The living room is my favourite room in the house. I had a real vision for how I wanted it to be and it’s turned out better than I had envisioned. It really makes me feel like I’m “home.” Of course everyone likes to make up their abodes to their own tastes, but I don’t think I’m wrong in assuming that interior decorating matters a lot more to me than most people. It’s not just that I spend every day working, living, and relaxing at home. It’s not just that I like having nice things and I do, I just know my level of anal in terms of how I like things to be just so, is shall we say, more than the average person’s.
It’s something I can’t really explain, about how looking at a beautiful armchair makes me feel happy. How my Moroccan side table just looks happier now that I’ve paired it with an incredible vintage, tufted, red velvet armchair. It’s as if the red of the chair adds an extra level of luster to the gold finish. There’s a brightness to the table that I never saw before. As if its spirits have lifted now that I found it a soulmate.
Decorating, to me, is all about displaying your personality and creating a visual feast in every room. I love a good gallery wall, I think it’s an element of design that accomplishes both perfectly. I’ve collected some lovely artwork over the years, old photos and postcards, and I like putting them on display in mix of vintage and modern frames. And the symmetry of the armchair with the table in perfect alignment underneath the gallery wall is just so visually satisfying.
The fireplace hearth and mantle is one of my favourite ways to change up the decor of the room as the seasons change. I love creating these little vignettes and moments throughout the room and the fireplace, being one of the focal points in the room, is a great spot to accent. I have to remind myself not to overdo it with the little knick-knacks and such. Our living room isn’t exactly huge and it can look very cluttered easily. As much as I love these little vintage treasures, flowers and baubles, too much clutter makes me feel….itchy. There is such a thing as a space being too chaotic, but at least for my own psyche, I think I’ve struck a good balance.
The white walls help a lot with minimizing the feeling of clutter and making the room seem bigger and brighter. We did that intentionally because I knew in the living room, I wanted the furniture and art/decor pieces to have a blank canvas to stand out against, for the colour to be accentuated in the objects. We decided to paint the fireplace and hearth white too, which I think makes it looks so much better than before. It used to be a dark grey brick with a black tile hearth. I wouldn’t normally advocate painting stone, but it looks so much more clean and modern now. Our house was really stuck in the ’90s when we moved in and the fireplace was no exception.
It’s been about a year of searching for pieces, and odds and ends, old and new. And don’t even get me started on the futzing! I rearranged the furniture a ridiculous number of times. I can’t explain my obsession with getting everything “just perfect.” I might be a little too anal about it all, but I really feel like there’s some sort of perfect fit I’m searching for. Our layout now is doing quite well, but I doubt my furniture moving days are over.
This chesterfield sofa is the first major piece of the living room I knew I wanted and it’s kind of what I built everything else around. What I truly wanted was a sort of Victorian-style red velvet sofa (kind of like the armchair) but believe it or not, those are really hard to come by! As moving day approached, I found this sofa on Wayfair and fell in love. The style still has a vintage charm and elegance, and the colour is so rich and beautiful. I love teal, I think it’s my favourite colour to decorate with. It’s bold, but calming. Bright, but airy. I just love it! And it’s a perfect companion colour to compliment all the gold accents around the room.
In the back corner of the living room, we snuck in this beautiful secondhand piano. Getting a piano has been on my mind for probably the last 7 or 8 years, but living in an apartment with two flights of curvy stairs to climb, more or less dashed those dreams. So the second we bought this house, I started thinking about it again and we got this one for Christmas last year. Like every other piece in the living room, it has a function, but I wanted it to look beautiful as well. It’s not fancy or anything, but it’s meant to be a piece of furniture for the space, not just a musical instrument. I’ve always loved wooden pianos. In my opinion, the really modern, shiny black ones are much more sterile and just wouldn’t work with everything else in the room.
One of the ways I really like injecting extra coziness in any room is tons of textiles. Curtains, pillows, blankets and in the living room, rugs especially. I’m going with a layered rug look for a couple of different reasons, but the biggest one is that huge area rugs are expensive, y’all! The one I ended up getting from Wayfair ended up being too small for the room with all the furniture, so I got a smaller one from Urban Outfitters to layer on top. I’m still looking for another one for the other side of the room, but in the meantime, I’m using a faux sheepskin rug from Ikea to kind of fill the gap in front of the hearth. The other big reason is the basis for a lot of my design aesthetic….Basically, why limit yourself to one beautiful thing when you can have all the beautiful things! I know, I know….I’m a little extra.
Our little bay window used to have blinds, but I much prefer curtains or no window covering at all. This is especially true in the living room. It gets great light in the morning, but is pretty dark for the rest of the day so I didn’t want to stop what little light there is from entering when it can. But since it’s near street-level, I do like having something there for a little privacy. Luckily, we had some larger pieces of artwork that sit nicely against the window to act as sort of privacy screens. I might change this up later and add a window film or curtains just for the bottom half. Who knows?
I’m also obsessed with lanterns and chandeliers. I have a couple of lanterns picked up from my travels in India and Turkey hanging in the bay window alongside a beaded chandelier I made out of old jewelry I don’t wear anymore. I’m probably far too attached to “things,” but there’s a certain kind of joy in being reminded of past adventures and personal accomplishments. I guess that’s why I like making things. You put yourself, along with time and thought, into something that could potentially outlast you. You’ve left some kind of imprint in the world, however small.
Red rug – Wayfair
Blue rug – Urban Outfitters (old)
Faux sheepskin rug – IKEA
Cushions – Homesense, Simons, from India (all old)
Floor pouf – World Market
Moroccan side table – Linen Chest
Nesting side tables – Zara Home (old)
Light fixture – Wayfair
Mantle mirror – JYSK
Basket – Canadian Tire (old)
Throw blanket – Homesense
Candles – Bath & Body Works
Tray & marble coasters – Homesense
Faux plants – IKEA
Plant pots – IKEA, Home Depot, Homesense, vintage
Piano lamp – IKEA
Red cloisonne dish – from China
Teal tile – from Portugal
Teal lantern – from India
Blue and orange lantern – from Turkey
Beaded chandelier – DIY
Pretty much everything else – old or secondhand from antique stores, Craigslist, flea markets etc.
The living room is by no means a completed project. I’m still on the hunt for some more substantial seating, which is quite a challenge given the space and layout limitations for a room like this. More textiles, more lighting, more art….It’s a kind of never-ending project. The good kind.
I realize that my setup might seem a bit hectic and chaotic to some of you. That’s the nature of having an eclectic style, I think. Somehow it works for me. There’s a kind of balance that I don’t just tolerate, but makes my mind and spirit more comfortable than having a matching loveseat ever could.