Settle in, this is a long post, describing every tip and trick I’ve used so far to make over my living room as inexpensively as possible.  Get a coffee.  Better yet, a pumpkin latte.

This is what goes on around here pretty much once or twice a year.  And because I am extremely psychic (everybody says so) I’m going to predict that this is what goes on in your house too.

I declare the house a disaster and start doing what I *think* is decluttering, but is really just moving things from the one room into another room until the cluttery room becomes decluttered and the other room (which was decluttered) becomes cluttery.  Understand?

On and on this goes in a never ending carousel of cluttering and uncluttering the same rooms.  Room to room, room to basement, basement to room, room to closet.  And repeat.

See?  Psychic.  I’m still working on bending spoons with my mind (mainly so I can evolve the trick into moving spoons into the dishwasher with my mind.)


A couple of months ago I started the process of making over the lower floor of my house, including the foyer, living room and dining room, with just paint and rearranging furniture.  I might have to buy and sell a couple of things, but basically I decided to change as much as I could with what I had.

The above photo is the before shot believe it or not.  I know.  It looks pretty good.  But the shag carpet from Costco was a disgusting, flattened, haggy mess.  Not shaggy … haggy.  It lost it’s shag about 2 years ago.

There were maybe 12 too many lamps in the room.  Living in an old house with little to no overhead lights gives you an unnatural affinity and need for lamps.  In this small living room I had 8 lamps.  EIGHT.

The side panel curtains were cheap, like really cheap, and I got them when I first made over my house.  They almost matched the couch, but not quite.  But for $16.99, almost was fantastic!  As you can see they’re a curious shade of rose/taupe.

I’ve never liked that coffee table (which yes I got on sale) but it fits the space perfectly.  That table is pretty but it ain’t got no soul.  Even though I’d love to have a huge square coffee table the room just won’t allow it.  Because the room is a jerk.  So I’ve kept the coffee table.

The couch? I’d love to replace it with something a little less puffy but for now it stays.  In the back of my mind I have something either a bit more country or a velvet or leather Chesterfield sofa.  Probably in sectional format because again, it’s what works best in my jerk of a room.

I still love the idea of the gallery wall but these prints were every single thing I could find in my basement, most of them not even framed properly.  They weren’t necessarily artwork I loved.  Just stuff.  That happened to look fairy good when grouped together.

So with all that in mind, my new decluttered living room.  The makeover is not complete, the canvas has been cleaned up a bit, waiting for some fresh, new brush strokes.  It may take a month, it may take a year, but it is on its way to completion.


I know. It looks empty.  And naked. And almost the same.  Don’t be alarmed.  It’s because it’s missing the number one most important ingredient to successfully decorating; layering.  That’s what the new brush strokes on the room will do.  They’ll add layers which is what makes a “nice” room a “jawdropping” room.

Take a look at one of my inspiration shots from Ellen Degeneres’ home.


There’s layering.  Different colours, textures, styles and periods.  There are interesting pieces and billion dollar Hermes blankets (substitute with Hudson’s Bay blankets my Canadian friends), flea market finds.  It. Is. A. Layered. Room.

So don’t worry (as if you are), I’m going to get that layered look again, it just might take a while to get it the way I want it.

So what have I done?

I got rid of the rug.  I threw the damn rug out.  I may never even get another rug.  My living room looks kind of bald in the photograph, but in real life it  looks clean and calm without another element to busy it up.

Don’t worry.  I’ll mess and clutter it all up as soon as I declutter my dining room.

I have scaled down the number of lamps from a whopping 8 to a paltry 7.  I know.  Living by the light of 7 lamps.  I feel like a bat.

As you might know, I painted the trim.  You couldn’t see a lot of the trim in the living room because of the rose/taupe drapes, but now that they’re down you can see the architecture of the woodwork.  There are a few different directions I could go in terms of window treatments (more on that further down in the post) but for now I’m still getting a thrill out of looking at the naked painted trim.

So far we’ve ascertained that my new living room is batty, bald and naked.

I’ve kept my 3 favourite prints up on the walls and I’m going to get the Picasso on the right, properly framed. As it is now, it’s just sitting in a gold frame.  As in, just set on the edge of the inner lip of the gold frame, not even inside of it.

I was considering getting it set into a much bigger frame so it would take up more wall space and be more dramatic, but from my Photoshopped version of it below, I feel like it would draw all the attention to the frame and not the Picasso.  I keep saying Picasso as if it isn’t just a print from the 60’s that my Uncle bought at a carnival.  I think it was a carnival anyway.  I have no idea why I think that, but since I’m psychic, I think you can believe me.


