The Living Room, and a Tale of Overcoming

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I have never liked the color red as a main decor element. I don’t mind it at all in other peoples’ spaces, but home needs to feel really relaxing to me. Red does not. It feels so overbearing, overstimulating, even heavy. The kitchen is the one place I like it, where I like a little excitement. The only little issue I had when we looked at our home was the wallpaper in the living room. Big, red roses, everywhere. And then the drapes, which practically take up one wall of the room were also red. We asked the owner if he would please change the wallpaper, but he said he would not. We could get it redone, but it would have to be done professionally… And there would still be the matter of the drapes, which would cost a whole lot to replace. (Also, some pictures were taken in the fall, others are recent.)
So, we are living with it. I don’t think I actually like it, but I don’t mind it as much. Surprisingly, our things look pretty good in this room, and the more we add, the more the roses fade into the background.

Living rooms should feel “lived in”– don’t you think? We spend so much time here.
A place for very small people.


The one “new” purchase we made for the room is the big coffee table, which we found at a Habitat store that was closing. I like it so much, we bought it before we even knew where we would be living! I can’t wait to have a game night, with people sitting around it to play. And I love keeping seasonal arrangements on it. By the way, that beetle is an antique functional item– can you guess what it was used for?

Putting the shelves up really helped, and I would like to find a large piece of artwork or something to put on the wall on the left. In fact, we could use a whole lot more artwork in this room  We’re working on it!
I also thought that having a green couch in here would be really awkward and Christmas-y. But I think it’s OK. We had originally bought this as a guest room piece, since it converts to a sofa, and I spent a lot of time looking for another couch for the living room. But maybe we’ll keep it here, and maybe we’ll find another cover for it down the road.
Back to the wallpaper… The thing about the wallpaper is that it feels very British. There is a part of me that would feel bad trying to erase the British character from the room– we are here, after all! So, I will do my best to embrace it.

I feel really happy about this room. We looked at so many Victorian era homes that had tiny, tiny little living rooms. This one feels generous and cozy, all at the same time. And we are very lucky that the owner is allowing us to actually light fires in the fireplace– something usually prohibited for insurance reasons. I love sitting on the couch in here, working on the computer and looking out the window. It’s definitely the room I feel most “at home” in.
Thanks for visiting!

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9 Responses to The Living Room, and a Tale of Overcoming

  1. Gretchen March 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Ariana, I really really love what you do with your space! There is an element of Grandmother and Auntie Bell in your style. They always had special artsy little knick knacks around and interesting pieces from other countries. Your living room looks so cozy and well appointed. =0) You inspire me!!

    • Ariana March 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      Gretchen, thank you so much! The comment about Greatmother and Auntie Bell was so heart warming. I remember always seeing so many interesting things in their apartments, it was fun to be there. I especially remember their “trouble dolls” from Central America.

  2. Bethany March 21, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    I am really enjoying your house tour! I love it. I don’t know if it’s the culture we grew up in or what, but I love giving mini house tours when people come to visit, even if it’s messy. It’s where we live after all. But I’ve noticed a few people seem to shy away from this, like it’s too personal or something. I don’t know. I think it’s fun to see how other people use their space.

    I also see a lot of ways that you and I are similar. So I always find it amusing when you talk about the color red since we are opposites. It’s my absolute favorite color and I feel like I can’t live without a lot of red in my life. Blues and greens are so restful and if I use any of them I might just fall asleep and never wake up. Ha, ha! I guess you must have some sort of natural vibrancy that I am missing and have to make up for with stimulating color. When we moved into this house with all white walls I painted the kitchen a shocking shade of orange so I could stay awake for my first winter in this house. I have since toned it down to a more “tomato bisque” shade of orange, but not after filling the house with burgundy, red, and butternut yellow.

    Anyway, I love what you have done with the first two rooms. Not that I ever had any doubts. You have a good eye and a fun style. And it’s fun to see the items you have collected on your travels. I am really looking forward to the rest of the tour!

    • Ariana March 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Hi Bethany,
      It’s so nice to hear you are enjoying the tour. I always wonder if anyone actually wants to see what our home looks like, but that is how I am wired, and I want to share it. I am always super curious, too! I always wonder what peoples’ living spaces are like, and what they eat every day. I want to know so badly!! But not everyone wants to volunteer that sort of information. I have often thought of keeping a blog of just a picture of every single dinner we eat. Mostly in hopes that other people would do that too, and I could see what everyone’s eating!
      I think we may have had the conversation before about bright colors. I never even used bright anything (or even wore much color) until I was in Portland and completely lacking in sunshine. Now I am much more into cheery colors, but still struggle with the colors you mentioned needing for stimulation. I think I have a lot of internal stimulation, and go into the world seeking peace. I know Joy is the opposite, and needs her environment to be a little more “busy” to feel energetic. I think you two might be similar that way. So interesting!

  3. greatdana March 21, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    I’m sorry but I adore the red wallpaper! I love the grey couch too! Very nice and cozy. Now what’s the beetle? A tiny ash tray?

    • Ariana March 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

      Thanks Dana! I know a few people who would really love it, and so I feel kind of bad for not thanking my lucky stars for all these red roses! 🙂

  4. Ariana March 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    OK, so about that beetle… It is called a striker, which was some place to keep your matches, and you could strike them on the beetle to light them! My guess when I asked the seller was that it was some sort of snuff box. Nope!

  5. The Foreigner March 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Thanks for allowing us to have a peek. We’re renters, too and in the past I’ve been really lazy about making our house a home, but since having our daughter I’m working on it a lot more. It’s nice to see what others are doing and get a bit of inspiration. xx

    • Ariana March 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      Hi Foreigner, thanks for introducing yourself! I think it’s especially important to make home a really comforting and sweet place when we’re living far from what we know as “home.” Glad I can offer a little inspiration. 🙂

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