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When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

by | Oct 9, 2017 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration, My Living Room, My Seattle House

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When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

The Autumn season is definitely the time when homebodies like us are all about making living rooms feel cozy and put together. It’s almost like nesting before a baby comes, you just want everything to feel more settled.

If you’ve been following me here for awhile you might remember that every Thanksgiving for years I would get in the mood to totally redo my dining room or some other room in the house, just in the nick of time for a holiday gathering. Yeah.

Well, nothing’s changed around here (well, except some furniture. Ha).

Fall, holidays and parties are some of the top motivators or inspiration to change up a home. Tis the season, right? And since today is Thanksgiving in Canada, it makes total sense that I’ve been in the mood to change things up.

About a week ago I mentioned how my own living room has been in a state of limbo. Some of you asked what I meant by that because you thought my room was all pulled together already! And indeed, it has been “pulled together” using what I have several times in the short two years that we’ve lived here. That’s just what I do, ha! And maybe you do, too.

Our spaces are so personal to us, it makes sense that we get inspired for change because we are always changing. It’s OK to make changes in your space if it isn’t feeling just right to you, even if it looks fine to someone else. Getting settled in a home can take time. Each room can go through several phases of “done” “undone” and “redone.”

When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

Last this summer I started wrestling over this room (again). My ideal vision included new furniture, built-ins, maybe even doors in the long wall (yes, long story), new paneling and a fireplace refresh.

When I said this room has been in limbo, it meant I was in the phase of “in between” the room as it was and the unknown of what it would be next.

Knowing my ideal vision didn’t mean I was ready to move forward with that vision right then. So that in between phase is what I called the season of living room limbo.

Perhaps you’ll relate to my method for getting out of limbo, or maybe by sharing my process it will help inspire you to push forward to your own step:

When I first begin feeling restless (ahem, usually in the fall), I start the redesign process by simply rearranging the room. It’s easy enough to try a few different options to see if something “sparks joy.”

If nothing seems right and I might want to get something new, I let myself start window shopping. I shop for little things or big things that might make a difference.

I also explore the thought that if the backdrop was right, I’d actually love the room more. So I might research, Photoshop or draw out ideas for built-ins, refinishing floors, different paint colors or wall finishes, or remodeled fireplaces or other elements that would bring about a new look.

Truthfully, fixing up the backdrop can sometimes just be the best or even the most economical option. Otherwise we can end up spending money on furniture or accessories trying to put a band-aid on the problem!

When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

You might remember when we painted our fireplace white. That is an example of the value of working on the backdrop of the room even with an economical change like paint. Paint can give you a new vision on a lower budget.

Painting the fireplace first gray (which I really liked) and then white (which I also really like!) didn’t match up with my perfect vision of a new fireplace, but happily I ended up liking our painted fireplace enough that I could leave it that way forever if I had to (or at least enjoy it until I can paint it again or get to the next phase of improvements).

Perhaps like me, you let yourself explore aaaall the possibilities for awhile, until you add up all the costs or time involved in your head. :)

Sometimes it actually makes sense to go ahead and buy something new or make the room exactly what you want it to be. If you know for certain what you want and have the funds available, it can be a relief to finally just make a decision and do it.

But maybe you’ll discover (like I often do) that by allowing yourself explore all the “perfect” choices, you’ll find it easier to move forward in confidence with imperfect but creative solutions. It might seem counterintuitive or even risky to shop for perfect choices (at least don’t do it with a credit card in hand, hahaha), but I find that weighing options is part of the creative process.

Once you can compare the cost and benefits, common sense can sometimes take over and creativity can be exercised instead.

When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

After I’ve given myself the opportunity to weigh all of the options, I even find I am more willing to try things I perhaps wasn’t eager to try previously.

So in my living room I decided to put off extensive projects and new furniture for a future season. Sometimes we have to tell our grand ideas that the answer is not necessarily no, it’s just “not yet.”

When I say my living room has been in limbo, now you know what I mean.

