Thursday, March 13, 2014

"As Is" Family Room

I hinted to you last week that we had made some (more) changes in our family room and have decided it is finally time for a little progress update.  I love me a good "before" and "after" photo comparison, but , truthfully, I find them somewhat misleading.  When all you see is "before" and "after", it is easy to forget all that goes into making that "after" photo even possible: the hours of hard labor, the numerous decisions, and the inevitable mistakes that go along with any home improvement process. So, instead, today's pictures of our family room are more "before" and "as is".

Our family room is open to both our kitchen and our entryway, both of which will also be getting a face-lift over the next year.  Since these three areas are connected and we are still making decisions about how we want each of them to look, we don't have a full vision for the end product of our family room.  I tend to like having my entire space planned out before diving into a room make-over, so I am finding the unknowns of this process both a little nerve-wracking and really exciting at the same time.  We are choosing to let this room come together more organically by doing a few small changes at a time, living with them for a while, and then deciding where to go from there.

When I last left you in my family room, we had purchased an 8x10 jute area rug and had upgraded our couch to a new dark bluish-gray sectional (with tanned legs!).

I fell hard for our new sofa.  I love snuggling up in that cozy corner with a cup of tea and a magazine.  I am so so so happy with our purchase.

But I was not loving how crowded the family room looked or felt.  I contemplated lots of different ways to open up the space, including moving the sectional and/or entertainment unit to different walls.  I even considered returning the couch even though I loved it so much!  Ultimately my husband and I decided that the thing that was bothering us the most was the entertainment unit itself.

The entertainment unit really is a lovely piece of furniture, but we came to terms with the fact that it just didn't suit us; it felt too formal for the look and feel we are going for in this room.  And, quite honestly, I am horrible at styling and could never figure out what to do with all those shelves so it always looked sort of sad and half-empty.

A couple of Saturdays ago, we rolled up our sleeves and removed the side pieces and the bridge over the TV, keeping just the TV base.

We picked up a wall mount for our TV from Costco and hung up our television.  On one hand, our room now feels so much bigger without the bulky entertainment center. On the other hand, we now have a lone TV floating like a small island on the big sea that is our main wall.  Our plan is to do a photo gallery on the right of the TV to help eat up some of that wall space and balance out the room a bit, but we haven't quite gotten around to it yet so, floating-TV-island it is.

I also, sadly, took down my Ikea spice-rack bookshelves.  Don't worry, we are going to hang them up in our basement once we start tackling our play room, but it was way too much visual clutter for our family room so they had to go.

The Ikea Expedit cubby shelf was previously being used in our basement to store toys, but we have another storage plan in place for that area so we emptied it out and moved it into the family room.

I was able to find the woven baskets on Craigslist, all four for $25.  (Have I told you recently how much I luuuurve Craigslist?)  We are using the baskets to store J&A toys.  And forgive my poor styling of this shelving unit; I have already told you that styling is not my specialty.

The wall above the Expedit is screaming out for some large scale art, but we are not ready to commit to anything until we have a better sense of the final outcome of our room.  So for now it is just a big blank bore.

One of my favorite new features in this room is this amazing arc lamp that, again, we scored on Craigslist.

Please excuse the mess of cords and the rumpled throw pillows. 

I am crushing on its modern shape and the element of drama that it brings to the room.  With the entertainment unit gone, all the furniture was sitting at the same level, so I love that the lamp adds some height into the space and draws the eye upward.  Plus, it is just really cool.

So, there you have it, our "as is" family room update.

I was able to cross several items off our to-do list, but then ended up adding a few more, so I think I basically evened out:

new couch
large area rug
smaller area rug (for layering)
new coffee table
re-style bookcase
console table and/or end table
new throw pillows
window treatments?
paint walls
paint molding and trim
address large, empty wall (gallery wall? desk? sitting nook?)
gallery wall next to TV
art above Expedit


  1. Hmmm.... no comments on this - at first I wasn't sure if I liked this so was checking back to see what others thought. I will say that at first I thought the room seemed too empty but no longer feel that way. Lighter and brighter is my overall impression - fresher looking somehow. I think there is something you can buy at home depot for all the cords to make them blend with the wall better - they are a little distracting. I like the look of your house - inspiring me to change things up a bit in my own home. Very nice job so far, can't wait to see what's next!

    1. I totally agree with you in every way. At first, I was unsure about it, too. But overall I like how the room feels more open and I am hoping once we get art on the wall it won't feel so empty. We did buy one of those cord hiders from Home Depot, but we are planning to install a sound bar under the TV so we want to get that taken care of before we hide the cords. But, yes, the cords are horrible! Next step in this room is infusing some fresh colors with new throw pillows. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. Looks lovely! Your post on karl made me realise that all my favourite living room pics on pinterest had light grey sectionals, & my very favourite featured karl! It was styled so beautifully I NEVER wouldve guessed it was ikea.

    A mirror above the expedit bookcase would reflect light so beautifully! (I'm obsessed with light & airy rooms lol). Excited to see the playroom once its done :) xx

    1. Thanks for your comment! Karl is pretty amazing. We have been really happy with our purchase. A mirror above the expedit is a great idea! I have been looking at those sunburst mirrors that are all the rage right now...hmmmm....will have to continue to search for one that might fit this space. Thanks!