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?

191 Responses to ahhh … that’s better

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

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

    Definitely the barnwood! All the way!

  5. 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!

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

    barn wood for sure!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

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

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

    ~ Ali

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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)!

  17. 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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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?

  24. 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

  25. Katie June 22, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I love the chevron tile! The brick is also great. Fun looking at these pictures. :D

  26. terry cohen June 22, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    I like the white paneling the best -crisp and clean. But I think you should do the marble chevron tile surrounding the fireplace below the mantle. It would be a nice pop and surprise.

  27. Marta June 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    I like the way the fireplace is now and LOVE all the family room changes!! The church pew is absolutely awesomeness!

  28. Tracy June 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    I love the changes. Jalap like the chevron tile the best, it’s different yet flows with the rest of the design.

  29. Amoreena June 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    So many great options . . . but I’m loving barnwood these days. Rustic will not go out of style . . . at least I think it won’t. :)

  30. Emily June 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Oops … Those ones are potterybarn

  31. Alecia Shannon June 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    I love the chevron…I just saw a picture of a mantle like that on Pinterest.

  32. Kelly G in ATX June 21, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Came through Pinterest. Barnwood, hands down. And oh my heavens, when can I move in? The living room is gorgeous!

  33. Mitzi June 21, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I love the fireplace as it is very lovely. If you do change a wall paper or grass cloth if my vote but with your great taste I am sure that what every you do will look wonderful.
    I enjoy your sight so much, I have tried lots of your ideas, but my never look as good as yours.

  34. Sylvia June 21, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    i love the white paneling! it would really brighten the room! And it is amazing how the turned around books really lighten up the bookcases….. I think it is much improved!!

  35. Amy Spencer June 21, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    Maybe consider some textured wall paper like grass cloth…. or maybe actually a fun pattern?. I love the chevron, but it would be a big investment that you may tire of quickly. If you could do barnwood inexpensively I think that would be great too. What about replacing the grayish spec. tile that is in the mantel with something a little more interesting. That might make a bigger difference than you’d think.

    Thanks for sharing your room. Always, inspiring!

  36. Maya June 21, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Gorgeous! Your mantle and room size is very similar to mine. I have avoided mounting a television over the fireplace because I thought the viewing angle would be too high. How is it for you? If we get a bigger TV, that is our only option as the cabinets to the side of the fireplace only accomodate a 32″. Thank you!

  37. Emily June 21, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    I vote stone!

  38. Bernie June 21, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    I like the fireplace the way it is…maybe just add some texture in the same color. I also love the chevron, but I think you might get tired of it after a while.(would look great in a guest bath or powder room. Re: Julie’s comment about using the word “cringe” as being rude and insulting, I have to totally disagree. Its an honest comment and I did not interpret it at all, as mean spirited. If a blogger has a comment section, she/he should expect there to be some disagreement, otherwise its just fishing for compliments.

  39. Jennine June 21, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    The changes definitely make sense. But I don’t think you should add anything above the fireplace. Those options seem to compete with the tile and mantle of the fireplace and draw the eye away from your pretty vignette? Good luck, it’s never easy, especially when your kitchen vantage point is directly across to that area!

  40. shelly kennedy June 21, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    beautiful! yes.. taking a picture of the space really helps with seeing the “less is more” theory!
    i’ve fallen to that same situation many times! i try to keep it “less”…. but its not always so easy!
    your spaces look beautiful & relaxed, and yet like a very thoughtful personal space!

  41. Courtney Allred June 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    To be completely honest, I love your fireplace the way it is most. When you said you wanted to change it in the original living room post, I wondered why. The cut-out style you have now counteracts the horizontal television and elongates the room. I think in panelling the fireplace, it will make it look smaller. Your home is so beautiful!

  42. Emily Cherry June 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    My vote is for glass mosaic tile to add a drop of sophistication that mixes well with the rest of the room and reflects some of that natural lighting. Circular glass tiles are beautiful, too.

  43. Christy June 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    I love your living room, before and after. I think my favorite part is the division between the gray and white, LOVE it.

