Emma’s Front Living Room Refresh



Today, we are teaming up with Living Spaces to show you a big refresh I recently completed in my living room. I got a few really cute key items from Living Spaces: throw pillows, pouf, and this pretty rug! And I used these items to help tie the room together a little more. If you aren’t familiar with Living Spaces, you should definitely check them out. They have stores in a quite a few regions (check here), but they also can ship many of their items right to your door.

Before I give you a tour of the room, let’s take a little walk down memory lane …

On the left is what this room looked like right when we moved in to our home about two years ago. You can also see a video tour of the house before we moved in here, if you want to understand the spaces a little better. So, initially the overall layout and structure of this house is what really made me and Trey fall in love with it. It has three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, so it was similar to our last home in that way; but it had WAY more square footage. This was great since I was planning to transition to working from home, so I needed more space for a home office. And I think the extra square footage makes the house ideal for entertaining, which we love to do. I’ve already hosted a few family holidays and also birthdays and other parties in our home, and it’s one of my favorite things!

So, the space rules. But probably the thing that we didn’t love about the house was most of the color choices in it. There was lots of dark wood and black trim/cabinets. Almost all the walls were painted a dark beige. And overall, due to the mature landscaping (aka we have lots of tall trees in our yard) and the fact that the house is partially built into a hill, it’s surprisingly dark inside, especially on rainy days and the winter. So, one big goal we’ve had throughout the house is to lighten it up without necessarily removing any of the features we love (like the wood ceilings in the front living spaces).

Here’s a mini tour of this room from last year. 

You may have seen in this post when I updated you all on the fact that we finally pulled the trigger and had the floors redone. I also spent a few weeks staining the ceilings so they would look more like whitewashed wood. I am VERY afraid of heights so this was a big deal for me. 😉 These two updates have made a HUGE difference throughout our house and I think you can really feel it in this room especially.

The room has two main focal points; one being the piano. This is a piano that Trey grew up with from his parents’ home. Trey plays a little bit (he also plays guitar, some drums, and a few other instruments) and I always love to hear him playing the piano randomly in our house. Something about it feels really homey to me. There was really only one space in the house where we felt the piano could fit, but I think it works really well in this space.

I recently added the gold metal frames you see around the piano and I am still on the fence about them. Let me know what you think. My goal was to minimize the look of the vent that’s right in the middle of the wall there (why do vents have to be in the middle of the wall!?), but still allow it to serve its function. I also like how they fill up the space but still feel a bit minimal. But, I must admit, I’ve already painted them three times and I’m still feeling like maybe they aren’t quite right. Next, I’m thinking about painting just the frames white and leaving the inside part gold. Thoughts? I also had a friend (hi Holly!) recommend hanging some macrame over the vent instead as it could also feel minimal (same color as the wall) but still allow air to flow. So I guess I’m thinking on that option too. I’m a bit of a slow decorator if you can’t tell. I like to try things out for a least a few months before I fully commit. Thankfully, I have a pretty patient husband.

We also have quite a few plants in this room. I LOVE plants. Most of them of are real, but a few are fake too, as I don’t discriminate. I recently moved that plant that is hanging in the corner by the piano into this room. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that he was getting some yellow leaves and a lot of people suggested I move him to a spot with less direct light (he was in my office before), so now he’s in this room and I think he’s doing better. Hard to say yet.

I also LOVE this giant split leaf plant you see me with above. Two friends of mine were moving to Portland recently and couldn’t take their plants, so they let me come over and buy a bunch of them. I immediately fell in love with this one and I am SO nervous about killing him. Any tips for this kind of plant would be much appreciated!!!!

We also updated the door next to the piano, which leads to the laundry room and garage. The door was pretty standard and dark brown (almost black before), which really drew your eye to that spot and also I think made the room feel a little smaller. So we added trim (similar to this DIY), painted it white, and swapped out the doorknob to a pretty gold one instead. Although it’s kind of minor, I think it all makes a big difference.

You might remember this brown couch from the old ABM studio, if you’ve been following us that long. The leather works really well with our dogs (I let them on all the furniture in the house), even though brown is not always my favorite color. I was super excited to get this green rug, as I think it goes great in the space and makes a great companion to the brown couch.

Ethan recently built this coffee table. I was wanting something similar to this side table I shared years ago, but a different shape and size. I was thinking of having him teach how to make this on ABM. Would you all like that? It’s pretty fun! The plants inside are faux, so you don’t have to water them or anything.

I also love the pink and green throw pillows on this couch, I think they add just the right amount of color in this spot. There’s a photo above the fireplace where Trey is wearing a pink sweater and to me it just all ties together really nice.

If you had seen this room in my last update (here), you’ll notice that I changed out the mantle. It just needed something bigger to feel more balanced. I went with a dark mantel this time but have been considering painting it white. What do you think? Would you paint it white?

I love the green pouf we got as it makes a nice little reading or chill area by the fireplace. I added more candles and I’m excited to light them all some night soon as it just feels like the perfect hot chocolate and cozy socks spot for autumn.

And here you can see how this space connects to our kitchen area. I recently updated our bar stools by spray painting them copper. We have a few gold and copper touches throughout this space, so it just felt right.

That’s basically it. It’s honestly a pretty simple space but all the little updates we’ve been working on lately have finally made it feel like this space has come together—I love it! Thanks for letting me share and please do let me know if you have any tips for caring for any of the plants you see in this room, especially the giant split leaf. I am always looking to keep my plant babies healthy as I am no plant expert (not yet, anyway). xo. Emma

Other Sources: Cactus light (similar), Hanging planter/DIY, Pendant lights/Anthropologie, Curtains/IKEA, Bar stools (painted)/Target
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. The portrait above our fireplace was taken by Elise Randolph. Project assistant: Ethan Randolph.

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