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Jessie’s Dilemma

May 27, 2011  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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It’s the end of the week with a long weekend ahead of us.  Bliss!  Chris and I have a few home improvement projects on the agenda this weekend, including finding out where the water came from that was in one of the rooms in our basement.  Wooohooo!!  Okay, that’s not gonna be that fun, but the bbq afterward is.  And taking Greta to the park to run around until she falls asleep is.  I love long weekends.  To kick off the festivities, lets turn our attention to Jessie and her husband Danny.  They are recent homeowners that have done a ton to their space since moving in.  Just look at these photos:
But, Jessie needs help from here.  She writes:

Julia,

Thanks for being willing to offer your expert advice! :) When I started college, I thought I was going to be an Interior Designer…I don’t know what I was thinking now!! I feel like I have lost almost all design sense and my house is suffering!

We’ve done a ton since buying our home last August {Our living room had cracks in the walls, the entire floor was covered in naaaasty orange carpet, we had a gross chandelier, the ceiling was wallpapered and the fake brick surrounding the fireplace was orangish/green. Pretty, huh?? I’ve included two pictures for your viewing pleasure :)} but I still don’t love our living/dining room. We painted everything, scraped all the wallpaper off + retextured the ceiling, stained the mantle, and painted over the ugly brick. So, even though it has come a long way, I feel like some things are missing…

Here is what bothers me the most:

  • The “entry” way! Right when you enter our front door, you are standing in our dining/living room, but the first thing you see when you walk in is a whole lot of nothing. Such a welcoming feeling :)
  • I have almost nothing on the walls…so suggestions on photo arrangements, etc would be awesome
  • We inherited both couches {from different people} but they really don’t match…at all. Do you know anything about reupholstering a maroon leather couch?? Or ideas on where to find awesome furniture without spending all of the money in our bank account?
  • I really want to incorporate some fun textures/colors into the room but again, I’m not sure how to make it all mesh together + look good at the same time…
  • The arrangement of our furniture has also been a hassle. Our room is very long, but not very wide. I don’t love how the two couches parallel each other and point directly at the fireplace, but I can’t figure out how else to arrange them…
  • Lastly, our dining area. I want a fun rug…any suggestions?
  • Ok, I guess that wasn’t the last thing…we also need some lamps, but again I have no idea where to start.

Wow…that was quite the list. I think I covered everything, but if you have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know! I am seriously all ears and would love any advice that you are willing to offer!

Thanks again Julia!!
Jessie


Jessie, you brought up a lot of good ideas and valid concerns.  I hope what I have come up with kickstarts your next chapter of revamping this space.  The first thing to tackle is definitely the layout.  Long, narrow rooms need division.  Here’s what I am thinking:
Place the back of your couch on the edge of the carpet facing the fireplace.  Two smaller chairs and an end table directly across from it will not only hide the non-functioning fireplace, but also create an intimate living space.  The area rug in the dining room and storage bench behind the couch (we’ll get to the details on those) will help define an entryway and separate dining space. 
The next task in decorating a room is picking a color scheme.  I talked about ours here.  Your space’s color palette can come from any inspiration and I chose yours from a necklace on Etsy.
Your awesome couch is already represented, as well as your wall color and your dark hardwoods in the dining space.  Now we just have to work on adding the rest of the colors from this inspiration.  I would love to see 2 accent walls opposite each other.  One on the fireplace wall.  I’m thinking the last mocha color.  You would only need a quart of it.  No need to paint the actual fireplace again, just the wall above it, by the windows and I would even paint the backs of the built-in bookcases (backs only!).  The other accent wall would be the one opposite of it in the dining room.  Again you would only need a quart and…are you ready….go with the purple.  It’s rich.  It’s warm.  And it is just the punch that room needs.  
As for everything else, oh, I have plans for that, too:

1.  The maroon leather chair needs a new home.  It’s too big for the layout, and we got to make room for two of these dark gray chairs from Ikea.  They are technically dining chairs, but at $89.99 a piece, you can’t beat that price for accent chairs.  Not only are they priced right, but the size is optimal for your living room.

2.  This lamp from Target is $99.  I love the unexpected pop of yellow on top in the shade. The tripod legs are unique as well, but if you don’t feel like dropping 100 bones, feel free to snag some yellow fabric and cover the shade of a tall floor floor lamp you find thrifting.  Whichever way you choose to go, the lamp should sit by the chair and window on the left (see round shape in room layout).

3.  That white end table you have floating around would look rich spray painted a dark brown with a few jars on top.  Dress up the plastic ones (kid-friendly) you can find at Wal-mart or thrifting with loads of buttons or other monotoned objects–even candy.  Stick with one color in each jar and if you decide to switch up the color in a different jar, just stick to the color palette and you can’t go wrong.

4.  I think your existing throw pillows on your couch are fantastic.  They definitely played a part in the inspiration of this room, add in some patterned purple throws like these found at Target  and World Market.  This will add a nice pop of color and tie in that accent wall in the dining room.

5.  This storage cube is perfect for your house.  It will sit right behind your couch as an entryway definition.  Think sitting to put on/take off shoes and you can store toys in it!  A DIYed purple pillow on top the length of the cube would really complete the piece.

6.  Moving into the dining room.  This 5’x8′ rug is an investment at $249, but it or something similar (maybe even stencil your own!) would be money well spent in the dining room under your table.

7.  This light caught my eye instantly when I was researching for lighting for your room.  It’s industrial, it would tie in those dark gray chairs from the opposite side of the space and you could make it for a whole lot cheaper with some pendants and a wire basket.  Think about it.

8.  Lastly, is art.  Look past the lady with the megaphone and turn your attention to those squares in the background.  Solid scrapbook paper framed in chocolate brown frames all lined up in a grid pattern would complete the look on the wall directly across from the front door.  The colors in this picture are perfect ones to choose.  The base is definitely the palette from your room, but I wouldn’t hesitate to throw in a light yellow or blue pop either.

As for the art on your mantle, I would lean the picture of Christ instead of hang it.  Bring in an old mirror to lean as well, and one other piece that represents your family.  Maybe a painting of your house number like I did here.  All layered and leaning, instead of hung.

I hope this helps Jessie.   Whatever you choose to do, we’d love to see pictures of your progress!

What do you think?

  1. julia, you are AMAZING!!! seriously, you are the next sherrie of young house love :)

    i love everything you’ve done. everything. the lamp, rug + storage cube’s are my personal favorites.

    we are in the middle of a huge kitchen remodel, but as soon as that gets cleared up, we’re starting in on the living room again and i’ll send some pics for sure!

    thanks a million!!!

  2. julia, you are AMAZING!!! seriously, you are the next sherrie of young house love :)

    i love everything you’ve done. everything. the lamp, rug + storage cube’s are my personal favorites.

    we are in the middle of a huge kitchen remodel, but as soon as that gets cleared up, we’re starting in on the living room again and i’ll send some pics for sure!

    thanks a million!!!

  3. Her after space looks really awesome! Love the color board!

  4. Michaela says:

    Great ideas!! I love the color combo (:

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