This past April marked a big milestone for our family: two years of homeownership in this 1925 craftsman home that we absolutely love. At the time, we were still in all-out survival mode during the quarantine and the milestone came and went without any hullabaloo. The quarantine wasn’t particularly enjoyable for any of us, but all of that time cooped up in our semi-furnished living room motivated me to make some decisions and finally give the space the update I had spent the past two years dreaming about. I’m thrilled to take you for a tour of our recently refreshed modern farmhouse living room space today.
If you read the blog often, you already know how carefully Rob and I manage our finances. Half of the items in our living room were things we already owned, and the furniture and decor we purchased for our modern farmhouse living room were all budget-friendly options (hello brand new $400 sofa!)
Of course, in true Gavin family fashion, Harvey started crawling (and climbing) and we had to make a few less-than-ideal changes to the space, just as I finished decorating. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Come on in and take a tour. I’ll fill you in on all the details as we go.
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The biggest and most dramatic change to our living room decor was replacing our old chocolate brown micro-suede sofa. I had owned the sofa for well over a decade and it served our family well (especially through countless giant spit-ups from two babies who suffered from terrible acid reflux), but it was time to say goodbye. I spent the last two years dreaming of a new sofa for our living room and searching for something kid-friendly in a light-colored fabric. I desperately wanted to lighten up this room that often felt so heavy from the dark woodwork, expansive brick around the fireplace, and wood floors. Even though the old sofa fit the color and character of the room well, this corner often felt like a sea of brown.
Light-colored fabric would brighten the room, but I was worried about the kids ruining the furniture with markers, messy fingers, or worse. After months of researching various sofas online, I finally decided on the perfect one to suit our family’s needs: an Ikea EKTORP slip-covered sofa. The $400 price tag for the sofa and slipcover can’t be beaten for a functional piece of furniture, and I love that the slipcovers can be removed and washed (or replaced) if they are stained. The price ranges vary for the replacement covers, but the Lofallet beige slipcover we selected to create a modern farmhouse vibe for our living room currently sells for $50. We seriously could not go wrong and our living room finally has the light, airy feel that I spent the last two years dreaming about. A few weeks after purchasing the slip-covered sofa, we bought the matching armchair and ottoman – both pieces were every bit as easy on the budget and added to the charm of the decor.
(If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably purchased your fair share of small decor items, wood furniture, and home accessories at Ikea over the years, but are hesitant to take the plunge and invest in a sofa. We were in the same boat and took a chance on an EKTORP loveseat with a white slipcover for the children’s playroom during our first year in the house. It was a pretty low risk since the price was low and we knew we wouldn’t spend a ton of time upstairs. It’s been nearly two years since we made that initial purchase and the loveseat has held up great. It was a good experiment to prepare us for the larger investment of a sofa and armchair from the same Ikea furniture line.)
Several other items have changed in our living room over the past few years. I’ve mentioned a few of them on the blog and Instagram, but many others have quietly made an appearance into the backdrop of our lives. We replaced the gray rug with two matching area rugs from Wayfair. The blue, taupe and gray color palette laid a nice foundation for the updated living room color scheme with a farmhouse vibe. I found the cutest little antique dresser at a local home decor boutique last spring and we picked up the botanical print from another local shop. I especially love that the dresser brings a little character into our living room, while also providing some much-needed functional storage.
We have a small workspace that has moved around the living room a few times since we moved into the house. The back corner near the front door seems to be the best-functioning space for us to work and our little table that functions as a desk has returned to this nook. I picked up this oversize mirror at Target for a great price and it has helped to brighten the back half of our living room so much by bouncing around a little extra light from the front windows.
It was particularly difficult to find the right clock for this space. Every time I searched online, I would find gorgeous clocks that perfectly fit our living room decor, but my favorite clocks always had roman numerals instead of numbers. I love the look of roman numeral clocks, but the kindergarten teacher in me knew that it was best to have a clock with regular numbers in the house for our young children. Unfortunately, most of the clocks with numbers were either too small for the room or just weren’t very attractive. I practically leapt for joy when I spotted this 24″ beauty at Overstock.com. The galvanized metal finish accented the decor in our living room seamlessly and enhanced the modern farmhouse look of the space.
We also finally hung curtains in the living room. The room has a low ceiling and the windows have wide, dramatic trim – two unique qualities that made curtains awkward to hang and caused me to procrastinate on this decor item for a long time. We finally bit the bullet and hung black curtain rods for our dark taupe curtains. Best of all, I was able to find ceiling mount brackets for the rods, which eliminated the dilemma of drilling into the wood trim or finding brackets slim enough to squeeze into the narrow space above the window frame. We ordered medium weight curtains in a neutral “vintage taupe” color from Wayfair that blend so nicely with the various neutral shades in the room. The curtains were far too long to hang when they first arrived so I had to cut and hem them by hand which took over a week for me to accomplish (the fact that they are lined doubled the amount of work), but they turned out great and I’m pretty proud of my handiwork. Dessa and Harvey are pretty excited about the curtains as well and spend a lot of time playing in the back curtain by the closet. All the rough play has caused the edges of the curtain to curl out and show the white lining. I suppose that’s just life with kids and I’m thankful that only one curtain is affected at this point. I just pray that I don’t have to order and hem a replacement for it.
We have a long, windowless wall on one side of the living room that has had me scratching my head for the past two years as I tried to figure out an effective way to fill some of the empty space. A gallery wall did just the trick! Best of all, this was a budget-friendly gallery wall using HOVSTA frames from Ikea with 8×10″ photos of our favorite family memories. I love how the photos make a big statement on the wall without making the space feel too busy.
After more than two years in this house, I can finally say that I’m in love with our modern farmhouse-inspired living room. As the kids grow, I’ll be able to add a few more small furnishings (like a tall plant for the floor and a side table to place near the armchair so that whoever sits in the chair finally has a place to set their coffee.)
Of course, the irony of our living room layout and decor is that just as everything finally came together and the last curtain was hung, Harvey started pulling himself up onto everything and became an unstoppable force of nature. He is determined to topple the little typewriter table that we keep beside the sofa and he was constantly batting at the lowest row of picture frames in the gallery wall.
We moved the ottoman in front of the typewriter table and turned the table to keep it a little further from his grasp. This actually became the perfect accidental work & play space for Dessa. Whenever she uses toys with small parts, she hops up on the ottoman and sits at the little table. She’s happy because Harvey can’t disturb the items she is playing with and I’m always relieved to know that items with small pieces are up and out of Harvey’s reach.
The other decision we recently made was to remove the lowest row of framed pictures from the gallery wall. Thankfully, all the frames have a thin sheet of plastic rather than glass to hold the pictures in place. I’m just worried about the possibility of Harvey getting smacked in the face with the corner of a frame if he successfully rips it off the wall. The shortened gallery wall isn’t bad exactly… it just isn’t as cute as the full version, and that corner of the room feels a little bit empty once again.
I’m certain that my two little sillies will find a way to make me rethink our current furnishings and layout sometime soon. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting here in my happy place.
Shop our living room by clicking on any of the images below. Unfortunately, picture links to Ikea items aren’t available, but I found similar items from other major retailers. You can find exact links to our favorite Ikea items in the text descriptions above.