    I would vote for the white paneling or the stone.

  44. Caitlin June 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    I like the brick fireplace

  45. kelly June 20, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    white panelling, timeless, you’ll never tire of it.

  46. justjayma June 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    My vote is for the stone, I just love the stone!

  47. Casey June 20, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    You make a house a home! That room is so inviting and warm. I think the white panels would be my favorite but you have a gift to make any ideas work. It’s cool of your husband to be involved in the process, too. I thought the before was beautiful but you’re right, the small changes really opened it up. You’re good at looking at your space objectively. Keep it up! Thanks for sharing!

  48. Michele June 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    It looks great! I love the old church pew.

  49. Lindsay June 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Love the old church pew! I think the barnwood option above the fireplace would tie in great with the wood of the church pew. Stunning room, great job!

  50. Lauren June 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    I love the barnwood but it does get very dirty and is hard to clean. The chevron is amazing!!! It really pulls the room together! :) They all really look nice.

  51. Heather Duren June 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    I love the chevron marble tile. It looks awesome in your space. A little bold but it would definitley be a statement piece.

  52. Rachel June 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Your refreshed space looks gorgeous, Emily! My vote is for barnwood boards. It would give a nod to the lovely wood tone of the pew, and I love the juxtaposition of the modern (TV) placed over the natural (wood planks). I’d say we’re on the tale end of the chevron trend now, and because of that you may not want to commit to such a *permanent* example of this pattern. Just my thought. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  53. Kristol Faucheux June 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Definitely the marble chevron.

  54. Mary-Frances June 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I LOVE your living room! We just moved into a house that has a similar paint color and we haven’t been able to find anything that we could use for ideas that we both like until now; thank you! Leave your fireplace the way it is; its perfect! :)

  55. Katrina June 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    I think the rustic wood would add some depth and warmth to the space. Give it a more worn and aged authenticity. I also am digging the chevron tile but I would go too glossy with it. The chevron pattern would really make the fireplace pop!

  56. jennie June 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    I actually think the chevron is the best by far!!!

  57. Tammy June 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Your house is all kinds of amazing!!! I think it looks great as-is. =)

  58. Melissa M June 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    shelves look great! and I LOOOVE the books turned around (I did it myself. hee hee). You being a girl that likes to ask the ‘uncomfortable’ questions, I think this does the same thing (seeing the comments above). :-) Jackets would look nice but really…how is covering the book cover different than turning the books around?!

    As for the fireplace, I love the idea of doing SOMETHING to make your house unique. Barnwood: too messy and I worry about the smell. yeiks. White Paneling: like! It adds texture, a natural element yet balances the white wood in your kitchen on the other side. Stone: no. It’ll be so dated in 5 years. and Chevron: AMAZING! so current, yet based on classic design. My only concern is getting sick of it in 5 years… But WOW! Fun to think about. Cant wait to see what you and Ryan decide!

  59. Jaclyn Bishop June 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Where did you get your coffee table. I really love the polished wood grain look.

  60. Amy Ricklefs June 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Definately the barnwood :)
    and lovin’ the coffee table !

  61. Jessica June 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I really like the fireplace the way it is, and I think the barnwood and the stone would overpower the rest of the room. I like the chevron a lot, but it definitely makes a strong statement! To keep the vibe of simplicity going, I would leave it alone or do the white paneling. Love how everything looks. The throw pillows are my fav. I hope to try that ruffle pillow soon. Thanks for all the inspiration and beauty you supply me with at each post. Each day I see a new post makes my day a little happier.

  62. Moon June 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Let’s name the big pink elephant in the room. That tv is ruining the beautiful décore! You’d never see something like that in ANY design or house magazine- and for good reason. It’s bad design!

  63. Catherine June 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Either the wood or nothing at all. Wouldn’t choose the chevron, though I love that pattern choice…a lot.

