Do any of you ever feel like things are “off” in your home but you can’t quite figure out what the problem is? I’ve been a bit unsatisfied with the feel our living/dining room area for a while but I couldn’t quite pinpoint the issue, until this past weekend. The culprit was our dining table, and the fact that I neglected to keep it clear of junk. I haven’t been sharing a ton of decorating photos these days because I have felt like things never looked great enough to share, but here is how we had our dining room and living room set up when we first moved in (and you can see a blog post here too):
We had our home set up like this from July until December of 2017. After that I realized the sofa should be against the back window (instead of the glass sliding door) to make the space more functional, so I rotated that around. I also sold those dining chairs seen above (from this DIY project) and pulled out the Chinese Chippendale chairs (from this DIY post). The dining table was also situated so that you ran into the short end of it the second you walked through the door. I figured this was best because it provided more space to play in the living room area, but it made getting in the door with the stroller a big pain.
We tried the pink wingback chair (one of two, the other is in our bedroom holding more clothes than it should) in front of the bookcase, but that only lasted a few months.
Eventually, I pushed our dining table all the way to the side of the room, up against the wall. I thought that would be a good solution because it allowed the kids to have more floor space, but then we started never using the table and just dumped all of our random stuff on it. Bags, papers, mail, you name it ended up getting piled on the table and it looked horrible all the time. This photo here is from Christmas morning, but the table looked something like this 99% of the time:
This past weekend I came to the realization that more open floor space is less important to me than a tidy home is, and that if I moved the table to the middle of the room (flipped perpendicular to how it was in those top photos) then I’d have no choice but to quit dumping stuff because the table would be front and center.
Additionally, I was rather annoyed with the three fans in a row that we have on our ceiling: one in the living room, one in the dining room, one in the kitchen…all in one straight line. It’s a small space, so it made no sense to me. Plus we use the AC instead of fans most of the time, and I don’t like that kind of overhead lights (I’m a lamp kind of girl), so the entire fixture was basically pointless.
On Sunday I ran to Target to get a few groceries and there was a new display in the store that immediately caught my eye. I had been drooling over the most recent Serena and Lily catalog and when I saw this light fixture from the Project 62 + Leanne Ford collaboration I knew we needed it. This was the piece I’d subconsciously needed to convince me it was time to move the table away from the wall. We bought the large one ($79.99) but it also comes in extra large ($149.99). The website says it’s temporarily sold out but hopefully some more will be available soon because the quality is superb and it looks really similar to this $648 one from Serena & Lily. It’s available in black and white though, if you’d prefer one of those colors!
Once I got home Tom and I spent longer than we should have taking down the fan and installing the new chandelier. The fan removal part was the most difficult, but it was pretty smooth sailing once we started working on the light (just wish out step ladder had been a little taller). After the chandelier was installed we moved over the table, rug and chairs and I breathed the biggest sigh of relief. This was the change I’d been craving!
Hanging the light turned out to be a catalyst and it made me want to finally get this room right. Using the Serena & Lily catalog as color inspiration I decided to play around with the furniture we have stored in various places. I swapped out a small wood and pink chair for my dad’s old woven chair from his bachelor days. This toned the area down a bit, but there was still work to be done.
Next I went through all the toys and made a bag to donate and pulled out some others to put away in the closet for a while, so that we don’t have as many out at one time. So far the kids don’t even miss the toys I removed.
Next up was tackling the area under the vintage Queen Anne mirror. I moved the acrylic waterfall table from the back of the room over to this area, which has proven to be a great choice because it doesn’t have any hard corners for the kids to hurt themselves on. I grabbed this stool to put under it (though I regret the fabric choice so I threw a sheepskin over it), after realizing baskets left the spot feeling a little naked. I added a woven bowl and a striped lamp from Target (the matching one is in Jack’s room) and it created the nice neutral with a pop of blue look I had been craving. I’m still debating hanging up my blue and white plates in an unstructured way around the mirror (you can see how I had them back in Kansas here), but I’m not sure. What do you think?
At this point I decided I really needed a spot to work at my computer. I typically either sit on the sofa (which I think contributed to the neck and head pain I had a few weeks ago) or I work on the messy dining table. Obviously neither were ideal. I was craving a space of my own, so I pulled out this vintage faux bamboo vanity ( see my DIY here) and it fit perfectly in that back little corner by the window! I grabbed one of our unused Chinese Chippendale chairs and that color scheme tied in nicely with the dining room. (Here is my blog post about the search for these beautiful and affordable seat covers!)
I moved the remaining toy baskets and toy box to the side of the tv, and so far so good.
I am now SO happy with everything. Sure, it’s still a rental and I still hate the color of the carpets and the walls, but it finally feels like the home I’d been longing for. Jack keeps telling me the new chandelier “looks good” and that he likes all the changes, so it seems as if it’s been a great change for the entire family.
I’m currently on the hunt for an affordable white slipcover for my wingback chair. This one looks like the best bet, but it can’t be shipped to Hawaii! I want it to be twill or duck fabric, white, and rather fitted…and this is proving to be tough to find! If you have any recommendations please let me know! Maybe one day I’ll get custom ones made. I still love the pink but think a neutral color may be more versatile.
Below are the sources for everything I’m able to find that isn’t vintage (the majority of our stuff has been thrifted and made over by me, which makes it hard to find similar pieces sometimes!).
Dining Table (mine is old but this is their current version. I love the clean lines of a Parsons table.)
Similar Gold Queen Anne Mirror (ours is vintage)
Bookcase (I always get questions about this piece! I bought it at Nadeau Furniture in Columbia, SC in 2013. They get shipments of interesting high-quality pieces from all over the world and you never know what you’ll find. There are lots of locations these days, so go visit if you live near one!)
The fabric on the vintage sofa is Lacefield’s Marrakesh Indigo Batik ikat
Push-Pin World Travel Map (we have the 30 x 40 in) canvas. You can customize it in all sorts of ways. We have “Vail Family, Est. 2014” on ours.)
Curtains (very long, white non-sheer curtains were tough to find and we really like these…though I know they need to be hemmed a bit. They are hung using these brackets that mount on vertical blinds! You just push your blinds all the way to the side and pretend they aren’t there.)
Small Marble Side Table (old from Target, this is very similar and only $79.99)
Similar Glass Stacked Ball Floor Lamp (mine is old from Pier 1)
Woven Bowls and Rattan Wrapped Hurricane are from SoHa Living, one of my favorite shops in Hawaii
Similar White Lamp (on desk, mine is old from Target)
Similar Striped Lamp (on acrylic table, mine is old from Target)
Similar White Pom Pom Pillow (mine are old from H&M)