I might paint that table too, I haven’t decided.  Not the little ends of cut wood, just the surrounding veneer.

The other end of the room holds the corner you don’t often (if ever) see on this blog.  Why?  Because for the first few years of this blog I STILL had a Fred Flintstone sized television taking up the entire corner.  Yes I did.  I didn’t want to show it off and make you all feel jealous.

Then I had my famous furry chair there, but it never looked very good there either.  Loved the chair, but the corner was always icky and I couldn’t get it right for the life of me.

Which corner?  This corner.


It’s right now.

That’s a settee that I’ve owned for years.  For a few years it was classing up my mother’s garage, but a couple of years ago I brought it back home and put it in my foyer.  Where it didn’t really fit.

I love it with all of my heart in the living room, but it’s not going to be able to stay there.  Why?  It isn’t what you’d call curl up comfortable.  It’s not uncomfortable, it just isn’t the kind of thing you’re likely to fall asleep on while holding a book, a string of saliva reaching from your mouth to a puddle of drool on the floor.  I like things to look pretty but I LOVE things to be useful and comfortable.

Am I right?

Part of what I love about the look of the settee in the room are the different materials used in it like the caning and wood frame and the interesting shape of it.  It’s not just a big lump of fabric in the corner.  So it may take me a while to find something that has the look I want with the comfort I need.

Part of the mini-makeover included a COMPLETE overhaul on my bookshelves.  Since I’ve installed an entire 3 walls of bookcases in my dining room I could take some of the books out of the living room bookcases and put things I love in there with a bit of space around them so you can actually see them.


I removed the 2 rectangular Homesense (Homegoods) lamps on my sofa table and replaced them with the one lamp that I’ve always loved.  It wasn’t a cheap lamp but I still love this Crate & Barrel Cleo lamp 10 years after buying it.  Plus they’re still selling it and it’s gone up in price so basically it’s an investment. I think.



The Cleo lamp has moved and for now the rest of the sofa table behind the couch is empty.  Until I find things I really want there other than  my favourite wood carved Buddha.

Rearranging things also gave me the chance to change up another corner you don’t see a lot of, in behind my couch.




As you can see I haven’t yet dealt with the squirrel’s nest of cords at the bottom of my dresser but I’ll get to it.

Actually one of the things that took the MOST time in this room and had the biggest impact was rerunning and concealing cords, especially the ones around the fireplace that run the television, speakers and turntable.


You can see at the top of my bookcases there are 2 speakers, one on either side.  There are another 4 speakers (and their stupid wires) around the room.  It was my mission to hide them all. Part of what makes a room look messy are wires everywhere.  But when you live in an old house with plaster walls, running wires through walls isn’t so easy.

So after living with wire nests everywhere for 17 years I did my best to hide them.  This included painting them and using finishing nails and 2 way tape to conceal them in existing trim.  Like on the fireplace.

And no.  I didn’t paint my fireplace black.  Yet.


This wire wasn’t quite long enough to run where I wanted it to, so I had to hammer in a staple to hold it in place.  But I have glued, yes GLUED this wire to my fireplace trim.  You notice it here obviously because I’m pointing it out and it’s a close up shot, but in real life you don’t notice the painted wires at ALL.  Doing this will neaten up any room.  Just painting your wires the colour of whatever it is they’re sitting against or on top of.

I also drilled holes through the floor down to my basement so I could run my television cable in behind my bookcases.

I still have some wires to deal with as you can see down by my baseboard.  These I’ll paint, bind together and then attach them to the baseboard so they just blendish in.



The lamp on this table (which replaces the Crate & Barrel lamp that was there) used to be on the blue dresser.

Finally, to help hide wires I even drilled into my bookcases to run wires down and inside of the bookcase instead of over them which makes them much less noticeable.  I pulled the lamp forward a bit here so you could see what I’d done better.



O.K., if anyone needs to go to the bathroom or give their legs a stretch now’s the time.  You can have one little break and then we’ll talk about the window treatment options.

Here we go.

To the right we have my old rose/taupe curtain panels.  To the left, nothing at all.


I could throw caution to the wind and have nothing on my windows at all but since this isn’t a Frank Lloyd Wright home and I’m not living in the middle of nowhere, I’ll probably opt for some sort of window covering.

My first instinct was to just switch out the rose/taupe side panels for white ones so everything just sort of disappeared, but then I thought … what if I tried the opposite?  What if I tried dark grey, almost black?


And I love it.

But maybe I should just try the white, just in case.



