Step inside our main room

26 May 2023

Welcome back to our home! Today I thought we could take a tour of our main room. As you may have seen in this video, our downstairs is pretty much one big room (aside from our master bedroom, which is also on the first floor). In the ten years we’ve lived in this house we’ve never fully settled on a name for this space – it alternatively goes by family room, living room, main room, and sometimes just “out there” if we’re in the bedroom – but main room will do for today’s purposes :)

The last time I shared a full look at this space was in 2015, two years after moving into our home and before we had any kids. Since then, I’ve shared details here and there, like our upgraded toy storage, my desk/family command center, and our dining room chairs. My style has evolved over the years, too, shifting from more colorful and cute to warm and classic. With craftsmen in our home for our kitchen refresh, we took the opportunity to make a few final updates (for now! ;)) to this space, too. I love how it’s looking these days, so come on in!

Dining Area

Paint: Simply White, Benjamin Moore. Table: antique. Dining chairs: Willa chairs from Crate & Barrel (similar). Silhouettes: Erik Johnson. Stools: a gift (similar). Chandelier: Wayfair. Bookshelf: Ikea.

The centerpiece of our dining area is our table. I found it in an antiques shop in Connecticut many years ago; my parents generously gave it to me as a college graduation gift (it was about $300). It is a heavy sucker, and has beautifully carried us through life from a party of two in an apartment to a family of five who regularly hosts Articles Club. (At its smallest, it is a four-top, and with several leaves, easily expands to seat 12!)

We replaced the chandelier last year with our kitchen refresh and… it is not my favorite. We went with the inexpensive choice (it was $120), and I think it shows – the finish looks cheap next to the rest of the kitchen hardware, and it hangs a little wonky. I’m considering eventually replacing it with this or this – feel free to let me know which one you prefer, or if you have another suggestion for me! – but am okay with it as-is for now.

Our colorful bookshelf is still going strong! I re-sorted it a few years ago so that it no longer goes in rainbow order from top to bottom, but instead has the lightest books on the top and then descends in a sort of colorful gradient (and, of course, our beloved ice cream station reigns on the bottom shelf). My Irish dancing crown, CWM conversation cards, and my childhood piggy bank are dotted in there, too. Sometimes I get the urge to shuffle all the colors together, but that feels like a lot of work :)

Seating Area

And here’s the rest of the space! It’s come a long way from the early days, and I’m pleased with it – it works hard for our family and feels like a cozy hug.

Chairs: Lee Industries. Cane side table: Target (old). Wooden trunk: hand-me-down from my family’s cottage. Tan sofa: Macy’s (real old). Black floor lamp: Wayfair (old). Round mirror: Ballard Designs. Little rocking chair: family heirloom. Sideboard/toy storage: HomeGoods. Cream rope baskets: Target. Rug: “Carmel” by Safavieh. Blanket basket: Target. Lumbar pillows: Brooke & Lou. Ceiling fan: Home Depot.

Chairs: Lee Industries. Cane side table: Target (old). Wooden trunk: hand-me-down from my family’s cottage. Black floor lamp: Wayfair (old). Round mirror: Ballard Designs. Little rocking chair: family heirloom. Rug: “Carmel” by Safavieh. Lumbar pillows: Brooke & Lou. Cream tufted ottoman: Target (old). Ceiling fan: Home Depot. Fireplace tile: Bejmat Zellige tile in Weathered White.

The most recent upgrade to this space was the fireplace surround. Before, it had a thin, dated mantel and tile that matched our old kitchen backsplash. I gave our handyman an inspiration photo and asked him to build a classic and more substantial mantel, and he did a fantastic job. He also replaced the tile with the same kind we used in the kitchen backsplash. So, so pleased with this update!

These chairs were a splurge several years ago. They’re comfy, such a classic style, and I love that they’re made in North Carolina. I did waffle over whether cream was the right choice with little kids, but I made a decision and have made it the right one :) I do keep my favorite spray close at hand and assume we’ll need to reupholster them at some point down the line (a soft green or maybe navy could be lovely!) and so try not to be too precious about them in the moment.

Sideboard/toy storage: HomeGoods. Cream rope baskets: Target. Blanket basket: Target. Lamp: Target (old). Wedding invitation framing: Framed and Matted.

Our TV is somewhat laughably small, mostly because we bought it a long ago, but it kind of tracks for our family :) I like that it’s visually almost tucked into the gallery wall.

The sideboard was a very lucky find at HomeGoods a few years ago, and does a bang-up job at storing board games (there are more in the chest), puzzles, drawing paper, a bin full of cars, and our collection of Magna Tiles. Train tracks and LEGOs are in the two rope bins.

Our gallery wall is due for a little updating, but it makes me happy: it includes everything from a painting I inherited from my grandmother, of the view out her window, to an old dinner plate from our Maine cottage. The painting of my bouquet by my sister-in-law and our framed wedding invitation (still obsessed ten years later) are two of my other favorites. The disco ball came home with me on our last day in the NC Cultivate offices – a reminder of the good times we had together in our lovely space :)

Wooden trunk: hand-me-down from my family’s cottage. Tan sofa: Macy’s (real old). Rug: “Carmel” by Safavieh. Throw pillows: Target. 25×25″ white frames: Pottery Barn.

Say hello again to none other than the tan sofa I waxed poetic about in this post. She’s an old gal (we’ve had 12 years together!), but still going strong. This purchase represented one of my and John’s first big leaps into adulthood; we saved for months to afford the $700 price tag. It is incredibly comfortable, the velvet fabric is impervious to stains, and the practical color hides the dust of daily life effectively. It’s wonderful to have a piece of furniture the kids can go nuts on, especially when I’m a little more precious about our cream armchairs.

The big frames are a fun conversation piece: they hold four photos we took on our travels, including snaps from Michigan, Yosemite, Nevis, and France.


Finally, we purchased three of these bulletin boards a year ago to hold artwork for our three kids. They’re a cheerful addition to the back hallway and the kids love curating their personal galleries.

If I’ve missed something you’re curious about, happy to share – just drop a note in the comments. And thank you again to Honeysuckle Collective for a few of these photos!

Friends, it’s one thing to invite you into my thoughts, and another into our home – even if virtually! I hope you enjoyed this peek at our space. It’s always fun to be able to picture the backdrop to a story, isn’t it? :)

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May 26, 2023 7:59 am

So fun to see all of the special things together! Love the disco ball, of course. All of the soft blues in your living room are so cozy. So beautiful!

May 26, 2023 9:04 am

This is such an inspiration! We’re unexpectedly moving homes this year, I’m looking forward to see what we can do with a cozy living space that is laid out much like yours!

May 26, 2023 9:09 am

It looks very warm and welcoming. I am so glad you love it.

May 26, 2023 10:30 am

This is so helpful to see! Living in an apartment with kids we are always trying to figure out toy storage and I love how simple your system is.

Sarah Westphal
May 26, 2023 7:24 pm

Love this!!

May 29, 2023 7:57 pm

Ok, the thing you missed was your baby gate! Ha! I’m about to have another crawler and have so far been disappointed in the gate system we used for the bottom of the stairs. What did y’all use? What do you use upstairs?

May 30, 2023 4:05 pm
Reply to  Heather

In case Emily’s gate doesn’t work for you, we love our top-of-stairs gate from Cardinal Gates. Simple installation, easy to open with one hand for an adult, still impossible for my 18 month old to figure out.

June 3, 2023 4:00 pm
Reply to  Em

Thank you both!

May 29, 2023 9:22 pm

Always fun to see the little every day decorations and practical pieces :) Also, love the Brooke and Lou light fixture you linked.