Happy Patriot's Day/Marathon Monday here in Mass! I'm so excited today to share what Les and I did to freshen and brighten up our main living space in our apartment! It's not that anything looked bad, per-say, but the bulk of our furniture was all-black and very one-note. Our entire living room set (minus the couch which we bought new when we moved up to the North Shore) was Les's from before I moved in with him in our Boston apartment. It served him, and then us, really well at the time, but it was all from Ikea and pretty cheaply made, so by the time we got rid of it last week (five years later) it had a decent number of chips in the paint.
For a while I had been dying to get some new furniture because, even though our new apartment gets plenty of natural light, somehow our main living space still felt so dark with all of the black. It also felt very mis-matched, between the all-black living room, the plain white sofa table (which was originally an Ikea "occasional table" that rolled over Les's bed), and the natural wood kitchen table. Enter: a new coffee table, side table, TV stand, rug, and a few decor items to add a bit more color and tie everything together.
I have a love-hate relationship with our kitchen table (in the back left in the photo below). It, too, is from Ikea and again served us really well when we lived in Boston. At the time, we had very minimal counter space so I would fold the extra half of this table out almost every day and use it for prep when I was cooking or baking. It also allowed us to make a table of four or five if we had friends over. We kept it when we moved to the North Shore, but we only ever folded it out maybe two or three times in our previous apartment because it was separate from the kitchen area. And now, in our current apartment, we have plenty of open counter space so I don't need the extra prep space at all. And, even if we wanted to fold it out now for more seating for guests, it wouldn't really work in the space.
So, at some point I want to replace it with a round four-person table and some new chairs, but for now I decided to spruce it up with two table settings and some flowers. We hardly ever sit here to eat-- we either eat on the couch and coffee table or at the white sofa table, so my main goal with this was truthfully to stop us from piling random junk on top of it. I could have sworn Les would have balked at it and asked why the table would now be permanently set, but when he came home after I had done it he said, and I quote, "that looks really nice"! #winning. So here it goes... the full reveal! Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post to see where we bought everything. I'll link to the new stuff, as well as some of the pieces we already had if they're still available.
It's funny, looking at the before and after pictures it doesn't look all that different to me now, but in person it seemed to make a word of difference. The white TV stand and glass coffee table brightened everything up, and the arched mirror we added over the kitchen table makes the space seem a bit larger. It also echoes the windowpanes all around the room (they're kind of hard to see with the sunlight).
I think my favorite part of our new living room design is our rug. It's not something I ever thought I would have picked, and I wouldn't have ever thought of these colors if it weren't for my mom! When I told her we were going to buy some new furniture, probably all in grey-ish wood-tones, she found a picture in a magazine for me of a black leather sofa, white tv stand, glass coffee table, and a bright orange rug. For some reason because our couch is black, I had it in my mind that all of our furniture had to essentially match that. But with one picture for inspiration, I realized I could add more textures and colors. Nestlie clearly approves.
One other cool thing I did, at the suggestion of my co-worker Melody, was re-cover the white sofa table with white marble contact paper. I should have taken closer before and after pictures because this table had a ton of chips in it. Instead of painting the whole thing over in plain white, I covered just the top in contact paper and was surprised how well it turned out! This stuff is easier to use than you'd think, and it gave the table a whole new look that tied in with the marble in the coffee table shelf and the side table in the living room. Les has his own office space in our apartment, which doubles as our guest room, so this white table has always been where I’ve worked on my laptop ever since we lived in Boston. I’m even happier to sit there now!
Overall, I'm so thrilled with how the space turned out. Les let me surprise him, too, with all of the elements, so it was really fun to show him once everything came together. It doesn't even feel like we did anything too dramatic, but the result left the room feeling so much brighter, and lighter, as well as cohesive as one large space. Our bedroom used to be my favorite space (I'll give a tour in a future post), but our living room finally rivals it.