I was:

Rearranging the room
Looking through what I already have
Determining nothing felt right
Window shopping
Emptying the room
Leaving the room empty and then in chaos for awhile.
Deciding if I really wanted to spend money or hire help or start a new project
Deciding it was not the right time
Trying something I wasn’t willing to try before

This method of getting out of limbo might be slow, but it works for me. I want to create a space that I can live with and feel content in. I never like to feel pressured to spend money frivolously or in a hurry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fine with spending money if it feels like the right decision and I’m ready for the expense or mess, but I would rather not spend money or live in chaos if I don’t have to :). Especially right before the holidays.

So as I was coming out of my recent living room limbo, I was finally willing to try something I wasn’t eager to try before.

My husband and son brought up our sectional from downstairs just to see what it would look like. My mom had suggested it. My daughters had said a few times that we should at least give it a try. I had considered it. I was certain I wouldn’t like it or want it upstairs (for many reasons), but now that I had ruled out a new  sofa and other big changes, I was finally willing to at least try it.

When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

And you know what? I like the sectional up here better than I thought I would.

Even though it wasn’t what I had in mind for this room, I decided at the very least it would make us feel more settled in this room for the holidays.

That’s what always happens to me this time of year, I just want to feel cozy and comfy!

The sectional we already had crossed of some required boxes:

It filled up the long awkward blank wall quite nicely.
It feels comfortable and inviting.
It created a great conversation area.
It made the room feel super cozy and ready for people to gather.
We already had it (no new sofa purchase required).
It completed the room for now and allowed us more time to consider other options.

Once we had the sofa in place on our existing winter rug, I brought in the art from my entry (which I actually really LOVE in the entry so it’s unlikely I would want it to stay here) just to at least get a vision for what it would feel like and to create more of a focal point over the sofa.

Then I found a couple of new lamps to bring light to this part of the room. Suddenly the whole room felt cozier. It once again felt like a room where we could curl up by the fireplace. I could visualize our whole family gathered here before dinner and on holidays. That’s when you know you are on the right track for this season, even if it was a different track than you planned on.

When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

This was not at all the vision I had in my head a few weeks ago, but it just took a little dreaming and a few simple changes to spark a new vision! And while there are still additions and updates to be made, I’m excited to keep refining and enjoying this space.

Now that I’m coming out of the “limbo phase,” I’m feeling good with our fall living room arrangement here. That doesn’t mean the design direction or elements won’t change again, not at all. They very well could! It just means I’m at peace with where we are at right now, in this season. :)

I’m just grateful for a cozy place for my family to gather, that’s the vision that matters the most to me right now.

Coming up this week for fall nesting: I’ll share some additional cozy elements that have been brought into this space plus I’ll give you a peek at some of the furniture pieces I considered. And, I’ll share my top fall nesting tips for how you can add cozy to your space (using what you already have or can easily incorporate into the room)!

What process do you go through when you are feeling like your room is in limbo? 

When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

When You Feel Like Your Living Room is in Limbo

Black and white pillow

Gray polka dot pillow

Sectional – Interior Define

Botanicals – (called the Verte Botanique Framed Art) – See more botanicals here

Bamboo Lamps & Lampshades

Dipped stools

Large woven basket with lid

Round mirror with wood beads

Wool braided rug

Gray tassel throw – Ashley Home Store, or more tassel throw blankets here

Rattan Daybed

White Velvet Pumpkins (USE THE PROMO CODE: 17IR15 to get 15% off through October.)


  1. BJ

    Oh my. We’ve been in limbo for over six years. We moved into my in-laws old farmhouse to be able to care for them in their final years. Father-in-law has passed, and mother-in-law is transitioning to a nursing home. We were supposed to buy the property but after a disappointing loss on the sale of our house and then having to go to through a bankruptcy we’re not sitting well financially. Add to that relatives who live away giving us grief over how we’ve helped Dad and Mom. Limbo is a great word for thia season. I’m so tired of it!! It has made limits on what we feel we can do to make this our home. But, God is so good to keep us sheltered and warm in this desperately-needing-work-but-charming home. I know limbo won’t be forever. Your book “Loving the Home You Have” has helped me immensely in gaining a healthier perspective on being here.

    Happy Thanksgiving from Atlantic Canada! We are grateful!

