Kate · Moving

Family Room

Let me preface this post by saying I am completely aware that these thoughts are so ‘first world problems’ that it makes them almost ridiculous. However, when thinking about the purpose of each space and decorating each room in the new house, they were conversations which needed to happen. Also, with all the recent heaviness in the world, I thought a lighter post was needed.

In our old house we had a living room, a family room and an eat in kitchen. When we bought the house, Paul already owned a black couch, which we knew would go into the family room…the largest room and the place we’d do most of our living.  I was giddy to be able to buy our first ‘adult’ furniture back then and we purchased two fun & adorable reclining chairs and a small couch-sleeper sofa for our ‘formal’ living room. Paul had a four top dining room table which eventually made it’s way downstairs into our family room as my cookie table. We inherited an 8 person-drop leaf table which sat in the corner of our kitchen for years. It’s primary function was a junk collector in those early years. When we joined a small group and started hosting regular dinners for a party of 8, we moved one of our adorable reclining chairs in the nook in the kitchen and the 8 person table into the living room, thus transforming our living room into a dining room. And, on one very memorable evening we had the four men from small group move our red cute couch to a bedroom in a scene reminiscent of the couch scene from Friends, leaving me shouting pivot while the guys struggled to get a sleeper sofa up a set of steps.

It was around this time that I relinquished leaving one room rather empty in case we needed a nursery in an effort to best utilize our limited space. Our guest room/office became a sitting room/office and our empty ‘nursery’ became a true guest room. It was one of those huge hurdles on our infertility journey…a mental transition solved by simple furniture transitioning. I wish I could convey how painful it was to do something as easy as moving a bed from one room to another.

I was just a wee bit overjoyed to discover this new house had a living room, family room AND a dining room. It doesn’t take much to make me happy! This meant my pretty adult living room furniture could go back to its rightful place.  But here’s where our initial sticky point in thinking about our spaces in the new house occurred. Follow me here. In the old house, our living room was the small space and our family room was the huge space. In the new house, our living room is the larger space and our family room is the smaller space. The furniture we owned, originally bought for the living room, served a much better purpose (and fit better) in our new family room. (Confused yet?)  Hence, why we decided to buy new stuff for the new living room.  We also originally thought we would do most of our living in our family room…as we always had. Yet, it didn’t really make sense for us to spend the majority of our life in the smallest room in the house. Seriously, I’m making my own head spin.


Totally silly sounding, I know, but it was these thought processes which got us to how our family room is decorated.

Let’s first address the elephant in the room.

That wood paneling. Ugh.

From the moment we walked through the house, we wanted it gone.  Our old house had painted wood paneling and we loved it….because it was painted. Thanks to needing some other more important high price items (hello fridge/washer/dryer), having that wood paneling professionally painted has taken a back seat. My Libra (the scales) personality has kicked in majorly on the whole to paint the wood paneling or not debate, making this one heck of a decision. If I’m completely honest with myself, I hate it. I think it’s dark and dingy and so outdated, yet I also realize that trendy things often have a way of coming back in style (years later) and I have some serious guilt associated with painting over an original piece of the house. I also have concerns about it being painted properly which would lead to a whole lot of praying that the knots don’t start to show through. It’s not cheapo wood paneling…it’s honest to goodness real wood and I know people who see the beauty in a natural piece of wood are probably dying a little on the inside reading about my thoughts on painting it. And well, right now, the furniture kinda hides it. Oy vey!

My whole thought process is continuing in one giant circle. If you have any ideas that would help get me off this merry-go-round and point me in a decision direction, I’m all ears.

Okay-back to the furniture…and that black couch. In those weeks prior to move in, I instantly knew what this room would look like. I wanted my red couch and my two cute reclining chairs in that room. I pictured a shag rug to warm up the space and I knew I wanted the TV to not be the focal point. We had some very serious conversations about selling that black couch, which is oh so comfy but starting to show it’s 13 years. When I say serious conversations, I mean as in that couch was the last thing in the pod and I was taking pictures of it to post on facebook to sell.  Luckily, my sisters and mom were over and they graciously pointed out that in my current set up I only had seating for 5 in my family room and they urged me to “Just try” putting the couch in the room.  Cue the comedic scene of 5 women carrying a really heavy (because both ends are recliners) couch while over-analyzing how to best get the thing through the doors into the room. We made it to the front door and decided the thought process wasn’t worth the effort…called Matt and Paul (who were conveniently at my sister’s house having a beer) over and within seconds they had that couch in it’s new home. And it works perfectly.

This was right after we got the black couch in the room. Things still need to be hung on the walls, but at least the furniture was there!

The only new things in this room are the rug and the tiny little square table between the red couch and & chair. The rug was a clearance find at The Dump and I LOVE it. It’s incredibly soft and with the rug pad under it providing extra cushion, it’s the perfect zone for the kids to play on.

A few days later and the curtains are the only change in the room.

Aside from the wood panelling, this room also had black switch plates and outlet covers. Uggh.  They darkened up the room and felt outdated. Luckily switch plates and outlet covers are super cheap.  Unfortunately, the actual light switches are closer to $4.00 per switch and well, we need about 25 of them in the house replaced. This means the upgrade the light switch project will have to wait for a while.

I started writing this post about 3 weeks ago and here I sit, downstairs, in the family room, finishing this post. My husband declared it a family room evening which meant he was tired of sitting in his recliner and wanted to stretch out on the old black comfy couch. Because I was working on finishing up this post and not working on cookies, I agreed. It’s such a nice change of pace to have two options for hanging out. Luckily, the room feels finished enough to want to spend time in it.

Over the past month, this room has primarily been for the niece and nephew to hang out in. In fact, Nora and Bennett have their own special corner in this room.


The room had two built in shelves and I bought two new, super cute baskets for their toys. My old trolls made their way down from the attic and Britt furnished some diapers and wipes.  I added the plate Nora (okay Britt) made for her uncle when she was 6 months old and this officially became the kids corner. My absolute favorite part is this little desk. Santa’s elves brought Britt, Ally and me three school desks one year for Christmas.  I’m pretty sure the desks never made it out of my parent’s garage when we moved houses in 1994 and I know it’s been in my shed for the past 9.5 years. I’m sure this desk is loving being loved again…ya know, if inanimate objects had feelings.

Now, because I’m too lazy & comfortable and because I forgot earlier, these are the current photos you get of this room. The views I have from the red couch.

This sign hung about our front door at the old house and it was just propped to be put out of the way on the new windowsill. It fits perfectly and at this point in time, seems to have found its new home.
The closed door goes to the hallway with the half bath & laundry room and the opening goes up to the living room.
I have plans for this mantle. I’m just not sure what they are yet. For right now, it’s the collecting place of some of my tchotchke’s that happen to match the decor of the room.
The mirror finally got hung up!

This room has a long way to go still.  Mostly in the way of paint. I’m fairly certain I know what color I want above the wood panelling which would also make the fireplace pop a bit more.  Further down the road, we’ll get the fireplace fixed.  It needs some extensive work done and honestly, I’m not a fan of the smell of wood fire in a house, so it looks like we’ll eventually be saving up for a gas insert.

And of course, we haven’t solved the whole to paint the wood panelling or not debate yet.

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