Call me crazy, but I sorta want a pretty floral sofa. I’m blaming it on spring.
More precisely, I’d like a shiny new cover for our (currently white) Ikea Ektorp sofa. The Byvik Multicolour cover would be lovely please.
The same Byvik Multicolour cover that Ikea no longer offers. Of course. At least here in Canada, and maybe in the U.S. too. Although (after a quick consultation with my friends over at Google) it appears that they might still sell it overseas. Am I the only person in North America who craves a little pink patterned prettiness? It’s possible.
That said, Sweetie would likely disapprove of all this. He has patiently accepted all of the pretty things I’ve brought (subtly) into our house to date. A feminine print here. An embroidered throw cushion there. My tactic is to slowly introduce items – blend them in with the existing pieces, if you will – until they look natural and he slowly adapts and begins to believe that they’ve always been part of our decor.
It’s the interior design equivalent of the frog-in-the-hot-water-versus-the-frog-in-the-slowly-heated-water experiment, really. Too much all at once and Sweetie would likely flee and run away to live in our garage. But discreetly introduce all the prettiness over time and he’ll settle right in like a happy little floral-loving amphibian.
But a big pink flowery couch might be tricky to discreetly introduce. Sweetie isn’t always particularly observant, but a brightly patterned sofa is kind of hard to ignore.
Then again, there’s always the “but patterns stay clean looking longer” justification, and he can’t deny me that. Sweetie is a construction electrician, which means he comes home from work exceedingly dirty almost every night. A patterned sofa cover would make any dirt far less noticeable. And dirt is a topic that Sweetie can appreciate and understand (and it’s far more convincing than the “but it’s pretty and I like it” argument.)
Yeah. Maybe I’ll lead with that. :)
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Ok, I’m just going to come right out and say it…
There’s too much white going on in our living room.
There. It’s out. I’ve said it and I feel much better now. Thank you!
Please don’t get me wrong – I adore my white Ektorp sofa. It’s been insanely easy to keep clean given that I have an electrician hubby who comes home rather dirty from construction-ish job sites each day. And it’s valiantly held its own against our fur family of three who shed uncontrollably and occasionally decide that the sofa is an appropriate place to drop the odd hairball (despite that I’ve asked them several times to head toward the ugly kitchen linoleum whenever they feel queasy.) (Unfortunately cats don’t seem to understand the washability factor of solid surfaces vs fabric.)
But yes, my living room needs a little ooomph. A little less shabby, a little less chic, if you will, with a little more cozy and a lot more colour blended in. Because right now we’re hanging out in blahs-ville. And we’re looking a little anemic. And I’m in need of a big ol’ change.
I should have seen this coming. My absolute favourite Ikea living room set up is this one (which doesn’t have a source attached to it, but given that absolutely EVERYTHING in this room appears to be from Ikea, I’m pretty sure this is an image courtesy of the good folk under the big blue and yellow sign…)
There’s still a lot of white happening in that room, but the white is so nicely balanced by the darker elements (the black and white cushions, darker drapes, the black side table and bookcase) plus a little colour too. :)
Contrast all that with my current living room…
(Insert sad muted trombone womp-womp here.) White sofa, white chairs, white fireplace, white drapes, white coffeetable, greige walls, beige lamps, light-coloured cushions… Yawn. I’m bored. You?
So, with our Ikea trip for bedroom textiles still looming, here’s what I have planned….
1. We’re going to swap out the curtains. I need new curtains for the bedroom, so the white curtains currently decorating our living room will be heading upstairs to their new bedroom-y home and I’m hoping to find nice gray replacement curtains for down here. Maybe even another pair of Ikea Ritva curtains (but this time in gray):
2. I may do the unthinkable and get black slipcovers for our two white Ikea Tullsta chairs. Maybe. I’m not 100% sold on this idea yet (black seems so… dark), but those two little Tullsta chairs seem to get furrier and dirtier than our couch (despite that we sit on them far less) and I’ve never been a huge fan of white on those two chairs anyway. They look… cheap or something to me. (I’m not sure why.) And plus, I found this image of a sweet little black Tullsta chair from site House to Home and realized that black might be a nice change…
Truth be told, I’d rather slipcover them in gray than black, but the Tullsta slipcover options are a wee bit limited (so black it might be!)
