Living Room Tour - The Surznick Common Room

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Living Room Tour


Nick and I have been blogging our lives with you for about 3 months now. We've shared a lot of individual projects that make up our home, but we realized that we haven't really given you a "tour" of any of the rooms. So today we're excited to give a little bit more background about our apartment and show our living room!

When Nick and I decided that we were moving to Pittsburgh, we wanted to make sure that we moved into an apartment we loved so that we wouldn’t have to move again in a year. Let’s face it, moving sucks. It’s seriously the worst. I’ve lived in 9 different places in the past 6 years (2 different houses in Lancaster, 4 different apartments at IUP, and 3 different apartments since graduating). That’s too much moving.


We fell in love with our apartment the moment we saw it on Craigslist. After seeing it in person, it was official - there was nowhere else we wanted to live. Our living room and dining room both have gorgeous hardwood floors, high ceilings, and (closed up) fireplaces. The living room also has huge floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves. Our living room and dining room can be used as one big open space, or we can close the pocket doors between them in order to have two separate rooms. It’s perfect.


The one bad thing about renting is that you can be pretty limited in how you decorate your space. In our apartment, we’re not allowed to paint the walls, which is pretty standard renting policy. So until we can afford to buy a house that we're allowed to paint any color we want, we have to settle for finding alternative ways to decorate. So today we’re going to take you on a tour of our living room to share some of the ways we’ve been able to make the apartment “ours,” while still managing to keep our security deposit intact.



Our tour begins with this turquoise and orange print that was the whole inspiration behind our living room color scheme. The print was created by Scott Avett, of The Avett Brothers. When we saw TAB on New Year's Eve 2012, they were selling these limited edition prints for the concert and I had to have it.

Our most important decorating guideline is to fill our home with things that we love, not just things to take up space. Music is a huge part of our lives. In addition to the obvious (Nick being a music teacher), we go to a LOT of concerts and our home is filled with artwork and albums from bands we love. I've been keeping the tickets from every concert I've gone to since 2004 (can you believe that was a decade ago!?). We keep all of these in a ticket stub diary in our living room so that we can flip through it and relive the memories from some of our favorite concerts. (By the way, does that chair look familiar?)





We also love to fill our home with things that we've made or things that we've picked up at a thrift store and can make our own. We love our $5 ladder turned blanket rack and our homemade mail holder created from a 99 cent Boston vinyl.




This lamp used to look like this, but I love the look of a capiz shell lamp, so I cut out lots and lots of wax paper circles to create this faux capiz lamp shade and spray painted the body of the lamp to match our living room.



We're still working on filling up the bookshelves, but for now we keep them stocked with games, photos, fun books, and other trinkets we love.

Top to Bottom: 1 / 2 / 3/ 4 / 5


The bookshelves are a lot deeper than we thought they would be, so in order to keep our movies from getting pushed back into the dark abyss, we use tension rods to keep them close to the front.




You may recognize some items on our mantle from our Wine Bottle Lights post and our Skull Bookends post. Like we said above, you have to display the things you love. So in our case, this means good 'ol HP.



And now we've reached the final corner of our living room, where you'll find two more projects that we've shared on the blog - our TV stand and the magazine strip wall art



I'm sure our living room will constantly change and evolve as we do, but right now my favorite thing about it is that we are surrounded by things we've made and things we love. This is where we spend the most time, so it's important that this room makes us happy. Our style may not be for everyone, but it's us and that's all that matters.

As we sit here and look around the room, almost everything was either thrifted, given to us, or homemade. Since the whole reason we started this blog was to share how we've built our lives on a budget, we hope that this post will give you some ideas for how to make the most of your living space with your available resources.



If you have questions about anything you see in our living room, let us know and we'd be happy to share more!

Sarah & Nick

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