The living room saga

I’m sorry I disappeared again. If you read my last post you know I got back from vacations and didn’t like my decoration – or lack of it. I started reorganizing things and since the basement got acceptable, I decided to organize my living room. I’ve been struggling a lot to decorate this house. In my old apartment we had 2 white sofas, the carpet was light and all doors were white, metals were chrome, balcony was concrete. There was a lot of natural light, decorating was really easy, everything look fine there. My decor was simple and informal and worked just fine.

Now here is a house, there is a tree just in front of my window (I love the tree but it’s a lot of shade), the carpet is a dark, old and stained camel color, baseboards and doors are dark coffee, all metals are brass or black and our balcony is a reddish wood.

Don’t take me wrong, I love living here. It’s great to be in a house, location is perfect, rent is fair and the space has a lot of potential. But I never had such a hard time finding the right pieces for a room. I think it all started with our decision to ditch our old white sofas. They were already second hand sofas and were very worn and stained. When we moved here, my mind was in some crazy mood and I didn’t think too much. We got a grey sofa from Structube and 2 orange chairs at Wayfair. I guess that was the begginning of all the problems.

I actually like our sofa and chairs, but that was not the best decision for the space. The room looked really dark. All my pillow covers didn’t work anymore. All the porcelain objects I had with white and blue started screaming in contrast with the orange chairs (complimentary colors can be quite aggressive). I didn’t want plain grey and orange decor so I decided to add some pink pillows and try an analogous color palette. That helped.

There was also the problem of the dining room. First I placed my table in the kitchen. I didn’t like the yellow and blue chairs so I started painting some chairs light green. I didn’t finish but decided to move the table to the living room. The green and blue chairs look awful with the orange and pink decor. To make things worse, I decided to paint an abstract picture and somehow I got carried on and transformed in a splatter painting and added blue. I can’t explain why and I hated the painting for many months.

So that was the state of the living room when I got back from vacations. Camel carpet, beige walls, grey sofa, orange accent chairs, black media furniture, chrome coffee table, wood old dining table, mismatched chairs in green, blue and black, bad taste artwork. OMG. Did I tell you I study architecture and worked in renovation for many years? How did this happen?

Anyways I decided to act. First I inverted the layout of the room and that helped a bit, now entering the room you see the sofa first, not the huge black figure of our entertainment furniture. This was way more inviting. I removed my old ugly artwork and I’m working on a new painting with light and brighter colors.

Then I bought a rug and that was a mistake, it just made my carpet looks even uglier. The rug looked like a white towel in person, very thin and very white. I returned the rug and try to understand what went wrong and why I keep getting upset about my choices.

So disappointing

This last week I just removed everything from the room and try to look again at it and really see the colors of the room and what will make it look prettier. I realized I’m just fighting with this house colors since I arrived and it’s time to make peace. The palette of this house is warm. My grey sofa, glass table and grey rug were cold, of course they will fight with the house. The orange chairs and all the other colors are too much and too saturated for this place, it needs a more neutral muted palette. The decoration needs less color, less contrast and more texture and layers.

First thing I did was to add some curtains (we cannot make holes in this house but I found a good tension rod that saved my life). I started knitting a cushion cover in light grey and I’ll get more pillows in neutral colors. I also had an old cocktail table a friend gave us and was not being used. That actually helped hide the carpet and gave more structure and warmth to the space. I moved the glass table to the corner, so this is how it looks like now.

I’m so happy about the curtains

Next steps are getting a lamp for beside the sofa, keep getting more neutral cushions and add objects on the shelves under the tv and on the table. Then put some art on the walls. I actually would like to make a cover for the orange chairs in a neutral color and actually even a white cover for the sofa but there is so much to do, so one thing at a time.

I’m just super proud of this, first time I finish a knit project. Now just need to sew into a pillow cover

For the dining room I gave up of my current chairs and table. I’ll buy some new ones and move the old ones to the kitchen. I found some light gray chairs I like and we are thinking about the white tulip table. I’m not quite sure about the white and the design is a bit more modern than what I wanted but I think it the round lines will help keeping the space cute. I simulated with my current chairs on the space, it’s seems a bit squeezed but it fits.

I really don’t like the open kitchen. I want to cook more and I avoid making certain foods because I know the whole house will be smelling for hours. So my priority now is to find a way to close the door (making no holes and keeping the budget!). Not easy but I have a few ideas.

I’m still dreaming about buying rugs. I would love a large sisal one for the dining room, covering that round cut on the carpet and making everything look larger… and of course a nice patterned rug for the living room. We will get there!

How about you? Do you have any room in your house that you struggle to decorate? How is it been? Let me know on the comments


Updated decor and some recipes

Yesterday I put away all my Christmas decorations and since I was in the mood, I changed a few things around the house. Check it out.

During Christmas you come in and see our fun cute socks and I was using this cabinet as a sideboard. Here is another angle:

We never found the garland for the stairs as we wanted (I wanted some very fluffy ones). I also forgot to buy some red candles and didn’t find nice / affordable Christmas pillows. No problem! Our biggest challenge here is that our dining table was in the kitchen.

I forgot to take a picture of the whole table but there it is on the left of the picture. The good things about having the table there is that it’s wood floor and there are lots of space.

And there was space for the Christmas tree so it was all fine! We made some hand painted ornaments, like the cover of this post, it was fun! But I had to offer dinner for guests in the kitchen.

So yesterday I changed a bit. All Christmas is gone and this is the new deal:

The orange chairs are in the window and the sideboard became an extension of our tv rack. We are not using the balcony until the summer anyways, so I like the chairs there now. Definitely would love to put an area rug and curtains, also I’ll add a few things on the sideboard in the future.

Dining table is now squeezed a bit but it fits! Now I feel the chairs are way too mismatched, so maybe I’ll buy another one to match the 3 vintage ones and put the Ikea dark chair in another place. Maybe I’ll also paint all of them the same color, not sure yet. And now in the living room not sure if I’ll keep this green.

Dining room is a bit tight but at least it’s integrated in the living room. The worst aspect is the carpet, but this is a rented house and there’s not much to do about it.

Since that kitchen side was completely empty, I tried to fill it in, that’s what I got:

The white canvas will become paintings, I’ll do some botanical illustration. This table is not staying, I’m planning to get a small wood kitchen island in the future, if we get used to this layout. Those shelves were downstairs with my art supplies (that now are all over the basement!). I’ll think about the basement next week.

My simple hack for keeping the plates still: I used this thick double sided tape. If I like the new set up I’ll cut a small piece of wood and attach to the shelf to make it safer.

During Christmas season I didn’t cook a lot but I got a simple iron cast pan, look at this frittata, I loved it

I also found a ton of great Brazilian ingredients at Minas Steakhouse (their store is great!) so here is “dried meat in the pumpkin”. I even cook some home made requeijão (a Brazilian spread cheese). Both recipes were successful here at home.

And last but not least , one of our visits brought us flowers and in the last days I was keeping beside the oven and I loved, look how cute

Then I was checking kitchens I like in Pinterest and they all have an utensil holder with lots of nice wooden spoons exactly on that place, so I guess I’ll adopt a nice cute thing on the side of the oven always.

And that’s it for today! Tomorrow I’m back to work and our classes start this Saturday, so that means I’ll be busy again. I hope I can manage to still post from time to time. Thanks for reading!