    • Rita Davidson

      Ohhhh BJ Just wanted to say I feel for you…
      I’m taking care of my elderly mother with dementia and it’s not easy for sure. Plus when others opinions are harsh…oh it is not easy at all. (Not that THEY took care of them, but they love to complain who DID care for them!) I really hear you.
      We are in limbo too since we moved here after our fire…I just can’t make it feel ‘right’. I do LOVE this blog and Melissa for her ideas too!
      “This too shall pass…” is my favorite reminder… I hope things look up for you soon so you can have some peace in that home too.
      God bless you, and Happy Thanksgiving from Ontario, Canada! Xxo :)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi BJ,

      I’m so sorry for all the challenges you’ve faced over the past six years. Being in life-limbo that long is so exhausting. You are right, though, limbo won’t last forever. <3 Hang in there and happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Deanna Rabe

    My creative process always involves moving furniture around! :)

    I love making changes, just did one small change in my bedroom, and it has made the walk in closet function better!

    Rainy, autumn day here! Time for some tea or cocoa and a book!

  3. susan maclean

    We moved in to our home 15 years ago. The kitchen was fine. Then it was’t. Because somehow, although the layout was right, there was never quite enough room for everything. so the odd cupboard, and shelves, and stuff piled on the worktop made it a “limbo” kitchen for all that time. Today the room is stripped, the new floor goes in before the end of the week, and next week the cabinets. We worked hard fitting in as much storage as we could possibly fit, including 6 inch wide pull outs to fill in odd spaces. Our dream has been NOTHING ON THE WORKTOPS! (except the teakettle, a large wooden chopping board, and a vase of flowers for opening day!!). Keep your eye on my blog, and your fingers crossed. Enjoy fall Melissa!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I am so happy your kitchen is soon going to function better for you! Nothing on the worktops sounds like a dream that is about to come true. :) Happy fall!

  4. Jo Jo

    I really like your solution for getting out of limbo in your beautiful living room. My limbo is our bedroom. It has beautiful and functional furniture, but I’d like to make the background a bit prettier. Probably/will be hanging framed family pictures and eventually might put up some curtain panels ( right nowwe just have white wood 2” slatted custom blinds.) I feel the windows need some softening. But for now…I think I’ll just bring in a lovely crocheted blanket for the bottom of the bed to add color, warmth and texture to the room for now as that is what I have to work with without our having to purchase anything new. Thanks for the inspiration to cozy up with what I already HAVE until I have the funds to do what I want for this special space. ?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      You’re welcome! It’s fun to design both ways in different seasons, isn’t it? Gives us good practice in creativity and contentment. Enjoy! <3

  5. andrea

    It looks beautiful!! I always love your rooms:) I like to switch things up a lot as well. It’s nice to have that validated! It looks like the botanical prints are no longer available?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Andrea! Switching things up keeps the creativity flowing. Hmmm, maybe the prints are no longer in stock? I’ll let you know if I find them again.

  6. Jenny

    I just bought new lamp shades. I have alway wanted a black lamp shade with a gold lining inside; it creates a golden glow in the corner where I put it.

  7. Christie

    I think the sectional is perfect; it diagonally echoes the corner window.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      It does, you are so right! I think that’s definitely a reason it feels comfortable in the space. Excellent observation, Christie! Thank you.

  8. mrsben

    Actually my home has been in limbo for a number of years namely due to helping others out with theirs since I am a notorious DIYer … ☺. (My hobby is sewing so I’ve always make my own window coverings, dabble in upholstering, do all of my own house painting to name a few things.) That said; I recently accomplished upgrades of my four bathrooms and am in the midst of decorating the bedrooms bringing me to the subject of your living room area carpet. Would you mind sharing its source and any specs as I really love it and feel it would work in one of said rooms. (Thank you so much.) -Brenda-

  9. Diane @ An Extraordinary Day

    I’m so happy for you to have found a solution that can, at the very least, get you through the holidays in style and comfort. You’ll laugh… but it feels like a big departure from the blue tones that I love in your home. But, I can also see all kinds of possibilities and look forward to seeing all those details come together. The next time you photograph the room… I’d love to see the placement of the sofa in regards to the fireplace…. I can’t quite visualize what you’re doing. LOL The big question… how does Jack like it?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Diane!

