Moodboard Monday: Breathing Life Into The Living Room


February 4, 2013 by Decorum DIYer

Happy Monday morning, all!

An extra special happy Monday to all of my Baltimore friends and family!  As most of you know, I am not a sports follower, much less a football follower, but even I am thrilled that the Ravens won the Super Bowl!  The last time that happened, my husband and I were engaged and putting off thinking about our wedding (hence, the Las Vegas wedding).

Anyway, back to this week’s moodboard.  Today, I am focusing on my ‘living’ room.  Or shall I say ‘barely living’ room?  Sure, we do a lot of living here and most of our home’s family activities take place in the living room (as it is the only common area, besides the kitchen and dining room).

Having three small children, keeping the living room clean and organized is quite the chore. I realize that I haven’t really ever shown my living room.  That is probably because it is in a constant state of flux and ALWAYS messy. Someone is always in the living room, as there is no where else to go.  I have always known how I want my living room to look, but we have concentrated on the other necessary areas of the home: kitchen, dining room, bathroom, kids’ rooms.  My living room really needs some attention.

Here are a few photos of my living room.


One of the many furniture arrangements we have had.


The entrance (front door) and entry wall. The kids are everywhere and so is their ‘stuff’. I love my children and will always cherish these early years, but I will be happy to see the play pens, walkers, and toys make an exit. (See how that finished basement could really help out here?)


Even the bow window sees plenty of action. The bottom of the window is only 12 inches from the ground. Needless to say, the children love looking out the window, using it as a bench seat, and most definitely as a stage. I love all of this, but sometimes wish that it didn’t come with all of the footprints and fingerprints. 😉


Oh, I have some nice photographs of my children, my family, and my dance history, but I am terrible at displaying them. I’d really love to get better at that in terms of wall decor.


The ‘clean’ living room devoid of furniture. It is pretty much a box with a fireplace and a bow window.


The entrance. Because we have a carport we only use the front door as an entrance for company. This really bothers me. I don’t even know if I have a key to this door.


This is an honest picture. This is what my living room looks like on a daily basis. And even more honestly, this photo was taken by my six year old son. I loathe the mammoth television. I really don’t like having a television in the living room (another reason for a basement finishing). The toys, the constant toys. Our mantle has become ‘the naughty spot’ for toys in time out and things that the children drag out, but shouldn’t have. The television stand is a nightmare: fingerprints, little hands constantly taking things out, etc… Not to mention that television is HUGE and a bit of a safety concern for me.


Since losing our home office to children (good exchange, but still), the computer and filing cabinet have found a home next to the fireplace. Our one day finished basement is perfect to house a home office, but until then….

{Can I just tell you how embarrassing these images are to me?  However, I am just trying to be honest.  I can’t possibly be the only one overrun with ‘stuff’ (child and otherwise).}

Honestly, it changes as our needs change.  Nothing is permanent, furniture is constantly being rearranged and swapped out.  Not to mention, the various stages of childhood cause me to put safety above function and decor.  I am hoping, as my youngest, Ascher, is turning 18 months old, we can finally start to create our living room into a well-organized, family space that it is meant to be.

Okay, here’s the moodboard:

OB-Breathing Life Into The Living Room

“Breathing Life Into The Living Room”
(Via Olioboard – please click image to be linked to image sources.)

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed my living room board.  If not, I may point out that this moodboard is mostly composed of photographs of other people’s living rooms, not individual items that one would use in a living room.  I have perfectly good explanation for this.  You see, what I really crave in this living room is the style and character of a colonial home, not the 1960’s rancher that it is.  Sure, I adore  the era of my home, but I really love the mill work of colonial and craftsman homes. (Those of you that are MCM all the way, sorry.)  I guess I like a layered, multi-era room.  The biggest change in my living room requires some woodworking (eh em, dear father-in-law and husband [bats eyelashes]).

This image is what made my heart skip a beat.  It is EXACTLY what I have always seen in my mind’s eye:


(via HGTV Rate My Space)

I love everything about this!

  • the coffered ceiling
  • the copper color on the recesses of the ceiling
  • the dark, brownish green color on the walls
  • it even has a ceiling fan!

