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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shop Your Own Stuff – The Corner of the Living Room


You will hopefully remember that I’ve been doing a sub-series in the Laying Aside Weights theme by challenging us to “shop your own stuff”.  This post is a demonstration of how I tried to do that to improve a corner of our living room.  I know a lot of us have corners like this around our houses – maybe more than one.  This is not a T.V. reality show, so expect anything too stunning. :-)  Still, I hope you enjoy reading about it.

A year or so ago we rearranged our living room.  The corner by the T.V. had the walking machine in it, and I was ready to get it out of our sitting area.  Partly this was just to make a little more seating, but also, it would make the bookshelf there more accessible and make the sitting area more pleasant looking.  So, the walking machine was moved kitty-corner from where it had been.  It is now in the computer area.  I added a wicker chair (which I already had) for seating and the books are more accessible.  But…..after it was done the corner was dark and lacking something.  Also, the window ledge that sticks out there from the kitchen didn’t seem to go well in the living room. 

In the spirit of this challenge to “shop your own stuff”, I decided to see what I could do.  Initially I wanted to put up some Oriental paper lights in the corner, but it seemed like a better use of money to use something we already had.  Plus, it challenged me to see what solution I could come up with.

Here is a short chronicle of how the corner has “evolved” so far. :-)


As you can see, this corner is also a “piling area” for stuff leaving the house – especially things going to one of the other two houses on our joint properties.  The large basket on the bookshelf is my “Out” basket, but at this point it was rather overflowing!  You can also see that the window ledge is rather odd.  I think they made that wide ledge on the living room side for serving food – I assume.  Also, the cushions in the chair do not match.

The ledge décor didn’t look actually bad, but it wasn’t great either.  I didn’t think there was a good transition into the living room.  It was more in keeping with the kitchen.  The artificial marigolds in the vase just lacked something.

From the kitchen side looking into the living room:

Again, it wasn’t terrible, but it felt cluttered to me.

Some improvement:

Ok, this isn’t entirely an improvement, but it was better.  I worked on the window ledge and now there is a barrier between the kitchen side and the living room side.  This was partially accomplished by adding the wind harp on the edge and also removing the marigolds so that their orange heads weren’t “interrupting” so much.

The most significant change, of course is the hanging light!  Yay! :-)  Now we can sit here and read, and also anyone sitting there in the evening while visiting doesn’t have to sit in a dark corner.

The shade was something I got out of the garage “store” – actually it came from my dad’s collection of 1950’s items (which he’d planned to resell, but which hasn’t happened so far.  Thankfully, he’s just happy to see the stuff used).  The cord to hang it did cost us somewhere around $13 at a hardware store.  We could’ve gotten something cheaper, but the shade would then have been hard to use.  This particular hanger is designed in such a way that you can use a normal table lamp shade on it!  What a handy gadget. :-)  It served our purposes very well.

Here’s a closer look at the living room side of the window ledge.  I like it better.  I’m also glad to get this beautiful piece out of the pile, I mean “store”, so that it can be seen.  This wind harp was made for my family by a good friend who is now with the Lord.  It is a beautiful piece of workmanship and has a good message, and is a sweet reminder of our friend – an A+ item.

From the kitchen side:

I really like the berries in the basket a lot better than the flowers!  Also, this seems less cluttered to me.  I’m not sure yet what I’m going to store in the cute strawberry jar my sister-in-law got for me, but I really like it. :-)  I usually keep my drinking glass on the stone coaster.  It’s nice because it keeps the liquid off of the wood.  Of course, the fresh rose was only temporary.

More progress:

This is a more recent shot of the corner.  I had originally thought I would make a new cover for the rose pillow in the back of the chair, but after moving that green cushion from another part of the house to replace the red and white misfits, I realized that it was a perfect color match and that I didn’t need to recover the back cushion!  Yay!  Another unnecessary project eliminated. :-)

Another addition here that I really like is the two baskets on the end of the bookshelf (right).  I’m sorry they don’t show up better in the picture.  In rummaging around in the garage “store”, I found these African baskets that I think came from my grandmother.  They work great for easy access storage near the door.  The larger one is holding our winter hats, gloves, etc. The smaller one has not been designated for anything yet.  I’m really happy with them because they look decorative, but they supply some needed storage and reduce clutter.  In central Texas we don’t need hats and gloves every single winter day, so I know exactly where those only-occasionally-needed winter items are. :-)

The dog’s winter rug is laying there still waiting for repairs.  I do need to get that done and out of there.  Sigh.

I plan to make some more changes here eventually.  I would like to get the guitar stored somewhere else since it is almost never, ever used.  I also have an idea for putting a curtain on the bookshelf because I don’t like the black, I think it will look neater, and also it will improve the overall décor of the living room.  But, we’ll see.  That may be one of those abandoned projects. :-)  I’ll try to make a later update if/when I make more progress on shopping our stuff to improve this corner.


  1. I enjoyed your post today, Mary. :)
    I love it when I can shop my own stuff instead of buying something.
    Your living room looks great! The light does make a big difference!
    What a lovely wind harp. I think it looks very nice on the ledge.
    Hope you're having a good week! Take care. :)

    1. Thanks, Melanie. I'm glad you liked the post. :-) It was fun, though kind of challenging.

      I've been somewhat busy this week, but in a good way and some things have gotten done, so praise the Lord. :-)