And I love it.

But maybe I should think about recessed interior shutters (on the left, below) and painting the cold, chrome coffee table (on the left and right, below) black.



And I love it.  I really like it all.

Interior, wood, Shaker style shutters would be appropriate for the age of my house (1840) plus Shaker style compliments another love of mine, Mid-Century Modern.

Needless to say I haven’t got anywhere with the whole window treatment thing. I’m in that decorating stage known as frozen.

For a quick 1-2 month mini-makeover I’m happy with it. The living room is the room that’s going through the smallest transformation of my 3 rooms because it was pretty good as it was. Plus, because I didn’t buy anything, and just cleaned everything up, I feel like now I can slowly, as time and money permit, layer the room up until it’s perfect.

Or in layman’s terms, clutter it up until it’s perfect.



  1. Amber says:

    Great start!
    Funny….in some other post of yours I noticed what looked to be rose, not rosy taupe drapes in the background & admired them. Perhaps the color was tweaked when editing the photo or it’s my screen- who knows….

    I’m not a pink kinda girl per se, but using a true blush or rosy hue in decor these days can seem a bit daring, especially in an eclectic room with au natural/earthy & rustic/refined elements.

    I dare you to consider committing to light rose drapery panels, maybe even velvety rose & lucite or acrylic window hardware. It’ll look great especially once the fireplace is black.
    Although they might fight a bit w/the green dresser. Hmmmmm
    I’ll stay tuned!!! Enjoy the journey ?

  2. Jebber jay says:

    Hello … i have never given any input other than “smarty pants nonsense” comments. I’m graduating to posting an actual opinion and will celebrate with a graduation pastry later. For blinds, I concur that bottom-up top-down blinds would be smashing. I had those in my previous place and they are sleek and versatile. Privacy with sunshine = win win. If you go for panel curtains, I think they would look better if you hung them wider than the window. That will make the long skinny window look more substantial. It would also make the curtains look nicer when open (more curtain to see, less thin). And one final opinion because i want another pastry .. the dark curtains look great. Nice to have some depth of tone. :-)

  3. SuzanneLH says:

    How about inset, white linen Roman shades for the window? Trim still visible, but you won’t freeze in winter drafts.

  4. Beth W. says:

    Just in case you’re still couch shopping…

    Good luck with the ongoing de-clutter/re-clutter! Love the shutter idea :)

  5. Edith says:

    Hi Karen,

    Great job on hiding the wires!

    I really like the idea of gray drapes. When you push them apart they will frame your window nicely and cozyfy the space. I love the color combination of your wood floor / gray / white / chrome table. It strikes me as a very sophisticated palette.

  6. Jennie Lee says:

    Okay, here’s my 2 cents worth. I like the light colors in your room. I don’t like the dark ottoman, nor do I like the idea of dark curtains, table, or fireplace. I’d advise light blinds of some kind. And the table is the only silver-colored thing in the room. I never would have believed I’d say this, but paint the frame of the table gold. And lower your cuckoo clock (unless the weights make that impossible). Please feel free to ignore everything I said.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennie Lee! Well, I’m going to say no to all of your 2 cents, lol. The dark ottoman stays, dark curtains are a definite possibility and the black table is happening, probably today. Rooms need hits of black. If you take a look at a magazine even rooms that appear to be all white have elements of black in them to ground them. The cuckoo clock does need to stay there because of the weights, but I also like the look of it way up high, slightly disconnected from the dresser below. I like the idea of the table being gold, but I really need the grounding of the black. ~ karen!

      • Jennie Lee says:

        I knew you’d say that. For that matter, even though my living room has a sea green/aqua/white/pale wood thing going on, there ARE lots of black bits in it, too: black picture frames, black shelves, 4 black matching lamps, a black & gold Buddha’s hand, and the usual black audio/video equipment. But other than the TV, all the black things are small, or thin.

  7. Sue says:

    How about top down, bottom up shades? Several years ago, I changed my country style living room to mid century modern. Replaced all curtains with these shades! They can even be purchased without the hanging pull strings.

  8. Mary W says:

    Your Mom’s settee is so nice to look at – too bad it’s not comfortable. I vote for the black drapes since it goes so well with the art wall treatment. I vote for the white drapes since they look uplifting, clean and fit the feel of the rest of your furniture. So I got to thinking, maybe a (NOT MILK CHOCOLATE) but 85% cocoa dark chocolate color cornice/valance over top of the white drapes would tie my both favorite drapes together with furniture and art. Or you could just dip the tops of the white drapes into melted chocolate as an ombre affect and you could just suck on your drapes when you need a lift.

