Category Archives: living room

Selling Out

You know you’re a grown-up (or a Grinch?) when you start to seriously consider getting a fake Christmas tree.

Always one to cling to tradition, I never thought I could imagine a Christmas without the piney scent of fresh needles, the sacred process of selecting just the right specimen (never too bushy), tying it to the top of the ol’ minivan and finally, the art of fitting the boughs with an aging strand of C7s so that as little of the cord as possible showed between branches. It was all so darn magical. I couldn’t understand why my dad did all that sighing and cussing every year.

 The December after I moved out, Mom and Dad bought an artificial tree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them happier. Dad definitely seemed to have a new bounce in his step. As for me, I thought they were traitors. I made a promise then that I’d never sell out. And I’ve kept it…until now.

 We knew we needed a tree for our holiday party on Sunday, so we figured we’d take care of it first thing in the morning. It took. all. day.

First there was an epic search for rope – I now know that grocery stores, drug stores and Targets do not carry it, but hardware stores do. Next we learned there was a silvertip shortage in these parts, so our usual tree farm was a no-go. Our local tree lot was all but sold out. The next nearest lot was charging $80-90 for a six-to-seven-foot silvertip. Even the little five-foot firs were going for $50. The boyfriend claimed this was normal, but I refused to believe it, so we moved on. We finally found a decent-sized noble fir for $40 at Home Depot, but when we got it home, it wouldn’t stand up in our tree stand because the trunk was too heavy. Somehow he wrangled it into position and carried it into the house, at which point it toppled over, permanently warping our little metal stand. So the boyfriend went out into the cold rain for a new stand. I guess December is far too late to buy a stand, because the first three or four places he hit up were plumb out. It’s a good thing he finally found one at Home Depot (the second time they saved us that day). Otherwise our tree would be laying in the front yard instead of aglow in our living room.

 So instead of dreaming of a white Christmas, I’m dreaming of a white aluminum Christmas tree for next year.

Apartment Therapy

Or a silver tinsel tree.

Target

Hell, maybe I’ll go turquoise. I figure as long as I know it’s fake, there’s no point in trying to be naturalistic…might as well go all out.

                Amazon

Or maybe I need to take a cue from Charlie Brown and remember what Christmas is all about.

        Target

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Filed under christmas, Holidays, living room, retro

Brand New Coat

Unlike me, my living room walls are sporting a brand new coat this autumn.

We finally committed to a paint shade – Glidden’s Water Chestnut, a soft cream-beige I discovered on Young House Love – and broke out the brushes a few weekends ago.

Every time I paint, I go through the same roller coaster of emotions and this time was no different. First, there’s utter confusion about choosing a color, then elation upon making a choice and realizing we’re finally moving forward. Next, brief panic after seeing the paint first hit the walls (you know how paint always appears lighter when wet? Well, when wet, our new color matched our old paint color exactly), and major relief upon realizing the end result is better, not worse.

Before

After

And finally, a bit of disappointment after moving the furniture back in place and realizing that the room still looks pretty similar.

All of a sudden, I worried that things looked too dark, that there were too many competing dark colors – blues, reds, greens, browns. This sparked a mad urge to tear out our old roller shades, swap the chunky coffee table out for something smaller and cozier, get a lighter rug and furniture and buy a big ol’ mirror for over the fireplace in hopes of giving the illusion of a more spacious room.

Fortunately, my boyfriend was able to talk me out of doing anything drastic. We decided to focus our energy on improving the lighting situation and adding details like crown molding, and then assess what our next move should be. That’s fine by me – I’ve been itching to tear out that god-awful cheapo fan (our only source of living room light) since the moment we toured our house.

Lighting has always been too spare in here, so we’re going to try a semi-flush mount pendant with two bulbs to hopefully reflect light up and out.  Something like this lamp from Feiss.

Though if our ceiling (and budget) wasn’t so low, it might be fun to get a little crazy and try a vintage style chandelier, or one of the new sophisticated drum lights like this guy.

As for illuminating those dark corners, we briefly considered sconces on either side of the mantel, but decided against tearing into those walls. Now our options seem to be recessed lights in four corners of the room, or possibly just one or two new standing lamps. I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t have to go with the canned…

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Filed under home improvement, living room, paint