3. Last, but not least, I’d really like new pillows and throws in various grays to match our area rug, since nothing actually matches our area rug right now – a fact that I didn’t realize until I read this rather brilliant post about choosing cushions for your sofa from Centsational Girl (thank you Centsational Girl!) Here’s an example I found from Varrell Home Designs that demonstrates CG’s theory that your cushions should match your rug to some extent – they have a navy rug, and they’ve incorporated navy and blue in some of the cushions. And, as a result, it all looks rather lovely together!
So those are my goals for now. New drapes, possibly new Tullsta slipcovers, and definitely a few new cushions. It’s my plan of attack. And I’m quite excited to start attacking.
And, afterwards, I’m pretty sure I’ll wonder why I didn’t think of this earlier.
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A tisket, a tasket, I found a brand new (sale-priced!) basket (alternate title: three cheers for Michaels!)
Michaels rocks. Can I say that? It really really does. (And I’m not a Michaels ambassador and they’re not paying me for that endorsement, I just love them lots and lots!) (not that I’d say no if they offered…) (just saying.) I popped into my local Michaels store the other day to pick up another ball of yarn for my ongoing scarf project (since I’m knitting like a madman over here lately) and I walked out with…
-a lovely basket I found on sale (regularly $44, all mine for $22!)
-a pretty metallic picture frame picked out of the clearance pile for $4 (happy squeal!)
-a sheet of lovely scrapbook paper that was neither on sale nor on clearance (but it’s pretty and, at $0.99, it still felt like a ginormous bargain)
…and my ball of yarn (of course!) Quite the hodge-podge-y group of items eh? But, oh… I had plans. All of this Michaels-bounty (minus the yarn) went toward updating my little living room and faux fireplace.
And, that all said, here’s the result of lots of rearranging and tweaking and pondering and tweaking some more…
Tada! OK. So it’s not necessarily a hallelujah moment, but I think it looks better. :) Here’s what I did…
I summoned my inner DIY-er and created the world’s easiest art for inside my new (really really inexpensive!) metallic frame (which, btw, reminds me a lot of the fancy gold frames my grandmother used to have scattered around her house) (which, of course, makes me love this frame even more.) The instructions?
-cut a 4×6″ rectangle (to match the size of the frame) from a sheet of basic white printer paper
-fold it in half and cut a heart into it (a la grade one Valentine’s Day art project)
-put said piece of paper (minus cutout heart) in the frame (letting the brown cardboard backing that came with the frame peek through the cutout)
…and poof! Instant 30 second art.
Super cute, eh? And, almost as important, super easy!
That all said, I can’t really take any credit for this project. I first saw this idea here on House Pretty’s lovely blog. My method is a little different, but the overall end result is pretty similar. And I don’t want to be a big bad awesome easy art project idea thief! So, House Pretty, I’m totally tipping my hat to you on this one. :)
My second easiest-ever DIY art project? Adding that lovely $0.99 scrapbook paper to a frame for an instant print. No fancy instructions required, just add scrapbook paper to frame, put frame in a frame-worthy spot, and admire. Done!
The paper I used doesn’t even really fit my frame, if you want to get all technical about it. The paper is 12×12″ I think (or whatever standard scrapbook paper size is) and the frame is matted for an 11×14″. But it still works. Truth be told, I kinda want to wallpaper my entire house with this scrapbook paper. So springy! So happy! I’m hoping to find other places around the house where I can use this pretty paper shortly (which, in turn, means another trip to Michaels – yay!) I love it just that much.
As does Jacob. Lesson learned: never try to take pictures of things on the floor. When you do, this happens…
Yup. Jacob agreed that this scrapbook paper was the prettiest he had ever seen (and, as a result, he felt he should roll around on it.)
I’m hardly a scrapbooking aficionado, but I’m guessing that cats don’t make very good scrapbookers.
