Friday, August 9, 2013

Living Room Decor... Finally!

My husband and I have owned our home a little
over 3 years, and I finally got around to decorating
our living room! Even though it's not completely
done, I'm probably not going to do anything else to it
for a while because I'm kinda sick of working on it!
Some things I knew before I decided to decorate this room:
I knew that I was keeping my curtains (they were custom
ordered to fit the large window not too long ago, so I knew I
wouldn't be changing those any time soon!!). I also needed to
keep the piano, because it doesn't work in any other room in the
house. I already had 2 lamps that I love, so I wanted to make sure
they would be used. I also kept a mirror that my husband bought
for us - it's a little fancier than I was wanting for the room, but
maybe later on down the road, when I decide to finish the room,
I will switch that out. I also knew that the paint color would not be
changing - we had the whole house professionally painted a couple
years ago, so it just hasn't been long enough to get our money's worth!
So I really just had a very hard time making any decisions
when it came to this room. I just couldn't figure out where to
start - that's probably why it's taken me over 3 years!
 So, thankfully, my friend Bethany came over and helped me
figure out what to do in the room. She's just VERY good at this
kind of stuff, and was a huge help! She gave me some suggestions
of what to do in the room, and ideas of what to purchase. She also
had me "stage" the room with stuff I already had to get an idea of
the spacing in the room. So that's what I did below.
The white leather furniture pictured above is now at our family
cabin and works perfectly there. But at the time, I arranged the
couch and loveseat in the dimensions of a sectional that I found to
see how it would fit in the room. I'm kind of embarrassed for you to
see the gallery photo wall that I attempted a couple years ago - the
arrangement of the frames isn't good at all, and I never put a single photo
in any of the frames! The frames are also fancier than what I really wanted
to do in the room, so I knew I'd be coming up with something different!
And seriously, the fake ficus tree. What was I thinking?!?
The first thing that I found for the room was 2 large matching
canvas paintings. They were on clearance at Pier 1 Imports.
I needed tall pictures because our ceilings are tall in the living
room. I also didn't want any fancy artwork because I wanted
the room be feel comfy and laidback. They incorporated
enough color too, and that's something that I really needed.
So this next picture gives me a huge headache... there is so
much stuff going on in here and NONE of it works together!
But seriously, things usually look worse before they look better
when I'm in the process of redecorating. I bought SO MUCH
stuff, tried it in the room, then took it back. But I think I took this
picture because it was a low point for me with the room!!!
 I had attempted to see what a dark sofa would look like
by putting a brown blanket over the white furniture - yeah, that
didn't really help me at all! But I trusted Bethany, and she said
that a dark brown sectional would work well in the room.
So, here's the sectional we ended up with:
My husband helped me hang the pictures from Pier 1
over the sofa. Then I decided to stage some more.  I tried
out another rug, and brought in a coffee table, end tables,
and an ottoman from my family room and 2 kitchen chairs
 to see what might work in the living room.  The ficus tree
even found its way to another place in the room....

I actually liked the rug, but it was just too busy with the
pictures we hung. So we decided to go without a rug at all.
If this room had hardwood floors, we definitely would have
gotten a rug, but since it's carpet, it didn't really need one.
I also decided that an ottoman instead of a coffee table
would be the better choice for the room. The sofa actually
had a matching ottoman available, but it did not include any
storage. So I found this ottoman at Home Goods, with storage.
It's not an exact perfect match to the sectional, but it's so close!
I added a blanket to the ottoman, and I think it helps disguise the
fact that they aren't exactly the same color. The ottoman also
included a tray that can be used for drinks or whatever else.
I wanted a couple chairs in front of the window to help
finish out a conversation area. I originally had wanted
fabric chairs. I found the ones below at TJ Maxx. But when
I got them in the room, they were just too small compared
to the sectional. And I couldn't find any larger fabric chairs
that I liked (print-wise, color-wise, and price-wise). 
So I changed directions and looked at leather chairs. I found one with
the same nailhead trim as the ottoman. I added a light colored throw
and a pillow, and I think it softened up the chair enough to use it. BUT...
I decided that I needed another one right next to it! It took quite a few
phone calls to multiple stores to get the same chair (it was on clearance and
could not be ordered). It was also a pain to find another identical blanket
(I called 7 TJ Maxx stores in 2 states), but I found it! 
I considered putting colorful pillows on the sectional, and maybe
I still will. But for right now, I like that the light colored pillows
seem to make the sectional not so "heavy." I already had the
checkered ones and the light green swirled ones. I found a couple nailhead
pillows at Target, and thought that it helped tie in the nailhead trim on
the ottoman and chairs.