The one thing in the room that can’t be ignored is the fireplace.  Our current television is too large (old tube television) to be mounted above the fireplace to save space.  However, even if I had a flat, panel television, I don’t much care for them above the fireplace for the following reasons:

  • too high for viewing, especially in a small, 13′ x 19′ living room/entryway
  • the obvious heat and soot concerns (televisions are expensive)
  • my basic understanding of feng shui gives me cause for concern of placing ‘fire’ (electronics, in this case a television) over fire (the fireplace)
  • there is also just too many corners and hard edges when placing a rectangle over another rectangle – a round mirror would be a welcomed change

I think the perfect solution for our current living room situation (i.e. – no finished basement, so the office set up and television need to find a home) would be this:


(Via HGTV)

Again, what I love about the above image:

  • the fireplace is larger than the television
  • the television and computer/desk are to either side of the fireplace
  • well, of course, THE BUILD-INS! (or something that looks built-in)
  • the placement of the electronics could be temporary, meaning that the built-ins could be used solely for display and storage when the electronics are moved to the finished basement (thinking long-term and hopeful here)
  • (oh, don’t think I don’t see the reflection of the ceiling fan in the mirror 😉  )
  • crown molding, which I would carry throughout the room

Speaking of the fireplace, I should mention that my father-in-law and his brother (my husband’s uncle) hand-crafted and pickled the mantle that is currently on the fireplace.


I’d like to see the fireplace have additional molding to compliment what was hand-crafted by my husband’s family, but with some of the brick work still showing, as it ties in to the home’s brick exterior.  Lastly, I want the shiny brass fireplace screen to go black or a dark bronze.


(Via Houzz – Julie Williams Designs
I like the idea of painting the fireplace molding and wall above in a darker color in contrast to the adjacent white trim
[I did not remove the watermark – image cropped when pinned])


(Via Houzz)
I love the contrast between the dark green wall color, the crisp molding (for built-ins) and the peek of the original brick fireplace paired with the darker fireplace doors.


(Via RowleyCompany)
I like the ‘twist’ on the molding, again light and dark paired together.

Another woodwork element that I would love to have is wainscoting with coat hooks along the entrance wall.  I may or may not keep my current mirror that is hanging on this wall.   Again, this image sums up what I am hoping for:


(Via Family, Love, Home)

The remainder:  the paint colors, the fabric, the furnishings, rug, and decor are just icing on the cake.  I’d like to keep the walls a dark green/brown (NOT emerald, despite it being named PANTONE’s ‘Color of the Year’) and the ceiling in the copper family (faux finish maybe?).  Of course, I’d like to see all of the molding a creamy white, not a bright white, but not quite a yellow-y ivory either, something in between.

A little hopeful floor plan for when things are all done:



So, what are your thoughts?  Can you see this room the way I see it?  Do my ideas make sense?  Do you think all of the woodwork and painting trim (AAARRRRGGGHHHH) is worth the time, energy, and cost?  I am hopeful that adding some character, through woodwork, and color, through more deliberate wall and ceiling colors, will bring this room to life.  After all, our family is quite lively, shouldn’t our living room reflect that?

Until next time…, happy decorating!

17 thoughts on “Moodboard Monday: Breathing Life Into The Living Room

  1. I love your fireplace, and the ceiling inspiration you are working towards! Have you thought about keeping the mantel trim white, and painting the brick a bright color or vice versa? That would be an awesome contrast as well! I think built in’s are a great storage idea as well! Maybe some wall paper to line the back of the built in will give your built in some great pops of color and dimension depending on the pattern and colors you choose!

  2. Yes! I am contemplating all of those ideas. I even have a few pins that show the white fireplace with painted brick, but I feel a tug towards keeping the brick, as is, just a little cleaner. Maybe a darker grout color? And of course the backs of those built-ins would get some love!

  3. fitsakie says:

    I have also a lot of plans for my home improvment! The biggest is to change my house…..hahaha! Have patient and you will do all that you imagine for your living room!

  4. I have a family member whose fireplace and built in’s look exactly like the photo that you have. When the kids were younger she used them for different purposes than she does now. I think that the built in’s would provide the storage and flexibility that you are looking for. The set up also seems to work really well. Having three kids is a challenge as far as the living room. When mine were younger, they always seemed to want to be wherever I was. Now that they are older they are normally in three separate rooms. Great ideas. Have you thought about painting the ceiling like you did in the dining room. That may create the look you want with the addition of the ceiling fan and give some depth. Just my thoughts!! Great moodboard.

