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Selecting Furniture for the Living Room Makeover

One Room Challenge Weeks 5 & 6 an update on the living room makeover selecting built-ins and other furniture for the room.

I would like to be writing this telling you that the built-ins are almost done and I’ve got all of the new pieces for the room selected, purchased and in place, BUT… that is not what I’ll be writing today! Week 5 of the One Room Challenge was when I was supposed to have been selecting furniture. During week 6, this week, I was hoping that the built-ins would be getting installed.

I do think the built-ins will get installed, next week! One week later than I hoped, is really not that bad. As far as the furniture selection, well that is proving to be more time consuming than anticipated. I have had a pretty good idea about the pieces I wanted to find since we moved into the house back in July. However finding those pieces has proved a little more difficult than I imagined.

Selecting Furniture for the Living Room

Since we moved I have been thrift shopping, shopping consignment shops, antique stores, Facebook Marketplace, garage sales, and online. On my shopping list is a sofa table, a bench, 3 matching frames, a round coffee table, and a pot for my fiddle leaf. These are all things that I typically would not be looking for to resell. So I have had to change my shopping techniques a little bit. I’ve focused on looking at what things are sitting on instead of just the little things I can easily ship! Despite all of that looking I haven’t really made purchases! I might find something I like, but it’s not the right price, color or size. It’s been very frustrating selecting furniture for this room!.

I think part of it is me. Typically I don’t have a problem making a decision. I’m Type A personality and making decisions is normally a strength. For whatever reason, since we moved I’ve been a little more hesitant, more reserved. I’m just over thinking everything!

Part of what makes the decision making hard is not having things in place. At first it was hard to pick a sofa table when I didn’t have the sofa. Hard to pick out frames when I didn’t have my board and batten wall completed. Hard to pick a bench when I didn’t have the sofa table that was to go across from it. And definitely hard with every decision because we didn’t have the built-ins installed!

Be Patient, It Will All Come Together

I also think it helps to live in a space for awhile and see how you utilize it. If you naturally go to a space to chat on the phone, then you don’t want to eliminate that seating area. Maybe you always sit in a certain spot to drink coffee, then you know you need a place to set your coffee!

As a reseller and someone who loves to decorate, I know that no matter what you have as a base, you can make it work. When I say base I am referring to your furniture or staple pieces in the room. Draping a blanket, adding pillows, artwork, plants, that extra layer of medium sized and smaller items can make a space look cohesive.

Because of this, you can live in an attractive space and adjust the decor as you learn what you want and find pieces that work, that you love more than something you already have.

I actually plan to do a post where I make each bench option “work” in the room. Let me know in the comments if that is something you would like to see!

Selecting Furniture for the Board and Batten Wall

You can read all about me assembling the board and batten wall HERE. I still plan on adding pegs of some sort, but that hasn’t happened yet. I am leaning towards THIS style. When I do get the pegs installed I want to hang an Adirondack basket along with some other pieces like a throw blanket. If you aren’t sure what an Adirondack basket is, check HERE. And I think THIS is the throw I want to hang because the colors are PERFECT. Although the blanket is insanely soft, so I doubt it will actually hang there very often! Maybe I should get two!

This wall is a perfect example of me having a hard time making a decision. Like this, without pegs and the Adirondack basket, a bench with a back looks best. While I love the shape of the theater seats, I think the bank of two is just too small for this long wall. The bench without a back looks tiny by itself. The long bench with a back fits this space better. But then why would I add pegs or a basket? With this bench I couldn’t hang anything from my pegs! Do you see my dilemma?

As of right now the longest bench with a back is against the bead board wall and the other two pieces are in other areas of the home. I’m not going to sell them until I am sure I don’t want them. I’m also not going to add the pegs until I 1.) figure out which style I want to go with and 2.) I purchase the Adirondack basket.

So stay tuned because this space will continue to evolve!

Coffee Table

I’ve been on the hunt for a round coffee table. I think it’s always good in your design to change up the shapes used in a space. In the living room we have a lot square pieces and that can be softened with curved lines. I hunted for something wood, preferably a dark wood to match the fireplace mantle. However as we have been using our new sectional, I have discovered that hubby puts his feet on the coffee table 90% of the time. This has made me rethink the coffee table situation and I think that now I am on the look for a round leather coffee table.

I can add a tray for a flat surface to decorate. Hubby can put his feet up comfortably. And, we can also use it as a table if we want to eat while watching tv!

Sofa Table

I’m on the hunt for something with clean lines, that is long and narrow. My main reason for wanting a sofa table is to hide the outlet and couch seams. So the back of the couch has two seams and the seams are definitely uneven. Meaning the back of the chaise is taller or shorter than the section of couch it attaches to. But, a piece of furniture would disguise this! Typically if the back of your couch is “exposed” it just looks more finished if you have a piece of furniture there.

There is also a floor outlet in the way. If I move the sectional back to hide the outlet, then I feel like you open the front door and walk into the couch! Moving it closer to the fireplace gives a little bit more space when people arrive and enter our house. So, I know that I don’t want a sofa table as long as the couch. If it is that long, then people would open the front door and run into the table.

