Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Living Room Re-do: Before & After

A few weeks ago, Frank said, "I've been thinking it might be nice to update the apartment. You know, do some spring cleaning and baby-proofing, and redecorate a little bit."

I was all "Sure, honey, sounds great."

Then later that day he sent me a Google doc titled "Spring Cleaning & Remodel" with a bullet-pointed list of exactly what changes he wanted to make to every room, and a detailed shopping list.

I wonder, do you think it's possible he might be Type A?


Now that our big remodel is done, I thought you guys might enjoy seeing the before and after pictures!

Here's the BEFORE:

Our board games, movies, and some books were haphazardly crowded onto some old black bookshelves:

The main bookshelves in our living room were overcrowded with many more books than they could handle:

Meanwhile the black rug sucked out all the light from the room, and was impossible to keep clean. We also had this enormous bulky coffee table that was right in the middle when our baby tried to play, and I lived in constant terror of him hitting his head on one of the sharp corners. Not to mention that we were keeping all his toys in a white fruit bowl on the table. It looked messy and cluttered!

So off we went to IKEA (I'm pretty sure the tagline for my life right now could be "It's from IKEA") for some cubbies to replace the cluttered shelves.

We went through our bookshelves looking for superfluous books to donate (mostly duplicates... we ended up getting rid of 40!).

We got a storage ottoman/coffee table from Target (some kind blog reader recommended it over a year ago ... we move real fast around here) plus some baskets for our cubbies.

And lo and behold!

Now, does that look better or what?

That Frank. He has some good ideas.

Here's the cubby situation:

Those cubbies are the absolute best. They hold SO MUCH STUFF. The bottom cubbies have more than enough room for all of Frankie's toys, while the top cubbies totally took care of our overflow of kitchen supplies that didn't have a home. (We moved the board games to our bedroom closet.)

Here's one of my favorite little spots in the house:

That's Frank's record player—so cool how it looks like a suitcase—with a globe that he gave me back when we were engaged. It symbolizes our desire to travel the world together, or really our shared love for adventure. I love it.

We had a really hard time figuring out what to do for a rug. We wanted something really simple that almost looked like a carpet. I looked all over the internet (Joss & Main, Overstock.com, etc.) and even consulted with my friend Mary Kate, who's amazing at interior design, but nothing seemed quite simple enough (and cheap enough)... Until two weeks ago I was at Aldi and found these 5x7 area rugs for $20! I quickly texted Frank some pictures, and as soon as I got his OK, I snapped one of those babies right up! It's probably not going to be a long-term solution for future homes, but it's working perfectly for what we need right now.

We also made some updates to the bathroom and bedroom. When all was said and done, Frank turned to me and said, "I'm so glad we made these changes because I kind of felt like our apartment looked like a college dorm for the past couple years." To which I was like, "Well, why didn't you say so, for Pete's sake?!" But I'm glad we finally made these changes too.

And just for fun, here's an extra picture of our kitchen area—we had two other families over for brunch on Sunday and I couldn't resist the opportunity to set the table all nicely.

Good times. Hurray for spring cleaning!


  1. It looks so good! It's so satisfying to make improvements to your home, no matter how big or small.

  2. I love it!! We recently moved our big coffee table as well. Less sharp corners, but more rug space for baby! Total win.

    It looks so perfect and cozy. I want to come over to hang out.

  3. Looks awesome! I am thinking we need a cubby shelf for all of Kate's toys, too. Yours looks awesome - I just wish we had an Ikea that was closer! (Closest is 3 hours away in KC.)

  4. Gorgeous! I love baskets, they make everything better. And your dinning room setting is lovely!

    1. Thanks, Anne Marie! Baskets are the best. :)

  5. Wow, what a difference a piece of furniture makes! I am getting into a similar mood for our house this summer. Now that we've been in our house almost 2 years, I finally feel like I'm getting ideas on how to optimize the space. Your simple redo makes me even more excited to get creative in our space.

  6. Ohhhh....I love how it turned out, Tess!

  7. Ohhhh....I love how it turned out, Tess!