Our living room has stymied me since I first moved in, and I’ve been working on it in fits and starts ever since. The kitchen/dining/living area is all basically one big room, and while I like that in theory, it has presented some design pickles. The main problems were (1) there wasn’t really enough space for a dining room table; (2) the rug, while beautiful, wasn’t the right size, and; (3) there is a long expanse of wall that I couldn’t figure out what to do with.
Problem 1: The “Dining Room” (in quotes because there is not a separate room, nor is there enough room as in space). Since I moved in, I have been through three dining room tables. The trouble is that if I have the couch a reasonable distance away from the wood stove, there is not enough room for a table to fit between the couch and the kitchen. Witnesseth:
If there were chairs on all sides of the table you couldn’t walk between the table and the couch. Plus, when it’s just the three of us at home we eat every meal in the breakfast nook, so the table was taking up a lot of precious real estate for something that was seldom used.
This problem plagued me for a long time, until I finally discovered a solution: the drop leaf table positioned as sofa console.
I got this little cutie table from Craigslist, and I love it. It has pretty turned legs on casters, and came with three leaves so that with both drop leaves up and the three leaves in the center it can seat 10 people comfortably.
Problem 2: Wrong Sized Rug
The other thing that was giving me so much trouble in this space was the rug. The old rug is beautiful and I tried desperately to make it work. It came from my father-in-law’s childhood home in Kansas, and we feel really lucky to have it. But in the living room it was too long and too narrow, and just added to the general discord of the space.
I also always felt that my Grandma’s couch and the rug were too much of an ilk. That couch needs contrast in order to be cool, and with the persian rug it just looked stuffy and tattered.
After eyeing it for a while on eBay, I bought a Bessarabian rug using the “best offer” option (you can read my eBay rug buying tips here). I intended to put it in the playroom, but when I opened up the package it took my breath away. The colors are insane, and, coincidentally, it is the perfect size for the living room.
The new rug gives Grandma’s couch the edge it needs, and makes the pitiable condition of the upholstery look at best interesting and intentional, and at worst less noticeable (reupholstering the couch is still on the to-do list).
Problem 3: Odd Expanse of Wall
One of the features that I really love in this room is the high window cut above ceiling height. It lets in light, but means we aren’t looking directly into our neighbors’ living room.
The problem was that the wall space below it cried out for some sort of feature, but its placement in the living room made that tricky. Although not visible in the picture below, the window is above the painting, adjacent to Grandma’s couch.
At various times I’ve had a little table, several paintings, and a piano in this space, but nothing ever really worked.
Remember my mega Craigslist score of the Broyhill Brasilia nightstands and dresser? I refinished the dresser last fall, and decided to pretend that it’s a credenza (I mean really, what is the difference?). It engages the space below the window, and is the perfect base for a gallery wall (which I’m still tweaking).
See that beautiful vintage tulip table? Katie brought that up in her carry-on luggage on her recent visit and gave it to me for my birthday. A truer friend never lived!
So, that’s the status in the living room. I’m sure I’ll never stop changing things around in here, but for now I feel like I’ve conquered the main design challenges in this room.
And now, a Where’s Waldo style quiz: How many times does Cora the dog appear in this post?