I am the proud owner of a small, 1924 urban home that features one of the most challenging living rooms I’ve ever decorated. On the plus side: It boasts a working fireplace, adorable window seat and built in shelving. Yay! On the minus side: It’s the main thoroughfare through the house, so it’s almost completely encircled with doors – a coat closet, the front door, a pair of French doors to the sunroom and the door that leads to the dining room. Not to mention the stairway. Boooo! All of that leaves very little flexibility with furniture arrangement. Over the years I’ve perfected the ONLY arrangement that works. My current projects in here are wrapped up for now and I’ve recently added some fun boho touches, so I thought I would share some current pics this week.
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This is the main seating area of the room looking in from the front door:
The most obvious oddity in this room is the uneven built-in situation on either side of the fireplace. I love the window seat and the bookshelf, but I cannot imagine why they didn’t match them. I’ve been in dozens of houses in this area that share a nearly identical set up and they all have built-in bookcases flanking the fireplace. Why is mine the only one with a window seat on one side? I have no idea. But it’s definitely tricky trying to balance the visually heavier bookcase with the window seat on the other side.
The built-ins and the fireplace made putting a TV in this room difficult as well. I tried a TV on a small stand in front of the bookcase, then in front of the window seat and I didn’t really love either option. Plus, I really needed to squeeze more seating in. When I had that set up the couch and one chair were the only options, which made even small family gatherings difficult.
To add insult to injury, I’m not remotely a TV person.
No pun intended.
I got rid of cable about 5 years ago and I don’t miss it. Our TV gets used for 2-3 months a year during the winter. You know, when it’s freezing out and all you want to do is crawl under a blanket and binge watch Netflix? Just enough that I don’t want to get rid of it entirely.
I really struggled with mounting it over the fireplace because I absolutely LOATHE that look. I used to have a gorgeous vintage mirror up there and I enjoyed changing the decor on the mantle, but….practicality finally won out. I still hate the way it looks, but it allows me to have 2 extra chairs in the room, and in my tiny house every bit of seating counts.
I plan to build some kind of DIY cover, but the TV itself is pretty old. The DRG does not want to custom build something for a TV we’re not going to keep, which is a valid point. But since neither of us watches it, spending money on a new one is waaaaaay down on the priority list.
So, there it sits…mocking me daily with its ugliness.
This comfy slipcovered chair is my favorite place to read:
I wrote about the ReStore shutters and the clock in one of my early blog posts HERE.
I recovered my wicker ottomans with a soft and fuzzy fabric that I absolutely love. It was an easy project using a staple gun and 1 yard of fabric.
I have too many pillows in here, I know….
But the fuzzy pillows and the mandala design are both covers that I got on sale, so I am actually recycling my old pillows. Smart, right?
I wrote about the inexpensive pillow covers HERE.
This is the view from the dining room door facing the front of the house. Notice anything strange?
Whoever installed the French doors made them so they overlap with the front door. It’s not that big of a deal because it isn’t our primary entry, but it is kind of annoying when they knock together.
I really like my coffee table (from Overstock.com several years ago), but it’s a little big for the room. You have to be careful in older small houses with the scale of things, you know? I always cringe a little when I go into a house like mine and they’ve got it stuffed full of large scale, overstuffed contemporary furniture. Anyway – I’ve got my eyes open for an interesting coffee table option with a smaller footprint.
If you’re curious about my little sunroom, you can read about that HERE.
Behind the sofa is a narrow sort of aisle that’s necessary for access to the coat closet.
Truthfully, the little table and chairs don’t get used much unless I’m throwing a big cocktail party.
But it’s the perfect spot for my vintage Underwood typewriter with my favorite Hemingway quote tucked into it. 🙂
When I entertain, this vintage flea market cabinet becomes an auxiliary bar:
I wrote about the old window with the jumbo typewriter keys and my DIY shutter shelf HERE.
I made a space-saving DIY “wine crate” end table using stackable thrift store wine racks and some pallet wood:
For a tutorial on how I made the end table, go HERE.
So that’s my cozy little living room. Other than the ugly TV-over-the-fireplace-set-up, I’m pretty content with it right now.
I prefer lots of texture to lots of colors, and this room is a perfect example. It’s packed with different textures, natural elements and a soothing neutral color scheme. I love looking at traditional boho rooms with their riot of colors and patterns, but living in it every day would make me anxious.
And I definitely don’t need any help in THAT department…
My personal take on boho is eclectic, monochromatic and refined with earthy, rustic and vintage touches. I appreciate the maximalist aesthetic, and while I’ve certainly got a lot going on in here, I’m probably stopping just short of that line.
Though I have to admit – I am peering over the line. Maybe I need a few more plants? LOL
Want a sophisticated boho look on a budget?
PLANTS – it’s amazing the difference a few healthy plants make in a room.
FUNKY PILLOWS – boho inspired pillows make a big impact for little $$$. My “new” pillows are mostly inexpensive covers from Hobby Lobby with a couple clearance finds from Home Goods and TJ Maxx.
CANDLES – I always have a lot of candles around, and for this room, I loaded a thrift store tray up with assorted vanilla pillars for the coffee table
NATURAL MATERIALS – Aside from the plants, I included a jar of seashells, a vase of curly twigs, fresh flowers and a piece of driftwood.
BOHO FOCAL POINT – My 4′ x 4′ mandala wall hanging was simple to make using a stencil and a big piece of plywood. You could also frame a tapestry – you can find them online for less than $20.
MIX IT UP – bohemian decor usually means an eclectic mix of furniture, so don’t be afraid to mix periods and styles and use varying shades of wood. If ever there was a style that’s thrift store and Craigslist friendly, this is it!
I’m linking my Monochromatic Boho Living Room up at some terrific blog parties – you can find my complete list of places I party HERE.