  64. catherine June 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    i like the fireplace as is. the others look busy to me…but your taste is beautiful so whatever you choose will be pretty.
    but my question is…..is the airplane still there? i cant see the top of the curtains. ;)

  65. Meghan Cowart June 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Love the stone!

  66. Gracious Spaces June 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Emily, this is fabulous! I saw the ones you posted a month ago & I can see a definite change. I thought it was gorgeous before but now it is awesome. The bookshelves are styled so clean & pretty. Less busy now, too. I turn my books around, too. If the colors aren’t working for you, why does anyone care? Covers for them?? Ugh, more work. I love that you turned them around and added the pretty creamware. The chairs look amazing turned into the new coffee table. My vote for the fireplace is white or barn wood. I think you have enough other wood tones that the barn wood would tie into. Love it! Would love to have you guys check my FB page, Gracious Spaces, where I share decorating inspiration for the home. Emily, I’d like to feature your living room soon on one of my posts. Hope you will come by! Thanks, Jennifer

  67. PG June 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    The barnwood would be my first choice/or something with that coloring and texture. It works very nicely with all of the white and clean paint look. My second choice would be the chevron for it’s smooth texture and color. What is nice about the fireplace area is that you could easily change it out (like pillows) when you wanted to “freshen up the living room”. The more I think about it the more I like the barn wood idea.

  68. lesli westfall June 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Could you mention the paint colors for wall and ceiling, please? Thanks!

  69. Angela June 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Very beautiful living space! I vote for stone! I love mixing rustic with clean lines and chic!

  70. Jennifer from Alabama June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    barwood or chevron!! ! LOVE IT!

  71. paige June 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    it looks fabulous! i love the re-do. fantastical, completely!
    the cord disappeared! yay!
    the books are ever so cool all backwards.
    the mantel, i have no idea. i’m usually all over the barnwood look but i sorta like the stone look the best. but what do i know?

  72. Delia Garrett June 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Love the fresh new facelift. Dumb question I am sure, but how did you hide the tv cords? And while I love chair arrangements that create conversation, my family would totally re-do it so they could see the almighty television. I am outnumbered with 3 men ( my husband, and two teenage boys). I like the simple clean lines of your mantle as it is, but if you must change, I vote for the stone!
    Love your postings, and remember to tell me your cord secret!
    Delia Garrett

  73. jami nato June 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    barnwood, fo sho’

  74. Katie June 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Love this! We just bought that same coffee table…I’m loving it SO much. I really like the stone option.

  75. Tonya June 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I love the pillow with all the yellow flowers on it! do you have a tutorial somewhere or have you done one on those flowers?

  76. Natalie June 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Love your room…would you mind sharing the paint color on the wall? Love it!

  77. Jennifer June 20, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Im partial to the barnwood or white paneling ideas also have you considered beadboard painted white? Oh and side note here I ALWAYS turn my books white side out on my bookcases. Thinks it is so much more fresh and clean looking!!!!!

  78. Lorraine June 20, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Okay, so I love rustic so I just assumed that I would prefer the wood or stone, but with how the room is done I would keep it the fireplace the way it is, maybe some sort of finish (a shimmer of some sort, maybe) to give it separation from the rest of the wall above the molding, but it’s beautiful in it’s simple way. All the other treatments seem to make the TV say “HELLO, HERE I AM, LOOK AT ME.”

  79. Sara @ It's Good to be Queen June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    your design sense is amazing. your house/blog is my very favorite for inspiration. love love love it. also, i like all the fireplace options, but i like the barnwood the best i think.

  80. Christine Welches June 20, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Okay…I love your church pew! I’ve been looking for one for my family room as well. The new arrangement flows well. I would go with the white paneling or the barn wood. :)

  81. cat June 20, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    The chevron stripes, for sure! After you’re all done with your place, will you come to mine and help me? You have a great eye!

  82. Mandy June 20, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    I love the wood!

  83. Kristy Borg June 20, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Oh, one more thing!! I vote for beadboard on the fireplace! And even on the sides of the fireplace on that little area above the top shelf – only to the trim line -it would totally finish off that area – it would look like a totally built in unit, and it’s the same materials you used on the walls in your kitchen!! It’s perfect! And easy and not too expensive!! They even have wallpaper now – instead of having to deal with the wood….. check it out!!! White of course.

