I have a very important question for you… Are you done decorating your home? If you said “yes” you are in the vast majority. Maybe you are a super decorator, or work at lightning speed, or have elves. I am both happy for you and jealous of you (only in the nicest way). But if you are like me, your home is in constant evolution! I am never done with a room. I change my mind and find new and better ways to decorate. My family room is a prime example of an evolving room. So, here’s the history of the evolution of my family room and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I can’t show you how my family room looked before we started the family room remodel. Just think… beige rug, yellow walls, gold sofa, red and gold wing chairs, oak coffee table, oak tv cabinet, lots of pictures on the walls and red and gold balloon window treatments. I was in my Tuscan phase. Don’t snicker, it was the early 90’s!
It was time for a much needed update!
Our first project was to get rid of the berber wall to wall carpet and buy a shag wall to wall carpet. Very in style in the early 2000’s. And we were at least getting rid of that horrible, beige, worn, berber carpet in the family room!
We also bought a fabulously comfortable Smith Bros. sofa in a taupe and ivory Greek key design. The sofa came with 4 designer pillows. I chose the fabric. Two pillows were a brown and white french script print and the others were a black and neutral floral. I love the floral and use it today. But that was very serendipitous! The script pillow is long gone!
- The pillows that come with a sofa are usually awful! There are so many great pillow sources so choose ones you love!
- Don’t go too trendy with wall to wall carpeting. You may have to live with it until you can afford another floor covering.
Another big change was going from a Tuscan yellow wall color to a goldish/taupe. I really wanted to go sorta white, but was not brave enough to make that leap then. Now I’d do it in a heartbeat!
Notice that not only my room evolved but so did my photography… and my decorating!
We also got the coffee table and round mirror and chair with script fabric (It is now in a guest room waiting to be slipcovered). You can see I used blue and white to accent the room. The picture on the wall is a watercolor of StoneGable that I had done for one of Bobby’s birthdays just after we moved in. The picture is now waiting to be hung in our upstairs sitting room.
The black chair in the background came from a local furniture store. It sold for almost $600.00 and I walked away with is for $50.00. I’m telling you I am the queen of a great bargain! The chair is now in the foyer. I’d like to recover it.
I found this unique round mirror at HomeGoods and repainted it. It was hung in the family room and then in a bedroom and back to the family room!
When we purchased the sofa we also purchased two fabulously comfortable brown leather club chairs and an ottoman also from Smith Bros. You can see them in some of the pictures below.
The lamp (Pottery Barn Outlet) was my favorite. However, it met an untimely demise by a dog! I saved the lampshade and it’s on a lamp in the foyer.
- Shop for good furniture at bargain prices.
- If you find a piece and love it’s style but not the color, it can be painted!
- Buy comfortable chairs.
- Don’t let your dog pay near a lamp cord!
Here’s the “before” of the mantel and fireplace… (this picture also show the gold/taupe wall color)
And here’s the “after”…
That was a dramatic change!
I was during the first makeover we put the black chippy shutters on the mantel, got a large clock to replace the mirror (What was I thinking for all those years? The only thing the mirror reflected was the ceiling!), painted the brass fireplace surround, rebricked the fireplace and painted the mantel lamps. I also painted the base of a cherry table and stenciled my linen curtains with chalk paint.
It was during this time that I cleared off the shelves in my family room and organized things in baskets. I thought the numbered tags were fun!!! This cleared up a whole lot of visual clutter from the built-in shelves.
- Don’t hang a mirror over a mantel.
- Brass can be repainted oil rubbed bronze. Use heat resistant spray paint near a fireplace.
- You can brick over marble tile. Use veneer bricks.
- Again, paint great items to update them.
As you can see the goldish/taupe wall color did not last long at all. I found the most magical paint color called Sonnet by Benjamin Moore. The whole downstairs of StoneGable is painted Sonnet. I love love love this color! Sonnet goes with everything!
I found a console that fit on an empty wall perfectly and brought it home from… yes, our local Pottery Barn Outlet. I wasn’t in love with it, but if filled the space! It didn’t last long in the family room.
- Be bold and paint you walls the colors you really want!!! It’s just paint!
