Living Room Reveal

It started with a couch. An unexpected purchase.

When we found out we were moving, we knew that our L-shaped couch wouldn’t fit in to our new space. There is really only space for a couch in one of two spots. On either wall our old couch would stick out into the room, causing bruised knees as we tried to navigate around the couch and the coffee table….. and would just be a nuisance. So I started selling the stuff we wouldn’t need and saving every penny made. I was realistic about our budget and started scouring Wayfair and IKEA for deals. I know that most designers say a couch should be a once in a lifetime purchase and you should expect to pay an average of $4000, but that was not going to happen for us. I got real- I shopped the “cheaper” places.

The original plan was to buy a dark gray couch and place it against a smoky lavender wall to soften the look. I had couches bookmarked on my IKEA app and paint colours pinned on Pinterest. I planned to add touches of soft blue to keep it masculine but soft. But all of our plans were turned upside down when we were reminded that Habitat for Humanity:ReStore stores existed. We took a look and there were a lot of used couches in decent condition at those stores! Hunter had his heart set on a beige Victorian-style sofa that would need some work. He liked the lines of it. But we checked the other store and I knew which one I wanted as soon as we walked in, but it took a long time before we actually decided on it. Back at the back of the store was a pink and blue flowered couch and I loved it. It also had the straight arms and back that would offset and compliment the curvy thick vintage furniture that had been handed down to us. If we took a bulky couch, all of the furniture would be bulky in our small space, and it would make the room seem crowded. But I was a little (okay, a lot) thrown by the colour of it. The flowers on it reminded me of a kimono. It was not the style we had our hearts set on. We tried all of the couches in that store, several times, and there was over a dozen. Hunter had a little cry over the other couch and we convinced him that one of the couches here would be good enough. I made an announcement that we would try all of the couches and buy it based on quality of the springs and cushions, no weird smells, and least amount of stains. We could always reupholster it if we hated the fabric. And we ended up picking the pink couch.

As we prepared to move, Josh and I decided that we would design the living room around the colour of the couch, rather than get it reupholstered. Josh said he loved how unique it is and I agreed. I was secretly thrilled. I’ve always had a thing for pinks and blues anyway!

It was funny when we moved in and found that my bright green office chair wouldn’t work at all. We were unpacking and discovered that the blush pink chair I had picked up in Value Village for Izzy’s art desk was the perfect match to our new couch! Kind of neat how that worked out. It isn’t the most comfortable chair, so I may have to replace it someday, but that will make me sad because of the way it matched the couch by coincidence!

What we have now is a perfect mix of pinks, blues and browns, with white accents. We have a beautiful mix of chunky antique furniture and cleaner lines. I think my favourite piece is the couch, which was only $100!!, followed very closely by the display cabinet from my grandmother and the coffee table from Josh’s grandmother. I feel so fortunate to have my grandmother’s display cabinet. I have filled it with her china and some things important to me, including favourite books or borrowed books. I remember laying on the floor of my grandparent’s apartment in Saskatoon, SK, and staring up at the corner of the china cabinet because I loved the lines of the carved wood. I would have been 6 or 7  years old. Weirdly, it is one of my clearest memories at that age. I think I remember because my grandma made a point of saying I was in the way but she was glad that someone noticed her furniture…or something to that effect. Haha. Before she passed, she told my mom that I should inherit the display cabinet because I was the only one that would properly appreciate it. It is in a place of honour in our living room now. I have been told that my great grandfather built that cabinet by hand and that makes my heart swell with pride. It is difficult for me to imagine him as a young man since he was always the old man at the nursing home that we would visit. I remember him as a man in his 90’s, peering at us through his thick glasses, and offering us an orange and butterscotch lifesavers. I think of him every time I have a butterscotch lifesaver, to this day. He lived until he was over 100! Every time I look at the display cabinet, a flood of those memories rushes through me, and I do appreciate it, and I hope that my tough British grandma knows that, wherever she is.