  84. Tammy June 20, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Very fun! I cringed at the books being backwards, but I guess it’s your house and I don’t have to look at them everyday. ;) I like the fireplace just as it is!

    • Delia Garrett June 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Emily, I too cringed at the books turned around. As craft as you are….. I know you can make some simple white book jackets for these huh? Love everything else!
      Delia Garrett

      • Julie June 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

        First of all, if you don’t like something, you can at least phrase it in a way that’s not so insulting, like “I cringed.” You could have just said, “Did you ever consider making book jackets for the books instead of turning them around?” I hate it when people leave insulting negative comments on home design blogs. Yes Emily is opening her home up to us by putting it online, but I don’t think that gives anyone the right to leave a rude comment about it!

        Secondly, as someone who has made all-white book covers for my cookbook collection – I don’t recommend it. Not only is it very time consuming, but it also lacks texture, which the pages of the books (turned around like that) provide. As a decorative touch, I think it works well — a long as you’re not going to be trying to find certain books frequently!

        In terms of the fireplace, I took like it how it is. I think adding anything (besides the TV) up top might pull the eye toward that and away from the room. However, I do really like the white paneling too…because it’s all white I think it would work :-)

  85. Susan June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Wish I could share the pictures I have of some of my favorite white paneling done on fireplaces…

  86. Kristy Borg June 20, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Have you tried putting the silver lamps on the top shelf on each side of the tv? They would fill that space and balance it out. In the first post of your living room, you showed a full length mirror to the left of the windows… I would hang that on the wall on the right – to bring that wood tone over to that side of the room – opposite the pew – then surround it with family photos. The top left shelf looks too bare…I would put that gold mirror from the right top shelf over there (behind the silver lamp) (silver and gold contrast nicely) with the greenery…. and I would break up the descending books on the left – put that box at the end in the middle of the books – and descend the other way – from the window leading to the (focal point) fireplace. Just a few things off the top of my head… :-) OH! one more thing… there was a print in the first pictures of your living room with a wood frame and scroll work picture inside – put that on the top shelf right side bookcase to balance out the wood tone again…. FUN!

  87. Susan June 20, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I think the new arrangement is fun and fresh:) The chair placement is cozy and inviting. I like the books the way you have changed them. You can mix some facing out some facing in to please all…but I say do what looks new to you. That is the best part about a change!
    Definitely LOVE the white paneling.

  88. Ashley June 20, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    I think it looks great as is as well… but I also like the white paneling and the stone.

  89. dinamarie June 20, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    LOVE the redesign. Whatever you do, say no to the stone. It doesn’t seem like you. Seems more like what came with the home when you bought it and what you’re tolerating, you know?

  90. Alicia June 20, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    I like the #3 option (stone) looks classic!

  91. Laura June 20, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Too bad you can’t get giant pieces of Command Adhesive and make interchangeable fireplace surfaces. That way you could redecorate it when the spirit moved you! I think your books look quite happy- I don’t hear them crying out! Some days it is refreshing to be anonymous, and I’m sure the books agree.

  92. Anita June 20, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Your home is lovely. I love the idea of stone above the fireplace!

  93. Claudia June 20, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    What a pretty room! My advice is to keep the fireplace as is … it’s neutral and I think other options would make it stand out too much. But someone’s idea of grasscloth is kind of cool.

  94. Michelle Webster June 20, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    I love the stone and how natural it looks. I love how you turned the books around, what a great idea. What about putting paper jackets on the book using fun, neutral scrapbook paper? That would add some fun to any room.

  95. amber heagerty June 20, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Unless barnwood is sanded and polished it is a dust collector and althouth pleasing to the eye it is a disaster to keep clean. If you want a natural look the stone is a far better choice, but I would choose the chevron for sure, loving it!
    As far as the books are concerned…I think it is a textural home run!Way to think outside the box 8)

  96. Misty June 20, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Love the living room. I like the fireplace as is but I think I like the stone the best.