- Only buy what you really love!
It was around this time I started to fall in love with farmhouse style. Our home was inspired and built to look like a farmhouse. We lived around farmland and farmhouses and farm animals. Farmhouse style made sense in my home. It felt easy and comfortable and like it “fit”.
So, I started leaning towards a traditional, farmhouse, cottage, industrial style with an upscale flair. I coined it Refined Country Farmhouse.
By now totally white furniture and walls and… everything white…had been around for several years. I was not sold on the everything white look, at all. To me, it looked like a painter was let loose in a house with a pressure sprayer full of builder’s grade flat white paint and went crazy! I found “all white” dull and uninspiring and forced.
But, I was so drawn to a mix of whites and neutrals with a tad of black. It looked interesting and fresh and a little bit upscale. That’s when my big family room transformation began! I had a “look” I wanted to create! I could name it and pinpoint the furnishing to go with this look. I had developed my style!
It became so obvious to me that before I focused in on my decor style I was sorta floundering in my family room… not really being able to put together a cohesive look I loved. But now things were different… easier! I had clarity!
The first thing I did was to slipcover the Greek key sofa in white duck cloth. What a good move! My family room got so much brighter!!!
THE BIG LESSON:
- Making mistakes develops your style!!!!! I made lots in this room. But every mistake worked to define my look… my style.
OTHER LESSONS: Slipcovers are a great way to hide mistakes!
Laying hardwood floors came next. Bobby and the boys spend a couple days and completed the task! I would have loved darker hardwoods but it was cost prohibitive for us to strip and stain the hardwoods we already had in the house. We were lucky enough to find the same hardwood floors and bought them for all the rooms in our house.
I added small jute rug over the new floors.
During late 2013 I won Lamps Plus Blog Of The Year and got a more modern looking natural colored slipcovered sofa. We put then other white slipcovered sofa up in our sitting room. We are just about to start a total gut and makeover of that room now!
- Sometimes you have to compromise.
- Sometimes you get lucky!
The next thing to come to the family room was my houndstooth recliner. It was December of 2013. I had knee cap surgery the month before and Bobby insisted that I get a chair that I could elevate my legs.
There was NO way I was going to put a recliner in my family room, so Bobby tricked me and under the guise of taking me for a drive took me to the Lazy Boy store. He almost had to drag me out of the car!!! I was shocked at how much I loved some of the recliners. They look nothing like the one my dad had! They were actually beautiful chairs! And Lazy Boy had lots and lots of great, modern fabrics to choose from.
So we ordered a gorgeous taupe and white big houndstooth print for a club chair recliner. One of the best moves we made!
After the houndstooth chair, I began to remove the blue accents from for family room opting for more neutral ones!
And in a bold move, I had the leather chairs covered in white duck cloth! Everyone thought I was making a huge mistake. Even Bobby! But he let me go.
In the end, it was absolutely the right move for the family room.
- Don’t be too quick to judge. Some home furnishings might surprise you.
- Edit and update your home decor accessories.
- Sometimes you just have to go for it!
Shortly after that I found the free sofa was just too long and gave it to my daughter and her husband. Too bad for me because it was so so comfortable! But it went to a wonderful home.
I replace the sofa with a Pottery Barn Comfort Sofa in an Ivory Basketweave Performance fabric. Great choice! It’s wearing wonderfully! I just wish I would have splurged and gotten the down wrapped like the one in my living room.
I found a cabinet I fell in love with at Wayfair and bought it to replace the dark console. My daughter got the console too!
And we added this comfortable and pretty accent chair by Birch Lane.
- Remember, only buy what you LOVE!
The most recent change to the living room has been painting the clock a chippy white with gray undertones.
- Paint is like magic!
My family room went from this…
And from this…
That brings us up to date. Is my family room done? Not at all. I still have a couple projects to work on this spring and summer!
Here’s a big takeaway lesson from this evolution… pinpoint your style and what feels right for you and you have half the battle won. It wasn’t until I really began to know my style and the look I loved that I was able to create it!
I floundered for awhile until I could focus in on my style and own it!
How about you? Are you working on a room? What is your greatest challenge in its evolution?
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