Completing the living room makeover

10:31 AM

 


In 2022, we are planning to keep on going with the home decor upgrade because let's face it, this is really the place we spend about 90% of our time and how it looks makes all the difference to our mental health. 
Back in September, we replaced our old, worn out sofa with a new one, and we always said that phase 2 was going to be replacing the TV cabinet, which we had since 2006 and was really looking like it had seen better days. 
This is what the living room looked like just before we got rid of the old stuff : 


That TV cabinet is the one we bought back in 2006 for our flat in Bangalore and back in the days, both the main corner unit and the shelf on the side had glass doors. We had to remove those doors when our daughter was a baby because she kept opening them and taping them shut made accessing the content of those shelves annoying. I think one of them ended up breaking in one of the moves and then we decided to never put them back anyway. 
That unit was designed for the big bulky TVs of yore and when we replaced our old one with a new flat screen, there was an insane amount of space behind it that was hard to reach and difficult to dust, so the big huge cabinet made no sense, plus it always forced us to have the TV in a corner. It was necessary in 2006 because of the configuration of our flat, it made no sense in any of the other flats we moved in afterwards. 
To complete the look we had this wall mounted shelf : 


This wooden shelf was custom made to go in our Bangalore flat to hold our DVDs and paperback books, it was designed to fit above the TV cabinet, which in the current flat was not possible. After moving out of the Bangalore flat it spent quite a few years as a toy and book shelf in our daughter's room because it could be mounted low on the wall where she could access everything and even climb it without risk of it toppling over. 
I took it down the wall last month because the frame was falling apart and it was just a matter of time until it came all crashing down possibly injuring a human or a pet in the process, beside, we haven't had a DVD player in over 2 years now, so keeping all those DVDs makes zero sense. I also purged quite a lot of old books in August so it had been standing half empty and half broken on my wall for a long time.

This is what the living room looks like now : 


We went to Ikea last Monday because our daughter still had a holiday and weekdays are notoriously quiet and uncrowded at the Navi Mumbai store. 
This left us plenty of time to look at everything and weight our options before buying anything. I had shortlisted a few options on their website, but it's always good to go see big furniture in person. 
The TV bench in the picture is the "Brimnes" model and it was one of the strong contender I had from the start, another one was the "Bestå Burs" but when looking at it in person, it had a lot less storage space than it appeared to have on the website. It looked nice, but really as far as our storage needs were concerned it felt way too short, which is what made us seal the deal on the Brimnes. 

Since we have a lot of books, I got a small "Billy" bookcase as well. I didn't want a full length one because we really wanted to cut the urge to hoard books we will only read once and a small bookshelf is more likely to do it anyway and we wanted a more minimalist approach to the living room, too much furniture and too much mess in a room makes it feel suffocating and since we are spending more time home, that's the last thing we need. 
We might add wall shelves above the TV soon, but mostly to hold home decor items and pictures rather than more books, beside we have a big bookshelf we need to purge in the home office that we can use for more books later. 

We also replaced the table lamps we had in the living room, we have 3 of them and 2 of the ones we had were seriously damaged and had to go. The globe lamp in the picture above also comes from Ikea and it's name is "Fado", we bought another one for the console table :


This one, in true Ikea style is a modular system where you buy the base and the lampshade separately, the base is called "Skafet" and it is made to fit with their whole range of lampshades which you can change whenever you want without having to buy the whole thing again. The lampshade we got is the "Skottorp", at the store they had these in a few shades of neutral and we picked the light grey one. 

Some of you might wonder why we have so many table lamps, the answer is simple : I HATE ceiling lights, they stress me out big time as in give me anxiety. Tube lights are the worst because not only do they have a white light that mess with my sleep cycles and triggers bouts of severe insomnia, I also am one of those persons who can actually SEE the rapid flicker the light emits and it gives me a headache. I used to have issues with that in school as a teenager. The only place we still use a tube light in our flat is the kitchen, and I really don't like spending a lot of time in there after dark .

Along with table and floor lamps all over, we also use warm white bulbs aka yellow lights, and contrary to a popular belief, no, the rooms aren't gloomy or dark with that set up. Light is diffused because it comes from multiple sources in the room and it doesn't cast high and dark shadows the way a single light source on the ceiling would. This is how the living room looks like at night : 



As you can see in the picture above, that TV corner has 3 light source : the globe lamp next to the TV, the table lamp on the console table, and a floor lamp that is hidden behind the sofa near the window (we want to replace that one too but haven't found the lamp to do the job yet). The dinning area (not shown here) is illuminated by a floor lamp when we eat, and off when we don't need it. 
The advantage of having multiple lights at eye level is that we can modulate the mood very easily too. For example, if we want to watch a movie in a more "cinema style" setting, we simply switch off the globe light and the floor lamp and only keep the console table lamp, or even just the fairly light string that hungs on the blackboard I made a few years ago


I'm a huge fan of being able to modulate the lights in the home at night, people don't give it the attention they need and too harsh lights in the home can be a great source of stress, that in turn leads to sleep disroders, which in turn leads to metabolic disorders and lifestyle issues. DO NOT underestimate the power the light in your home has over your health! No joke, experts agree that too bright lights can disrupt circadian cycles and I wrote about the importance of light in your home a few years ago. 

Before electricity was discovered, our ancestors used candles and oil lamps, the moment it got dark, people would wind down calling it a day. 
The excuse that we now have to work late is quite a rubbish one, too, because to work at a desk, you don't need a bright overhead light. A regular study lamp and the light of the computer screen is more than enough for the kind of work most of us do after sunset. And in our home, the desk lamp is equipped with a yellow light too. 



The only thing left to do in the TV area is to add some art on the wall, and I plan on having some of my work printed and framed soon. And add a few floating shelves above the TV to display pictures and home decor items. 
Since those pictures were taken I got a pet bed, mostly to contain Kiwi's (the dog) toys. We might get a small movable side table to put our cup of tea on it but we decided against having another coffee table. With the previous sofa, it encouraged eating in front of the TV and it is a bad habit I was constantly fighting with my daughter. The rest of the time the coffee table was a glorified foot rest, which we no longer need because we got a proper footstool for that now. 

Next in the series of rooms that need a makeover : the home office. That space has become the dump room for everything since the pandemic started and we have a LOT of mess we can get rid of in there. But before we get to it, we need to first assess what we want to achieve in this room, and that is going to take us a few weeks of thinking and researching. 

Last week's Ikea trip gave us a few ideas, and aside from the stuff we bought for the living room, we bought a few other inexpensive home decor stuff and more importantly new plates and bowls to give our dinning experience an upgrade too, more on that in another blog post. 

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