Moving My Sofas, Cowhide Rugs, & Other Family Room Changes

white sofa

Everyone wants to know why I moved my sofas. The number one answer is: because I am me.  And that’s what I do.  But I also have a real answer.

moving furniture

This is what it looks like at 1:30 on a Tuesday. My husband is “doing the homeschooling” and this is the part where they are supposed to be watching a movie on the Bubonic Plague.  I’ll let the picture do the talking.  But this was my reality.  I needed to get some work done.  And my work often consists of taking photos. And going to the kitchen 89 times for more ice for my iced coffee. And admiring my quiet house. Or at least I’ve figured out that’s what I like to do when I work.  I realized that all of us are headquartered in the same 20 feet radius. And our house is more than 400 square feet so there was no need for that. If the boys and my husband were doing school and I needed to shoot some photos or hot glue something we were suddenly in each other’s way. Meanwhile…

Meanwhile, we had this huge empty room upstairs just waiting to be fabulous. Or at least he’d settle for being used. Normally I keep the bonus room door closed all winter and the boys would venture up there to play sometimes. When you are renting, (even when you buy) sometimes you are lucky enough to end up with some rooms that you simply don’t use all that often.

But, things have changed and we are here and dirty socks are accidentally getting hot glue on them so I declared that we should turn the bonus room into man central station.

So we moved the leather sofa and the TV upstairs.

cowhide rug

During black Friday, I ordered a big cowhide rug from Rugs USA.  They had a 75% off sale with FREE shipping. And I had the flu but managed to feebly eek out an order. The moment the rug was delivered all I could think of was how remorseful I was that I didn’t share this great deal with you all. But I felt so horrible that day.  I published a little deal post that morning and it killed me not to add this deal in. My apologies to everyone, because this was my best deal of Black Friday, I promise next year I’ll be all over the deals with you. This rug was $185–that’s less than the smaller cowhides at Ikea!  And it is wonderful.

cowhide rug layering

beautiful inspiration : Julie @ Milk and Honey Home via Young House Love

So what does my RugsUSA cowhide rug have to do with moving the sofa upstairs?  Well, the day we moved the sofa I promised the boys I would order a rug for that room.  The floor gets so cold since it’s over the bonus room.  Luckily, I had about $200 in store credit at Joss & Main.

If you scroll up to the photo where all my menfolk are watching TV you can see my tiny cowhide rug there at the bottom of the photo.  It’s about 1/3 the size of my new one and it’s 3 legged. Which is why I got it for only $60 a few years ago.  I love the rug and noticed that it was really durable.  Which is why I had my eye out for a bigger, inexpensive cowhide. So I ordered and received the new one right around the time we moved the sofas. Naturally, I had cowhide on the brain.

cowhide rug

I needed yet another rug. Stat. For the frigid bonus room with no insulation over the garage.  And there was a sale going on at Joss & Main called Haute Hides. Which caught my attention because I had just received my newest cowhide and was completely in love and I knew how durable they are so it would be great for the bonus room so I ordered one.  The one right there in the middle.

I’ve had great luck ordering rugs online.  I started small with maybe a $100 risk (if I didn’t like it I could always sell it) so over the past few years I’ve moved up to ordering larger rugs.  Every rug in our house but two was ordered online–without ever seeing it first.  Some of you already saw this rug on instagram…

joss & main patchwork cowhide rug herringbone

Sidenote: At first I had a 5 x 7 in my cart. The 8 x 10 was a few hundred dollars more and I figured it was just for the bonus room and that would cover the open area between the sofas.  But then I remembered how I just sold two rugs at my Big Sale and most of the problem was that they were simply too small for me to use them they way I wanted. Plus with this rug being a neutral, I wanted the option to move it to other rooms. Really, for me to order the smaller size would have been a waste of $400ish. I was SO hard to dish out that extra money but, I knew I really needed the 8×10.