      Not to worry! :) Blue is still in many areas of the house. I try to pull together each room and my home as a whole so the colors and style feel balanced and unified when you’re in the space, rather than styling one angle as a vignette.

      So every color may not show up prominently in each corner or photo. :) You’ll find shades of blues, whites, grays/black, greens, woods/natural textures, metals throughout the house, just like in my last house. :)

      This sofa actually reads as a dark bluish gray in the room. Sometimes it’s darker and sometimes a bit lighter, velvet has a sheen that changes depending on which way you look at it, much like the color of the sectional in our old house.

      This room and home is still in process, but it’s fun for me in each season and room to play with the fabric combinations, or vary the depth of color and richness of tones. Things are always evolving around here ha!

      I’ll share more angles soon, the sofa is against the only open wall at a right angle to the fireplace. It creates a really cozy conversation area and balances diagonally with the corner window!

  10. Rita Davidson

    Ohhh Limbo…. this surely is me!
    Our whole house just doesn’t seem to be ‘right’ and I didn’t think of that word until you used it. Limbo is the perfect way to describe this house. There is no cozy corner, no place for things…we’ve only been here for 3 years since our fire, and it just still seems unfamiliar I don’t know why.
    Partly is our living room is so small (Just 8 feet wide) and I just can’t make it work for the 7 of us. But I am really craving that “COZY” feeling…very badly.
    Can’t wait to see what you have done with that sectional…it gives me ideas of how to move things here (without buying) to see how I like it. Thanks!
    I just hope Limbo leaves one day… I’ve been bedridden since August with Lyme Disease and so have been spending ALOT of time just in bed and RESTING…it has helped me find a few corners I like. :)
    Thanks for remembering our THanksgiving….the turkey was just scrumptious today!
    Happy Thanksgiving from Ontario, Canada :) xxo

  11. Amy

    Agreed with Diane above, I’d like to see a photo of the whole room so we can see how the sofa interacts with and enhances the space. Where will the Christmas tree go?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      The sofa is diagonal from the corner window next to the fireplace, so it balances the space really well and makes it feel so cozy. The room is still evolving, but you’ll see more of the layout in upcoming posts! There is a perfect spot for the tree by the windows, right next to the fireplace! :)

  12. Elizabeth A

    Do you still love your sectional and the velvet fabric after having it for 6 months? We have a double chaise Caitlin ordered, but I am having a hard time picking fabric. I am worried about dogs and young kids on velvet, but it is my preference.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      The velvety fabric we have is a performance fabric, but it does get some scratches on the surface! The fabric has held up well though, if you don’t mind those surface imperfections.

  13. Maria

    Hi Melissa,
    I wanted to let you know that the link to the Botanical Prints (Vert Botanique Framed Art) does not appear to be functioning. I phoned Ballard Designs, but they do no have any product by that name. Do you have anymore information? In my humble opinion, they sort of “make the room.”

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Well shoot, they must just be out of stock! I’ll let you know if I can locate them.

      • Maria

        How kind…thank you!

  14. Ellen

    Where did you put your gray/blue wing back chairs?

  15. Jennie

    Which rug is that? The link just takes me to wayfair rugs, not a specific one …

  16. Carla Jo

    I Love it! Your attitude, ideas and your style are an inspiration to me, Thank-You! My Boyfriend and I just moved into a new apartment and are stuck in what I like to call, “moving limbo”. Aside from all the the boxes everywhere I look, the clutter and our inability to agree on a style that works for us both is all driving home nuts, all on top of the fact that I am the one mostly home to do it all by myself and WITH a physical handicap. It seems that every design vision I get, he doesn’t like, quite understand, I don’t have the funds or materials to achieve. But, since I am the only one doing it all, he can’t really complain…am I right!? Ha! The problem I am currently facing is that our living room furniture is basically a miss-matched collection just planted wherever we have the space for it and we cannot seem to agree on. I hate living in moving limbo! I’m ready to get settled, cozy, comfortable in my new apartment and start decorating for Christmas. Happy Holidays to you all!!

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