We have pink wall-to-wall carpet that is starting to show its age (it's nearly 15 years old), foofy curtains mounted right up against the ceiling, an assortment of mismatched college-era furniture, and a fugly, shoddy entertainment center and set of built-in shelves (courtesy of the previous owners). There's also a lovely blocky red brick fireplace from 1965, which is when the house was built.
Living Room Plans
1) Redo the fireplace wall. I'm going to owe zeriel many a dinner out in return for his help. We'll rip out all the halfassed homebaked construction, put up an underlayer of luan plywood, and then decide how to pretty up the rest before installing new shelves. I would like to panel the wall with knotty pine boards. (As in, the slotted and grooved slats of wood that fit together, not the plastic-looking shit. This is not a kitsch theme kthx.) I'm undecided about the fireplace. If it goes all the way up under the boards, I may wish to cover it with rock veneer. But we can worry about that after we fix up the wall. The TV will get moved into this area (where the entertainment center - which does not fit the TV - currently is), and we will rearrange the furniture accordingly.
2) Get and hang new curtains. I'm going to go with pewter-colored 5/8" rods with olive branch finials. The price is right, and they expand to fit any window, even the ginormous one in front. I have a sample of this subtly leaf-patterned sage curtain fabric on its way. If I like it, I'll get those curtains.
3) Fun with furniture. My color scheme is nature-based - mostly green with natural wood, brown, and fall-colored accents. The stupid pink carpet won't clash with this until we can have it removed (much later, which I'll get to). Thus far, my favorite couch candidates by far are the Virginia couches sold by Comfy 1. They're simple, classic, incredibly durable, and designed to be economical to maintain. And they're comparable in price to furniture from the Pottery Barn and other trendy places generally considered to be "good". Until we pick out couches and budget for them, I'll just buy new covers for the two futons. That will be an inexpensive way to enjoy a cohesive color scheme.
At any rate, my front runner for couch fabric is this 100% polyester sage material. I have a bunch of others bookmarked, and I won't know for sure which I like best until I request samples, but I like this best so far. I just hope the weave is tight enough to avoid kitty snags. Chester and Cookie don't have problems with destroying furniture (they're well-trained to scratch posts), but they do dig once in a while, and they tend to vault off furniture with claws out, so it's best to be prudent. Comfy 1 couches are inexpensive to reupholster (they make the covers for you and you can easily install them yourselves), but I would prefer to keep fabric in good condition as long as possible.
Get rid of the damn carpet and replace it with wood. I've always preferred wood. Huh huh huh wood. Cork is my favorite option thus far. It's sustainable (insert Mr. Van Driesen singing about the trees), springy (making it more resilient to dents and pet claw dings than regular hardwood), insulating, and durable if you get a good brand and maintain it (which really isn't tough). The cork is processed into very sturdy tiles (it's not like laying a cork board on your floor). And it can look fabulous. I like Expanko Algarve, as shown here. The company's reputation is top-notch, and the floor appearance speaks for itself.
But good wood floors are expensive no matter how you slice it...so this is something that probably will not be done for a couple of years or so. I am not averse to borrowing against home equity for a major renovation, but I want to be sure that we have a timely plan to pay it back, and it would be ideal to pay as much upfront as possible. (And with the floating planks that I would like to use, we may be able to save by having knowledgeable friends help us lay the floor instead of hiring a contractor. Floating plank is a feasible DIY project. Then again, a contractor's fees might be worth the hassle reduction.)