I think it ended up costing a little over $600.  I had some store credit but I paid a few hundred dollars for a big patchwork cowhide rug I had never seen.  I knew it would be neutral and it was for the bonus room anyway so as long as it wasn’t on fire when it came, I’d make it work. Besides, the big greenish rug in our family room cost over $700 and I’ve had it almost ten years and it’s been wonderful.  I’ve learned that rugs are worth the investment.

patchwork cowhide rug

Surprisingly, the rug was delivered two days later and the moment I opened it I knew there was no way I’d let it get hidden up there in the bonus room.  This was going to be on display downstairs in all of its cowhide, herringbone, patchwork glory.  I love how imperfect it is, some of the hides have long hair, some short and all the greys and browns–it’s glorious.

cow skinour dog is still suspicious of this rug

Isn’t she lovely? And I’m happy to report that red soda has already been spilled on it and it cleaned up with just a towel.   Remember, this hide has been outside on the backs of animals, if it survived through that, it surly can survive our house.

cool rugs

Here’s a shot of the regular cowhide layered on the patchwork cowhide.  I went a little hide overboard in this room.  The variations in the patchwork hide are more dramatic than in our last rug so I’m slowly adjusting the rest of the room so everyone gets along.  It brought in more “goings on” in the room so to make up for that I’m trying to quiet down some other parts.  I’m not there yet.

cool rugs

Here’s the other angle. I also moved that $25 thrift store desk down from our bedroom and flanked it with the copper twins.  The hanging thing is just a metal light form that I attached book pages to, it came with a light kit but “for now” I have an Ikea light kit attached to it and rope holding it all up.  Which is why I cropped that part out.

cowhide rug

And here’s what happens every single time I try to take a picture in my house.

decorating blog

A few other changes?  I bought a big stick.  Yes, I did.  Angela and I were at an estate sale and there was this perfectly shaped driftwood (from the lake) stick that I knew was exactly what I needed.  Like a fool I asked ‘how much?’.  I should have just asked if I could have it.  But they charged $5 and I knew I was either really dumb or really smart.  When I got home I decided I was smart. Because the bend at the stick happens in just the right place to snuggle in a baby disco ball!  Bet you never thought you’d read those words all in one sentence?

tree stump side table

And I also clumped together a little grouping of tree stumps for a side table.  My husband and boys sanded them, and painted a few.  Also I lost my dustpan but that’s not really big news.

Next post, what the bonus room looks like so far.  It’s not exciting at all but, this post is already too long.

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  1. that rug is FANTASTIC. I think I have a crush on it. also… I have given up on taking pictures from the floor, it only results in a dog kissed camera lens :) haha

  2. Cindy Lynn says:

    Gorgeous!! Not that I’m surprised! Everything you touch turns to beauty! Love it!

  3. First. Your posts are never too long. Honestly, I get to reading what you’ve written and I just don’t want to stop. :)

    Second. Good for you. I’m working right now on a makeover of our living room, and part of me wants to banish the TV to another part of the house. But honestly, we really do love having the TV there, and that’s where we watch it together as a family (mostly ballgames, but that’s fine with me). Yet I know there would be lots more options if I’d remove the TV. I’m proud of you for actually doing it!

    Third. I LOVE your cowhide rugs. Last year we bought a cowhide ottoman on an after-Christmas clearance. I think it may be the only time in the history of earth that I’ve managed to do something early on in a trend. I’m usually either chasing things or out of the loop entirely. But now I’m seeing cowhide furniture and accessories everywhere! Whee!

    • honestly, I miss the TV downstairs, we still all watch it together upstairs and watch less of it because it’s not just sitting here in the center of everything, but the downstairs is still cozier and I miss watching a movie with the fireplace going!

  4. Moving and rearranging furniture just might be one of the most therapeutic activities out there! It is a genetic trait in my family- nothing makes us happier! Good for you- the rooms look awesome :)

  5. I am exhausted by reading your post. Tee hee. I hate moving furniture around and once something is hung on the wall it’s there for life-but I love seeing how your creative process works.

  6. For anyone who has every homeschooled, your first photo is HILARIOUS. Sometimes, that is just how it is and why homechooling is so glorious. Life has room to happen.

