Monday, August 18, 2014

Doesn't cost anything to look.

So many colours to choose from!
I've about had it with the decor in our living room. It's too dark, it's too green, and the furniture is too big for the space.

Too much green!
The lights are making the green look even worse. Ugh.
I've got table lamps all over the place, and it still feels dark. We even left our Christmas lights in the front window so that, in the evening, it doesn't feel like we're cave dwellers.

We don't usually have the lights on during the day.
Even with a great big window, the room feels dark, partly because there's a beautiful ornamental crab apple tree that casts shade on the room. Also because the room faces east.

This little corner always feels the darkest.
We've had this furniture -- and, consequently, this colour scheme -- for more than 12 years. I've loved the couch and chair for their comfort, and I really liked the colours for a long time, but I'm beyond ready for a change.

Yes, those are actual hand- and foot-prints of our children when they were newborns.
So this weekend, while Steve was on a youth-worker course, I did a little Internet window-shopping. My criteria were:

  • Light, neutral colours, with touches of blue
  • Smaller furniture
Since we're now living on a single, retirement income, I tried to be frugal: I started at Ikea. The Ikea website has a "Shopping List" that is separate from the cart, which makes it really easy to play around with options.

All new furniture, drapes, and carpet
We already have the print.

It sure adds up fast! Before I could bat an eye, I had racked up a $2,000 fantasy bill. To be fair, that included two love seats and two reclining chairs. Still, it was far more than we can afford right now.

Maybe, I thought, I could find slipcovers for the furniture, at least as an interim solution. I dreaded the thought of slipcovers, having memories of the droopy blankets that always came untucked.

Turns out slipcovers have come a long way.

With SureFit slipcovers
The first challenge was that our sofa is GIGANTIC -- 93" wide and 44" deep with attached pillow-backs. It took some digging to find a slipcover that could (I think) handle such a big piece. But when I did, I discovered this absolutely adorable chintz pattern.

I love flowers. Everywhere. Always.

But, out of respect for Steve's masculinity, I looked into a more neutral option.

With floral throw pillows.

The slipcover options, even with a few throw pillows come in under $300. That is much better!

Being an impulsive shopper, I came very close to ordering the slipcovers, but decided just to order the fabric samples. Aren't you proud of me?

And then I realized that, even if we don't replace or slipcover the furniture, I can still paint the walls. Duh!

I've been following Satori Designs for Living blog for a while now, and she recently did a couple of posts on "designer favourite paint colours" (Part I, and Part II). One of the colours the designers mentioned was Benjamin Moore's Wickham Gray, which happens to be the colour my sister had painted her living room -- a colour I loved so much that I actually asked her about it.

Have you ever asked anyone what colour their walls are painted? I haven't. And I liked it enough that I bookmarked it.

The swatch looks like putty, but on the walls, it had a very, very slight blue undertone.

I actually bought a "fan deck" of all the Benjamin Moore colours so I can refer to them as I read design blogs.
I got so excited that I actually dashed out to the paint store and bought a sample pot of Wickham Gray. My next project will be to prime and paint a few large spots on our walls.

Stay tuned!


  1. I love this post. I could virtually shop and plan and redecorate ALL DAY! And it's the only place I can do it because we definitely don't have the funds for decorating. I HATE everything about the decor in my house -- it's not even mine: it's As Purchased. Aside from the kids bedrooms, nothing has changed since the day we bought it over 10 years ago. nothing. HATE.
    My hubby gets offended by that -- but I just means in "aesthetic" terms: I know we are very blessed to have a clean comfy home, and I certainly would never, ever put my family in financial strains just change the paint colour.
    Which, have I mentioned? I hate. :)

    1. Aesthetic stuff just doesn't matter to some people. It's like they're tone-deaf to it. My hubby is like that. He would live with bachelor beige ugliness for eternity, but for me, it just makes me depressed. You may be interested to read an old post of mine on the topic:


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