  9. Saratoga Pixie says:

    I love the white walls and the contrasting layers. I just may borrow this look for my family room. I do have a design question. What do you advise regarding family photos. In my living room, I have a combination of prints and family photos on the walls and it just doesn’t gel properly. Any advice?

  10. Cheryl says:

    Love the dark curtains. I’ve been considering shaker shutters for my own 1926 house. A combination of asthma and cats makes curtains a pain, and shutters are just so tidy looking.

  11. Patti H says:

    Most of my decluttering involves moving stuff from one room to another. Seems like I’m not the only one!
    We built our house (almost 23 years ago) and our contractor was very stingy with the amount of outlets and their placement. I reminded him that it was MY house and to install the outlets where I wanted them. I still don’t have enough and of course, they are not where I need them so I still have to run cords.
    When our office moved into a new building, my boss’s office had outlets on two walls. The other two walls were floor-to-ceiling windows. Metal baseboards. Gluing and stapling the cords was not possible. I got the paintable cord covers from Lowes and covered/corralled the cords for her as that seemed to be the best option.
    Looking forward to seeing the room evolve.

  12. Attygreen13 says:

    Shutters instead of drapes – all the way! Drapes always seem like giant, heavy dust-catchers to me anyway, and the shutters look so much cleaner/lighter to the eye.

  13. Kathryn says:

    I think it looks great. I’d suggest a round coffee table to give the space better flow and break up some of the lines.

  14. Cred says:

    Oh yes, also would love the mantle painted black- agree with about black for grounding a room.

  15. christine says:

    Please forgive me.I am a retired designer and have to throw in my two cents.Have you tried lowering the Picasso a few inches and flipping the art on the other side? I think you need a patterned,vintage or vintage look Persian area rug.My next project is to over-dye a rug with home made chalk paint.I will let you know how it turns out.I am going to try sending you a pin of a window treatment that might be perfect for you.Again,sorry.Everyone is a critic.

  16. Cred says:

    You are psychic! Exactly how I declutter.

    I’m excited to see what you settle on, as I love the direction you’re heading already.
    Love it with the rug out- I like layering but bare hardwood looks spacious- lots of other things to layer for interest.
    Also, inclined to the white window treatments- and especially the shutters; I think they give it a similar feel as the naked window. However, as mentioned, the grey looks cozy and may be well suited to the cooler months. Marianne’s idea of shutters for summer and grey draperies for fall/winter sounds good (although if it were me, that would sound like too much work)

  17. Ellen says:

    I think a cowhide rug would look great! Have one in my living room along with a baby grand, wood floors and bookcases with a window seat and it looks great (I think). l also like the roman blind idea!

  18. maggie van sickle says:

    Love the new look and love the shutters. Not a curtain fan. We live on a lake way out in the country and our neighbours are mostly summer people so no window dressing required thus no window dressings. If u are going from bathroom to bedroom during fishing season bathrobe is necessary or else you can give the fishermen a thrill or maybe not.

  19. Susan says:

    Another vote for shutters and coffee table with black lacquer legs. But ultimately, it’s your taste and your house. You’re the one who has to live with it.
    I just retired for the second time and am in the process of decluttering, which is against my religion. It goes against everything in my frugal, depression-parent-taught-might-need-it-sometime mindset. The first step was taking a carload of electronics to the recycling centre. That Kodak printer/scanner which was perfectly good but needed ink, the bulky old television that I’ve been thinking about putting in a bedroom for three years, the flatscreen the dog knocked on the floor when the alligator attacked the zebra….some of it was like ripping out my Scottish heart. I invested in Bluetooth speakers and the next step is replacing my entertainment centre shelf, soon as I can figure out what to do with the DVD player. The trick is to enjoy the process without trying to do something that requires that perfect something that you’ve thrown out.

  20. Marilyn says:

    Love your idea of painting the fireplace back and the chrome table ..layering takes time , I’m still,at it. Also I purchased a beautiful reclaimed wood table from a carpenter I found on kijiji. He customized the table for us ,it’s in a herringbone pattern and an oval with metal legs in a dark finish ..I love it the wood is rustic but the shape ..oval, is more refined and the herringbone pattern is just gorgeous. I was going to try to send you a picture but I’m no good at that stuff.