  7. That rug is gorg!!! Oh…and “feebly eek out an order”…ha! Funny stuff!!

  8. Really looking forward to seeing what the bonus room looks like! After a similar episode of reevaluating how we use (or don’t use) our rooms, we decided to sell our dining set, move our sofa & chairs into the former dining room, and our “breakfast table” (which was the only table we really used and where we spent most of our time) over in the living room in front of the fireplace. It’s a little unorthodox, but I LOVE it and now we are using all of our spaces.

    Also, that herringbone rug is gorgeous. I love it.

  9. My living room looks much like yours during our home school, with bodies all over the place! I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love your rug choices, when I first saw the chevron rug, it looked like parquet flooring, beautiful! I can’t believe it’s a hide rug. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your “man cave”.

  10. Love your post! I’ve always thought ‘cowboy/log cabin’ when people talk cowhide but you’ve taken it to a whole different place! Super Job! I felt the relief of “I’m not alone in my quirky-mess” when I read your blog today…my husband has told everyone the past week that we don’t just De-decorate for the holidays at our house….we move furniture, hang new curtains and rearrange furniture at the same time! LOL It’s just something about the new year that gets me…out with the with the new! :)

  11. Melanie Miller says:

    My mom rearranged the furniture frequently when I was growing up. My husbands mom NEVER did. Because opposites attract, obviously. I have one room in our house that I can rearrange the furniture because of the shape of the rooms and furniture in said rooms. I honestly feel sad, disappointed, stiffled and a bit bored with the lack of change. It’s the least expensive way to be creative, well, except for the cost of sore muscles.

    The first thing I noticed in the top picture was the rug. Stunning! Bravo! You inspire me all the time. And I agree with Richella above, your posts are never too long.

  12. Lordy, that rug is fabulous-such a great find. I just got a Rugs USA order yesterday and can’t wait to post about it once the room’s finished. Oh, and I want an iced coffee now:) See how you inspire? xo

  13. That’s the most awesome rug I have ever seen in my entire life. Not exaggerating.

  14. Awesome herringbone rug! And I was getting ready to ask what happened to that fabulous leather couch. I’ve got that bad boy on my wish list. :) Is it still holding up well?


    • It’s in perfect condition, I was SURE we would have popped off half the buttons by now? nope, not even one. I’ll let you know, if/when we do!

      • Glad to hear it stands up to boys. We have 2 wild little men and their fave pastime is seeing how long they can use our furniture as a trampoline before mom catches them. =}

  15. The chocolate lab laid out on the sheet is hilarious. Our chocolate lab is not that calm. ever. Maybe once she is two.

  16. I was just wondering yesterday evening what happened to the leather couch, I mean sofa :) – so glad you’re updating us! Love the herringbone cowhide rug. And I love your copper chairs on the other cowhide rug – they work well together. Hope you have a great 2013!

  17. I love seeing how you use all those cowhide rugs! I’ve never felt like I could pull one off. Although I did purchase an entire leather hide (to use for sewing) a couple of weeks ago that my husband wants to either use as a rug or hang on the wall. So maybe I’ll indulge him until I need to start snipping pieces off of it :)

  18. a of all: i miss you and i wish i could see you. wishes, wishes, wishes.

    b of all: squee! the rug. with all the other stuff! it makes me happy. lots of layers of texture and soft colors.

    c of all: dog photo bombing makes my day.

    love you, friend!

  19. I love the new rug! I would never have thought that I would like cowhide, but that rug. is it a beauty.

  20. I love the photo of everyone lounging because that is my reality. The homeschooling and boys…boys lounging all over, and yes the husband sleeping! So realistic – thank you! : )

    I love the new rug- I wouldn’t have thought I would like cowhide until I saw that with the pattern. Love it.

  21. Please, please, please let us know when the next Haute Hides sale is at Joss & Main. I have just added this rug to my 2013 wish list. I also love the cow hide. I must have one. Thanks.

    • Yes ma’am. I never know how much to talk about sales like that, I don’t want to annoy, but LOVE sharing a great deal. Would you rather know from Facebook or twitter or here at the blog?

      • All three, please! I’ve been drooling over your rug ever since I first saw this post! I just bought a couple of rugs from rugsusa, but I’m sure I could find a spot for this one somewhere!

