Our Living Room Makeover

As we consider whether to Love It or List It, we’re trying to make more room in our living room. It’s roughly 12′ x 13′. Add two couches, some baby toys, and three kids, and we’re feeling the squeeze. The room is on the top floor of our bi-level. Neil remodeled the kitchen and dining room, opening it up to the living room when we bought the house. This helped the layout a lot, but we needed to make more changes in order to love it.

We also recently decided to replace our living room, hallways, and entryway stairs carpet. When we moved in, those areas plus the bedrooms had a multi-color Berber. Though not beautiful, it was durable and fairly forgiving in terms of stains. Almost 10 years and 3 kids later, the stairs, hallway, and living room carpet were worn and dingy, despite having it professionally cleaned regularly. Underneath the living room rug was literally a different color of carpet.

Bday party in the “before” living room.

We had never bought carpet and had no idea what we wanted. Every free Saturday morning we’d spend about 15 minutes pretending to choose carpet. After 5+ trips to Lowe’s over the course of 5 months, we made a decision. We chose a highly durable and cleanable, low-pile shag/Berber combo in “greige” with a good quality pad. In terms of cost, it was fairly middle of the road. For the carpet, pad, and tax, we paid $1500 (installation was included).

Considering our complete incompetency at choosing carpet, we did not shop around to compare prices. That would have taken another 3 years!

People also asked if we wanted to replace it while still having young children. I’m sure I will have moments of regret, like when the baby spit up (which she never does!) all over the carpet 2 days after installation. Oh, well. Part of the motivation for new carpet was giving her a cleaner surface for crawling. This carpet is also so much softer and now her knees aren’t red if she crawls without pants.

My kids do a lot of stupid things and are bound to stain the carpet. But I find grown-up guests spill as much as kids, simply because they are allowed to bring things that aren’t water onto the carpet!

Baby & planks (dr’s orders) in the “before” LR

In addition to new carpet, Neil cashed out some not-very-valuable credit card points and purchased a flat-screen TV. Previously we had an HD CRT that weighed about as much as an anchor. Despite it being “the height of technology in 2005” and having “more inputs that the new TV,” Neil gradually became ready to part ways with it, and moved it out of Neil’s technology museum our basement to a friend’s house.

Our living room makeover ran us $1100 for carpet and $28 for the TV mount.

After LR

We been jettisoning large (and small) objects from our home as part of our attempts to Love It. I tend to think it’s working. Two VCRs, all the VHS tapes, lots of DVDs, CDs, and stacks and stacks of CD ROMs–can anyone say Microsoft Office 2003? Neil got rid of not one but two anchor-size HD CRT televisions and an equally over-sized and antiquated computer monitor. And accompanying cords from his prized collection All of this culminated in him spontaneously and voluntarily cleaning his desk–a true Fourth of July miracle. And yes, he is running for Husband of the Year.

Amazing how we moved from “In Praise of Old Technology” to “why the hell is this crap in our house?” in a few short years. Hoopla and Libbyare saving us so much space.

I parted ways with the beautiful roll-top desk my grandma handed down to me. I never use it, and it’s way too big for a kid’s desk. I was thrilled to pass it to a friend who had always admired it. Gone is a persian rug, a couple bags of extremely outdated work clothes, an old projector screen, and a chicken coop we never used.

All surviving boy clothes are going to friends, as are baby things as our baby outgrows them. Some to friends, although much of our gear is junk. The poor babe probably doesn’t even know that rocking chairs are supposed to rock, or that exersaucers are supposed to have toys attached to them. Not that she cares a whit. Please note, getting baby gear at garage sales and then putting three kids through it is more stupid than frugal.

There is something exhilarating about decluttering, and I haven’t even been watching Marie Kondo. We can fall prey to reverse materialism, an inordinate fixation with minimalism or decluttering where you’re still focused on stuff. When it comes to possessions, we strive for pragmatism, keeping what seems to be of use now or in the near future. Clearing out clutter lately is improving the functionality of our home and we are Loving It for now. And should we ever decide to List It, we’ll have a little less to deal with.

Have you ever made your space more useful through decluttering or remodeling? Please share inspiration!

3 Responses to “Our Living Room Makeover”

  1. Linda says :

    Simply moving furniture about and repurposing it can do wonders for space. Our two short file cabinets are wood. They now do double duty as end tables. And my ottoman is a storage cube which lets me quickly put away stuff when I need a cleaner look. Yay!

  2. Megan Anderson says :

    Isn’t it amazing how when all we do is take the same stuff we already have in the home, and just re use it in a different room, how refreshing it looks? It’s like it takes on a whole new look and it helps us feel completely redecorated. Its so cool you were able to put in new carpet and mount the tv on the wall. I bet it feels so fresh in there and totally comfy. I know for us, I feel like it changes the quality of family time we have with our toddler because there is more room to horse around in the living room once I moved some stuff around!

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