  5. Suzz says:

    I like the idea of hooks with pictures of your respective children over them – a “two-for” idea to designate this area as well as display photos 🙂

  6. You have such a beautiful space to work with in the first place from those gorgeous floors to the fireplace. You really won me over with the creamy molding and the dark green walls with the first of those two mantel photos and I also think the wainscoting and coat hooks is a great idea. BTW, our Naughty spot is in the corner of our kitchen (which is relatively small) It is the ONLY place our son can not reach and therefor the toy/stuff collector of everything we want out of reach. You’re certainly not the only one with a house full of family clutter. 🙂

  7. Thanks, Christina. I am glad that you are on board with my concept. I trust your artistic eye and flair for all things decor.
    That said, you are correct about the floors and the fireplace. The one reason, besides it is my husband’s family home, that I agreed to purchase this home with my husband is because it is a solid, well-built home with so much potential. Realizing the potential is taking longer and harder than I imagined it would be. Oh, and those gorgeous floors were hidden under shag carpeting (as is the case with most homes this age) and lovingly refinished by none other than my hardworking husband.
    I have a lot to be thankful for. I don’t mean to sound as though I am complaining or am ungrateful. I just want to improve my surroundings, if I can. I am one lucky lady to have a healthy family and a safe, warm home. Thanks for reminding me.

  8. This looks really functional and easy to accomplish. Aside from the built-ins, and the hook wall (which should be super easy and inexpensive), you’ve got all the components, right? And a small flat screen would be something to save for perhaps, but even those have significantly come down in price in recent years. I think this is totally doable!

    • Thanks, #1 cheerleader, dear sister-in-law. We actually just inherited a flat panel television (31″ compared to our current 36″ tube television). I don’t mind the smaller screen size, but I definitely love that the television is a fraction of the weight and overall volume. This project won’t happen for a while, but just throwing out my vision to blog land makes it even more real. 😀

  9. Yes, I totally follow your ideas! And yes! All the woodwork will be worth all the time, energy and cost. If it’s your forever house, it’s worth it. If it’s not, I’m sure it’ll increase the market value of your home. I love ceilings with some wood action. My personal favorite is beams. I think it adds so much personality. Can’t wait to see things come along!

  10. You said, “wood action’. I can’t stop laughing! Seriously, thank you for agreeing. It helps me convince ‘the man’, although he is pretty smitten already.

  11. I love the idea for the new arrangement, and of course the whole warm color scheme. Can’t wait to see what you do with it all. My living room isn’t getting lived in too much recently so it looks so neat and clean. You see our tv broke 7 months ago and we are undecided about our upgrade decisions. So we’ve all been hanging out in the office watching tv and playing so that room looks a mess. I’m actually liking how clean our living room is and am not in any hurry to get a new tv. A finished basement would be nice (I’d like one too) but I bet the kids would drag toys upstairs anyway, at least mine would. As mine have gotten older, 10, 8 and 2, it’s mostly the 2 yr olds stuff that is messing up the place 🙂 The older kids have room in their room for all their toys plus their toys are smaller. I know what you mean about wanting to get rid of the big stuff. I can’t wait till my youngest outgrows the play kitchen and doll strollers. I’m thinking I have about 4-5 more years. But you know we’ll miss it all. Good luck!

  12. I think I’m starting to realize my painful inadequacy to offer input when it comes to layout and woodworking type things. Since my husband and I have only rented homes, we never can think beyond minor changes like painting walls and hanging things on them. I think I’ll be coming to you for help when we end up buying (hopefully in the next 1-2 years).

    So…keeping in mind my inexperience with this sort of thing…I say, follow your heart! If you LOVE woodworking, who cares if it’s “a lot.” If it’s something pleasing to your eye, it will be a wonderful space for you and your family. As for the built-ins, I’m all for creating more storage space, while still maintaining a look that fits with your design scheme. So, that sounds fine and dandy to me! All in all, I think you’re well on your way to making some really lovely changes to your living room.

    (And by the by, I love that your kids use the window sill as a stage. I would probably do the same…even now!)

  13. […] have made to our living room.  Since revealing my wish list for the living room a few weeks ago, here, we did something […]

  14. […] First, I found these puppies.  Everything I love – wood, faux bamboo, and a great price of $50 for the pair.  They would have been perfect for my one day living room.  I even included them in my moodboard. […]

  15. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks!

  16. […] In the not-to-near future, paint the wall a dark green.  You know, like my moodboard. […]

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