The Risk of a Hushed Room {OR: The Gray Chair Epiphany}

So. This whole risk-taking-in-the-home thing? It does actually feel like a risk.

I’m currently taking the Cozy Minimalist course via The Nester (because of course I am), and I wanted to share some of the process with you, for the following reasons:

  1. Taking risks (small and big) is what we’re all about here at Long Live Beauty, at least for right now.
  2. I want to vulnerably share the small wins along with the fails, and maybe even more importantly, the uncomfortable nature of the unfinished work in progress (that maybe doesn’t even feel like progress some times.)
  3. I would love your insight! If you have advice on some of this home-making stuff, I welcome it. Even if it’s not advice I implement, often just hearing others’ thoughts helps you get your brainstorm on, am I right? And if not advice, I’d love to hear/see your own story of something you risked trying in your home, whether it worked or not! Let’s encourage each other in risk-taking! (In the home and otherwise.)

So, for week one, the assignment was to choose a room for the course, and “hush” it. This means taking out ALL non-essential items, wall art, pillows, blankets, tchotchkes, anything that isn’t furniture or a lamp basically (and even then, I took most of the lamps out of my room so I could see what actually was there and try different things).

So, here’s the living room before:


pre hushed roomNot terrible, but tired.

Here’s the hushed living room:

thermostat wallent centerThen you had to live with it. For a week. You guys, it is SO uncomfortable living in a naked room. I was just sitting there going, “Oh, I actually don’t like any of this stuff and can we just go buy new stuff?”

But the point of the course (and one huge reason why it is 100% worth taking) is to love the home you have using what you have… not going out and spending a ton of money.

The worst discomfort so far was the time between hushing the room and then trying to rearrange it. Because I honestly didn’t think I could rearrange the furniture in my living room. All I could see was the plaid on the chair and just kept thinking I was so tired of seeing plaid but have no slipcover for it, and how ginormous the entertainment center is, and how because of living on the third floor, we can’t take off the side shelving units (which wouldn’t fit anywhere else in our apartment or storage unit anyway), and how because the dumb thermostat is in the middle of the wall above the couch, we can’t put the ent center on that wall, and a bunch of other excuses that just culminated in me feeling like I was destined to hate the room and the stuff forever Amen. (Can you say, melodramatic?)

If only I’d just gotten out of my head to begin with and just moved something! I could’ve saved myself the headache. Finally, after realizing I should just try something, and also talking with my mom (which nearly always clarifies confusion), I found that I actually could rearrange things! Huzza!

So, here’s what happened:

  1. Maybe if I pull the couch out and put that random bench I have behind it?

moving stuff 1

Nope. It’s weird and the couch ended up way too close to the TV. And it just felt like the room was full of couch.

2. The Gray Chair Epiphany: I can’t go buy slipcovers or new furniture right this second, but that plaid was driving me insane, because I felt like I had to only use the colors that I’m so tired of (I’m sorry, red, it’s not you, it’s me). BUT WAIT. Lucy has a gray rocker in her nursery- gasp! a neutral! This was the biggest epiphany of the day, I tell you. So, you can see through the door way that the plaid chair is in her room, now covered with various neutral and girly nursery blankets. (Could I have done that out in the living room? Maybe, but the gray chair doesn’t dominate the room like the plaid one.)

gray chair

Gray chair for the win!!! Someday, maybe we’ll get this gray chair that I love from IKEA or maybe I’ll learn how to make a nice slipcover for the plaid armchair, but for now, this is a lovely sigh-of-relief-for-now solution.

After the gray chair epiphany, I felt significantly more empowered; maybe I could find a nice way to change things up after all?

3. Maybe if I put that bench I have beside the couch? It’s cute, and that way it could also be swiveled around for extra seating when people come over.


bench seat

I actually liked this… I think. Sometimes you can trust your initial reaction to rearranging furniture, but for me it all just feels different and unfamiliar and I want to put it all back the old boring safe way it was!!! *Deep breath* Anyway, I wanted something different, and while this was kind of different, I wanted to go further.

4. Diagon Alley. Oh I meant, diagonally. Mom suggested trying this, and I had never thought of that before! So, I tried it.

Here’s kind of diagonal:

diagonal 2

And a little more diagonal…

diagonal 3

diagonal 1

I mean, I couldn’t believe it looked as good as it did! (Without me fixing all the stuff like the speakers and wires on the floor and lamps and whatnot.) I almost left it… almost.

5. Perpendicular. Ish. As I was still chatting with my mom, she mentioned making the couch perpendicular to the wall. I’d thought of it back in the pre-rearranging, all-I-see-is-plaid-and-red-and-I-hate-it-all phase, but had immediately dismissed it, because I was being crazy.


Huh. It’s kind of nice, right?

seats in the room

And there’s still plenty of room for the walkway behind the couch. I’m breathing easier already…

thankful couch

gray chair epiphany

Ah, gray chair. You’ve made my entire week. I am still deciding if I want the bench there. And I confess, I haven’t figured out what to with that speaker and accompanying wires by the bench… But one thing at a time, people!


Why was I afraid again? I think it was because I thought I might be destined to one living-room setup and/or to just hate everything about the room forever and always. But I’m not and I don’t!

birds eye

It’s not perfect, and my gigantic entertainment center is still there, but for right now? It’s good.

couch edited

4 thoughts on “The Risk of a Hushed Room {OR: The Gray Chair Epiphany}

  1. This is so refreshing! Ugh, #apartmentliving and its confinement. I definitely know the feeling. I really like diagonal and perpendicular, but I think perpendicular looks more spacious. As far as the speaker and cords… SimplyMac sells little white boxes with a hole in the back that you can hide a bunch of cords in. It’s plain white so kind of boring, but could be a welcome bit of camouflage. Or you could take that concept and cut a hole in a cute, decorative TJ Maxx box? I’m also going to be a granny and suggest a houseplant to camo the speaker itself 🙂

  2. Dahling!! You’re not a granny. But if you are, you’re a brilliant one!!! I love both- no- all of those ideas! House plants! Yes. I like it. And/or cute T.J. Maxx box. You know, I might have something already that could work under there.

    I’m so relieved this refreshed you! I have wondered whether sharing this would even be beneficial to anyone, but it felt somehow vulnerable to share it, so I figured I was probably headed in a sort of right direction. 😀 I’m so grateful for your encouragement and brilliant-ness! <3

  3. You are so cute! Makes my day to read your updates and thought processes! Your mom is an awesome person to bounce ideas off of! Plus she’s just awesome and a person I truly love! I read a book by Edith Schaeffer about homemaking that was helpful to me as a young wife/mother. It was called “The Hidden Art of Homemaking”.

    1. Oh, Francie, that makes my day!! I will have to look up that book. 😀 And I tend to agree about my mom!

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