  97. erin June 20, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Barnwood! :) beautiful! love your changes!

  98. Erin Walsh June 20, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    I love your living room! I vote chevron marble all the way:)

  99. Candice June 20, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Love the church pew…such quirky, yet personal additional to the LR. I like the tile on the fireplace, or there is always the hand-painted wallpaper option. :o)

  100. Kelly June 20, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    I love all the throw pillows- it makes it feel so homey! And for the fireplace I like the barnwood option!!

  101. tinawal June 20, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Leave it like it is. I love the fireplace as is!

  102. linda okane June 20, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    I think the changes you have made to your room are great. If it were my room, I would paint the chimney breast the same grey as the rest. I would also remove the picture rail and continue the same grey up to the ceiling. I think the end result would be calmer and less fussy. I hope you don’t mind me saying these things? Love Linda x

  103. Katy Lunsford June 20, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    LOVE the stone! For sure the stone!

  104. EarlyGirl June 20, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Looks fantastic! It’s weird how many of the same things we own… but I am entirely jealous of your pew. I’ve wanted one for years. Found one on Craig’s List, but I was the second caller and missed out. As for the fireplace… the wood or stacked stone would be lovely, and quite fitting for where you live, but might be too much of a focal point. Our fireplace is antique tile in a grayish sage on one side and goldenrod on the other (it’s double-sided and faces both the living room and family room), and that might be one way to go. Let me know if you want pics, and I’ll email them to you… I like the grasscloth idea, or you could find come old burlap (maybe vintage coffee sacks? Hello Seattle!). Or, you could leave it as-is and hang the book page art above the TV (the one you used to have above your bed)…

  105. Tiffany June 20, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Someone else mentioned grasscloth, I like the idea. Neutral + texture.

  106. Tiffany June 20, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I LOVE the chevron but I don’t know if I could commit to it in that space. In the bathroom or kitchen, definitely!

  107. Joanna May June 20, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I vote barnwood or chevron marble. I have the same predicament with the fireplace. During spring and summer, I move wing chairs in front of it, but for fall and winter, I have to rearrange so we can take advantage of our wood burning stove.

  108. Katie June 20, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I agree with everyone who said they like it as is but can’t help but agree that it does need something. Although, I do love chevron, I think it might be distracting if you’re trying to have a family movie night. Have you considered rolling up some textured wallpaper? My aunt used to have a grasslike wallpaper (I’m not sure if that’s what the woman darlene above is talking about or not but if it is I agree with her) in her living room that I adored. Im sure it costs an arm and a leg but maybe if you were only doing that one portion of the wall to add some depth without distracting the eye too much, it might be a fun change.

  109. kelly June 20, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    What you’ve done really does go easy on the eyes. Just lovely. The fireplace is very nice the way it is, but I’d go in favor of stone for the texture and possibility of varied tones in the stone. But the grasscloth suggestion above is really great.

  110. Natalie June 20, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I thin the rock brings in a great textural element, the wood warms it up and the tile give it pattern and focus! the white panelling does not seem to bring good or bad elements to the space…

  111. {darlene} June 20, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    WONDERFUL-ness!!!!!!!!!!!!! every change is great! hmmm. I must say, I love the chevron! But I also think that tall, skinny {vertical}paneling would look great. But my vote? GRASSCLOTH! :)

  112. Adrianne June 20, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    It looks lovely! I especially love the built in bookcases. I’m planning on putting some on either side of my living room fireplace.

  113. Shelley Heck June 20, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    The LR looks great! I like how you squished the chairs in just a little closer. Opens up the shelving behind them. The church pew is amazing! My vote for the fireplace is the barnwood. It warms up the space and brings in a natural feel, not to mention it really ties in with the church pew. My second vote would be the white paneling. It looks amazing as is too =)

  114. Brooke June 20, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    love the stone or barnwood! i like the natural feel of both.

