So I was looking around my dining room post-pine china cabinet removal project, and something still didn’t seem… light and airy. (And, of course, light and airy equals awesome and desirable when it comes to selling, you know.) The culprit? My curtain tie-backs. Yes, really. I KNOW – they’re little and insignificant and I’m likely a crazy person for thinking that they were bringing the room down. But look…
Here’s the before (dark and heavy-looking):
After! (Pretty, simple, and breezy!)
Yep! That’s twine. So does this officially make me the strange lady who uses twine to tie back her curtains? Perhaps. I decided that the black ribbon was far too dark and formal-ish (can ribbon be formal? Let’s say yes…) and went searching through my house for a replacement and the first thing I stumbled upon was the big spool of twine that normally resides under my kitchen sink. But despite that it’s a rather utilitarian sort of thing, I actually think it kinda works with the sort of rustic pine-ish-ness of the room.
Or I may just be grasping at straws here. Either way, I like it! And those curtain tie-backs cost me roughly three cents in twine. Cheap and cheerful indeed! :)
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So we’ve switched gears a little. I had alllll these fantastic plans for ways I was going to update the house that I discussed here and here and here. There were big furniture slipcover replacement plans in the works. There was a kitchen revitalization strategy being tossed about. I had lofty goals for our cute little 1940s home.
And then, late last week, I got laid off. And poof! Our plans have suddenly changed. We’re now no longer concerned with making the house pretty. Instead we’re focused on making the house sell-able. And doing so as inexpensively as possible.
Because, truth be told, we moved to this house and relocated from our original area (about an hour away) specifically for this particular job that I was taking (this same job that I’m now losing.) And despite that we’ve been here for over two years now, our current city doesn’t necessarily feel like our home (even though I absolutely adore our cute little house in our pretty mature-tree-filled neighbourhood), and we haven’t yet made a swarm of new friends in our new city, or truly put down roots here.
So, depending on where I find employment next (and I’m applying for jobs like a little job-finding-fiend over here right now – unemployment, and the accompanying lack of income, is an absolutely terrifying prospect) a move may very well be on our horizon.
So, we’ve given up on decorating.
Instead, we’ve started staging.
And, in the name of Staging: Phase One, I finally made that Ikea trip I’ve been talking about for several weeks now. However, contrary to my original plan, this was a trip with a cheap and cheerful mission. My main focus – finish dressing the bedroom.
As you likely know (since I obsess quite openly) I’ve lusted over bedroom textiles and curtain choices for a few weeks now. I really really wanted the Alvine Ljuv duvet cover from Ikea.
Sigh. She’s pretty. And I love her. But, at $54, she’s quite pricey as far as Ikea duvet covers go. So, being all (rather annoyingly) sensible (given my new unemployed state) I purchased the more reasonably priced Alvine Orter set instead.
Almost the same, pattern-wise. A definite difference from a quality perspective (Alvine Orter has a noticeably cheaper feel.) But at $19 (versus $54) Orter seemed like a much wiser investment for the time being. And for resale? Either will do.
The same is true for curtains. I had big curtain-swapping and new-curtain-buying plans. Instead, I purchased the simple (and inexpensive) Matilda curtains from Ikea. They’re a little girlier than Sweetie would like, but I’m not thinking about Sweetie’s tastes. (Not that he really has much say in our window-dressing choices anyway.) I’m thinking of future home seekers who are going to tour our little bedroom and decide that it’s lovely (and subsequently buy our house.) (For full asking price, of course!)
During my Ikea tour, I bravely walked past new throws. And I stoically sauntered by new cushions. This Ikea trip was only for the must-haves (despite previous pre-unemployed plans to the contrary.) And I was rather proud of myself when I strolled up to the checkout line, with only a couple very well-thought-out items in hand.
So there. That’s what I’ve been up to all week – finishing up our bedroom on a budget. It’s not entirely what I had planned, but it’ll have to suffice.
And, regardless of its cost, Jacob is quite happy with the new duvet cover – he’s a big fan of florals.
