When our realtor first showed up this house, I couldn’t see it’s potential. It must have been the 20th house we had seen in our year-long search to find our home. At this point, I had pretty much lost hope that we would ever find the right home. I breezed through the house tour watching the excitement rise on my husband’s face. The flow of the house was nice but it was cluttered with large furniture and dark paint colours.
We left the house, buckled 9-month-old Simone into her car seat and drove off. I asked Nathan what he wanted to eat for dinner. I quickly realized that he wasn’t thinking about dinner. He was thinking about how much our offer should be. It took over 24 hours and many visualizations of what the house could be to get me on board. Twenty-four hours may not seem like a long time, but the real estate market at the time was intense and we were advised that if we liked a property we should make an offer before leaving the viewing. We had missed out on previous properties by pondering over an offer for a few hours.
Just a Little Paint
A few months and paint coats later and I am so happy that we made the offer that we did. I love our home and the living room is my favourite room in the house. It’s the place where we put on a record, drink our coffee and dump out the Duplo blocks.
When we got the keys to our house we had a week before moving day. In this week we had a team of painters come in and paint everything one of the various shades of white. Who am I kidding, not just one of the various shades of white. We were knee deep in white paint chips. We knew what shade of white we wanted – Simply White with a Cloud White trim.
The only thing we did not paint white were the beams on the front hallway ceiling. We painted them Hale Blue to match the kitchen cupboards – which Nathan and I painted with the help of our family. While the painters were busy painting over the yellow and red paint Nathan re-did the kitchen, stay tuned for my blog on our budget kitchen reno. These two updates made a HUGE difference in the house and I finally saw how much potential this house has. Now that our furniture is in place and we have been relaxing in our living room for a few months. I can’t even remember what the room used to look like, but just for a little walk down memory lane, I will put in some photos from before.
I mentioned in my previous post about the overall theme of our home decor journey being to keep in minimal, sticking to a budget and creating a toddler-friendly space – these things were all important when it came to setting up the living room.
Minimalism in the Living Room
As Simone gets older and is somehow able to create incredible messes in a matter of seconds it has been important for me to have a space where I am able to relax while she is able to play. My trick to keeping the living room parent and toddler-friendly has been to rotate the toys we have out. Having a small assortment of toys out means that the mess can never get too overwhelming and it is super easy to pick-up.
Every time I change the toys in the living room she has a new found interest in them and they keep her interest for a little longer than normal. I keep her toys organized in small boxes by type. In a matter of minutes, she can have a whole new assortment of toys to play with.
The main source of entertainment in our living room is our record player. We don’t have a tv in the living room. Instead, we enjoy putting on a record and dancing around. We even have one of those vintage mini record players for Simone to play with. Although, She has already figured out how to turn on the record player and radio.
Getting Creative with our Money
Nathan and I are both avid thrifters and second-hand consumers. Not only does it save us tons of money but it also helps the environment- bonus! Our couch, womb chair, and rug were all purchased off of buy and sell sites and they were all in “like new” condition when we purchased them. The rug was actually used to stage a house so it had very minimal use and was actually still shedding when we bought it. The womb chair was purchased by a woman who ended up not having the space for it in her condo and had only had it for a few weeks.
After a lot of shopping around, we did purchase our coffee table new. Nathan’s grandfather gave us a generous Christmas gift one year and we used it to purchase our Gwendoline coffee table. Unlike the normal living room coffee table with pointy edges, this table has been designed for children. It has curved edges so there are no corners for head to land on. It is low to the ground so if someone was to climb onto it, it’s easy to get off of and won’t tip over. And it has proven to be an excellent spot to sit and have a snack.
We also splurged and purchased the Ikea Eket shelves. These shelves are great for storing records and kids items so they are perfect for our living room. It is also easy to pop a few baskets of toys in them and it keeps everything looking polished.
I talked about this a bit in a previous blog, but my favourite way to baby proof is to do it as you go. I know as a new parent I always wanted to “be prepared” and this most likely had to do with wanting to have some control over the most unpredictable thing I have done, became a parent. Once I realized I will never be able to control parenthood no matter how many baby proofed cupboards and foam taped corners I had, I took a big sigh of relief and just started removing and altering things as needed.
One of the only things we had to remove was our side tables. Turns out they are great to use for standing support but not sturdy enough to hold our daughter’s weight. So, out those went. We also use the toilet paper roll rule, anything that can fit in a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard and therefore cannot be accessible to Simone, without supervision. There isn’t anything in our living room that is off limits to her, everything is friendly for Simone and anything that is not is not in her reach. This means I can take my eyes off her for a few minutes while I prep dinner or do the dishes.
One of our newest additions to our living room is our toddler chair. Which was a nice surprise from her grandparents. I love peeking into the living room and seeing her sitting in the chair reading a book. Or more recently she has started to sit her dolls in the chair while she tries to strap her winter boots to their feet. I love catching these little moments. It is such a nice reminder that she is comfortable and confident in her home.
Well, that is our living room! With a little bit of paint and some decluttering, we have created a simple space that is great for all of us to enjoy! I am curious – how do you make your living space comfortable for everyone in your family?