  115. ashley June 20, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    I’m so excited about that coffee table. I recently purchased a similar style that is a little lighter. I love the industrial look! We ordered it a few weeks ago (I dislike when things are out of stock) and I’m still waiting for it. I am worried about how it will look with a skirted sofa but hopefully it will come together fine…I vote on keeping the fireplace the same – but if you must change go for the white paneling and maybe add a mirror above the fireplace?

  116. Patti Todd June 20, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Love the chairs in front of the bookcase, hate, hate, hate the ‘decorative’ books on the shelves (I can hear them crying in outrage and pain, lol). Also luv the church pew from you mil. Nice!

    I agree with Susan. I love the chairs in front of the fireplace. I also hate the books reversed. I personally love the fireplace just the way it is now. Thanks for sharing the updated living room.

  117. Erin June 20, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I think your fireplace looks great as-is for a simple but beautiful space! If you really wanted to refinish, I vote for the paneling. I think the wood and Cheveron would make the room too busy.

  118. Julie June 20, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    your room looks gorgeous! I vote to keep the fireplace as is, but if you change it don’t go with chevron.

  119. Tia June 20, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    I am a country girl, so my pick is the barnwood. It goes really well with your AMAZING pew.

  120. Jennifer Marie June 20, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Wow….chevron marble…in love!!! Though I usually am pulled toward barn wood.

  121. Marla June 20, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    option three: stone

    I think it goes the best with what is already in the living room – it’s not too much that it takes away from the rest, but it also does not get lost. It’s the perfect balance

  122. Jamie June 20, 2011 at 9:10 am #


  123. krystle June 20, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    clicked post too soon. i meant to add, as much as i like the white paneling (its very close to what you have now/white) and it makes your tv the center of the party while everything else melts into the background like the white bookshelves/mantle. adding an element like the barn wood or larger scale, darker stone camouflages the tv instead of hello giant black thing on white! although im sure ur man loves it. mine loves the decorating style of walking into the room and all you notice is a massive tv so… who to please?

  124. Kim from 3 peanuts June 20, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    I think it looks great now –clean and airy. I am not sure I would change the surface of the fireplace at all. Although maybe you want to fill in that niche? I personally do not like the eye to be drawn up to the TV area too much and I think they all make it look too busy. If anything, I would do the white paneling.

  125. Breanne June 20, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Barn wood!!

  126. Sheila June 20, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Looks great, except for the books. :)

    I’m curious about your mantle. We are in the market for one and I”m confused about buying them. Where did you get yours? Thanks.

    • emily June 20, 2011 at 9:16 am #

      Ours was built with our house.

      Anyone else have suggestions?

  127. Nicoly June 20, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    I’m going against the flow…I LOVE the Chevron. It just seems to go with your style the best and it is so unexpected. Not sure if it’s just the photo or what but I actually liked the barnwood the least. In order of preference, Chevron, Stone, paneling (although slightly boring) and then barnwood.

  128. krystle June 20, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    i like the barnwood best because it really gives it another dimension. i like the outdoorsy element with all the grey tones you use. as a neutral girl myself, i would actually suggest you use stone, but more like real rough style rocks in brown/grey tones. like this one or this or this

  129. Barbara@HausDesign June 20, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I LOVE the church pew – it is a real statement piece and looks great! On the fireplace, I am usually one for texture vs. pattern, but given the accents you have in your room I think the chevron looks pretty amazing!

  130. Amy June 20, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Your photoshop skills are better than mine! I love the chevron marble tile! The barnwood is great, too!

  131. Elizabeth June 20, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    I LOVE that pew in the room. Did you guys do the molding yourselves or was it there? I just love the character it adds around the doorways and how it makes high ceilings manageable, I really hate high ceilings and new (post 1990) houses, but that is probably what we will have to buy when we move and you guys did such a great job with the space, just wondered how you did it.

  132. Chelsea June 20, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    I think the barnwood would look great with the brownish/tan chairs as well as the pew. It would tie in the brown that is in the room with. What a lovely room as it is!!!

