I love the mix of colors in that photo, and often fantasize about having an elegantly designed home. But the fantasy runs smack into my priorities. I am now fully embarked on a mission to refresh my living room, which means getting rid of our broken, torn, depressing dark brown couches and replacing them with pieces that will still allow my children and their loves to throw themselves down and fall right asleep, each couch deep enough to accommodate a pair of lovers, should the need arise. Yes, it's my living room, and my kids are grown and out the house, so why should this lounging ideal be the primary consideration? Well, because watching my children serenely asleep under my roof makes me happy. The world recedes, and I am at peace.
I do want to brighten everything up. It will help to swap out the red curtains for something lighter and airier. The rug, too, will need to go. Even though I still love its bold rusty red color, after more than a decade of faithful service, it is quite threadbare. Mostly, I am weary of so much dark brown furniture. My neighbor and friend Jane, in response to this lament, observed, "It's such a pity trees don't come in more colors." I want to let go of many pieces, but some, like the dark wood armoire that holds so much of my work life inside it, are simply too substantial and useful to discard, so I will have to work with and around them.
I will definitely keep the coffee table, because my mother loved it. Still, it is more than fifty years old, battered and bruised, and it might be time to call in a furniture restorer and get it properly refurbished. I will also hold off on replacing the armchair for now, because I just might walk into a home goods store one day and find a loud, colorful, completely outrageous piece that will be just the touch of eccentricity my refreshed living space needs. Maybe something in a fabric like the blue paisley chair in that second picture.
I confess I am having a hard time making final decisions on what to buy. Durability matters. And I do want the new couches to be attractive in a classic, timeless way. Yet I don't trust my taste anymore. Maybe it's only that I've spent so many years factoring in other people's preferences, which I suppose is how it often works within families. When I was in my twenties, I knew exactly what I liked. I didn't overthink everything the way I am doing now. I saw my first ever couch, wine red with tiny white polka dots, in a now defunct store called Workbench, and I bought it without flinching. "Remember when we were first married we had a couch and a loveseat in clashing fabrics?" I said to my husband the other night. He laughed. "We were young," he said. "You can do that sh*t when you're young." I laughed with him, and in that moment decided we can do that sh*t now, too.