feel like I started finding my groove. I like moody spaces and it was definitely headed in that direction. This was a good year!

• Then, to be honest, I feel like we kind of regressed. We had to ditch the acrylic coffee table because of tiny handprints all over it all the time. But adding more seating in here really made the small room feel crowded. Especially when mixed with a rug that commands a little more attention. It took me until after Christmas that year, after I took the tree out to realize I wasn’t bringing that extra seating back in.

• Which brings us to how it looks today! I shopped our house and moved things around and simplified the decor over the years. I’ve learned to stick with more neutrals when decorating especially since the wall color and rug complement each other so well–everything else should be supporting.

This is one of the first rooms you see when you walk in our home and it’s a room we love to go in and relax when we need a time out. I have a small desk in the corner (see it here) that I sometimes work from and I can look out the front window and see when packages arrive or when Greta gets home from school. And yes, it’s definitely the perfect room for a Christmas tree.

Here’s one more before and after from the day we moved in 2013 to last week (2019). We’ve come a long way baby.

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What do you think?

  1. Laura says:

    Amazing transformation. Where do the coffee table come from?

  2. Julia Hayman says:

    Where is that acrylic table from? I’ve been looking for one just like it!!

  3. Julia says:

    Stunning room, I love everything about it! I am dreaming to create a reading nook and this is a huge inspo! Did you change the color any? seems darker and glossier as the years of pics went on, I know you mentioned this was a custom color, but could you recommend something similar?
    Thank you!

  4. Katerina says:

    Hi! Could you tell me where that beautiful rug is from? The last version of the room.. I feel like I’ve seen it on Room & Board site, but I might be wrong. Many thanks!

  5. What a thrilling room arrangement. Good to see a successful transformation.

  6. Jen says:

    Love this room! We are trying to build custom shelves very similar- do you have a link for how you built?

  7. I love seeing room progressions and how even our own styles change over time! This room is so cozy and I would definitely curl up in here.

  8. Vicki says:

    I love seeing transformations over time. We sometimes think, “What were we thinking?” With the exception of the earliest yours all look like you were thinking pretty clearly but must admit 2019 is the best! Love the Christmas photo!

  9. Crystal says:

    Such a fun post! Love seeing the evolution.

  10. Cathy says:

    Wow, what an amazing transformation! I’m trying to decide what to do with our office/game room by the entryway in terms of paint and decor, and am totally inspired by this room! Did you widen that doorway or is the darker paint color making the room look more open and wide?

  11. Sara says:

    I love all the versions! It’s like seeing a photo of yourself from 8 years ago and thinking the outfit was a bad choice. It might not be where you are now in your life, but at the time you loved it :)

  12. Patricia says:

    Fun post to read! Makes me wish I’d photographed all our living room iterations before we moved. It was a long awkward room with a fireplace in the middle of the long wall and the front door led directly into it. In our downsize condo, we have an even longer living room but it’s easier to arrange. Still, I’m thinking of moving one of the sofas… and all the bookshelves need tweaking.

    It can always be better, or at least. fresher!

  13. Marti says:

    This progression post is just what I needed to read. Making furniture choices feels like such a commitment, but things can always be tweaked and fine tuned.

  14. KATE says:

    Oh man. When you first switched out the light sofa for the black leather sofa, I remember thinking that it was a mistake. But now, seeing all these photos, it was so OBVIOUSLY the right choice and I am so sorry I ever doubted you!

  15. Beatrice Teller says:

    That was so great!!! I often decorate a room, live with it a bit then shop my house and do something different. My husband goes bananas thinking I’m indecisive !! But you have just made me feel 1000x better. You are so right. Every room needs to go thru growing pains till it has the best fit! Thanks so much.

  16. Ashley says:

    I absolutely love seeing this progression ????

  17. Jenny says:

    Thank you for sharing! We moved into our fixer upper a year ago and I find myself getting frustrated by so many rooms not feeling “done”. It’s nice to see a reminder that even the prettiest of homes took time to get there

  18. Monica says:

    I just now wondered to myself if the people you bought the house from follow along your blog? It would be so interesting to see how they react to the house now since it has changed so much!

  19. Kelsey says:

    That big piece of light artwork is the perfect balance to the window! Looks great. ????

  20. I’m pretty sure your swap to the darker green inspired dark green rooms everywhere! (Including ours!) I love a good room evolution.

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