adding layers to the living room

by | May 9, 2018 | All Things Home, Decorating, Living Room, My House | 54 comments

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As I mentioned in my post about painting the stairwell walls, I decided to change the color of the living room from Wickham Gray to Stonington Gray.  It’s a very subtle change, but it will ultimately flow better with the rest of the first floor.  Wickham Gray was looking a little green in comparison and, since you can see the foyer and kitchen from the living room, it was feeling off.

I needed to finish painting the trim in that room, which would involve moving the furniture and taking the curtains down, anyway, so it made sense to change the color at the same time.

You can see the subtle change in color.  Stonington is on the left and Wickham on the right…

It’s a little bit warmer, darker, and feels more sophisticated for some reason.

(I need to keep telling my boys to turn off the fire!  They really enjoyed it over the winter, but it’s now finally spring!)

While painting, I also added some more layers to the room, like the corbels flanking Eulalie on the fireplace mantle.

The white frame doesn’t draw the eye as much as the gold, but that allows more opportunity for accessories to add interest and support to focal points.

Oh, I’ve been asked if I’m going to change the stone on the fireplace, since it will no longer match the counters.  The immediate answer is no, because it’s such a small area and not a priority right now.  Eventually?  Yes, I’d like to change it, but most likely to something traditional like brick or slate.  It’s just a whimsical thought at this point, though, and not something I’m looking into.

Last week, I bought a pair of lamps for the guest room and some plants to use in the master bedroom and kitchen, but all of the purchases ended up in the living room.  They were sitting in there and I noticed how well suited they were for the space.  That kicked off one of those “I wonder how this will look” rearranging sessions and I’m so happy where everything landed.

The pair of lamps were put on a sofa table and I added an antique French apple basket between them with the two plants nestled inside.

The arrangement adds so much warmth, texture, and interest to the space.

The lamps are from HomeGoods and were $50/each.  The basket was from Dreamy Whites.

I had to play around with the side table a bit to get the height right, but I ended up with a large crock filled with lavender, an ironstone bowl filled with wooden croquet balls, and a scale.

I’ll trade out the lavender for a houseplant, but it’s holding the place nicely for right now.  The large window is south facing, so plants seem to love this room.

I’ve had the scale, bowl, and wooden balls for a long time, but the crock was a newer purchase.  I got a good deal on it ($25), because it has some paint on it.    I just need to scrape it off with a razor and it will be good to go!  Truth be told, I don’t mind it all that much with the paint on it.

Next up for this room is some custom pillows…


  1. Mary in VA

    The lamps with the basket and plants look perfect behind the sofa! I love the blues you have incorporated in this room. The crock looks rustic which fits nicely in the overall look. I like the new paint color, yes better for this space. Eulalie is still the star of the show but with lots of nice accoutrements. Summary: love this room!

  2. Marian

    I love how the stacked bowls look ! Especially with the top one filled. I have a bunch of silver bowls and I am totally stealing that idea. Thanks!
    The Other Marian

  3. Kim

    I think it is pretty funny that your boys are in love with the fireplace. They will likely always remember the day they moved into “the house with the fireplace” that they could turn on and off to suit themselves! 🙂

  4. Rose

    Where did you get the sectional. I like the shape of the arms.

  5. Katy

    Will you be at Luckett’s spring show this year? I finally get to go this year, but haven’t heard you speak of the show and figured your move may have impacted you attending now. Thanks!

    • Marian Parsons

      Sadly, no. It is just too far and I don’t have the space to get prepare for a show like that in my new home.

  6. Ronel

    I like everything about this room but if I am really honest the picture of the cow/ bull does not feel right in that space… sorry!

  7. Lynne

    I know you said brick or slate, but how about delft tile?

    • Marian Parsons

      Oooo…that would be pretty. I’d have to consider that.

  8. Anna

    stonington gray is a good color. I’ve used it in 2 bedrooms and it looks slightly different in each as one room has more windows and gets more light. Last year I actually painted the tiles around my fireplace (they were the same as my kitchen floor tiles and not very attractive). The paint has held up really well (I used an enamel type) and I like the way it looks much better

  9. Maureen Ryan

    The draperies, the lamps and the basket behind the couch are my favorite elements in the room! Bravo! So cozy and delightful!

  10. Lorna

    Lots of beautiful textures here gives the room so much depth and warmth with the natural light streaming in. Love it!


    The lamps are lovely and fit so nicely in your room. Also love the basket with the plants in it! Just perfect! Enjoy! Blessings!

  12. Patti

    I know the fireplace isn’t on your radar right now but can I put in a vote that you consider it? I think replacing the modern dark granite would be a small project (cost and time-wise) but would allow the rest of your furnishings and accessories to look dramatically more authentic. It really sticks out to me as “new house” amidst all of your lovely antiques. 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      I agree! I think if it was just the tile surround, it would be a small project, maybe even something that could be done over the existing granite, since it’s in good condition. There is a curved slab of granite as the hearth, though, and that is the tricky piece. Maybe it could just be painted? I just don’t want to do something halfway…

  13. Paula Carli

    After so many years opposed to a sectional and being pushed by my grown kids and grandkids to get one, I think I am ready to embrace one in the family room. Your sectional looks beautiful with antiques and I am sick of the leather couch. Is your couch covered in linen? And did it come from Pottery Barn? I have dogs that seem to like the couch and I wonder how the fabric would be without it being a slip covered sectional. Would love your opinion. I sorta remember a long time ago possibly you had a sponsored blog on it. I really like it.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, this sectional was a part of a sponsorship with Ashley Furniture and we still love this piece. It’s comfortable and has worn well. We’ve only had it for a couple of years, though. Sebastian (our black dog sleeps on it a lot and it cleans up well.) It’s not linen, but a chenille sort of upholstery fabric, but it has a neutral, textured look that works with my antique linens and grain sacks. Unfortunately, I can’t find this sectional on Ashley’s website any longer. It’s called the Salonne. I feel like the Alenya in their current line is a pretty close match, but the upholstery looks just a tad darker.

  14. Teresa

    If you ever decide to change the frame color again I think your new color aviary would be awesome. I love what you are doing. Each new layer brings it’s own special touch.

  15. Claire

    I love the cow. I love the frame color. I love everything. I kept a chair from my Daddy’s when he passed away. It is similar to the chairs with the initials. Daddy always set his Texas A&M hat in the chair. When he came in the house. I want to have it reupholstered like your chairs. It would be so pretty.

  16. Laura L.

    This beautiful gray looks perfect! I would love to see it on the back panels of your bookcases (or even a shade darker) to really contrast with your ironstone collection.

  17. Sally Corrigan

    I just love it all! And the granite around the fireplace is good with the Eulalie, out west is where the herds are on top of granite filled mountains! Maybe it is just too shiny new compared to the worn look? Anyhoo, very cool to watch you set up a new home- Godspeed

  18. Pat Godfrey McRee

    I’m enjoying seeing your rooms come together, Marian. So lovely. I know you didn’t ask for advice but I’ll throw something out there that you may hate but maybe not. I love your traditional look but something in me would love to see a modern element or two thrown in. Have you considered drum shades on the lamps behind the sofa, not super wide? I also think it would be cool to paint a darker gray, wide vertical stripe on the wall behind Eulalie’s frame…not quite the width of her head but close. And maybe a bit of black in accessories?

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! I appreciate the suggestion, but modern is not my thing at all! 🙂

  19. Kim

    Could you use left over kitchen counter to replace the granite? Just a thought. Also, will you put s sheet in the window, I’d hate to see Eulaie fade, not to mention south sun will destroy the back of your sofa.

    • Marian Parsons

      I thought about that, but I’m not sure if there is enough extra. I’m going to ask, though.

      I don’t think the light on Eulalie is direct enough and most modern oil paints have very good lightfastness, but I will keep an eye on it! We might have to add a UV film or something.

  20. Kim

    A sheer in the window

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! I figured you didn’t mean sheet. 🙂

  21. Jan Fusco

    Everything is lovely.
    Although the white frame seems to fit well with your mantle display I do miss Eulalie being framed in gold. It also seemed to go connect with the other two small pictures to the right that are in gold.
    Always look forward to your updates.

  22. penny gharst

    I love the picture above the fireplace.

  23. Patti C

    The lamps, basket and plants look so good on your sofa table! I think layering is what is missing from my home. I’d love to “cozy” it up a bit. Thanks for great ideas.

  24. Diane

    Layering! Love that term and you do it so well! What a charming and welcoming room. I would feel right at home!! You have amazing style, Marian!!

  25. Jill

    Everything looks terrific, LOOOOOOVE the lamps.

  26. Linda

    I like everything you do but I LOVE the blue and white drapery!

  27. Denise Burks

    Beautiful! You are very talented! What are the room measurements? Thank you!

  28. Sally Gleason

    Love your posts! I have a basket the same shape, I didn’t realize it was an apple basket. My husbands great uncle, who was blind, made it . I’m not sure how old it is. He died in the 1960’s and was in his 80’s, so not sure when he made it. Just some nice family history to have yet. I’m repainting our whole first floor after 18 years. Having such a time deciding on colors. Love seeing how you keep changing things up. Sal

  29. Sheila Sabin

    That basket is called a buttocks basket. No, really! I was talking to a fellow dealer at the antique mall we’re in and she holds up a basket, asking if I know what it’s called. I had no clue but a customer passing by said, ‘It’s a buttocks basket. ” We both looked at her like she was joking but it turns out she was right. You have a buttocks basket. How do you know it’s french? I know nothing about baskets, have no idea how to tell antique from just old vs new made to look old etc.

  30. Una Morreale

    It all looks amazing, but if you decide that the Stonington Gray is just too, well, gray, check out Ben. Moore’s Quiet Moments. It is a softer gray with just a hint of blue. Very peaceful and subtle.

    Where did you get the sofa and how comfortable is it? It looks like the perfect scale for a room I am decorating in our house.

  31. Debbie

    Your house looks amazing. I have a question- What type of Benjamin Moore paint do you use? Is it flat, satin? I think there is like 3-4 different kinds. I am looking to paint my kitchen and wanted to know what you used.

    • Marian Parsons

      I use Aura in matte.

  32. Diane Ruebel

    Good morning from Camano. Perfection! Pease, please, may I drop by and spend a cozy afternoon with a book while Eulalie watches over me?

  33. Lynn

    Everything is so pretty. I love your crock. My grandmother collected Red Wing pottery, crocks and dishes from Red Wing, MN. It would be a fun place for you to visit. It’s also close to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthplace.

  34. Kristin

    Maybe you could just paint the granite on the fireplace.

    • Marian Parsons

      After some suggestions, I’ve been looking into it. That might be a possibility!

  35. Frances

    The corbels and basket are just gorgeous Marian! I love the croquet balls and crock also.
    I think the change in wall color was a great decision, though I will humbly add that I was disappointed when you painted Eulalie’s frame. I really loved the gold and feel like the white blends in to the neutral colors of the room too much. Hopefully the darker gray will make it pop more.
    The light in that room is just gorgeous! Though I wouldn’t trade our large hardwoods for the world, I do miss having bright natural light in the home. Gardening is a challenge as well, but I’m finding that easier to overcome.
    The room looks gorgeous and relaxing – I’d love to sit with a book and cup of tea! I don’t know how you keep your home so clean and organized with boys. I only have one and my house is a nightmare.

    • Marian Parsons

      Actually, I didn’t paint Eulalie’s frame, but swapped it out for another one I already had (that was already painted). I still have the gold frame, so I can switch it back if ever I want to.

      I love hardwood floors, so I totally understand that it’s worth the tradeoff. Maybe one day we’ll put hardwoods in this room, but the boys/men in my house like wrestling on the carpet, so I’m outnumbered! 🙂

  36. Katy B.

    I truly enjoy reading your blog. Every single post gives me fresh ideas and leaves me energized to get to work on the ideas I have for my own home. Thanks for sharing your home photos, your ideas, your “wins “ and “meh’s“. And for taking us along on your journey and thought process. I love it all.
    Quick question-the plant in the basket behind the sofa-is it real? You mentioned the room has lots of sun so I’m guessing it is real-if so, what type is it? I have a similar sofa/table scenario-I’m not familiar with that plant -at least not from the pics. Thanks again. ?

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, it is real! It’s actually two smaller plants that I put in the basket to make them look like one. They were from the indoor plant section at home depot.

  37. rose

    This is a fantastic list of ideas! thanks for sharing with us

  38. Linda Fleming

    A friend recently recommended your blog after I scored an awesome vintage Ethan Allen chair at a yard sale for $1.50! (which I want to re-upholster myself) I am so inspired by your blog!!! I have been reading all of your entries and love your changes to you new house. I notice (but can’t see a good picture of it) a table behind your sofa in your living room. Is it a sofa table? Although I live in the PNW and we have months of grey weather, the sun coming from my windows have faded the fabric of my sofa. I thought the table was a great idea to use in order to move the sofa a bit further away from the window and the sun (when we have it, it is intense). Thank so much for the inspiration!

  39. Vex 3

    The article you have shared here very awesome. I really like and appreciated your work. I read deeply your article, the points you have mentioned in this article are useful

  40. Jessica

    Where did you get your sectional in the living room?

    Thank you

    • Marian Parsons

      t’s from Ashley Furniture, but is a retired style.

  41. Kathy Goudreau

    Can you tell me where you purchased your drapes or if you know the name of the manufacturer and the style? I really like them and all of the accessories in the room. Thank you.


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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