Pillows & Our Mid-Century Living Room

midcentury inspired living room

Although our house was built in 1920 and is true to the craftsman style on the outside, it has undergone a bunch of remodels that have dramatically changed the inside. One of the things that we love about it is the wide open living room with tons of windows. The living room was at one point mostly a covered front porch that was the entrance to the house. It was closed in and the front door was moved to the side at some point in our house’s history. At some point in the 1970’s (which may or may not have been when the front door was moved), a built-in couch was added to the living room. I wasn’t totally sold on the built-in when we bought the house, although it’s true to the mid-century modern style that we decorate, but I must say that now that we have lived here 9 months, I love it.

built in couch in living room

When we first moved in, I had a hard time looking past the utterly hideous early 90’s floral upholstery fabric that had been used to cover all of the built-in couch cushions. And we only had a couple of throw pillows to put on it. So it was both ugly and stark – not a good combination. I started by re-covering the cushions in a basic grey upholstery that complemented our window frame paint and I figured would make a good backdrop for punches of color while not showing dirt & wear too readily. The covers all have super-long heavy-duty zippers hidden under a zipper flap and were great fun *cough sarcasm cough* to wrangle over the giant foam cushions since they needed to be quite snug not to wrinkle horribly when you sit on them.

pillows in living room

After getting the cushions done, I started sewing pillow covers. And just kept sewing them. And then sewing more. The mottled grey-and-orange fabric I bought in northern Thailand and the rest of the upholstery fabrics are from a a certain big box fabric store. I’ve been done with the pillow covers for a while now, which means that I sewed them veeeery sloooowly while I was quite sick during my first and second trimesters. It was nice to have a project that I could see tanglible progress on while still moving quite slowly.

piped edges of pillows

All the pillows have invisible zippers and most have piping – I wrote a tutorial about how to sew pillows with invisible zippers and piping for those interested. I had a fun time cutting the pipings from contrast fabrics to make all the pillows tie together.

midcentury turquoise couch

built in couch in living room 2

You can see that we’ve played up the mid-century feel of the living room with our new-but-meant-to-look-midcentury loveseat, vintage lamp, and vintage reproduction coffee table. The space is inviting, great for lounging and staring out the windows and great for entertaining because there’s so much sitting space. I kept the fabric selection pretty tame since that’s Adam’s preference, but now that I’ve got the basics all in, I’m looking forward to adding in a few more statement pillows that bring in some more pops of color and texture!

Comments 5

  1. Love the neutral built in sofa with colorful pillows. You certainly accomplished a lot while not feeling well. Your home is warm and inviting and I am sure you host wonderful parties in that great open space.

  2. Your couch is looking really great. A good place to spend some time.
    And yes, it can be really horrible to pull fabric over foam cushions. I had to do it once and already after 5 min i hated it. And it took me much much longer.

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