To replace the previous, ornate gallery wall, I decided to make
a small grid using 6 identical frames that I found at Target.
I didn't have hardly any wedding pictures displayed in our home,
so I ordered 8x10 sized photos to go in the frames. At first I was
nervous that the pictures would be too big, but I'm so glad I didn't
go any smaller than 8x10.  Because the room is so big, anything
smaller wouldn't have had much of an impact in the room, in my opinion.
Once we have kids, I'm sure the photos will be switched out
with pictures of them - but until then, I love having these displayed.
There was some space left on the wall that the larger part of
the sectional is on... it wasn't big enough to put another piece of
furniture, but it was too big to leave blank. So I bought 11x14 sized
frames in the same finish as the wedding picture frames and hung them
in a column. My husband took a trip to Utah this summer, and he took
some beautiful pictures - so we chose 3 of them, had them printed at, and they look stunning! It's definitely my favorite
part of the room! I also found some red twigs 6 feet tall that worked well
in a vase in the corner. It adds a little bit more color in the room too. 

Finding end tables that I liked wasn't easy. I found one that
I liked - it's fairly small, the top of it is interesting without
competing with the lampstand, and there is a shelf on the bottom
to store things, with the option of putting a basket underneath.
It also has rounded edges - and knowing that we want kids some day,
this was something that I purposefully looked for.  Only problem - I could
only find ONE! I bought it, and decided to use a table that we already had
at the house as the other end table. And I'm kind of OK with the fact that
I don't have matching end tables. But, if I get serious about finishing up
this room, I will probably look for the same table again.

The other side of the room definitely still needs more work.
This is the side that the mirror and piano is on. The mirror was
originally hung with the white leather couch underneath it. When
I decided to get a sectional, we had to move the piano under the
mirror, and now the mirror is a little lower than I would like. But the
mirror is actually very heavy, so it's going to be such a hassle to raise
it up just a little bit, so I decided it would be fine where it is, for now. 
I'm probably going to change the mirror one day anyways, so when I
change it up, I will get to hang it how I want it! Plus, the piano is my
sister's, so the day that she is ready to have it back, I will have to get
something else to go in that spot anyways. So this is a temporary look.
Originally, I thought I would put a chair in the corner by the piano.
That was before I picked out the leather chairs to go in front of the
window. But I ended up putting an accent table there instead. I already had
the table thinking I would use it with the leather chair... but the table is too
big to go beside the leather chairs. I needed something beside the
piano, so it worked.  I added a couple candlesticks that used to be in our
bathroom, and a small wedding picture I already had framed. I still think
I need something on the walls on both sides of the mirror,
but haven't found anything I am pleased with yet.

So that's it! I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out
so far... and even though I'm not finished, I can't bring
myself to work on it anymore for a while! I did all of this in
about 2 weeks - maybe it sounds like plenty of time to you,
but that's a ton of looking, comparing, buying, staging, deciding,
returning, and buying some more!!!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Breakfast Casserole Recipe

I made my very first breakfast casserole over the
weekend and it was a success! Thanks to my coworker,
Amy, for sharing her recipe with me =)
bread slices (about 6)
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1 large carton (or 2 small cartons)
of Southwestern egg beaters
Brown sausage and drain. Put bread slices
in the bottom of a casserole dish. Add cooked
sausage. Pour the southwestern egg beaters
over the sausage, and top with cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and golden
brown, approximately 40 minutes. Simple as that!
 The southwestern egg beaters have green peppers,
red peppers, and onions already in the mix, so it gives
the breakfast casserole a Mexican kick to it.