  21. Stephanie says:

    Looking great Karen. I too have that room-to-room move affliction. If you don’t go too expensive on the curtains (ok, more than $16.99/panel), you can have the white curtains in the nicer months and the dark ones in the colder months. I love switching out my soft décor seasonally. I keep a ladder in my living room with fur blankets on it for use in the winter and lighter ones for people (my dad) who find the a/c too cold in the summer. Same with my couch and chair pillows – light and airy in the summer and darker and overstuffed feather ones in the winter to cuddle while watching Netflix. Your room needs some black – can’t wait to see the mantel done in it. I was almost tempted with all the lightness in your room to tell you to paint the back wall black or dark grey. But, winter is here and I want to nest with dark moody tones so maybe that is where this comments stems from. Love, love that lamp. I spent the weekend installing an 8 feet long, live-edge shelf/mantel between my fireplace and TV and trying to hide the cords. Stupid townhouse only has 1×2 strapping and cinderblock behind the drywall so no room to run the wires behind the wall! gggrrr Paintable cord hider from Lowes to the rescue. Can’t wait to see more!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stephanie, Yes the room definitely needs black. It’s part of the reason I’m going to paint the base of the coffee table. Possibly even today! There’s nothing grounding the room right now. ~ karen!

      • Elaine says:

        My glass top coffee table originally had that “verde green” look popular in the late 80’s but I still liked the large square glass top. I painted mine with the cheap acrylic ($2.49) paint and it brought it right up to date!

  22. Kitty McCarty says:

    altho I’m no decorator, I cannot help but add my 2-bits worth ;-) because you seem to encourage your readers.
    I’d explore using the white shutters (which I LOVE) and a very skinny white panel on each side just to give a finished look to the window and hang them as high as possible on black-ish curtain rods & clips (not rod-pocket), paint the coffee table black-ish also. I think that would kinda draw that wall into the room without overpowering or making it too contemporary. In the winter, replace the white panels with dark grey. I think I’d like this BUT I do weird things in rooms.
    Great job of de-cluttering and good luck on re-cluttering.

    • Kitty McCarty says:

      forgot to mention that I’d try to add some “new-spring-leaf green into the room, pillows etc. I love it in my grey & charcoal LR.

  23. brenda says:

    I love the paint the cords trick so they match what they are going over and around (so I suppose gluing pink furry rug on them won’t be a great solution BUT tacking them down with that U staple thing so they don’t crawl up your feet when you’re sitting at the desk is something I am going to do now) … that room looks comfortable. Maybe in the winter a rug but in the summer having easy breezy floors to run a mop over is my idea of YES. And yes to the top down blinds. My friend did this to his place and he loves them! Also another friend of mine put river rocks under her glass coffee table (and we’re not allowed to touch them ;(but they look good)

  24. Lynda says:

    I lesson I learned one time was to think about what that room would feel like in the opposite season, once I redecorated it (I had gone all white and stripped down and come winter the room felt bleak and basically not a place we wanted to be.) The reverse would be true in Summer if textures etc were too oppressive, ie. dark window coverings, heavy upholstery etc..

    I went with great wide horizontal stripe curtains from Crate & Barrel and it changed everything. I think they have grey and white, black and white and I got gold and white.

    Love the idea of painting the little side table, except, as you said, the little wood rounds.

    I’ve got some other thoughts on your room, but hey, it’s not MY blog!

    Looking forward to seeing your progress!

  25. Deb says:

    Shutters and painted coffee table – gorgeous changes! I love the character and interesting layout of that room! I covet an old home – so much soul.

  26. Kirsten says:

    I love the grey drapes, and your floor is screaming for a rug. Just my opinion, whatever you do will look great im sure. The before picture was beautiful, but what do I know?

  27. Danni says:

    Please take a look at top down, bottom up blinds. I did my son’s house with them in the bedrooms and living room, loved them so much when I did over (as in gut out and start again) my bedroom I used them there. I LOVE having the top portion down so that the sunshine pours in in the morning, moonlight streams in at night, and I can walk around less than clothed and not blind the neighbors! I made some plain panels out of drop cloths, (cheapest way to buy that fabric!) and they’re pushed to the sides. I can’t imagine anything else there now.

    • Karen says:

      I love canvas too Danni. And when it’s washed it becomes super-soft. I had cell shades in those windows for years and I loved them. I’d really love them if they did as you said, and could be lowered from the top down! ~ karen

      • Kris says:

        I also think top-down, bottom-up blinds (grey linen?) would look great in the window – I love the trim and I find the panels make the window look really small.

        I love how you think out loud for us – it looks great- and I’m kind of down with the minimal look!

