Can you tell I like alliterations? Well, I like changing up decor too and although we haven't done too much of that with all of our basement work, I did manage to put up some fall decor this year. I may change it in a week for halloween, but I can always put it back up for Thanksgiving!
Last fall we were all about the porch. The porch is like a greenhouse in the summer but when the fall temperatures drop it's the perfect place to sit and enjoy all the new fall colors. The majority of our fall decoration took place on the porch but this year, that's not really an option. For weeks the porch was filled with garage sale items to be priced or waiting until the big day and although I never thought to take a picture, you'll have to trust me: there was junk EVERYWHERE! Also, since we're debating tearing down the porch (more on that later) we're trying to be as minimalist out there as possible, pretending that 'indoor' space doesn't exist. As if those excuses weren't enough, I found out the storage bin with all the porch decorations is buried under our other storage items that will eventually make their way back to the basement - totally inaccessible for now!
Since I couldn't decorate the porch this year, I focused on the dining room since we have two buffet surfaces and a table to decorate!
So, for the dining room decor, I had to work with what I could find around the house or in nature. First, I decided I liked the summer chalkboard so much that I made it again for the fall. I found an autumn subway art image as inspiration and with a wet rag and chalk, this ended up being free and quick! Since the organ sold, the frame is temporarily propped up on our window buffet but we're hoping to include it in whatever art we add on our now empty living room wall.
Source of inspiration picture (right)
The chalkboard is grounded with two real pumpkins and a grapevine pumpkin (from Target) as well as a bushel of 3 Indian corn cobs. The bird flew out of the cage (with it's magical plastic wings) and I replaced it with three pillar candles. The other corner of the window buffet has 6 more candles (the three tall ones were on the organ and the three small ones in a drawer, but all the bases are from Target.) There's something about fall that makes me want to light some candles and start warming up the house with their aroma and flickering light!
The hutch buffet is being watched over by this owl lantern I found on clearance last year at Target. I love how the light shines through him at night! Some acorn tops collected from walks around the neighborhood are mixed with wine corks to create a textural 'nest' for Mr. Owl.
For the table arrangement, I made my only purchase: three gourds. (Until a candle disaster...) At 59 cents a piece, I spent under $2 for the table! I started with three leaf place mats I picked up at Walgreens last year. Unfortunately, before I could even photograph the beautiful table, we had company over and a candle mishap!
So I had to spend over an hour scraping wax from both the leaf placemat and turquoise tablecloth. And then I went and spent $20 for 4 different sized flameless candles from Target. This is the first time I've chosen these over real candles, but so far I'm really liking them! They still have a vanilla scent, are safer for kids (guests, not ours), and I don't have to worry about another wax mess! They last longer too, and I'll be able to use them for other seasons since they're a simple vanilla pillar candle.
I added some wooden pillar candle holders but instead of putting candles atop them, I topped them with two of the gourds and some leftover acorn tops. A lantern got some cinnamon sticks sprinkled around the bottom (which I had a huge bag of from Christmas) and another smaller candle. The squirrel is my favorite addition. I picked up this little fellow from the garage sale and although he was intended as a gag gift, I couldn't let him go just yet!
We want to eventually add something to the now bare wall in the dining room (since the TV has moved to a more normal spot in the living room) but for now, I repurposed a game I made to use at work. I bought scrapbook paper in a variety of colors that matched our living room (browns, greys and turquoise), used three different leaf paper punches to make at least one type of leaf in each design (some papers were reversible with different colors on each side), and laminated them. With my preschool students, I can have them sort the leaves by shape, or by color/design. Since they're laminated, I can also draw letters or shapes on them to make a matching game, or letter recognition game. After using them a few days with my students, I brought the leaves home and hung them with 3M hooks on the wall. It's not something I love enough to be permanant, but for a few dollars worth of paper, and multiple school use ideas, I think it is perfect for this year!
Aside from the dining room, I added a few upgrades to other corners of our house as well.
New owl towels in the kitchen suggest fall with more modern colors. They were $4 each at JoAnne's (with some coupons) and just magically happen to match a notepad that I already had for all our grocery lists!
I also found a new door mat that I had really wanted from Target last year, but was gone before it could go on sale. So, I was delighted to find it in new condition at Turnstyle for $10, half off what it was originally. It's more Halloween than autumn, but I think the 'Welcome' message is neutral enough to have it out all season.
So there you have it, an autumnal abode from the Allens! Have you made any last minute seasonal changes to your home too?
Now that we sold the organ we have lots of room in the living room. The organ took up a ton of space so we didn't have room for a coffee table. But now that it's gone, the possibilities are endless!
Well, not completely endless. I had some criteria for new furniture in the living room. First of all, I didn't want to spend over $150 for something, and I really wanted to spend less than 100. I also wanted something kid friendly since we want our own children some day and we have kid company often enough to think of them. I knew ottomans were a good option for extra seating, storage and had a soft enough facade to be fall friendly. So I was pretty excited when I saw two ottomans at Homegoods for $69 a piece.
Actually, I didn't find ottomanS (plural) I found one... and had to drive across the city to get it's matching partner. The ottomans are upholstered, kind of tuffed and have storage space with a smaller ottoman inside!
I thought we could put blankets in one, toys in another (again, lots of friends with kids!) and then use the smaller ottomans in another room or as extra seating/leg rests.
We were a little on the fence about these though.
