Decorating Projects: Living Room

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I have decided to start my decorating project list in my living room for two reasons:

  1. It is the first room people see when they come into the house, and the room where we spend a lot of our time.
  2. It needs the smallest amount of work (because, see reason number 1).
I already got a head start on this one. I have a couch set up in the room in such a way that there is in empty space behind it. When you put things back there, you can’t see them when you are sitting and relaxing in the room, but it is practically the first thing you see when you walk into the house. This is a spot that tends to collect stuff. The reusable grocery bags waiting to go back to the car and the kids shoes, while not strictly great looking, are not a huge problem, but the stuff I am decluttering out of the rest of the house does contribute to a mess back there. I go through other rooms in the house, bagging up extra clothes, books, old toys, whatever, and it all goes behind the couch. In theory, I am supposed to take this stuff out to the car the next time I go, but in practice, it piles up until it drives me crazy. Then, it seems to collect granola bar wrappers and dirty socks, which make me crazy every time I make any attempt at cleaning it up. So, a couple of weeks ago, I cleared it all out one more time. It is beautiful back there!
Now, for the rest of the room.
  1. Wash the couch. The dog likes to sit on the couch, and it doesn’t really look very nice anymore. I need to figure out what to do–I think I can take the slip covers off and throw them in the washer, but I am not sure.
  2. Declutter–end table, storage cube, bookshelves. There is not a huge amount of clutter in these areas, but they aren’t clear and peaceful, either.
  3. Hang picture. I have a picture that hung on my wall using 3M’s velcro picture hangers for two and a half years with no problem. Then suddenly, it fell down, scaring the heck out of me. I figured the velcro was just old, so I got new hangers, but apparently the picture has gotten heavier over the years, because it fell again within a week. Time for some serious picture hanging, I think. Also, maybe I should dust more. Ahem.
  4. Get some sort of shelving unit for behind the couch to hold our stuff. Or table. Something. One idea is this set of shelves I saw at Office Depot. I could get some canvas baskets to hide the clutter, and the kids could put their shoes and school stuff on the shelves, so it would look like an organizational system rather than a big pile of junk.
  5. Get new cords for the wall sconces so that they actually work.
  6. Consider a coffee table. On the one hand, I like the openness in the middle of the room. On the other hand, we have no place to set drinks down.
  7. Fix handle on the outside door. The kids have let this door bang shut behind them so many times that it doesn’t work correctly anymore. Pushing on the handle from the inside or turning it from the outside doesn’t pull in the stopper so that the door opens. The only way to open it is to carefully push the little lever in and gently push it past the door jamb, so we have to prop it open using the lock when we leave the house so that we can get back in.
  8. Re-cover the chair cushion in which the dog has torn a hole.
  9. Think about painting. I like the wall color in there, actually. When I first looked at the house, I thought it was a strange color, but once I moved my furniture in, I liked the color a lot better. I am okay with leaving the wall color alone for awhile, but I would like to do something about the ceiling. It is painted white now, which is nice because the ceiling in the living room, which was a late addition to the house, is a bit lower than the other ceilings on the first floor. However, there are nice beams that I think would benefit from some kind of contrasting color to make them stand out. I actually have a few different ideas for what to do with the ceiling:
    1. Paint the beams a dark brown, possibly with some kind of wood grain effect.
    2. Leave the beams white, and paint the insets navy blue, with some kind of star effect. GloNation has glow-in-the-dark paints and powders, plus a tutorial on how to create various effects on their site. I think this could be very fun, but I don’t want it to look too cheesy. The zodiac stenciling kits lmight be a cool way to do this, but I wonder about using a stencil on a textured ceiling. How hard is it to keep the paint from bleeding out when the stencil cannot get flush to the entire surface?
    3. Leave the beams white, paint the insets silver.
  10. Replace the ugly ceiling fan. I like having a fan in the room, but I really hate the way that this one looks, plus, I couldn’t fit the globe over the light once I replaced the incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb. So, I need a nicer looking fan with a light, but it still needs to not hang down too far, because of the low ceiling in there.
  11. Get some plants. Plants make a room healthy, by creating more oxygen, but also by removing toxins from the air.
  12. Organize coat closet.

As I went through the room deciding on every little thing I could do to make the room nicer, I found a lot more to do than I thought I would! This is one of the nicer rooms in my house, one that I have spent more time decorating than most others, and there are still a lot of things to do. Honestly, I could have come up with even more tasks, but I want to create a list that I might finish in some reasonable period of time. It makes the room sound like a disaster, but I actually think it is a pretty nice room. I like the furniture, I kind of love the copper colored insulated curtains, and I found the perfect metal sculpture for above the TV right after we moved in.

My plan for now is to start with the cheap and easy items: declutter, hang the picture, wash the couch somehow, organize the coat closet. It will be nice to knock a few items off the list, and it will give me some time to make some decisions on things like what to do with the ceiling and whether or not to buy a coffee table.

Also, I think I need to change this project name–it started out looking at decorating, but as I started making lists, I realized that this is also a maintenance list. Things like replacing a door handle or getting new cords for my wall sconces will make the room look nicer, true, but they are not strictly speaking decorating. This is a great place to keep track of them, though.

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