  133. Jadie June 20, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Of course, LOVE it! I wish I could style my coffee table as beautifully as yours, but my children would have too much destroying it! I think I like the white paneling best!

  134. Megan June 20, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I like the stone the best.

  135. Cindy June 20, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Absolutely beautiful!!! It could be in a magazine. I like the white on the fireplace….clean, simple and just seems to work perfectly with everything else.

  136. Lisa June 20, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Your room looks great, I love that bench! I would do the barnwood or maybe the white, I’m not very good at making decisions. Good luck to you, I’m sure which ever you choose will look great!!!!

  137. Elizabeth June 20, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I like the chevron tiles the best! But, I like things that are a little different. I also agree with Abbie H. that you might try it with paint first. I’m sure you’ll choose what’s best!

  138. Tricia June 20, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    I’m liking the Chevron tile option…very cool!

  139. dedeetsyshop June 20, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    I love it! I vote for the barnwood! I heart barnwood! :)

  140. Pudel - design June 20, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    You have such a beautiful space;)
    So pretty!!!
    Lovely greetings…


  141. Kathleen June 20, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    The room looks fantastic. It’s so very hard to keep your living space looking like that with all of the kids stuff around all of the time. Kudos to you! I am all for the white paneling, I think it goes with everything you have already done but adds some really nice texture to the space. Thanks for the pics!

  142. Jessica June 20, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    I love it! The furniture placement is great. I’d love to read a book curled up in one of the chairs by the fireplace!

  143. Jennifer @ Somewhere Simple June 20, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    Maybe you could do your “painted wallpaper” there? Then you could choose any pattern you wanted, and it could be coordinated with any future changes in the room and it would be inexpensive!

  144. Helen June 20, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    I think all of the surfaces emphasize the tv too much – I’d do something black to make it disappear.

    • emily June 20, 2011 at 9:14 am #

      Okay … I’ve never thought of going dark, but now I’m thinking maybe this would be the answer to hide the huge tv! Thanks for the thought …

  145. Shellie June 20, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Love the room! What color is the gray on your walls?

    • emily June 20, 2011 at 9:14 am #

      The gray is Restoration Hardware Slate.

  146. Mrs. G June 20, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Love the barnwood look. It ties in beautifully with the old church pew (which is pretty darn awesome, by the way). It also gives a really nice contrast with the all white mantle.

  147. Shelly June 20, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    I have heard and read that taking a picture of a room will help you edit it. Although I loved the room before…I do love the changes that you made! Looks great!

  148. Jennifer June 20, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    it looks great! we had an old church pew in the living room when I was a kid. I’d love one now, but alas, really no place for it go … one day! love your chairs and sofa, btw.

  149. Abbie H June 20, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    Weeell, it looks like I might the only one going out on a limb and saying, “Chevron, baby!” Those stripes look awesome! Of course, if they were marble, and you got sick of them, that would stink, but you could maybe do a temporary paint job and get your dose of fun that way before deciding on something more permanent?

    • emily June 20, 2011 at 9:13 am #

      great idea … my wheels are turning …

  150. Sarah June 20, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Your living room looks even more beautiful than it did before! Good job on the phot0-shopped fireplace. I like the white one the best. If you want to really be like Layla, you can have a picture of my living room to re-design!

  151. Kristen June 20, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    I really like the look of the barnwood. It will look great with the old pew! I really like the new room arrangement. I need to do something different with my living room.

  152. Holly Mathis June 20, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    I think a more bleached gray barn wood , love the coffee table and you know i love that pew!

  153. cailan June 20, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    I find that happens to me a lot – pictures just seem to help me see things more clearly. Lovely tweaking. Like the pew a lot. Probably the barn wood?? Look forward to what to come up with. :)

  154. Sandra June 20, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    I LOVE you style! Everything always looks so fresh and inviting!

    I like the barn wood! Usually barn wood comes in a nice aged silver hew that I think would add texture and interest!