  28. Jennie says:

    I met a man in September who admitted he burned down his house by running a light cord behind the back splash in his kitchen. Leaning against the counter wore through the cord. Said he knew better but did it anyway.
    Just saying.
    I learned something Everytime we worked the food trailers this year. People were chatty and sometimes sad. I gave him his elephant ear and his money back.
    He needed both more than We did.

  29. Ev Wilcox says:

    Having just found out that I will be having arm surgery mid-November, I am really pressed to declutter NOW! Was planning on doing it “any day now” to be ready ahead of time (for once) before Thanksgiving and Christmas, but now it’s crunch time! And today’s the day! I will be very limited in what I can do for about a month or more, so today is the day. I also must bring down the Holiday Decos from the storage area upstairs so that it is at hand when I’m ready to commence doing the annual Christmas mess, er, decorating that is…. Your living room will always be attractive and welcoming, Karen. As for the lamps-ever thing about some unobtrusive track lighting? Anyway, your designing eye always serves you well. Wish me luck!

  30. Rose says:

    Love what you are in process of creating. I love puttering around my home, decluttering and rearranging, it never stops. A couple of thoughts: remove the green dresser and sofa table, so the sectional can move back into that space. Replace coffee table with something larger…round maybe? Have seen some cool hammered metal looking ones. I could see a flokati or an old vintage Persian..I know…moolah! Love your style, you’ll figure it out!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rose! The sectional would be too far from the television and fireplace if moved back. And then there’d just be a big open space in the middle of the room, lol. Plus I’d lose the dresser which has a lot of storage in it. VERY important for someone living in a house with 2 closets, lol. Also that’s a mistake a lot of people make. Thinking they have to move all their furniture so it’s touching a wall. Rooms usually look better with everything out from the wall at least a little bit. I’d love a larger coffee table, (big and square) but nothing larger will fit. :/ ~ karen!

      • Elaine says:

        I can’t believe how “mouthy” (um, “involved”) I ‘m getting on this post! I love that green chest; love a pop of color from a single piece of painted furniture in a room. Karen, if you’re ever driving south of Brantford on Mount Forest Road (number 663 to be exact), pop in to visit Linda of Pleasant Pickin’s and check out her wares. She’s talented and nice and has some lovely items of furniture. You just might see something you like.

  31. Sandra Lea says:

    Last year I spent a long time agonizing over the right paint color and new furniture for my living room. It was worth it, I love the paint and I love my new couch and two chairs. However, now I want to rearrange everything, just move things around for a change of pace but I’m stuck. My living room is small and the furniture a little on the big side and there isn’t another configuration that will work. What’s a woman to do? I guess I’m stuck with it.

  32. Jo says:

    Love the new look. Love the no carpet. I re did my house last year. Lots of work. My floors I just left bare. I like white shears. Was that a consideration? Think painting the coffee table is a great idea, but would only if it is going to somehow tye into the wall cover .. or the painted fireplace .. or something. Personally I would keep the glass and build a new wood frame for it. Perhaps an Anna White style? I know that your capable. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!

    • Jo says:

      Went back and reviewed the photos. I think I would also ditch the sofa table and shove the couch back a few feet towards the wall. It would open the room up a lot. Again. Just my 2 cents. LoL

  33. Paula says:

    Wish I had an eye for style, I can’t even copy very well.

  34. Catherine says:

    Can I suggest white Roman blinds for the windows? Outside the window frame rather than inside. Makes the windows look bigger, there’s nothing sweeping the floor and you could get a thermal lining for warmth/opacity? I like the floors without the rug, but maybe a round one under the coffee table to slightly soften?

    • Karen says:

      I have a roman blind in the kitchen I made with Rough Linen Catherine and I love it. Like, really love it, lol. I’m not sure I want them in the front of the house though. The thought did occur to me. But I’d have them on the inside of the window simply because I liked the big, painted trim so much. ~ karen!

  35. Linda says:

    living in a home with high ceilings, an open plan and hardwood floors, I really feel I need a rug to warm up the place, help deaden sound, etc. Unfortunately the wool rug I chose sheds worse than my cat, despite regular vacuuming (the rug, not the cat). I have glass coffee/end tables too that I detest in the winter when the sunlight is low. Shows every bit of dust under the glass, if you can believe it.

    Really like what you have done so far, painting the trim, removing a lamp, etc. How about dark heavier curtains for winter and white sheer type for summer?

    • Elaine says:

      HiLinda: re “dust under glass; can you believe it” … YES!! I have three glass topped tables in the living area and a film collects underneath the glass and drives me nuts as it’s very awkward to reach under and clean properly! And to remove the glass on my own to clean then try to match up to the right position on the base, is really difficult and murder on the old back! I keep thinking of replacing the coffee table but I know wood will really “close it in” and make the sitting area appear smaller.