And last (but definitely not least) (in fact, the opposite of least… most?)…
The basket is my absolute favourite addition to the room. I’ve been searching for a basket to fill the fireplace void for a while now, but baskets are crazy expensive (and I’m rather frugal.) Which is why I did a little happy dance in the middle of Michaels when I realized that all of their baskets were marked 50% off. Woo! And I’m pretty sure I practically skipped out of the store. (I tend to do that when I find a good deal. People look at me funny, but I don’t care. Cocked eyebrows can’t compare with the joy of finding a bargain.)
Doesn’t it look cozy all filled with blankets? Yep! I’m ridiculously pleased with my find. :)
So there! Those were my Michaels-inspired updates! I made a couple of non-Michaels-related improvements too, like the framed black and white pic of me and my girlfriends from back in our university years (that I found while rummaging through our second bedroom last weekend) (we look so young… sigh!) And I did a bit (um, a lot) of rearranging too.
All in all, the room is coming. Slowly but surely. I figure by the time we decide to sell the house I’ll get it right. I still need something on the wall to the left of my pretty little faux fireplace (besides the cats’ beloved scratch post, of course) but that’s a whole different story (that I’ve already obsessed a bit about HERE) for a whole different day.
Until then, I’ll likely continue rearranging things weekly-ish and posting regular fireplace-mantel updates.
Excited? Me too. :)
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Admission: I cringe whenever I start planning to mount things (hooks, frames, mirrors, random tapestries) on my walls. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the assumed permanency of drilling into my lovely (ie: freshly painted and yet unmarred) walls. Maybe it’s a fear of placing items too high or too low (since, um, that happens. To me. A lot.) Maybe it’s because I don’t use power tools (that’s Sweetie’s job) and because the whole anchor (necessary with our plaster walls!) + screw (in a very specific size and type) combination confuses me just a bit. Not sure. Let’s just suffice it to say that when I repainted much of this house, I actually left some of the previous owners’ screws in the walls and painted around them. The previous owners had already done the dirty work for me. Why mess with that?
But I’m thinking it’s nearly time to face this fear and address the empty wall space around my fireplace. A space that drives me a little bonkers. And now that the Christmas tree is down (it finally – FINALLY! – came down last weekend) it’s especially obvious that there’s a big gaping hole in my living room loveliness.
Yep. I’m ready to tackle the vacant (and rather sad-looking) space around old not-at-all smokey.
The corner to the left of the (faux) fireplace is particularly lonely looking. Even Sweetie exclaimed (once the tree was all packed away and the merriness banished to the attic for the next eleven months): “You’re going to put something else there, aren’t you?”
And if Sweetie (aka Mr “Oh… What’s that? You say you painted the kitchen fuchsia? I didn’t notice…”) recognizes that something isn’t quite right, something obviously must not be right.
My dilemma? What to decorate the void with. Given my fear of putting stuff on walls, I’ve been doing a lot of research on empty corner filling (since I’m a tad OCD and indecisive and generally nervous about any sort of wall-marring commitment.) A quick discussion with the lovely folk over at Pinterest (they’re exceedingly helpful over there, btw!) left me with the following suggestions…
Wall-filling strategy #1: Framed… somethings. For the record, I’m in love with this room (holy moly that’s some gorgeous tealness!) from Emily Henderson…
But what, exactly, would I put in the frames? Prints? Art? Pictures of the cats? And should I go with white frames? Dark wood frames? Metallic? Sigh.
Or I could fill the space with plates perhaps (aka “Wall-filling strategy #2.”) Just look (look!!!) at this stunning wall of pretty plates from Larissa over at mmmcrafts…
Lovely eh? I adore this idea. Although my supply of decorative plates is a little low at the moment. And planning out which-plate-goes-where seems like the sort of thing that could drive an already somewhat strange girl completely batty.
I could scatter some pretty ceiling medallions across my wall. I’ve admired Dave and Joi’s medallion-adorned wall for a long long while now…
Love love love their living room!
Or I could embrace the emptiness… This room, from my all-time most favourite designer ever Samantha Pynn (hi Sam! You rock!), makes me think that my living room void isn’t really a void afterall. Perhaps I just need to add a lovely lamp (oooh! And a chandelier!)…
I’m not sure. What I AM sure of is that something needs to happen. To spice things up a little. You know, shake it to the right (if you know that you feel fine.)
(And yep. I just quoted Spice Girls. Random? Yes. Scary? Agreed.)
Anyhow, this debate obviously isn’t over. I’ll be taping templates of some sort to my walls shortly, I’m sure. And then the inevitable (and ongoing) template rearranging will begin. And likely more Pinterest-ing too.
Being an indecisive commitment-phobe is a lot of work.
But yes! Those are my quasi plans to date. Hopefully the next time I chat about my living room walls there will be stuff strategically mounted on them.
Or, if nothing else, print/medallion/tapestry-sized paper templates.
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We put our tree up last weekend. Our house is now officially Christmas-sified. Yay!
My favourite part of the room? Our tree. :) Most of our Christmas tree ornaments were either gifts or purchased during our travels (favourite tradition: buying a Christmas tree ornament whenever we go somewhere special.) Our decorations don’t match. They’re a hodge podge of colours and sizes and shapes. But they’re meaningful to Sweetie and me, which makes them perfect for our tree.
We have our stately (and rather smiley!) Queen, who traveled home with us from London…
And this festive little moose in his rowboat came from Newfoundland (my absolute favourite place on earth)…
My friend Sandra gives us a cat ornament for our tree every year (so our tree is full of cats… which is rather fantastic, if you ask me.)
And this pretty glass orb belonged to my grandma Dorothy…
Hanging ornaments that are meaningful just makes our tree feel that much more special. Yep, even if our tree isn’t carefully coordinated or flawlessly decorated, it’s perfectly us. :)
There is, however, one Christmas item I DID purchase for myself, willy nilly. And it may very well be my most favourite Christmas decoration of all time.
Yep. That’s right: Santa riding a cat on wheels. It’s completely ridiculous and I love it.
And that displaced green star (poor thing keeps getting moved from room to room) has finally found it’s Christmas fireplace mantel calling…
Speaking of which, my fireplace mantel makes me happy. It still needs stockings (hung by the chimney with care) – I’m currently on the prowl for new, pretty, grown-up (ie: non-Dollarstore) stockings. And it still needs some pretty new garland (I’m working on that – stay tuned for a garland update shortly!) And I have a few other mantel-adornment plans up my sleeve. But it’s a start. And I’m so happy to have a fireplace to decorate this year (albeit, a fake one.) And, well, everyone needs a portal (of some sort) for Santa. :)
And, of course, kind-faced old Father Christmas keeps watch over the entire room from his place of honour at the top of the tree.
So there. Those are our halls that have been decked with boughs of holly. Or cat-riding Santas, if you prefer. Yep, I am most definitely in the holiday spirit now! Afterall, ’tis the season to be jolly! And to roast chestnuts by an open fire. And to build strange talking (and rather presumptuous) snowmen in the meadow.
Fa la la la la, la la, la, la! :)
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Hello. I have a wee little obsession: I love stars. So much so that I’d adorn all the walls in my house with stars if I could (and if I wasn’t convinced that people would think I’m some sort of star-infatuated nut.)
I just bought another one. Shhhh… Don’t tell… And it’s LOVELY! Apparently made by some star-adoring artiste from carefully selected pieces of driftwood found alongside some remote white sandy beach (true story!), it’s natural and organic looking and I practically skipped out of Homesense with it in my arms. (And yep, people looked at me like I’m a certified crazy lady.) (But I’m kind of used to that.)
I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a Christmassy star, but even if it is I’m pretty sure it’ll be a permanent fixture on my walls somewhere. Afterall, there are stars in the sky year-round. So stars belong on my walls year-round too, non? And, for the non-holiday season months, we can call it my beach-chic star (is beach-chic an actual design style? Let’s assume it is, k?) Either way, it makes me happy.
For now, I think the wooden star will likely replace the green star above our two tullsta chairs (yep, that’s right – I’m swapping one star for another.) And then that green star will likely head on into the dining room (where we haven’t yet put anything on the walls.) (Ack, I know.) I think.
Or perhaps it will assume the place of honour above the faux fireplace…
Hmmm… Yep. I foresee a bit of wall-adornment jenga taking place over the next couple of days.
But, yes! Star (not so) light, star (not particularly) bright, (not at all) the first star I see tonight, welcome to my happy little 1940s house. You’re pretty darn swell. :)
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