ahhh … that’s better

A month or so ago I posted photos of our not quite finished living room.

living before

As I was looking at the photos after I posted, I felt like it looked way too cluttered. It doesn’t help that there is a cord hanging down from the tv, but the shelves looked knick-knacky and needed to be re-staged. And, of course, we wanted to rearrange the furniture.

This how it looks now:

living new

Doesn’t it look much more open and clean? We’d still like to resurface the fireplace {see below} and I need to hang a few of our new family photos on the blank wall on the right.


We brought in our old church pew {one of my very favorite pieces from my m-i-l} and Ryan bought me a new coffee table {when it was in stock and on sale} that I love.


I wanted the shelves to be lighter and more neutral this time around, so I turned the books around {appalling to most booklovers} and used some white pieces from the kitchen.


The basket on the bottom shelf holds toys for the baby

IMG_1514 IMG_1442

The left side holds the components for the tv, a basket full of dvds and black leather boxes with more toys and diapers. Not as pretty as the right side, but it does the trick.



A few of my favorite pillows {made using the ruffle pillow tutorial & gathered flower tutorial}






I’m feeling good with the changes so far.

I tried my best to be like Layla and photoshop the fireplace to see a few different resurfacing options : here is my very rough depiction.

option one: barnwood

barn wood

option two: white paneling


option three: stone


and just for fun : option four: chevron marble tile


What do you think?

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191 Responses to ahhh … that’s better

  1. Eleven Gables June 22, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    I LOVE your style, Emily!!! I look forward to reading your blog every day! If I may make a suggestion, all the different pillows give a “busy” feel. I think your room would look even more fabulous if you pared down the pillows or picked one or two fabrics and went with those. xoxo

  2. Rachel Mathai June 22, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    seriously- you have such great style! as i began reading this post i wanted to argue with you that the room didn’t look cluttered, but I love the changes you made. And, I love all of your pillows. For the fireplace, I’m thinking stone or barnwood BUT the chevron tile is AMAZING! I think it fits perfectly with what I’ve seen from you so far. I would only be worried because its kinda trendy…would you still want it in a few years?

  3. Elizabeth Horn June 24, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    I don’t think your fireplace is bad at all, but if I had to pick, I would say the barn wood or the stone. If it were me, I would just paint it!

  4. Brittany Jelinski June 24, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    I think the fireplace looks ok as it is, but I can definitely understand why you want to change it. I think you can’t go wrong with stone, because if you decide in the future to change some things in your living room, it might not go so well with those other choices (even though they would look great too!!).

    I was also wondering, are those purple flowers on the table real or silk??

    • emily June 24, 2011 at 8:25 am #

      Yes … aren’t those lilacs amazing?!! Wish they would have lasted forever, but sadly they are now gone.

  5. Diane June 24, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Your home is timeless architecture….that is why you can put anything in your home and it looks great! But I plead with you…do not reface your fireplace….it is perfect the way that it is….if you feel like you need a change, go ahead and paint but refacing a fireplace only dates your home. Save yourself some money and don’t do anything!

  6. Kristiana June 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Thanks for the inspiration!!! We just finished rearranging and it looks great! Sew day tomorrow!

    Many Blessings!

  7. Robin Haney June 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Leave the fireplace the way it is. It doesn’t need changing. The other options are too busy.

  8. Hannah June 25, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    I love the stone idea!! Everything looks great…one question…How in the world do you keep ANYTHING on your coffee table?? I have five kids under 5 and can’t keep anything at that level :o( Maybe one day? :o)

  9. Cynthia June 25, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    I have been away for awhile! I am so glad that I am back to see your living room. If you remember, awhile back I emailed you and asked for a living room view. Thank you for sharing your living room with us. It is a lovely as the rest of your home. I love how you pull all things “unmatched” into a cohesive design that matches just perfectly. Very clever! For your fireplace…I love the wood and I like an idea of one of your readers that suggested the grass cloth. As usual- well done! and Thank you! I enjoyed a peek into your living room and I am inspire to go dable in mine (especially on this rainy Florida day)!

  10. ELT June 26, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    I vote stone. I feel like it humanizes/personalizes the room in a way the paneling and chevron (which is so cool) can’t, and I feel the barn boards are a bit too rustic to fit in with your overall decor.