  22. May I ask where you found all those wonderful furry new pillows on your couch? LOVE!

    • all over….Home Goods for the feathery fur one, A local man made the cowhide one (!!! I know!!!) the throw is from World Market, and I’ll talk about the other pillows in an upcoming post. Also, Pier 1 is a great place too!

  23. I knew your “contrasts” with masculine and feminine would show up somehow even with the rugged leather sofa out of the room. I didn’t expect a cowhide rug, and one so amazing as that! This is fun to watch. :-) Thanks!

  24. Love your rug! I actually bought a cowhide patchwork rug from Joss and Main as well, and adore it. However, ours has issues curling up at the edges. Did yours have this problem? If so, how did you fix it??

    • yes, TERRIBLY! My husband rolled it under and set heavy stuff on it, and currently all the corners just happen to be under furniture (or another rug) but, I’ve heard Gaffer’s Tape can hold it down, I’m thinking of getting some.

  25. My eye went to the rug, too! It looks great, Nester. That could inspire an art piece with stains and shims. And ya know, Sarah @ TDC mentioned the rug sale, I think? I know one of my regular bloggers mentioned it. So, maybe some of your readers read it over there?? All may not have been lost?

  26. I love your cowhide herringbone rug, it’s just beautiful! Your dog is adorable, too, funny how they are always in the way of taking pictures… they’re so curious!

  27. You said “big stick”, and I keep thinking “Walk softly!” This post makes me laugh. I know about the home-schooled kids draped everywhere. I had to go back and zoom in on the pic to find your hubby, ala Where’s Waldo?, and I think a movie about bubonic plague would do that to me, too!

    • oh I am laughing. Yes, one of my boys secretly came to me and asked if he had to watch it. The sensitive one who washes his hands many times a day. I think he was afraid he’d have bad dreams. Funny the differences that come up when the husband homeschools vs the mom!

  28. Jeana Cosentino says:

    You’re just too funny! I love your humor… and what I love even more is your style! Everything looks perfectly imperfect.. you do it so well, you’re brilliant! I would love to come over and snuggle up on the white sofa with a fur pillow and blanket! Too bad I’m all the way in California! ;-)

  29. Now I am curious what is in the front room, where the disco ball was?

  30. I have been waiting on the post about the disappearance of the leather couch. We were considering getting a leather couch from Laz-boy, but after reading some bad reviews online, we decided to hold off. There were complaints about strong off-gassing of the leather, the leather not holding the dye and changing colors, leather cracking, and bad service on these warranty issues. Just curious, has that happened with your Laz-Boy couch?

    • oh wow! Ours looks brand new (and I’m a little sad, I’m ready for that leather to relax and wear a little!) but so far, no issues, I can’t speak to customer service because we haven’t had to call.

  31. Kimm at Reinvented says:

    Can I PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go shopping/thrifting/garage saling with you someday?? I want your “eye.” Or both, if you’re willing to share.
    Can’t wait to see the bonus room. Right now ours is home to a certain precious college freshman girl, but someday I’ll be decorating it. :)

    • YES! Wouldn’t that be fun? I am the worst person to shop with, I find myself walking away from people. Also, I am a man when it comes to shopping and ususally get in and out really fast.

  32. While I would not let anything that pretty near my many small children under 5, OH MY WORD. That rug is GORGEOUS! Way to go!

  33. Haha, I bought two rugs from Rugs USA that day, too! One of which was a cowhide and I was so sick that it was all I managed to do the whole day. I wanted to get a third but by the time I made it to my computer the third rug was completely out of stock. Their coupons are dangerous!

    • NO WAY! We are kindred spirits. I never even occured to me to buy more than one. You mean I could have bought TWO at 75% off?! I hope they do this again next year!

  34. I love this post! Your dog is so funny! Hims is a nice pups, hims is.

  35. that rug is too legit – and you basically stole it for that price!!!

