Whoa! Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions on how to improve the living room. I would have never guessed that I would get such an overwelming number of suggestions!
For those that didn't read all of the 80+ comments, I'll pull out some of the topics and great suggestions that are swirling in my brain right now.
Lots of comments about the television (this seems to be a reoccuring theme!). I agree it draws the eye but I'm not so convinced that its possible to really do much to make it less of a draw. I liked vanessa's and cathryn's idea of adding some framed prints around it but I'm torn about whether that will help or hinder the cause. It might just make that wall more of a feature which is not my intention. Shelia had a great idea of using a much lower piece of furniture to put the tv on but Im just not willing to invest in big piece of furniture and I do love the gray console I have already. (Im not worried about medical problems from hanging my tv too high - I don't watch THAT much!) To put it another way, the tv just doesn't bother me that much. I'm okay that its there - its not that attractive but the reality is that I watch it so I want to be able to see it. As soon as they make that wallpaper tv, I'll be the first person in line. Until then, I'll be having a black rectangle.
Several suggested (anon, never a plain jane, teller all about it, mudrick, design love, pamela, L. Duncan, Teresa) a ceramic garden stool as a side table. Now why didn't I think of that? Good one.
What I was really in love with was the suggestion for using a tree stump as a side table from Erin (and seconded by Stacey, Dana and anon) . Will you believe I have several tree stumps I made poor Mr. L donkey home for me last year? (Inspired by Kara Paslay)I'm not sure if they are quite big enough for the task but its worth a shot. You would think that with these bad boys waiting for me in the yard I would have thought this up on my own but I didnt connect the dots. Duh.
A few other great side table suggestions as well but I'm hoping I can make the stump thing work out.
Quinn and a few others suggested painting the room a different color. I see what you mean but I really like this color and the open airy feeling it provides. Its not the most striking but its intentionally meant to be plain - I don't want it to be too dark and heavy (even though I absolutely heart gray and darker paints, its just not what I want in here).
Shelia hit the nail on the head by pointing out that everything in here looks like it was purchased yesterday. I definitely don't want to go overboard on the old stuff (that is what the limestone is for!), a few well placed items will add some personality.
Another mysterious anon poster suggested a vintage trunk near the stairs. LOVE! Being a realist Im not going to hold out much hope for finding one anytime soon but its going in my head for future flea market shopping trips.
Hillary pointed out these fabulous customizable beach signs. I don't the scale is right to use them in the area over the stairs but I like them. Maybe I can use them elsewhere?
Cathryn and Vicki suggested putting a long low bookshelf under the window while political exile suggested replacing the stair railing with a built in bookcase. I like both ideas but they might be projects for another day (or year or decade) because I'm too cheap to make that investment.
And who knew there is a website that sells books by cover color. While I would be way too anal about these things to ever use that service, it could make for some fun decor projects. Thanks Claire for pointing it out.
And it seems loads of you love the big trees indoors. I'm not trying to convince anyone else to be a hater like me but the only thing I would hate more than an indoor tree is a fake indoor tree.
Pam is totally right that the pillows are too formal. I need something a bit more laid back.
You've all given me soooo many options on the window treatments. I was thinking of using drop clothes to do something but now I'm torn by so many of the pretty options out there. (Thank you willoughbywhimsy, never a plain jane, mudrick, heather spratt, Honeyed Hashette, Just Beachy, Missy, Teresa, Laura, and everyone else who provided links!)
In case I didn't mention you specifically, please know I did read every single comment carefully so I haven't missed you. Thank you all for taking the time to comment. And feel free to add anything else you think might be helpful.
So now I have to get to work! This is just giving me a major shopping itch.