The coffee table that we inherited from Josh’s grandmother compliments the display cabinet perfectly! The coffee table and the display cabinet are both dark wood pieces with a bit of ornate carving and chunky legs and offer lots of extra storage. To balance this out, we made sure the arms of the couch are a more streamlined look, thin and not bulky, and there are no thick curves or legs on it. The other furniture is from IKEA and we chose cleaner lines and white so that the room is left feeling spacious, even though it is a tighter space.

I have a few things in the space that were garage or thrift store finds that I love and survived the great purge during the move. The side table beside the window is a church garage sale find and was originally used as a metal plant stand by its owner. I use it to hold magazines and crochet pattern books with a couple of current reads or a colouring book laid on the top for easy access. On a whim, I hung a small crochet basket I had made off of the end to put the remote controls temporarily, but I kind of like the awkward burst of yarn at the end of the side table, so I think it will stay. I like contrasting textures in the same room and the yarn helps accomplish that, in a small way. Other things that contribute to texture differences are: the baskets scattered around the room to hold slippers, blankets or yarn, as well as the soft pillow-y texture of the IKEA area rug  and the metal accents in the side table, unicorn mobile and lamp edging. The unicorn mobile is hung in the corner above the TV to mask the cords running up the wall to the speakers. It doesn’t do a perfect job, but it distracts your eye, and that is fine. I got the unicorn mobile at a thrift store in a tiny town outside of Calgary. My friend was so nice and chatty with the owner that she gave it to me for $5. It is perfect in its imperfection. I will keep it always. It kind of feeds my teen girl obsession with unicorns and magical beings in a subtler, more grown up way.  The lamp above the computer desk was found at a garage sale minutes before they were done for the weekend. The couple was moving and wanted it out of their way, so I bought it for $2. I love its colour, shape and edging. I have always wanted a lamp like this one but didn’t want to pay the price for a new one. It was a major score for me. Do you have any design details in your home like that? Or a wishlist?

The computer desk is from IKEA and I am still working on organizing it and the shelves above it so that it doesn’t feel messy or crowded. I’ll get there. I work from home, so that is my office, craft space, snack spot, you name it. I’m annoyed with myself because I put a deep scratch in the top of it with my sewing machine’s feet. One of the feet had lost its cover and the screw on the bottom left a cut in my desk! I guess one of my Spring projects will be to sand and fix that.

Overall, I wanted our living room to be beautiful but comfortable. It took me forever to find artwork to go above the couch. I didn’t want it to be too modern, too stark or too blue. I didn’t want a landscape photo or the cliche photo of a bridge or tree. I was at a loss. I decided that I would look in vintage stores and re-frame an old painting, but then I walked into Chapters and saw the abstracts that sit above the couch now. They happened to be all of the colours that make up our living room and in our price range. Score. I was thinking I would be less big store than that, but I couldn’t pass them up. The glittery dots on the prints look bronze or silver, depending on where you are standing, which is a bit magical when you are walking through the room.

Another huge detail that adds comfort to a room is extra couch cushions. Our couch is so deep that my feet don’t reach the floor without a cushion behind me, so they are non-negotiable in that way, too. My husband would disagree- he claims that they just get in the way- but then, he’s tall, and no male ever appreciates cushions (none that I’ve met anyway). I put cushions on the couch that aren’t too precious, so that if they get tossed about or dirty I won’t be screaming, “You hurt my precious!!” at my family. I just got the cushions at Superstore and Wal-mart, mostly. The little blue guy is an IKEA plush. We call him Mr. Blobby. I also stuffed the board games in and on the shelves of the coffee table,  so that we have easy and constant access to them. The baskets underneath the TV hold our movies and video games. Our living room is filled with our loves and hobbies: reading, board games, crochet stuff, movies and video games. Family time is perfect when we gather in there. It does, however, have the max amount of stuff that can fit comfortably. I find that anything extra added to the space makes it feel crowded and me crazy; right now it is the two pillowcases of kid’s Halloween candy! So nothing else will be bought for the living room. It is perfect, as is.

Thanks for taking a look!

Full Tour…..



Decorating sources:

—-Paint is Home Depot Behr in Campfire Ash (N320-1) white and Shadow Blue (N480-3) blue—-


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