  36. I really like the browns.

  37. Hi there, this is the first time I’ve stopped by your blog and I can tell it’s going to be a regular read. I already have a question! You may have talked about it in another post and I just haven’t gotten past the top one yet, but I would LOVE to know where you got the metal light form that you’ve attached book pages to? I’ve looked and looked for accessible sources for doing DIY chandeliers and haven’t come up with anything. I’m so hoping you have a great source to share!

    • Hey Kara, welcome! Yes, it’s from Joss & Main BUT, I’ve been considering DIYing one. I think you could use a series of 2 or 3 lampshades in different sizes, maybe embroidery hoops or I even saw metal hoops being sold at my local fabric store. I’d love to hack it and as soon as I do, I’ll write about it here!

      • Thanks so much for your response, and also, bummer! As much as I love Joss and Main and One Kings Lane, it’s no fun to find out about something you want months after it’s been there and gone. Oh well. I’ve been thinking about ways to hack one (like you said, embroidery hoops and wreath forms came to mind), but of course if I could find a ready-made one I’d jump at the chance, so I had to ask about yours!

  38. After reading this post, I too love love love the cowhide rug! I wanted to let everyone know that in the new Ballard Designs catalog there is a similar pillow. It is a 20″ square and is patchwork cowhide but in a horizontal pattern. It is a little pricey at $89 but is great to get that look if you can’t find the rug or want to make a smaller commitment!

  39. Oh my stars. This post is awesome. I’m not sure what is my fave:

    The big stick and the disco ball
    The bubonic plague school
    Or moving the boys upstairs to the man cave.

    (love white couch being back. she belongs there ;)

  40. Oh my goodness, I love this rug! It caught my eye from the very first photo! What a GORGEOUS piece!

  41. that rug…and the hints of black you’ve brought in the room. it’s all delicious!

    you know, rugusa has 65% off right now. i mean, it’s not 75, but i’ll take 65 w/ free ship anytime.

    but there’s NOTHING that can compare to this herringbone beauty, you have right here.

  42. Love the new rug and the new little vignette with cow-hide. You have great style and are truly inspiring. I’m working on my blog purpose statement (thanks to your inspiration)…and tackling some of those showroom display concepts I told you about. Let’s get together for coffee (hot or iced) sometime. xo.

  43. Love your rugs. RugsUSA is the best. I have 2 rugs from there and love them both. Very high quality and affordable with the 75% off sale. They run that sale a lot so we still have a chance to get in on the deals if we are patient :). I love seeing all your ideas.

  44. I’m crushing all over your new rug, majorly!!!! Now to figure out how to scrounge up the cash for that one in our family/living room (we only have one of those spaces)…so it has to be durable & it’s the perfectly, imperfect neutral/textural interest I need in there. (sorry about the run-on, lol.) I luv how your spaces change…they are so fluid and remind me of my own home. We recently got a new sectional (home reserve) and I had the hardest time choosing between a light washable cover & a leather one (for starters…eventually the plan is to get the second coverset in leather so I can seasonally switch them up). Your light filled space inspired me time and again so I went with the light washable (but very kid friendly fabric) option & have loved it ever since. New furniture means new room arrangement… one pulled together over time as finances allow additions. I think my goal for our home this year is to get to the beautifying!

  45. I love you Nester but these rugs are so disturbing! The leather/hide industry is not just a benign industry. It is huge and encourages the inhumane treatment and slaughter of billions of cows. Find out more at
    I understand why you will delete this post but I just couldn’t be silent.

  46. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous rug! i also bought one from joss & main last year and i love it! their stuff is such high quality, i have no fear ordering it online :)

  47. What I’m interested in here is your creative linguistic choices. A room is a “he” and a rug is a “she”? Maybe like you could sail that gorgeous rug through the sky like a ship, like Aladdin, or something? You are a fun girl. I wish I had your energy.

  48. oh my word! my absolute favorite thing from this post is the shot of your boys “homeschooling!” growing up homeschooled myself this scene just looks way too familiar!!! :)) love it. you guys are my kind of people!!

    happy new year nester!

  49. I wanna hug that rug! Gorgeous!

  50. I want that rug too. It’s super nice. I love rugs. Especially ones that are super soft.

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