Remember how 6ish months ago, we bought our first home? And although it had great ‘bones’ and tons of potential, it was a bit of a mess when we moved in? (If you’d like, you can revisit the ‘before’ tour HERE.) Certainly not terrible, not much demolition involved, but very bland, very boring, very neglected and abused by previous owners, and very dirty and disgusting.
Well, we’ve worked hard, as I’m sure I’ve made abundantly clear by my near-constant complaining about it, but we really got burned out a few months in and have mostly taken the winter off from home renovations. And although I’ve had all sorts of great intentions to post in-progress and after pictures, there is no after in sight, not to mention that it’s rarely to never clean enough for an unembarrassing in-progress picture.
But I figured I’d put on my big girl panties and tidy up one room today so I could start a proper tour. (I’d like you to know that besides the typical household/toddler clutter, I found two cars, one firetruck, and one Christmas countdown block hidden in the couch. Like, wedged into cushions and under pillows. My son is a scavenger and a packrat and displays many early hoarder warning signs.) To start out my house tour, I picked the room that is seen the most by outsiders anyway and is thusly the most finished room in the house. Gotta impress the neighbors, duh.
I wanted to keep this room kind of soft and subtle, but still welcoming and cozy. So hopefully the above picture made you think, “My, that room is soft and subtle, but I’m really getting some welcoming and cozy vibes.”
The rug makes the occasional appearance in Instagram pictures, and I almost always get a question about it. You can find it HERE on Overstock. It is actually an outdoor rug, which I was a little worried about—would it feel scratchy or uncomfortable or plasticky or something? But no, I’ve been very happy with it. It seems that outdoor rugs are much more affordable than most indoor ones, but it’s plenty soft and comfortable for bare feet inside. It definitely isn’t fluffy like some indoor rugs—it’s a tight, dense weave—but I have zero complaints and wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again.
I sewed the pillows on the couch and chairs, and just yesterday picked up two new pillows for under $10 each at Ross to toss on the window seat.
And although no one ever sits and reads there, I made sure to set a book out to make sure you picture me serenely reading and pondering while snow falls gently outside, maybe sipping hot cocoa with a dog sleeping at my feet. This has never happened. But it makes for a nice mental scene, doesn’t it?
And as long as it’s clean and straightened up in here, I really enjoy the view as I come down the stairs in the morning. I love the blue and green accents, and I love how they look against the silvery wall color. I like how the natural accents (like the wicker chairs and burlap lampshades and twiggy vignette on the side table) keep it looking kind of cozy and homey and comfortable.
Now, I always seem to get comments from friends and visitors on the photo gallery wall (which secretly thrills me to no end, because I feel like a really good gallery wall can be kind of hard to achieve). So, I’ll give you a few details on it.
I spent lots of time looking up and comparing different gallery walls, and here’s what I decided my preferences are:
1. I like gallery walls to be more or less symmetrical. Not perfect, and not a grid, but I do like them to have a sense of order and shape and symmetry. (For instance, on mine, it is roughly rectangular instead of a big frame blob; the edges are more or less straight/grid-like; and the frames meet and connect pretty well without any big gaps or spaces between, or random frame outliers that don’t fit in and make sense with the overall shape.)
2. I like the frames to be close together. I see a lot of gallery walls with bigger spaces between the frames—personally, I think anything more than, say, 3 inches makes it look kind of haphazard and unplanned.
3. I like the pictures to have a theme—same/similar frames, same/similar photo coloring (like all black and white shots, or all prints from the same photo session, or at least photos with similar colors/editing). I purposely planned our outfits in these pictures to match the décor, and tossed in coordinating scrapbook papers in two frames for a little subtle variety and texture.
4. I think they should be hung low on the wall. A decorating pet peeve of mine is when art/photos/mirrors/etc. are hung too high on a wall. Who wants to have to crane their neck and tip their head back to look at your family pictures? Have you ever been in a house with photos or art hung just a few inches from the ceiling? I have, and I’ve got to say, I think that looks a bit silly. Art has no business being almost at the roofline. According to my interior designer mom, wall art should be hung at eye level.
Here is my gallery wall setup:
All the frames are Virserum frames from Ikea—I purchased them months ago, so I could be remembering wrong, but I think that I spent something like $70 for all of the frames. You really can’t beat Ikea’s frame prices.
Now, just for before and after purposes, and because it makes me so happy to know that we made this house not look like this anymore, here’s the living room when we moved in:
Very bland, very boring, very carpeted (do you see the windowseat on the far left? Even it was carpeted!), and, although this photo is not a scratch-n-sniff so you’ll just have to take my word for it, very stinky. I think our changes are a definite improvement. And check out the view through the front door when we bought the house:
Compared to the view from the front door today: