Click the image above to go to a Pinterest board chock full of
handmade items from my readers and fellow bloggers!

I’m sure you’ll find some great gift ideas, and maybe even an item or two for yourself.


(these pictures were taken at the same time of day – only difference is the kitchen curtains were closed and I had to have the light on in the top one because of the drapes.) 
 I was getting tired of my living room decor, which was pretty traditional and didn’t have much flair.  And honestly, beyond the mantle decor, didn’t really fit my personality.  I like a little pop of color, and a little bit of the unexpected.  I’m definitely a contemporary person, but I’m also a bit eclectic, so finding the perfect balance isn’t always easy.  The sofas in our living room were chosen by my husband.  He REALLY wanted recliners and I REALLY did not, so we settled on these sofas with built in recliners.  I wasn’t a fan of them, but it was a compromise on my part, so this is what I have to work with!  They are large and dark and I think they make the room appear smaller than what it really is.  Plus, I HATE my fireplace and our plans for removing it this year have been delayed until next year, so I really had to do some updates so that I didn’t start to despise this space.
All the changes I made were small and inexpensive, but had a big impact!
To start, I purchased a new rug from Target.
I can’t remember how much it was but I know it was under $100.

Remember my lamp I entered in the Blogger Challenge?
Well it didn’t match anymore… so I had to recover it, again.  I still like it, though I miss my zebra print!  I picked up the rattan barrel table for $60 at Homegoods.

The fireplace received a makeover as well.  I think this is the part that makes the biggest difference for me:

Hated this ugly early 90’s style!
I’ll be uber-happy when we rip this thing out.  It will give the space a lot more room and us more layout options.  This update is just a fix so that I can live with it for one more year.  But honestly, I kinda love it now! Not enough to stop me from taking it out though!

I removed the hideous glass doors, and painted the inside black using a latex paint. I didn’t worry about heat resistant paint since no fire will be burning in here (the fireplace has already been capped off).I placed a mirror from Micheal’s against the back of the fireplace and then purchased inexpensive white pillar candles and tea lights from The Christmas Tree Shop.
Once I got them inside I realized they were WAY to white and sterile looking, so I grabbed several types of twine, wire and ribbon and wrapped them up. I love how it made them a bit more rustic.  Mixing contemporary with rustic just makes my heart go pitter-patter!

Lastly, I lost the dark drapes, which never seemed to stay in place and no one besides me took the time to fix them.  I replaced them with cordless cellular shades from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I used plywood, 2×4’s and L-brackets to make a pelmet box which I covered with fabric and batting and secured to the wall with lots of help from my husband.  This was a great way to add a bit of color and dimension to the wall of windows.  I have received so many comments on this feature, and it really opens up the whole living room. We tend to keep the shades open during the day and close them at night. I love all the natural light that comes in now.
Even Cooper the Fish received an upgrade and ended up with a larger, vase style bowl.

What do you think?  An improvement, no?
Did you notice the painting over my couch?  It was done by my Memere who learned how to paint in her 70’s.  I think this was her 10th painting.  I love it, but I think it’s time for it to find a new spot in my home.  I’m brainstorming some ideas for that space, so stay tuned!
Happy Creating! ~Kim

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Kim is a Marketing Director by day and Crafter/Blogger/Blog Designer by night. She lives with her husband, three beautiful children, and her dog and cat. You can also visit her design site, seven thirty three – – creative blog design.  For even more seven thirty three fun, like her on Facebook or follow along via Twitter!