Living Room Redo

blue couch with red and gold throw pillows and two sepia-toned prints of flowers hanging above the couch

Since I’m on a spring cleaning/redecorating kick right now, I thought I’d share before & after photos from a while back when my friend, Jennifer, came over to help me do some revamping in our living room.

Let me start off by saying, 1) we rent our home so there’s only so much I can do (ie no paint, etc.) and 2) our living room is one of the places in our home that gives me the most trouble designwise.  I just can’t seem to get it looking like I’d like it too, barring buying all new furniture, which is not in the budget right now.  So, I was thrilled when Jennifer agreed to come over and help with a little revamping.

These are the “before” photos.  And OMG they are bad.  I had pulled out the picture hanging gear, which is what’s sitting on the couch, but otherwise this was pretty much the normal state of affairs.  Sad sad sad.

blue love seat with gold throw pillows and behind it two book cases

All the furniture in here is hand-me-down except for one bookshelf, that I bought.

fireplace with a plant on one side and a hookah on the other side, a few decorative things on the mantel and a cat sitting in front of the fireplace
wooden stereo cabinet with stereo components and a tv

I’m actually a little horrified to be showing the before shots.  But, what are you gonna do?  The room is just a mishmash of furniture and styles and I was hopeful that we could at least make it somewhat less of an eyesore.

I pulled some inspiration photos to show Jennifer.  Some of the photos were of stuff I had around the house, that I thought might work in the room (she kept saying, why is buried in this other room???).  I want a look that is warm, eclectic and shows our love of travel (ie things picked up from all over the world).  Plus, Eric loves Cuba and the “Havana” style, so I wanted to bring that in as well.

grid of design inspo photos - Cuban/Havana style

Jennifer did an amazing job with what she had to work with.  The first thing she did was move the piece that was over the mantle into the entry and replace it with a map that we had in the office.   Love it!

view from entry into the living room

She worked on rearranging the bookshelves and some of the knick-knacks I have.  The two ceramic Japanese eggs moved over to the top of the bookshelf.

view of living room with the two couches and the bookshelves in the background

The print hanging on the wall there (that you can’t really see clearly) is a photo from Grand Central Station that Eric took and is sepia-toned.  It used to hang in the entry, but this was a better location for it.  It works with the warm tones we were going for in the room. I don’t even really remember what was on the coffee table before (I think it was just a ceramic bowl and the chess set).  I like the carved box there a lot better (plus then someone isn’t throwing stuff in my beautiful piece of pottery).

wider view of the living room

I really love the map over the mantel, but I’ll have to work on things to put on the mantel itself.  For now, I’m liking the blue and white bowl.  She also placed the hookah and a brass bird vase next to the fireplace.  I need one more item there to round it out.

fireplace with a antique looking world map over the mantel

The coffee table is actually one of the few things in the room that I like.  It’s different and interesting.  But those couches have got to go.

coffee table with a glass top and a glass chess set sitting on top

We worked on the artwork over the sofa too.  Originally, three prints of the photos Eric took in Rome hung there, but when I created our gallery wall of travel photos they got moved.  I replaced them with those flower prints, which I admit, were not great.  Jennifer suggested a collection of Cuban things to hang there.

view of the couches with the bookshelves in the background

And when she redid the bookshelf, I ended up with this collection of cigar books and boxes.  Love this shelf.  And my wooden bowl from Hawaii looks perfect there as well.

shelf with cigar books and cigar boxes and a wooden bowl

View towards the kitchen.

view of living room from the bookshelves looking toward the kitchen

And I like what she did on the media cabinet, she put my pottery collection up there, as well as my two statues (but oh to have cabinet doors over all that equipment).

stereo cabinet which now has various pieces of pottery on top

View towards the entry.  You can see the art over the sofa better.

view of the living room looking towards the entry

Here it is closeup.  A Cuba painting.  Two framed collages of cigar wrappers.  Cigar art is just fantastic and so colorful.  And Eric had this cigar mold that was in my inspiration photos.  We took it apart and with his permission I attached hangers to it so that we could hang them.  Brilliant – I love the texture and interest these add!

travel poster for Cuba, cigar molds, and two pieces of cigar band art hanging on the wall

And here’s a closeup of the bookshelf.  She rearranged my books to make the shelves more interesting and add some color coding and rhythm.  It looks so much better!

closeup of the bookshelves

And one of the things I had in my inspiration photos was this map of Cuba I’d been eyeing.  Jennifer encouraged me to purchase it, and a few months later it took up residence over the mantel.  I love it!

map of Cuba

So there you have it, my living room redo.  It’s still a process, and I hope to one day be able to purchase new furniture for this room.  I think it will go a long way towards creating the vision I want.  But, in the meantime, Jennifer did a great job with what she had to work with!!

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