Next in store: staging the rest of the house. The decluttering and cleaning and purging all begins this weekend. Because if we do have to sell this spring (and, according to our agent, house-listing season begins as soon as the snow melts), I want to be ready.
And change is good, right?
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Remember the Sears Christmas Wishbook? I LOVED that thing. It was like Christmas before Christmas when it arrived in the mail, wrapped in heavy protective plastic (heaven forbid the pages should get soggy en route!) My brother and I would slowly flip through the toy section, page by page, in wonderment. We would reference that catalogue like it was a leading authority on toys. “Did you see page 297?” “Yes! And page 304?” “I hope Santa brings me that!”
Ah. Simpler times. :)
The Ikea catalogue is like my grown-up Christmas Wishbook. I excitedly wait for it to appear in my mailbox each summer. And by fall, my copy of the catalogue is rather raggedy-looking from relentless page flipping and admiring and earmarking.
The problem? There is so much awesomeness contained in that pretty little catalogue, but very few rooms in our tiny post-war house. Which, inevitably, leads to my dilemma – stuff I love, but have no use for or place for in my home.
Take these curtains (Lappljung), for example…
I absolutely adore these and have been lusting after them since first finding them in the catalogue last summer. Alas, my windows here are all dressed now. And my house is pretty much a red-free zone (not deliberately, mind you. I’m just more of a neutral/grays/blues kinda girl.)
Dear Ikea folk: if you could please make these for me in a navy or a gray, perhaps, that’d be swell. :)
Other Ikea stuff I adore (but have absolutely no need for?)
There are these beautiful Benzy curtains (I’m guessing I may have a bit of a curtain fetish btw)…
They’re very den-ish and sorta make me want to curl up with a good book in a big brown leather club chair. Sadly, we don’t have a den. Or a leather club chair. And I’m not much of a reader. But I do love these curtains!
Or, what about this Billy bookcase with its fanned-pages background…
Do I have any real need for it? No. Do I really really want it? YES!!!
I could go on and on and on… There are lots of items I absolutely adore courtesy of my good Swedish friends.
Oh, Ikea people, why do you taunt me so?
Dear Santa: if you’re listening, please bring me any or all of the above. And a den. And maybe a kitten too. :)
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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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Have I mentioned yet how pleased I am with how our sunroom has turned out? Just in case I haven’t: I’m very very pleased! As in proud mama pleased. Like my sunroom just got a shiny gold star for being awesome and I’m starting up the mixer to make it a big ol’ batch of congratulations cookies.
Or something like that.
Just as a reminder, here’s where the sunroom started…
It was a rather unfortunate shade of purple-ish gray, cluttered, and basically had become a dumping ground for stuff we didn’t currently have a location for elsewhere in the house.
Yep. It was one of THOSE rooms.
So, of course, I painted. EVERYTHING. The ceiling, the walls (BM Chelsea Gray), all the trim (in my beloved go-to trim colour: BM Snowfall White.) The only items that have not yet been painted to-date are the closet and back entry-way doors (and that’s coming shortly too.) When I finished painting, here’s what the room looked like…
Was I happy? OUI! But something was still missing.
Cue: curtains. Free Ikea Lenda curtains, in fact! Hand-me-downs from friends who were purging (like, years ago) that I’ve been holding on to ever since, knowing that eventually I’d have a use for them. And I did!
Here’s my newly painted sunroom, avec les curtains…
Eeee! The room now makes me so happy! It’s cozy. It’s organized. It might now be my favourite room in the house (and it’s not yet even finished!)
And I even repurposed the poor little piano stool that was usurped from kitchen-stooldom by my beloved vintage yellow barstool I inherited from my parents. It makes quite the nice little side-table!
What’s left to do? Door and closet painting, as I mentioned. I’d also love to find a cheap and cheerful slipcover for the sofa (since, while it’s the most comfortable sofa ever, it definitely isn’t the prettiest.) Art needs to go up on the walls, of course. And I’d love to get a more substantial rug for the floor too.
But for now, I’m happy. So happy, in fact, that I often just stand in the room and look around and smile. It creeps the cats out a bit, but I can’t help it. My sunroom makes me smile. :)
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