When one thing leads to another...

So there I was, minding my own business and munching on a handful of cookies [Editor's Note: the munching part may or may not be true, I can't remember exactly. But if history is any indication, then, yes, I was munching on cookies. And prolly some fisfuls of granola, too.], when my son poked his head down the stairs. "Mom, have you seen 'Return of the King'? I can't find it anywhere."
 
It was supposedly somewhere in the living room bookshelves, separated from its other JRR Tolkein counterparts because of different-colored spines. After hunting around a few shelves, I began to realize how ridiculous it was that I had "organized" many of our family's books in such a way (by color) that my children couldn't even access the ones they wanted. How can I raise my little army of readers if our books aren't intuitively organized?
 
(Coincidentally, this talented lady felt the same way as me. Gold star for us all, for coming to the same conclusions.)
 
Here's how my living room bookshelves looked previously. So heavy:
 
 
Notice how there are no bright colors? And way too many non-book objects?
 
 
So. I spent a pleasant afternoon a while back reorganizing our bookshelves by (most importantly) book type/topic, such as informative, religious, classic literature, entertainment/light reads, and non-fiction...and after dividing them all up, I put sections back onto the shelves by size and color. Except for the enormous vintage World Encyclopedia set (5th row down on each bookshelf), because you just can't do much with those stylistically except for hide them. And that was no option.
 
 
 I unearthed some books that had been vanquished to the depths of the basement because their spines were too colorful for the previous bookshelf arrangements. I tried to keep the "horizon" of books (the height-line) fairly even across each shelf, sometimes using non-book objects to make this happen. I incorporated fewer trinkets because I wanted it to be, first and foremost, a functional bookshelf and, secondarily, decorative. And I kept book sets (e.g., Lord of the Rings) together.

 
Although there are more books now, I love the change because the shelves actually seem lighter and the living room less stuffy overall. And, after all, who wants to munch handfuls of cookies in a stuffy living room? Not me. I mean, sure, I'd do it. But I wouldn't be happy about it.
 
Fast-forward about a day later, when I realized the newly colorfied shelves needed more colorful surroundings. This realization coincided with a(nother) Banana Incident by my 10-month-old. Translation: My adorbs baby secretly hucks bits of banana off of her high chair tray onto the floor for me to unwittingly mash into the rug with my bare feet an hour or two later. An experience which, btw, is every bit as awesome as it sounds.
 
Anyway, I realized that, although we love the rug under our dining room table, it wasn't going to last a year at this rate. Plus, it's big...bigger than the one in the living room...and more, colorful, too. Hmmmm....
 
Living room rug before:
 

So. I moved the old dining room rug into the living room (after some major baby food cleanupage) and moved the old living room rug into Violet's nursery.
 
 
Eventually, I'd like to swap out the current living room curtains for a lighter, small-print geometric and either replace the living room loveseat with two chairs (ideally) or simply sew a slipcover for the loveseat itself. The ultimate decision will depend on what I can find first - slipcover fabric or two compatible chairs. You never know.
 
 
 Anyway. One of my favorite things to do is rearrange what I've already got, because I can do it in a short amount of time, and it costs nothing for a completely fresh new look and feel.
 
What do you think...noticeable difference or no?
 
 
 By the by...since you're here and all, may I please pick your brains? Do you have any good ideas for decorating an unused fireplace? I've tried a few different things and haven't been thrilled with any of them. Okay. That's all.

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24 comments:

  1. Yes! I can definitely see a BIG difference! The background color on your shelves pop more in the "after" picture; and you're right, it does look lighter and fresher!
    And about your fireplace, I thought, "Oh wow, her fireplace looks good; I need to do something with mine.." Mine is empty but I think yours looks nice!
    Selene @ restorationbeauty.com

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    1. You're nice, Selene. I've been toying with a rather non-traditional idea for my fireplace lately. We'll see if (a) it happens, and (b) it even works out. Stay tuned. :)

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  2. So you're telling me that dear little Vi leaves the books on the shelves? What miracle is this?
    I love the colorful rug. So pretty, brings life to the room.

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    1. Fortunately (?), she gets distracted by the typical array of toys strewn about the house before she gets to the shelves. The day will soon come, though...

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  3. Love the new colorful room! That rug makes a huge difference! It seems so light and vibrant! Love your blog Brit!

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    1. Reesa! Thanks. That means the world to me, seriously.

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  4. i;m loving the fun and colored rug and the furniture placement. i think the two sofas across from each other really works. yay for you!

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    1. Oooh, thank you! I've been feeling like the two sofas are a little heavy (it's not a big room at all), but I'm glad you think they're working like this.

