My Non-Consumer Living Room — A Before and After

by Katy on May 16, 2013 · 15 comments

I wrote a post in 2008 describing what I called my Non-Consumer Living Room, but I thought I’d write up an update as much has changed. (By the way, you can click on the photos for better detail.)

Here’s the before. Very sedate, to the point of humorless. Like maybe your grandmother would really, really enjoy it.

Living room  -- Before

And here’s the after of my living room today. A bit more fun with a more varied color palate:

Living Room -- After

What’s different?

  • The place holder acrylic rug was replaced by a $40 Goodwill hand knotted wool rug.
  • The too big coffee table was replaced by my library card catalog table.
  • My Jane Austen desk was moved into the dining room and replaced by my curbside find console table.
  • My Tastykake painting was replaced by my estate sale $18 Maxfield Parrish print.
  • The juts-into-the-room fireplace screen was pushed into the firebox, which is simply better.
  • The not-actually comfortable Morris Chair was replaced by my vintage Goodwill handmade hickory chair.
  • The classically sedate alabaster lamp was replaced by my Goodwill Alderesque lamp with made-from-a-tote-bag Marimekko shade.

What happened to all the old stuff? Either it found a new spot in the house or it got sold on Craigslist, baby!

Of course, no room is ever really finished. My styles and taste changes, plus it would be boring to ever stop tinkering with my house.

Boring!

Boring.

Are you a put it in place and never change it person or are you like me and enjoy the process of evolving a room? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

William Morris May 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

We’re constantly rearranging in our house. Built in the 30’s, the three major rooms are long and narrow. The “living” room is the worst because the front door is dead center in a 20′ long wall in a room only 9′ wide with doorways at each end (kitchen at one, bedrooms at the other.) In form and function, it’s really not much more than a very big hallway and we’ve tried several configurations over the years, none of which have really worked to make it truly a living room. Doesn’t stop us from trying!

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JaneUlness May 16, 2013 at 10:38 am

We have a 1940 s living room. Mostly hand me down and used furniture. I switch the layout between summer and winter so the leather chairs don’t get the heat registers blast. Other than that, I change accessories, but the furniture is too costly to replace, we could never afford on retirement income that nice of furniture.

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Karen May 16, 2013 at 11:03 am

@Jane: You are a person after my own heart. I change the accessories 3-4 times a year, mostly with the seasons.

Did replace the sofa and love seat recently, after 23 years of use. First new furniture bought in quite some time.

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Meaghan May 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I am a “move it around person”, but my wife is a “put in in place and NEVER move it person”. we struggle with it!

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tonya May 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Katy,
I love your new living room look! Amazing how your new colors and cool projects come together. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

I am constantly moving my stuff around and playing with arrangements of stuff in our house. It’s a lot of fun!

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Carole May 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I thought both arrangements were very attractive, different but attractive.

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Debra May 17, 2013 at 1:21 am

Awesome job! Very inspirational.

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chris May 17, 2013 at 2:34 am

i’m always swapping furniture and accessories out; i have the luxury of volunteering at a thrift store so i get good deals on things that strike my fancy; i still adhere to the principle of one in and two out; sometimes i’ll redonate things to the store and sometimes i’ll put them on craigs list; i also frequent estate sales and have found some amazing pieces for pennies on the dollar; i love your site because you inspire me, katy!

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Katy May 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

Thank you!

Katy

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Joyce May 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

I love your windows! We have the same one. We replaced the large one with french doors that now go out to a deck. I love both rooms.

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Sadye May 17, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I’m both, depending on the situation — i.e., my roomy childhood bedroom allowed for much more rearranging, which I enjoyed; but my small apartment is pretty set in stone, which doesn’t bother me.

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Betty Winslow May 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

We tend to be “find the right spot and leave it” types, but I recently decided I needed to move the living room stuff around and am in the process of figuring out a new configuration for it all. Wish me luck!

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bella May 19, 2013 at 5:32 am

We are military so we move every 2-3 years. So we just get a new house! that’s our swap around a completely new house – new town – New State or even a completely different country!

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Savanna June 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I am a slowly fix it up type I guess. We got many pieces free when we got married but most of them were of poor taste or just old. So I have slowly picked up stuff from goodwill and garage sales. Latest project is a large dresser with mirror from goodwill, 40.00 bucks! with little white painting it should real good with my navy walls. The current one is given to me from mother in law who got it free from someone else when they got married!

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Karen White June 17, 2013 at 5:38 am

The lighting is natural in the ‘after’ picture which certainly adds to the bright and breeziness if the room. I do like the changes instigated though.

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