I have been spending a lot of time on the family room couch.
Winter being what it is, I’ve gotta get sick some time, right? Being in the same room for three days straight has surprisingly not been unpleasant (a nice little bonus to loving where I live), and I have spent a little extra time appreciating this space because I have been using it non-stop. So just for fun (and because honestly, I can only watch TV for so many hours before I need a break) I thought I’d share five things I love in our family room – and tell you way too much about each one – and also give you a guide to similar items in case you decide you want something similar.
1| this little side table:
It was actually sold as a ‘stool’, and believe it or not I bought it at Walmart, of all places! I love it because unlike a regular side table I can slide the bottom piece under the couch and bring the top so close it almost feels like a laptop table – without really getting in the way of my lap (which currently has a laptop on it as I’m typing this). I can also shove it across the area rug easily if I want to position it somewhere else – that big base slides much better than something with legs would. It’s also multi-functional and can be tucked into a corner as a plant stand, perched on as a stool, or easily positioned by that extra dining room chair that gets pulled into the family room when we host a crowd. See why it’s awesome??
And because it was so inexpensive I’m not stressed if the kids occasionally tip it sideways and roll it across the floor (yep, that’s happened). Sadly, I can’t find these on the Walmart.com website anymore, and it’s been years since I saw them in the store. Here are a few similar stools, though:
2| our couch:
I know couches are a really big deal, and a very personal thing. And you pretty much decide if you love it or hate it when those sick days come.
I love statement couches covered in a beautiful color, mid-century modern couches, sleek track arm couches, amazing tufted couches…they all look so beautiful! But in our family room we were all about comfort and practicality. I mean, I wasn’t willing to go all the way to the recliner couch stage of comfort (no disrespect to those of you who have those, but I think they should be reserved for basement movie watching spaces), but we definitely wanted something that not only looked good, but also felt good. Along with comfort, I also wanted only one seat cushion, back cushions that could be flipped/rotated, and a profile with straight lines. I also knew I didn’t want to spend a fortune – we have little kids (that right there is enough reason) and frankly we like to eat on our couch. I didn’t want anything too precious. Besides, I really do feel like the life span of most sofas these days – for daily, hard usage – is MAYBE 10 years. So I’d rather feel like I can buy a new one later than think I have to keep this one forever just because it cost a fortune.
Ok, so knowing all that, I shopped around online and settled on West Elm’s Crosby Sofa.
So much style! I still love it! We drove the 2 ½ hours to the closest West Elm to sit on it, juuuuust to make sure. And – womp womp – it just didn’t work for us.
Well at that point we sat on every other couch in the store, because we really really wanted a new couch (and their 30% off couch promotion was in our back pocket). And we ended up loving this one:
I never would have chosen this couch from an online image, but it is just so great in person. The back pillows allow anyone to shift them around to get amazing support. They can be flipped and rotated like throw pillows (and they do) and as a result they look like they did on day one. The whole top perimeter is upholstered and is nice and wide, so people can actually perch on the arms or the back of the couch, which is so perfectly casual. The blocky modern profile is just right for our room. And the one cushion seat is glorious. Because we can throw all the pillows off and it’s like a mattress – so perfect for times like now when I’m sick on the couch. No seat cushion cracks! Enough said.
3| the TV console:
When we upgraded to a wall mounted flat panel years ago, I knew the bulky old armoire had to go. But I also needed toy storage in the space, and didn’t like the look of those open units with baskets of toys. Being a high traffic area, I didn’t want any doors that could be left open and become shin busters. So I knew I wanted drawers. We found this media dresser at Value City Furniture as part of a bedroom suite. It was perfect!
The drawers looked less like dresser drawers since they were not full width, and the simple clean lines matched the look we wanted. There’s plenty of room for our surround sound unit, TiVo box, and dvd player on the open shelves. The bottom two drawers are piled full of toys, and every little kid who comes over knows they can go straight for them and pull out whatever they want. The top drawers hold our game system and controllers (we are old school, guys…we only have a GameCube), puzzles, and all of our printing supplies. It is WONDERFUL.
I wish they still had it, but I can’t find it there (or anywhere). But fortunately similar items are not hard to find:
4| these footstools:
It all started with a thrift store where I found some amazing vintage chairs and had them reupholstered. We loved that they were super low, but it meant that to really sit back comfortably you needed your feet up. So we needed some ottomans. I went on the hunt for something low, upholstered to match our chairs, inexpensive, lightweight so we could easily push them around, and visually small. That combination of criteria is basically non-existent. Then one day I walked into Target (cue angels holding a note in eight part harmony).
Ok, they were not perfect. They were too tall. They had cheap basic gray upholstery. I didn’t really like the wood tone on the legs. But I was just over it with the search. They’re perfect, I told Bruce, with a gleam of desperation in my eye. He was skeptical. I convinced him with just a little tweaking they’d be great! So we brought two home. The first thing we did was to figure out our ideal height for foot resting, and then took them apart and chopped down the legs. Then I ordered several fabric samples and picked my favorite. The tops went back to our favorite re-upholstery shop where for a super reasonable fee they were recovered. The blonde wood legs…well, we decided they were fine and haven’t bothered to change them.
These little stools are amazing. Not only are they perfect for propping up feet, they also serve as extra seating (in fact, at this very moment my daughter pulled one of them up next to me on the couch and she’s using it instead of the comfy vintage chairs so she can sit beside me – be still my heart), they serve as child sized tables for movie night, and they add a little pop of pattern to the room.
Of course Target doesn’t have them anymore (no big surprise with Target’s constant inventory turnover), but here are some similar options:
5| Finally, this painting:
I actually first found it at Home Decorators and thought it had the potential to pull the colors of my furniture and accessories together beautifully. And the large size was perfect. But it was $400, which was just too much for me to spend on a generic print. I mentioned it to Bruce, and he causally said he could paint it for me. So for the price of a canvas from Michaels (under $25) he tackled it one weekend and copied the print.
I feel no guilt about him ‘forging’ someone else’s work, because it was not a one-of-a-kind original painting, and we are not selling it as someone else’s art or anything else nefarious. And I both love it more because he painted it, and at the same time feel like we don’t have to keep it forever if we find something else we love (I do like to switch it up every once in a while).
Here it is in our family room:
And here’s a picture of the print from the website:
What can I say – my husband is a master forger. Wait, maybe that’s not something to boast about. Ha!
But really, this post is a reminder that it is fun to find joy in what I already have!
So now I’m curious – when you look around YOUR family room what are your favorite things?