Despite my love of all things pretty, home décor is one area of visual design I’m terrible at. It’s not so much my taste, but I find the process of decorating so overwhelming that I’ve become adept at ignoring my surroundings when I don’t know what to do with them.
Case in point: Our last home had a hideous hunter-orange accent wall in the living room, and it stayed that way for five years because every time I tried to imagine something different for the space, my brain folded in on itself like a dysfunctional camp chair. In fact, the only painting we did while we lived there was Ellie’s room (a five-person effort that took months) and our teeny downstairs half bath (and only because there was water damage, and I still had a meltdown mid-project).
Thankfully most of this house was painted when we moved in two years ago, but we haven’t done much beyond that. I put up a few pictures, but most of the walls remain bare, and there’s one wall in the living room that’s particularly sad. It’s in an awkward place, partly behind the wood stove on the left and the mounted TV on the right. It’s large, and all our furniture is oriented toward it, so this wall is the focal point of the room, and it’s blank.
It didn’t help that, while in Boston, I visited Ikea for the first time. If there’s anything that can make you feel sad about your current living situation, it’s a trip to a perfectly curated furniture store. I came away with a few bits and bobs, but mostly what I got out of the trip was determination to do something about the living room to make it cozier and give it some personality.
First step: Figure out what to do about the damn wall. Pinterest to the rescue! I’d seen the wire + clips method of hanging photos before and decided to improvise using clothespins and hemp rope.
For the technical bits, I measured from the top of the sheetrock, starting about eight inches down and spacing the strings eight inches apart. I drilled eye hooks into the wall on each side, with the hemp rope tied tightly between them. The rope still drapes a bit, and I staggered the lengths to give it a less rigid feel. As much as I love modern design, our house doesn’t look the part.
I don’t have a before and after picture, because that would require foresight and planning, neither of which factored into this project. Just imagine this wall with absolutely nothing on it, and you get the idea.
The final result is a mishmash of family snapshots, postcards, and art prints and photographs. For accents, I made some flower medallions out of scrapbook paper, collages, old keys, and bottle caps from my collection. I eventually replaced the larger standard clothespins with miniature versions, so they’re less intrusive and add less weight to the strings.
The beauty of this is the ability to change out the photos when we (read: I) inevitably get bored.
I also put down a new rug. It’s bold. It’s bright. It has loads of personality! I was worried it would be too much, both in size and pattern, but it fits perfectly. The dog has already thrown up on it, but his opinion doesn’t count.
Add some throw pillows, repurpose the kids’ toy box as a coffee table, and throw a sheet over the run-down love seat, and voila! We have a brand new living room for basically the cost of the rug and a couple pillows.
Next up: The stairwell wall gallery.