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  5. Visiting from the Shabby Creek Cottage. Wow, I can't believe the difference the reorganizing of your bookshelves and moving the rug into the room made. First of all, I am SO with you on the fact that bookshelves should be used, not admired as works of art, LOL! I don't GET it when people wrap books in pretty paper and "stage" things, and then cobwebs grow cuz the books are NEVAH used... I mean, I throw crap (souvenirs from my trips, beloved photos, tchokes, my magic compas, my camera, etc.) on my over-sized bookcases that need a new paint job, but I am also constantly pulling my reference books and novels off the shelf for - well - reference, and to re-read just for the heck of it cuz I love my favorites so much, and I USE my bookcases and books all the time. What the heck good are they if you don't use them? Just taking up space then, bah, may as well put up wallpaper with fake bookcases on it and not have to deal with dusting and spiders making homes in all the nooks and crannies. Secondly, moving the rug into your living room was the absolute right decision. The colors picks up the colors in the bookcases beautifully (background color as well as the colors of the books), and just adds such a lovely, "finishing" touch. It also feels much cozier - perhaps because of the "red" tones? Not sure, but the rug size fits the room so much better. I have read that one of the designer rules is that an area rug needs to be large enough to lay at least partially underneath the furniture arranged around it. After looking at your before and after photos, I see the wisdom in this "rule." Finally, congratulations on owning a full set of encyclopedias. They are WONDERFUL books to own and you know, most of the information they hold never goes out of truth, and there all of it is at the touch of looking up a topic in the Index (teaches kids valuable research skills too), so much easier to access to get grounding information than doing research online. Awesome!

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    1. Jan, you win the Comment of the Year award. (Your plaque's in the mail...maybe...) Thank you! I've read and re-read this, and I agree with everything you've said. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment.

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  6. Love this redo. Looks springy. I saw somewhere (probably pinterest) a fireplace that had been stuffed full of wood, smallish logs, so the cut ends (round) filled the opening. It was really pretty.

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    1. I've seen that look before, and I really like it. I've hesitated doing something similar because our fireplace is all angled and stuff in the back...and I've been too lazy to measure and cut various lengths of wood. But I might still try something like that.

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  7. Looks like grandpa moved out! :) The whole room is so much brighter and filled with cheer.
    With the fireplace... a big collection of pillar candles or pot plants, paint the back gold and put something sculptural in front of it (Ok, so that was a REALLY random thought), or a woven basket filled with sumptuous throws and such. ... Or maybe a chest? I'll have to keep my eyes open to see how the whole thing works out :) Enjoy the process.
    Sheree
    www.seaweedandraine.com

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    1. Hahah! Yes, Grandpa got his eviction notice (he left his encyclopedias, though. Something to remember him by. hee hee). Love the fountain of creative fireplace ideas! Especially painting the back gold...hmmm...that would be something, wouldn't it?! Great comment, Sheree. Thanks.

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  8. I love love that rug!! and your crate coffee table!
    please share at our 1st little linky party!
    http://www.lifewelive4.com/2013/03/love-it-list-it-linky-party.html
    :) Laura

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  9. I LOOOVE the changes! It was pretty before but really loving the bright updates!

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    1. Roeshel, you're quickly becoming one of my favorite commenters. Thanks!

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  10. I'd love to know where you got that rug! I live the brighter room!

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  11. Brittney, I am totally in love with that bright, fun rug you moved to the living room. I know this is an older post, but would you please tell me what size you bought? I found the rug on RugsUSA (via your previous link) but it only is available up to a 5x8 and that seems way too small for a living room... or is it? If I could know what size you have, it would help me a lot! this is my first rug buying experience so I'm floundering a bit, but your post on rugs has inspired me!! Especially since I didn't think I could do rugs with carpet, but you definitely pulled it off!

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    1. Hey Erin! This one is closer to 8x10. I love rugs, I think they absolutely make a space. Good luck!

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  12. I think the fireplace looks lovely- not too cluttered- but I'd love to see a metallic on the mirror frame or a glossy color- silver, gold or a pop- but I'm not crazy about the white frame above the white fp- but I love the changes and that rug is fantastic! kudos!

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  13. Use all the colors!! The updated version of your living room is lovely. Bright, cheery, and most importantly, cozy. Exactly what a living room should be! :)

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  14. Beautiful room. I've been looking at chalk board fireplaces and have seen some awesome diy projects on pinterest. That may be a fun idea to try. :)

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  15. I LOVE the 2nd re-do where you pulled that bright rug into the mix! Love the yellow in the bookshelves and a geometric print on the curtains would be perfect. I would really like to know where I could get a rug like that. Any ideas? As far as the fireplace goes...you could put hearth candles inside and put a thick cushion custom colorful cushion on the hearth.

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