  11. Róna July 2, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Leave it the way it is. it’s totally great. But if u need and like to change it i prefer the white one (but pls choose not such a bright white as with PS) and the last (grey-white zick zack striped) one.

    love to read ur blog – now for more than 2 months :D

  12. Cindy jones July 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    I like your fireplace as is. I think all your options are too busy and draw attention to the tv and away from the fireplace which younwant to take Center stage. I love the yellow flow pillow and ruffle one too. I agree, maybe too many different pillows. Maybe another pop of’the blue or yellow in a different configuration. Love the simplified shelves, much less clutter.

  13. Tami W July 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Holy wow, your home looks like it belongs in a magazine. Beautiful. I like the fireplace as is, but if you change it, I liked the stone!

  14. Maran July 7, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    I vote the chevron. I think I’m in the minority but it’s the one that really made me take a second look. It works beautifully with the decor you already have and it’s fresh and fun! Love your decorating style – good luck deciding!

  15. Ali July 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    I love your new coffee table! Where did you buy it?

    ~ Ali

  16. Terri Manning July 21, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    I think it is clean looking the way it is . Instead of adding another element of texture and color in there, what about painting it either a lighter or darker version of the paint that you have on the wall. If that is not an option for you then I would leave it alone or go with a stone that had gray tones in it. Your living area (and whole house) is absolutely wonderful!

  17. Judy January 3, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    Definitely Option 3 or Option 4, the stone or the Chevron marble tiles. We too are going to remodel our family room in the next 6 months and I’m really loving yours. Thanks for sharing it! Happy New Year! Like the new blog design too.

  18. jess kamal January 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    i love what you did, editing out bigger pieces, bringing the chairs together, & the addition of the church pew really gives your room a personal touch. One item you might want to think about. . . I always paint wall switch covers, outlet covers, & vent covers the same color as my walls/ceiling– they’re never something I want to call attention to in my interiors.

    fab choice on your wall/trim colors — very restful.

  19. Amanda Johnson February 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    barn wood for sure!

  20. Sarah Peevey February 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    What color is the paint in your living room (the gray color)?

    PS… I LOVE your blog and all your creative ideas!

  21. Angalee March 16, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    Definitely the barnwood! All the way!

  22. wendy November 27, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    Emily- Ithink the room looks soothing and inviting just the way it is, including the fireplace. I would not do anything to the fireplace at all other than maybe painting it a slightly different shade of neutral….maybe one or two shades darker than the walls are already.
    Keep upthe good work!
    Can I hire you to come to Memphis and redecorate my house w/ me?

  23. Sue Reed January 3, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    Hi Emily, your style is soo cute! And I love reading your blog! I’ve been inspired many times by you;). I saw your living room make over….not sure how old that was. In light of freshening things up once Christmas decor is down, I’d like to give some unsolicited ideas to you…I’m an interior designer, but love eclectic mixes and our design aesthetic is a lot alike. Try adding a little symmetry to your rooms. It will give a higher end more pulled together look. For instance, your pillow mix is cute, but I would eliminate some of the random mix, edit it down to a couple pillows, get rid of the yellow w Flowers pillow (it’s throwing off the eye) and balance the 2 chairs more. There are tricks to getting the artsy eclectic mix without it looking too random and one trick is to choose areas w the mix but balance it out w areas that are more pulled together. It will give a more grown up professional look. Try to balance over all room for continuity but throw in unexpected things. Does this make sense? Right now you have a lot of cute things that get “lost” from the distraction of all things trying to stand out. Take the throw off the chair so the tufting of the chair shows and the design of that piece stands alone. Or, put 2 folded throws that match on back of each chair, so again to create a cleaner look, while still adding the warmth. These are my thoughts, not criticism at all! I look forward to the continued evolution of your home and business! The Lord’s blessings to you and your family in 2013!!

    • emily January 3, 2013 at 9:35 am #

      Thank you so much for your suggestions! The living room has gone through another transformation that is not complete, but when it is, I will share it here. I will definitely take your advice while pulling the whole room together!

  24. Jane April 14, 2013 at 2:17 am #

    I love your furniture especially the chairs in front of the fireplace. As far as changing the fireplace, I vote you leave it alone. There are many other things in the room you could change.

    Great blog!


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