living room update!

Once I finished painting/staining my stair railing, I looked around my main floor and thought, "there's WAY too much dark furniture goin' on in this area." Like, way. We bought a lot of our furniture a few years ago when we were in an apartment and I didn't really know what my decorating style was, so I tended to buy everything in black (which shows an awful lot of dust for someone who hates dusting...I didn't realize how much of a problem that would be at the time or that would've been a DEAL BREAKER).

So my next couple of projects revolve around making the main floor lighter and brighter with a lot more color/texture/variety. 

The first project was a shelf above the couch- I don't have a before picture, I was feeling lazy...but it was (guess what color...) BLACK with black rod iron twisty looking support brackets. 
A few quick coats of spray paint and some updated shelf brackets (from Ikea) made a monumental difference!
Next up: the big awkward wall. During Christmas time we rearranged our small living room layout to accommodate our Christmas tree and actually ended up liking it a lot better, so we left it that way. I KNEW the current TV/giant mirror situation did not look good at all, but I left it that way until I could think of an alternative. 

So here are the three main issues with the current setup:

 1. The mirror is the same size as the TV. 
While a mirror IS good to use in small rooms (reflections make it feel larger), one that is the exact same size as the object right below it is not. :-)

Our townhouse is a decent size, but I've quickly learned (especially with the arrival of baby #2) that organization is KEY and using valuable wall space is essential to keeping our life somewhat put together. P.S. that green and white striped thing is Jillian's teepee that gets pulled out when she wants to use it...in case you were wondering...

3. Poorly styled frames
Not working with the mirror. And you usually group frames (or most other things) in odd numbers- it looks better. (that's totally not a 100% rule, but if you're unsure it's a good guideline to stick to!)

So here's the trick to small rooms- you want your eye to be drawn upward and outward, which will give the illusion it's bigger than it actually is. If your eye is drawn downward and centered on something small (like in this before picture^) it makes it feel just as small as it is. You also have to be careful when selecting furniture for small rooms. Obviously giant furniture will overcrowd the small space and make it feel cramped, but furniture that is too small will emphasize it's smallness! Complicated...I know. 

When you walked into this room (which is the first room you walk into when you walk in the front door- so kind of important), your eye is instantly drawn downward and inward to the small TV stand. Wah-wah. 

So my PLAN!
 Lighten and brighten/appear larger. And some more storage never hurt anybody. I saw this idea for faux built-ins and it was love at first sight.

Once I added the shelves, that alone made a huge difference! 
(the table in front of the left one was acting as a barricade for the tiny humans since they weren't bolted into the wall yet). 
 See how your eye is drawn to two totally different places when comparing each picture?! It's almost magic. (excuse the fuzzy phone photos- again, laziness.)

I used two Ikea Billy Bookcases and then added trim to the top and bottoms, as well as lattice trim up the sides to make them look thicker and more substantial. It was actually a train wreck of a DIY project- I never want to cut crown molding again. After cutting it wrong TWICE, the third time (and my 5th trip to Home Depot in 2 days) resulted in me recruiting the help of our friends next door. So the whole budget friendly DIY thing didn't really happen with the shelves since I had to buy the trim THREE times. *Face palm.

^We have our DVD's in the bins on the bottom to make them easier to see, instead of crammed into the TV stand.

^Flipping some books around on a bookcase gives a more seamless and cohesive look, especially if the book covers are all really different from one another.
^The mirror is probably one of my favorite things about it all.
Even after all of the crown molding mishaps, the end result was WORTH IT!
I love that it lightens the room and makes it feel so much larger. Mission accomplished.
Next, I'm going to paint the TV stand white, remove the glass doors, and rearrange the shelving set-up in there so I can fit some more DVDs in media bins on one side, and do a big vase of some type on the other side. And then the living room project will be DONE!
Sometimes I catch myself walking by them just to look at how pretty they are. True story. Not. Even. Ashamed.
(I also think of how dumb cutting crown molding is.)

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