This year was the year of “staying home,” and with all that time to stare at the same walls and sit on the same furniture I quickly realized our home needed some updates and redecorating. So, I made the call to my friend and go-to interior designer Tracy Norton and she got started on helping me actualize my vision for our living room and dining room. It took the better part of six months, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. Along the way I discovered we desperately needed to update our TV to this decade, that our dogs shed way more than I ever realized and we needed the proper appliances to clean up after them. All that said, nearly a year spent inside and these are the Top 10 Best Purchases Made for Our Home.
- Samsung The Frame TV: I am not sure why we deprived ourselves of a new TV for over 10 years, but we honestly just used our iPads to watch different apps and shows and it seemed to work for us. Since quarantine and Covid I found that we were spending more time in our living room and our old TV just wasn’t cutting it anymore. After each doing some research, Rob and I talked about which TV we each thought we should get and I told him that I wanted The Frame TV by Samsung. To be honest, my reasoning was purely for aesthetics. I loved the idea of having a beautifully “framed” TV and that would fit in seamlessly with the decor in our living room. However, what I did not realize was all the other amazing benefits included with The Frame TV. There are so many awesome apps and additions that come with having a smart TV and I have to say that our life has been changed for the better. Seems dramatic, but it’s true! You can link up any streaming service to the smart TV and watch all of your normal shows such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc. You can also download YouTube and other apps that make it easy to watch everything on a larger screen instead of your phone or an iPad. One of my favorite features is the art store where you can select famous art pieces as a screensaver that appear as framed art on your wall. Another neat feature is the ambient setting where you select different moods and can have relaxing background noise such as birds chirping or ocean waves, playing on the TV throughout the day. All in all it was 1000% worth the purchase and I honestly don’t know how we survived this long without it and cannot imagine never having it.
- Hulu Live TV: We haven’t had regular cable in over 4 years since we have so many streaming services. I will admit though, I was kind of missing my cheesy stations that played Law and Order SVU marathons and of course, my ultimate favorite- Lifetime Movie Network. When we got our Frame TV I discovered a few ways you can have LIVE TV without getting cable. I first tried out Philo and absolutely hated it. Philo was constantly buffering and didn’t offer many channels. I then decided to cancel Philo and try out Hulu Live and I really love it – I get all of the same channels as I did with cable TV and it was easy to just add on to my existing Hulu subscription.
- Bissell Turbo Clean: if you have dogs, kids, or just have tons of area rugs that have high traffic, you will know the pain of cleaning a rug and/or having one professionally cleaned. I literally got down on my hands and knees last week with a scrubbing brush and a bucket of hot water and cleaning solution and cleaned our dining room rug. It’s such a hassle going to the grocery store (pre-Covid) and renting those big carpet cleaning machines. I had no idea that they made little mini versions of those for the home until last night while browsing Amazon. This is just what I was looking for and can’t wait to use it to clean my rugs with ease.
- Tyler Glamorous Gift Set: The other day my friend and decorator was over and I was stalking her about what perfume she was wearing and it turns out it was just her laundry detergent. I was like girl what kind of laundry detergent are you using?! She was actually using the “Diva” scent, but after reading about the available detergent scents, I decided to go with Kathina which has notes of citrus, rose, and lily of the valley.
- West Elm Andes Sectional: Before the summer of 2020 we had always had a plain small couch. We never really spent much time in the living room anyways, so I didn’t think we needed a bigger couch. When the pandemic started and we were spending much more time in our house I quickly grew tired of the small couch. I looked at sectional couches for MONTHS and just could not find anything that I absolutely loved. I ended up settling on the West Elm Andes sectional. I think it’s fine and is pretty comfortable, but there are some things I’d change. However, what I learned in my couch search is that most sofas, even on big online websites, take months to ship. In the end my impatience won and I chose the fastest, most readily available color. All that said, having a huge sectional has made spending time in our living room so much more enjoyable and we love settling in at night to watch TV.
- Shark Lift-Away Navigator Vacuum: just trust me on this one – you need to get rid of your Dyson and get a Shark vacuum. I used to use the Dyson vacuum constantly and I’d never really get much in the receptacle thing. I just thought it was normal but continued to see dog hair everywhere and always felt like our rugs looked dirty. I kept seeing people post about the Shark Vacuum and my friend Shelli posted a video of her using it for the first time and she got so much dust and fur … and I immediately purchased one! The same thing happened to me – you should have seen the container after using it for the first time. The roller brush has some clog guard that makes it where hair and debris won’t get stuck around the brush. I swear I could be in an infomercial for these things now because I’m such a believer 😛
- Custom Draperies: We went almost 11 years in our house with absolutely no drapes. When I started using Tracy, my Interior Designer, one of the first things she wanted to do was install drapes in every room. I adamantly said no and told her I thought drapes were unnecessary and too expensive. She eventually talked me into getting some custom ones on a resale website and the second they were hung I wondered why I’d been so against them for so long. As Tracy says, think of drapes like jewelry for your house – you need jewelry to complete an outfit, so you need drapes to complete a room. I found some Amazon drapes that are very similar to my silk custom ones, so ultimately I think as long as you pay a little more and get a nicer material, you can find some online without going the complete custom route.
- Original Art: I’ve always loved buying original art, especially when we travel, but this year I stepped it up a notch and started collecting from artists that I’ve always loved including Hunt Slonem, Josh Young, Mary Mcguire, and some others. I think art is such a fun thing to collect and it makes me so happy to see my paintings when I’m chilling in the living room.
- Barefoot Dreams Leopard Throw: I will be the first to admit that every time someone posted about the Barefoot Dreams blankets I would laugh and think, “who is gonna pay almost $200 for a throw blanket”. One night during the Nordstrom sale I was rather bored and probably took an Ambien 😛 but decided to let it rip and order one. I swear to you I have used this damn thing every single day since August and it’s the only blanket I’ll use now. I love it so much that I just ordered a second one during the Nordstrom Half Yearly sale. They are so much softer than any other blanket I’ve used … I can’t really explain it, you just need to trust me and get one.
- Ikea PAX Wardrobe: I am one of those people who will obsess over something and want it for the longest time, but if it has any sort of assembly or difficulty (ie how Ikea furniture comes in 15 different boxes with impossible instructions), I will ultimately keep putting it and it will be years before I end up ordering what I needed. This year I was tired of needing more space for clothes, so I went online to Ikea’s website and ordered the PAX wardrobe to be delivered from our local Ikea store. Then I went on the Task Rabbit app (which I didn’t know existed before this) and booked someone to come assemble it for me. I kid you not, the guy had this complex wardrobe system assembled in less than an hour and I couldn’t believe I waited so long to do something that made such a difference with storage in our bedroom!
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