Elizabeth's Cure Project: The Living Room Revamp

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There are a lot of projects in my house that could use my attention. There's the China hutch in the hallway that needs to be turned into a small armoire. There are three chairs that need to be reupholstered. Or I could finally figure out a decent storage solution for my sewing supplies. But for my Cure project this year, I'm going to focus on the design of the room that gets the most use and that is seen by the most people: The living room.

My living room is a decent sized space, but it's a very long, narrow room, and there isn't a lot inside it. While some people strive for a clean, minimalist look, I'm setting up the ironing board next to the couch so I can have a place to rest a drink. My style tends to be more colorful, layered, and boisterous, so the sparseness does not sit well with me. (Not to mention the lack of lighting means the room currently becomes impossible to read in after 4 p.m.)

To take better advantage of the area by the windows, the space needs a slight reorganization. My husband, Nick, thinks a desk should go where the Christmas tree and the exercise bike currently live. Also, it's time for another dead plant purge. (Followers of last year's Cure, I'm sorry. I haven't gotten much better at keeping plants alive.)

After spending 10 minutes sitting still and visualizing a new room layout, I got to the fun part: Inspiration searching.

To remind myself of my goal, I went back to look at the "dream living room inspiration" I made up for Apartment Therapy back in 2012. (I also did one inspired by the crazy art deco monkey wallpaper in my parents' first house.) My style hasn't changed much since then, so I'm keeping those inspiration collages in mind, but how to achieve something like that on an Ikea budget is a different question.

I told myself to focus on lighting and curtain options, but somehow I found myself perusing rugs again. So far I have had no luck finding inexpensive rugs in Germany. I still love overdyed rugs, but even at Ikea they're over $1,000. Looking around this time, however, I actually found this purple one and this turquoise one (maybe in anthracite), which might work and are not too expensive.

For curtains, we're still torn. I love the look of white sheers, but Nick wants something completely opaque. Getting more light in the room is definitely a priority, so we'll be checking out chandelier options sometime this week.

Whatever we wind up finding, I'm hoping it will make a pretty substantial difference. Here's my official Before picture:

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More on Elizabeth's January Cure

(Image credits: Elizabeth Licata)