      • Linda says:

        Exactly my problem. The coffee table glass is so heavy, it takes two people to lift to clean and replace. You can’t lay on the floor to clean from the bottom due to the metal frame work. I also wanted to replace them with wood but couldn’t find anything I liked – but every fall/winter I keep my eye out for something that will work.

  36. MrsChris SA says:

    Love it!!
    I think a rug would be a nice feature.
    I LOVE the grey/black curtains (and I am a huge fan of shaker shutters!!).
    I also like the chrome table painted black!

    Inspiring – as always!

  37. Marianne says:

    I’ve been attempting this stuff in my home, but it’s easier said than done right?! Nice job Karen! Regarding the windows, how about using the gray (cozier) in the winter and swapping them out with white (bright, fresh) in the spring? Also, I’d suggest adding some colorful throw pillows to the sofa to tie in with the colorful books and furniture pieces. Have another latte and carry on. :)

  38. Cynthia says:

    I do that too! I paint wires the same colour. Glue them too. Gorilla tape works but is black and ugly. Last year I painted the washing machine wires to match the laundry and finally accepted that I truly am weird.

    Luckily my house has a slightly faerie/gothic/medieval look so I also dangle quaint scarves, stalks of twisted willow or Grandfather’s Beard artistically over the wires, if they are on the edge of a window or other surrounds.

    I have a really ugly pipe in my bathroom so I twisted copper wire with amethyst crystals around it. Voila!

    Love the dark grey curtains. Very classic and dramatic.

    While watching this I wondered if you put small towels under your furniture legs before shoving the furniture across the room. Its a great trick, makes it easier and no scratches.

  39. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Are you sure they didn’t say psycho??
    OK…looks good but I like the gray/black curtains….and I need to hide cords here!

  40. Melissa says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. One potty break wasn’t enough!

    Totally love the bigger frame for the Carnival Picasso, it just sets it off and makes it become the centerpiece! And how do you know it isn’t a real Picasso? I mean, great and fancy things have come from carnivals…five foot stuffed orangutans for instance.

    L.O.V.E. the black curtain effect, AND painting the chrome coffee table. Makes it have a grown up sexy look, if that’s a term. Would live to see that fireplace wall black! I mean…its only paint, right? What a dramatic statement!

    I think the Decluttering Clutter form of decorating is underrated, truly. You’ve got the right idea!! And, it’s cheaper because you just shop your house, from room to room, to redecorate!

    Is there a color in nature that matches mauvey taupe? I digress….
    It all looks mahhhvelous dahling!

  41. Tina says:

    I bought a new (manufactured) home 2 months ago and have gotten most of my ideas for decorating from you and from my DIL. Thank you!

    1. I love wide open windows. If it were my house, I’d leave them, as I have (so far) in mine. But in mine I kind of have to hide to change clothes. So maybe I need some window coverings. But my woodwork is just SO beautiful! So looking at yours, I’d go with the black/gray.

    The one thing you didn’t give info on is the black, leather, tufted ottoman which I would do ANYTHING for! I’ve been looking for exactly that, without being certain what it was I wanted. If I send my address, will you send it to me? Or send me your address and I’ll come get it!

    Otherwise I approve of it all. I have always been a lamp person. I don’t like overhead lights (although they came with my ceiling fans). But yes, 8 was maybe a bit excessive.

    And I love the blue dresser but I don’t want it, just the ottoman and I’ll be yours for life (or, well, maybe a little less.)

    • Tina says:

      I bought a new (manufactured) home 2 months ago and have gotten most of my ideas for decorating from you and from my DIL. Thank you!

      1. I love wide open windows. If it were my house, I’d leave them, as I have (so far) in mine. But in mine I kind of have to hide to change clothes. So maybe I need some window coverings. But my woodwork is just SO beautiful! So looking at yours, I’d go with the black/gray.

      The one thing you didn’t give info on is the black, leather, tufted ottoman which I would do ANYTHING for! I’ve been looking for exactly that, without being certain what it was I wanted. If I send my address, will you send it to me? Or send me your address and I’ll come get it!

      Otherwise I approve of it all. I have always been a lamp person. I don’t like overhead lights (although they came with my ceiling fans). But yes, 8 was maybe a bit excessive.

      And I love the blue dresser but I don’t want it, just the ottoman and I’ll be yours for life (or, well, maybe a little less.)