At the other end of the couch we have that same dilemma. The builders put a little coat closet and that little bump out forces the couch to be closer to the fireplace so that we can have a 3′ walkway. When I coach the resellers in my Staging Your Antique Shop group, I’m always telling them to leave aisles 3′ wide so customers can move about and you can move furniture in and out easily! The same is true in your home, just for different reasons! So at a minimum I’m trying to leave 3′ of walkway behind the couch. If a sofa table went all the way to the end, then that would cut down on the width of the walkway.

So, while I know the maximum length due to space, I also know the minimum! I don’t want a sofa table that doesn’t hide the two seams! That would defeat one of the main reasons I want a sofa table! I also don’t want the sofa table to be taller than the back of the couch! Due to the already narrow walkway I’m looking for something 12″ to 16″ in depth. Again, all of these requirements makes it difficult to find the right piece! However, I’m totally flexible on using 2 cabinets placed side by side or even two tables if that helps me with selecting furniture!

Artwork Above the Board & Batten Wall

I bought a lot of vintage wallpaper because I wanted to do a distressed wallpaper wall in my old shop. Maybe you’ve seen it? If not see how it turned out HERE. One of the rolls I immediately fell in love with! I held onto it for years, knowing that some day I would do something with it! And turns out in the new house it proved to be the perfect piece for inspiration.

I only had a roll and a half of this old paper. If you’ve touched old wallpaper before then you know it is very brittle and hard to work with. For these two reasons I knew I would never be able to actually wallpaper a wall or section of a wall with it. So instead I decided I would frame it! My absolute favorite color is green and this print has a lot of different shades of green.

I wanted to use the framed wallpaper above my board and batten wall. I planned on picking up 3 matching frames at thrift stores, but that proved to be a difficult task! Many times I could find 2 matching frames, but not 3. Or, I could find 3 matching frames, but they weren’t big enough. I was looking for a clean frame with simple lines. That also was hard to find at the thrift store. Everything seemed to be ornate and full of lots of curves and details.

I decided to hit some stores and see what I could find. When I daydreamed about this over the summer, I was going to have a simple dark wood or black frame with a huge white mat. But when I went to the store, I could lay out all of the options, and that made me rethink my game plan. Seeing the price tag, also made me rethink things. I searched Google and Pinterest trying to find something similar, see some framed wallpaper hanging on a wall in a real house. That search lead me to deciding not to use a mat. I had also seen these floating frames at the store, which would make the wall color be the mat around the wallpaper section. While I thought that might look good, I ultimately decided on just getting a poster frame, THIS.

It was also nice to be at a store with standard size frames so that I could get a mental picture about what size I needed. To help me make that decision, I cut out 18 x 24 pieces of cardboard and tacked them to the wall to get an idea of size. I had been using the tape measure to get a visual, but the cardboard made me feel a lot better.

I also changed my mind when I actually purchased the frames. The store I was at only had the simple straightforward frame in gold. The black one was like a decorative piece of crown molding which wasn’t what I wanted. So, I decided to go with the brass and if I didn’t like the brass I could always paint them black. This store also had in stock a few different sizes than the other store. I ended up getting 20 x 30 size frames, a little bigger than the cardboard samples I made. I had measured to the top of the wall vent, so I knew 30″ frames would still fit the space nicely.

PS. Painting the vent the wall color is on my to do list!

Framing the Vintage Wallpaper

As I mentioned, this vintage wallpaper is super fragile! I had 2 and a half rolls, so I knew I had plenty if I messed up. I also wasn’t looking for perfection, so that makes the project a little less stressful too!

Working on a clean surface in a clean area is key because you don’t want dirt or hair stuck between the glass and wallpaper. Laying the frame down on a flat surface, you pull back little metal tabs so that you can remove the cardboard back. Next, you remove the paper, this time it looked like a sun, and replace it with your own paper.

Framing the vintage paper was hard because it’s so fragile and has been rolled for years! That made the edges wrinkled and they were visibly cracked. It always wanted to curl up and roll away!

I ended up just using painters tape to try to tape it down as much as possible without being visible. There was a pack of unopened packing tape close by and I used that as a weight. I also had to improvise a little as well. The wallpaper is 19 1/2″ long and the frame is 20″ wide. While there is a little extra coverage with the frame, the wallpaper was just shy of filling the entire frame. I ended up ripping a section from each side of another chunk of the wallpaper. That gave me a straight edge to fill each open side with. While you can tell up close, you can not tell sitting on the couch!

Once the cardboard backing was reinstalled I went back with an exacto knife and trimmed off excess wallpaper and painters tape, so that the back looks nice too!

Sketching the Built-ins

Deciding if we wanted to invest in built-ins was a big decision. I still kind of debate on wether it was a good investment or not. When they are installed I hope I can say without a doubt it was the right call! But until they are in place, I will still be in my head about the decision!

Hubby didn’t really want them, but he wanted me to be happy. So, he agreed to let me proceed. I didn’t really know if I wanted them, but I wanted something!