- We like that they're versatile
- Have extra storage
- Match the lines in our other furniture
- Are soft so kids won't hurt themselves on the corners
- They're a little too small for the room
- It might be too much gray (I can't believe I said that!)
- We're worried about keeping them clean. Seriously, we ate dinner on them one night and it was treacherous.
- They're a little expensive ($70 each and not on sale, we can do better)
In the end, we returned them. If you want them they're at Home Goods in Eden Prairie!
I've got a whole pinterest board full of inspiration but nothing concrete yet! I also have a free ottoman in the garage waiting to be recovered, but I didn't find the perfect fabric when JoAnne's was having a 70% off sale and I think it's too small for both the couch and loveseat, so that project may have to be finished for the basement room instead! Do you have a suggestion for a coffee table, ottoman, or something else decorative yet functional?
We are getting excited to build the movie room in our basement. Currently the TV is in our dining room while we renovate but watching a movie from a wooden chair just isn't that comfortable. When we move the TV back to the basement, we're going to get a new couch/sectional so we can watch movies the way they're supposed to be watched - in comfort!
When we wrote about the great beam debacle, we were debating making a wall around the old support beam like this:
We were worried we'd never fit a couch down the stairs so we looked into options that could fit around small corners. It was then that we found out about a cool product...
No, we're not just mispelling "sectionals"! Sactionals are modular couches made by Love Sac. They sell two pieces - bases, which work as ottomans or seats, and sides, which work as the back of a seat/couch or as arm rests. You can pretty easily rearrange all your bases and sides to make dozens of different configurations! Here are some examples.
We kind of fell in love with these sactionals! The idea of being able to reconfigure them on a whim is really appealing. We could make a guest bed, make one long couch if we have a party in the basement, or make a double chase for watching movies. My favorite is the playpen! On top of that you can take the fabric off any cushion, base, or side and machine wash it. Plus it would have fit through our weird basement entrance but we changed that up so it's not really a problem anymore. But after doing the research on this sectional option, we were still interested in considering buying one for the basement. The problem with these Sactionals? They're pretty expensive. Like $2,500 for the Metro 5 series we wanted with 6 bases and 8 sides (which would make a 2+2 sectional with an ottoman). They said they sell their floor models at a discount and we happened to really like the fabric they had in-store so we asked if they could put us on a list.
A few months later
We have been renovating our basement and everything has been torn up and under construction when last week we got a phone call. It was the Love Sac store, the floor model was about to be changed out and it would be up for sale. We were the only ones on the list so they called to offer it to us! After we asked a millions questions and got prices for all sorts of options we were left with this decision - We could have $1,000 off the retail price for the floor model if we bought it that week. Yikes! We didn't even have anywhere to put it and it wasn't the ideal time to spend money on a couch. But with such a good deal and our love of that floor model, we begged some friends to let us store the sactional all boxed up for a few months until the basement is finished and with an ok from them we went to the Love Sac store to make sure we still like the sactional and possibly to buy it.
It didn't go well. Problem 1) Mike didn't really like the feel of the sactional this time around. Because the backs can also be armrests they sit strait up (as opposed to angled back) and they're not as tall as a back rest usually goes. With some extra pillows and angling the cushion he could get comfy though. Problem 2) The cushi0ns were tuffed unlike most of the other Sactional cushions. That meant the covers couldn't be taken off to wash, which had been one of the biggest selling points. The floor model was also missing some of the buttons from the tuffs, was this a sign of how well it would wear? The employees said it was easy to fix if the button came off.
We still really liked how modular it was and we hadn't found any great alternatives that would fit in the spaces so we were ready to pull the trigger. That's when we came across problem 3) The price rang up as $2,150, not $1,550 like we were told over the phone. Apparently the person we talked to over the phone was still pretty new and was ringing up something completely wrong.... like not even close. Not even a sactional, just the covers! It's amazing what $600 does to tip the scales of "should we buy this". To the manager's credit, he was super nice and said he would call the corporate office to see if he could give a bigger discount but we'd have to wait a few days until the offices open. We weren't expecting them to come back and say they were going to give us an extra $600 off because an employee told us the wrong price, though.
While we waited to hear back from Love Sac, we decided to explore different options since that that support beam won't actually be an issue for bringing couches down the stairs. A lot of the other sectionals we found were around the same price range as the discounted Sactional and even more were the wrong size. We were looking for a couch that was no more than 100 inches on the left side. With our online research one option stuck out as a good deal - Karlstad by Ikea.
The Karlstad 2-3 sectional in Isunda Gray with an ottoman comes out to $1,150 - a thousand dollars cheaper than the reduced price of the floor model Sactional. Now, traditionally we haven't thought much of Ikea's sofas so we didn't have high expectations but it was suprisingly comfortable! Mike even liked it more than the Sactional. The covers are all removable but dry clean only. That's kind of a pain but at least they can be cleaned! We were a little bumbed to find out you can't make this sectional modular even though they sell the love seat and sofa separately. Mike thinks he could hack it and add feet to make each section free standing so we could turn it into one long couch if we ever want to. Hmmmm. On top of all that, we won't have to buy it until the basement is done and we're ready for it. There were a lot of pros for the Karlstad.
We don't really like the legs so we'd either stain them like YHL did, paint them, or put on different legs completely.
So, if we don't get the Sactional now this whole purchase will be on the backburner until this winter when the basement is done.
Do you have any experience with Sactionals or Karlsatad? Any advice on this decision of ours?