    I also think the wall on the right would look fabulous with a small sofa table to balance the room a little…

    LOVE the church pew!

  155. Aubri June 20, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Barnwood! But my second choice is the chevron marble tile. Can’t wait to see what you picked!

  156. sarah June 20, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    I love them all, but I think the stone and the barnwood are my favorites!

  157. Melissa June 20, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    I vote for the barnwood–love! What did you do with your tv cord? How did you make it disappear??

    • emily June 20, 2011 at 9:13 am #

      My ingenious husband installed a tube that goes through the wall from behind the tv, out the side of the left bookshelf {where the cable box, etc are}.

  158. cheryl June 20, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    i like the stone in your space.
    i really like the barnwood look – but i just think the stone would just fit better.
    just thought i’d add my 2 cents worth!!
    love the room changes – and i loved it before also!!
    cheryl xox.

  159. Rach June 20, 2011 at 6:25 am #


  160. abby June 20, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    I love it. Although I thought the way you had it before was just as lovely. Will you please come to my house and stage my bookshelves????
    I’m thinking the white paneling…..I love white!

  161. Holly June 20, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    I love that old church pew! It gives a nice, natural look to the room. Well done!

  162. Jolie June 20, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    I think you need to match it to the gray that is around the actual fireplace section. Can you do stone that matches that gray color?

    I LOVE the changes to the room!!

    • emily June 20, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      We would change out the stone as well. That’s never been a favorite of mine. Not sure what we would replace it with, but if we did stone on the entire chimney, I would go all the way with it and do a new mantle just straight across.

  163. Nordic Girl 2 June 20, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    I like the Barnwood one the best. Gives more dimenion than the white. Love the whole room though so anything you decde on is great!!

  164. Lynda June 20, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    I’m liking the white paneling!

  165. Jo June 20, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    White looks best but I’d go shopping and check out various tiles. Something smooth and light.

  166. CT June 20, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Hi Emily —
    I just started reading your blog a while back and I think this is the first time I saw the kitchen (in the background of your living room shots.) I love it! From what I have seen of your design aesthetic, I think the white paneled fireplace would be okay but the chevron marble would be the best — so unique and it would work so well with your decor. Thanks for some Monday morning eye candy.

  167. Leah June 20, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    I really love the look of the barn slats. Especially in your home. What with the huge barn/garage door in your dining room…. I can’t wait to see what you decide!

  168. Sarah June 20, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    I love it! The set up looks a lot more intimate and inviting for guest to sit and chat with the seating more closely arranged. And I love the texture the bench adds to the space! I think for the fireplace you should go with the barn wood or stone. Again, it adds another layer of texture that I think really would make the room come alive. But that’s just my opinion! :)

  169. kelly June 20, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    I am in the camp with the white paneling. Could it be hung vertically, or is your ceiling so high that it would be too difficult? Love that old pew by the way! Oh, and where did you find the black box/canister on the bottom shelf of the lower left side?
    thanks for sharing!
    -kelly in georgia

    • emily June 20, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      The black leather boxes are a few years old from Target. I’m guessing they still have something similar.

      • kelly June 20, 2011 at 10:45 am #

        perhaps i am getting my left and right confused in your photos..the one that says “No.2” was from Target?

        • Emily June 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

          Oops … Not from target … Potterybarn

  170. sarah June 20, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    The white paneling looks so clean and stylish!

  171. Jenny June 20, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    I”m torn between the marble and the barn wood! I think both would be cool but I think I would like the formality of the marble with everything else! Even if you do nothing…it’s beautiful!

  172. Trish @TheOldPostRoad June 20, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    Either barnwood or white paneling.

  173. maggie June 20, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    Your living room looks great. Love the new coffee table! I much prefer your fireplace wall just as it is. It’s a much cleaner look than any of your options. You could just paint it the same as your wall color.

  174. Susan June 20, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Love the chairs in front of the bookcase, hate, hate, hate the ‘decorative’ books on the shelves (I can hear them crying in outrage and pain, lol). Also luv the church pew from you mil. Nice!

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