I called 3 carpenter’s for quotes. Two guys came and one guy gave me a quote. I’m not going to lie, that itself is a hard decision, especially when you are in a new town and don’t know anyone. In Centerville, I knew who to call depending on what the project was. In Ankeny, I don’t have a clue. So not only has selecting furniture been a process, selecting a carpenter was a process too!

I think it’s also difficult because I wanted something not only custom, but kind of unique. I know from working on junking projects with my dad, he would always be like “who the hell is going to want that!” And working on a project was a lot of work, lol. So, I started working with a neighbor, who didn’t question my craziness, but instead helped me bring it to life.

The carpenter I went with I think will be able to bring my vision to life! He had been a trim guy for a builder and had recently branched out on his own. From talking with him, he’s probably always got a couple jobs lined up to do next, but he isn’t booked out for years like the other carpenter I called. Again, that can be scary. I decided to risk it. I’d seen pictures of his work, it looked really good and unique. He was very personable, definitely not polished, but very personable. He always texted me to keep me updated, although he missed a couple appointments. But, he understood my vision and I am confident he will do a great job!

Key Features of the Built-in

So, what are my built-ins going to look like? Well…after scouring the Internet I decided on 3 features I wanted. I wanted the bottom section to look like drawers, yet be doors. I wanted the first top section to be the whole width of the cabinet. I wanted the top shelves to be adjustable. I wanted the whole thing to have the look of raw wood or white oak.

I also spent a lot of time looking for built-ins that stick out farther into the room than the fireplace. Most of the time the built-ins are probably done when the house is built, so they are sunkin in with the fireplace either even or sticking out. A lot of built-ins I found also had a big hearth, which mine does not. I wanted to find a fireplace with a similar set up so that I could picture what mine would look like!

Built-in Inspiration

Stefana Silber’s built-ins were my overall inspiration because she had no hearth and the built-ins stuck out farther than the fireplace. Seeing how beautiful hers looked made me more comfortable with my decision. I felt her mantle was similar to mine and influenced me to keep mine as is. At one point I had thought about bringing the built-ins all the way over to the vertical column. Her photos changed my mind. I also decided to incorporate moulding at the ceiling above the fireplace, so it will wrap the builtins and the wall, making the whole space more cohesive. Another feature that I liked of hers was the built-in side sections are panels, not flat pieces of board. Mine will be flat to start with, but I can always come back and add a decorative moulding to give the appearance of panels. I will either replicate that behind the tv OR I will copy the bead board on the opposite wall. That is something yet to be determined.

Katie Staples built-ins were also inspiration. Like Stefana, her’s jut out farther into the room than the fireplace. Katie however has a hearth, which I think it makes the built-ins seem more original to the house, but I did not want to add a hearth to mine. I didn’t really have the space to add one. What I loved most about Katie’s is that right above the base cabinet is completely open and then above that the shelving is divided with the support. So, that is how my uppers will be arranged. It’s hard to tell if hers are adjustable, but my upper sections will be.

Liz Marie Galvan has shared this set of drawers a million times on her Instagram account and I just love the raw wood, cup pulls, and simplicity of the piece. That is the look I want for the entire built-in, but I want the base cabinet to look like these drawers yet be doors. That complicates things on the building side, but makes the piece more functional. I plan on storing blankets and extra decor in the bottom of the built-ins. Chunky blankets and quilts just won’t fit in drawers, although I absolutely love the look of drawers better. That is why I chose to do faux drawers instead! I get the look I want, but also the function I want in this piece too!

Stay Tuned

Odds are I will not finish this transformation on time, but I will finish! Selecting furniture on a budget when you need it to be a specific size can be a process!


One Room Challenge

Want to see more participants in the One Room Challenge? Check it out HERE.


Living Room Makeover Game Plan

Week 1 – Create a Game Plan & Pick a Paint Color

Week 2 – Paint the Living Room

Week 3 – Tackle the Carpet & Transform the Window Treatment

Part 1 – Carpet Dent Removal

Part 2 – Trimming the Blinds

Week 4 – Install Peg Rack Wall / Board & Batten Wall

Week 5 – Picking Other Furniture for the Room

Not much got done this week. I’ve been on the hunt, but just haven’t found the right pieces.

Week 6 – Built-Ins *fingers crossed this gets done in time

Installation should start this week!! While I wait for this to happen, I’ll keep working on selecting furniture for the rest of the living room!

Week 7 – Staining the Built-Ins

Week 8 – Adding Decor

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Week 1 Living Room Makeover

https://thejunkparlor.com/one-room-challenge-living-room-transformation/

Week 2 Picking a Paint Color

Week 3 Part 1 Removing the Indentations in the Carpet

Week 3 Part 2 Transforming Blinds

Week 4 Board and Batten Wall

One Room Challenge Pinterest Pin of the unfinished board and batten wall.  Brooke Johnson | The Junk Parlor | Old stuff and cool junk for your home | Business Coach for Antique Dealers | thejunkparlor.com

Week 5 & 6 Selecting Furniture

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