      And I got this all done and remembered why I wanted to write. WellDone!!! On getting rid of the rug! The floors are beautiful and hardwood floors are so nice to clean. Super easy!

      (Now send me the ottoman!)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tina, that’s always been in the house moving from room to room. It’s a total disaster because it isn’t leather it’s some sort of pleather that’s starting to peel. So when I find one exactly the same in leather I’ll be replacing it. :) ~ karen!

  42. Elaine says:

    Gee, your living room looks great just the way it is. Those sure are beautiful floors. I have a little separate “section” in the living room with a chair too and I know what you mean about your chair with the caning. It is an attractive chair but not that cozy to sit in for any length of time. I like the white curtains if you keep the living room walls the same. I like curtains to blend in with the walls whether that is a decorating no-no or not, I don’t care. I also was thinking of shutters for your house and they do really suit it. I loved your suggestion of painting cords!! I never thought of that trick so I’m checking out my cords before I go to bed. I know whatever changes you make will be terrific!

  43. vicki says:

    one vote here for the shutters :)

    • pat says:

      I vote for shutters too; but not white ones. A colour that adds ooomph. You seem like a deep eggplant purple kinda gal Karen. A colour that would would look rich with gold tones.

  44. Wendy Thomson says:

    Nah, sorry, I don’t like it. Or rather, I don’t hate all of it. I like the bookcases and the fireplace wall. Everything else just looks awkward.

  45. Lin N says:

    My 2 cents…Grey almost black window treatment adds cozy pop to the room. So I decided to move my upstairs bedroom to the downstairs bedroom and then move the upstairs bedroom to the other upstairs room. The room where the upstairs bedroom was is now the the studio, spare bedroom, office….Furniture is all in the right rooms now. Next is staging everything, putting stuff away, getting rid of some stuff, fixing holes where old pictures were hung, rearranging and hanging the new stuff…not bad for two days work….I’m tired! G’night

  46. Isabella says:

    Looks great. I like both the gray and the white raperies. Maybe gray is cozier for Winter though. As you layer it will become even better. But great looking room. Screaming for a rug. But which kind?

  47. Valerie says:

    Hiding wires is an exhausting time consuming job. I am in an old house as well……a log house and ended up doing what you did painting many of my wires brown to match.
    Your room is cozy and inviting and I admire your taste to include before and after but I do agree the drapes need replacement.
    Have you considered wide plantation shutters for the inside of the living room window either white or stained to match your fir floors?
    Can you explain what the function of that white tall log that is in the corner behind the brass lamp?

    • Karen says:

      Oh! That’s an antique church pillar Valerie. :) My mother mentioned plantation shutters Valerie, but I don’t feel like they’re in keeping with the home’s feeling enough. So it’ll be shaker shutters or very plain side panel curtains. I’m just not sure which yet. :) ~ karen!

      • Elaine says:

        I agree, Karen! I love Plantation (didn’t they used to be called California??) shutters but they wouldn’t suit your interesting old home. They’d look too up-to-date and the slats are just too wide and bulky looking for the size of your windows.

      • Kelly Mudry says:

        I’d love to find shaker shutters but haven’t been able to? Any clues as to sourcing them in Ontario?

        • Karen says:

          I’d just make them Kelly. :) They’d be really easy to make. I’m sure you could have the custom made fairly inexpensively by any cabinet maker or carpenter. ~ karen!

  48. Robert says:

    Not sure why but I feel like the shutters make the room look smaller even when they take less space than the curtains, the pink ones are as gorgeous as the grey ones.
    But since is your house and I’m not living in it do whatever you like

  49. Katie says:

    I just finished Nester’s cozy minimalist course. Your made over room with no rug looks great! I’ll be looking forward to seeing the layers you add in. I’m going to be working on my bedroom once the hustle of the holidays is over. I have some big ideas, I can’t wait to see them take shape.

    • Karen says:

      That’s great Katie! When you look at Nester you see she is a minimalist at heart but she has lots of stuff and she’s GREAT at layering. Just keep pushing towards your goal and use lots of inspiration photos. :) ~ karen!

  50. Gayle says:

    Sounds like your method of decluttering is like mine. Seriously, tho, I have been getting the stuff outta here best as I can lately. But, oh! Many any many more trips to Goodwill and Salvation are in order. Doing what my mil has been doing—giving back stuff given to me. She isn’t going to like my hubby’s next visit.

    • Karen says:

      It’s everybody’s method of decluttering Gayle, lol. Although since I got rid of almost everything in my house 10 years ago I don’t have that much stuff to move around. Thankfully! ~ karen

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