“This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received some of the included furniture and home decor as compensation.”
Let me tell you a story about a girl and her house.
We bought a little fixer-upper that we had been working on until our renovations were suddenly halted when we found ourselves spending six months in the NICU with our daughter. (It’s a whole other story, y’all.)
Do you know what kills your home decor budget? NICU medical bills.
That is why our front stairs are still plywood seven years after we ripped up the carpet. Because real life.
I dream of a magazine-esque living room, complete with pale gray walls and lots of white accents but our house is like most people’s first homes, an assorted collection of hand-me down furniture.
So of course I was excited to work with Kohl’s to shop their furniture sale. In fact, the items we picked are some of the few non-hand-me-down pieces we own. And while we’re really grateful for the things we were gifted from sweet family and friends, it was such fun to pick out grown-up furniture for the first time.
So, with a
little lot of help from Kohl’s, here is the before and after of our living room!
I snapped that one with my cell phone late in the afternoon so here’s an angle where the colors are a little more true to life (except the rug, because it’s actually navy and white. I don’t understand cameras.):
(Usually, there is a small coffee table in here but it has been removed for things like Baby Safety and I did not feel like lugging it back upstairs for pictures. Pretend it looks really cute.)
This space has been such a challenge on account of how the bible says to serve your husband and so that is why I sweetly said yes to hanging a gigantic television over our fireplace.
I regret this every single holiday when I look wistfully at the mantel and envision decorating it with pretty, seasonal accents.
And also during football season.
That is why all the books and such on the mantel. Because we haven’t yet run the cords through the wall and so I just stuck the tv box in a wicker basket and then put all of the vintage books up there to hide it all.
I inherited my grandmother’s collection of vintage Reader’s Digest books and then a few years ago my husband saw someone throwing out a collection of really old hardback books and so he stopped to get them for me. It was probably his best husband moment. My friend Laura Anne, who is basically like my personal Joanna Gaines, suggested I use them all on the mantel and I really love having a way to display them.
But overall, this is just a really oddly shaped space, because of the way it’s tall-yet-narrow walls wrap around to our dining room. I like the open concept, and the fact that I can see all of my children at a glance, but it is not at all conducive to things like “furniture placement.”
See how awkward the super tall walls are?I have watched copious amounts of Fixer Upper thanks to all those months I spent on bedrest and so I am pretty sure that what these awkward wraparound walls need is shiplap.
So then my only option was to either put my desk in the basement next to the ping-pong table or in the living room. And given that the basement is cold and I can not see any of my children from down there, I opted to be a responsible parent and work where I could keep an eye on them at all times.
(Plus, being hit by stray ping-pong balls is not really an ideal set-up when you are trying to write your second book.)
I hated having a standard desk chair in the middle of our living space and now that the baby is crawling he was just constantly making a beeline for the wheels on that thing. That did not seem safe so I looked at a bunch of different accent chairs from Kohl’s and decided on this one. Only they were sold out when I went to order (although it’s back in stock now) and so I went back to the drawing board.
Eventually, I ended up with the Madison Park Teigan, which is actually a set of 2 but I am also currently refinishing our dining room table, because I am very good at things like “knowing my limits.” Except the opposite of that. And I wanted to have all mismatched chairs at the table so that worked out well for me. Plus, they were hugely on sale so I got them for a steal.
I loved the color and style, because I needed something light and that didn’t compete too much with the other chair that we have in the room, which belonged to my other grandmother. (My sister and I split that set up and she has the matching antique King chair.)
And then I saw that area rugs were also on sale and was like “PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMUNITION” because I have been wanting a rug in here for years. But Emily Henderson says you need a rug that is big enough for both pieces of furniture to sit on and that is six inches wider than your couch. And I trust Emily Henderson because her rooms always look so pretty and also she was very funny on her season of Design Star.
Which meant that I needed at least an 8×10 area rug and do you know what has not even been remotely in my budget for the past seven years? 8×10 area rugs. I wanted a white one but my husband vetoed that because of something about something about it being “not practical with children.” I told him that the Internet disagrees but he apparently he did not find that a valid argument.
So we compromised on this navy and white rugby striped rug that I snagged on sale at Kohl’s. I stacked a bunch of coupons to get it (bonus: codes at the end of this post.) At first I was a little wary, being that compromise is how I ended up with a television above my fireplace and all, but once it was here I really liked it. Plus, we put an extra thick rug pad underneath so now both the kids like to sit and play on it.
Here’s another before picture looking the other direction:
My bookshelves used to contain pretty ephemera and other such miscellany but now they just serve as containers for kid stuff. Look at these tiny people, taking over my house with their toys and their cuteness, all standing tip-toed on my couch.
If you are decor-savvy I would love your tips on what to do with that vast space above the desk!
Here is the storyboard I made while browsing Kohl’s online for our mini-makeover:
From left: The two accent chairs I was torn between: Madison Park Brentwood (1) and Madison Park Marcel (2), and the one I went with, the Madison Park Teigan (3). (4) Rugby Stripe Rug, (5) Nautical Inspired Mirror, (6) Gold Task Lamp, which is still on my wish list, and (7) Woven Basket. I just took the liner out of ours so that the remote would work when I put the tv box inside.
Feel like updating your living room? Shop the Kohl’s HOME SALE, where you can get $10 off $50 home purchase with promo code HOME10 from 1/27-2/5 as well as 20% off $75 purchase, 15% off all purchases from 2/2-2/5. (Kohl‘s Charge holders 15% off from 1/29-2/1)
desk // desk hutch // wall organizer // oversized chalkboard (handmade by my dad, similar here) // chalkboard label baskets // letterpress monogram blocks // decorative plates // shine your light pillow // anchor pillow // curtains // bookshelf // hand-lettered hymn canvas // tabletop photo carousel // end table
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