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.


  1. Your changes look fantastic! Love the rustic tree stumps used as tables. And your driftwood – definitely worth the $5…

    • This is amazing experience visiting your blog. I am amazed with your room decoration idea and style. Really love your thinking. I have also a great weakness to different colored hand-made cowhide rugs and try to learn more about it whenever and wherever I get chance to attain the knowledge and experiences. I think you got a great opportunity on black Friday-75% off! What a discount. My bad luck I did miss the option. Anyway honestly enjoyed your brilliant article. Thanks for sharing.

    • This is amazing experience visiting your blog. I am amazed with your room decoration idea and style. Really love your thinking. I have also a great weakness to different colored hand-made cowhide rugs and try to learn more about it whenever and wherever I get chance to attain the knowledge and experiences. I think you got a great opportunity on black Friday-75% off! What a discount. My bad luck I did miss the option. Anyway honestly enjoyed your brilliant article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Did I miss something, why didnt you take your white sofa upstairs, instead of the brand new leather one?

    • I got the leather one specifically for my menfolk, so they could continue to eat nachos and stuff the leather one just naturally fits with TV watching better! And I wanted my white one downstairs, no real scientific answer, I just did what I wanted.

      • I really like the white one downstairs, it looks way better, than the leather one did. I dont know if Im saying more than I should, but did you feel that you made a mistake picking the leather one? I know in my many years of decorating I have had my share of mistakes! lol! And I will continue to make some!

        • That’s a great question. Honestly I feel like every single purchase I make is simultaneously a perfect choice and also a huge mistake. I could second guess everything! I’m currently addicted to white slipcovers & how they look, but I still wouldn’t choose any fabric that wasn’t a whit slip, so the only other option was leather. Which is a great option!

  3. That rug is absolutely stunning! Cowhides are my absolute favorite choice for durability, they really can’t be beat!! So glad you chose to keep it downstairs and let it have its’ moment in the sun :)

  4. Love the white sofa downstairs as well. And a side note – the last 2x I have clicked on your site I am getting a virus alert… :(

  5. I knew you’d move that white one back! The day you posted the leather one I said under my breath “Nester, what have you done?”!!! Thank you for being you!

  6. Where did you get the striped curtains? I LOVE them and have been looking for some forever!

  7. Wow ! I love that patchwork cowhide rug – gourgeous ! But even better is the curious cutie with the big, brown wet nose right in front of your camera !! Love HIm !

  8. Your laser cut patchwork area cowhide rug is stunning. We carry these too, and because they are so ‘different’ from rug to rug, and each one is unique, it’s so hard to sell them online because it’s nearly impossible to list all the colors and options and sizes, cuts and patterns you can do – kudos to you for using it in your design so nicely! We agree with Dacia @Lemon Drop Life – you CAN NOT beat the cowhide materials for durability and longevity. Thanks for posting!

  9. I love the herringbone patchwork rug, I wish it was not actual cowhide. Can’t do that in my home but oh how I wish!!!

  10. I have followed your blog for almost two years now and I think this is my first time commenting (which is lame on my part). Anywho, I just wanted to say I love your style. Leather couch. White couch. You are so awesomely creative and are not afraid to try new things. You are a trend setter without trying to be one (or maybe you are trying to be one, but it doesn’t come off that way). I always feel refreshed and inspired after visiting your blog. Thank you. Nice job and keep at it! And I promise to comment more on how awesome you are! ;)

  11. I just wanted to let you know that when I clicked on your site my virus protection immediately shut it down and said there was some sort of attack on my commuter. I mention this because I saw that someone else had it happen too.

  12. I love the cowhide rugs too. My little boy and I have both been wanting one for each of our rooms but I hadn’t really looked into it…UNTIL I walked into my local SAMs club a couple weeks ago. They had a huge box of maybe 50 or more cowhide rugs for $99 each.
    I didn’t buy one that day but have have been on my mind and I finally went back today while the kids were in school and picked one out. I had to pull every one out of the box to get a good look – they weren’t all in the very best condition but I came up with about 10 to choose from. There were a very wide variety of colors and sizes – some even had brands on them.
    They probably aren’t first quality.. but for $99 I came home with something that made me happy and I didn’t output a huge amount of money.
    Just wanted to let your readers know they might want to check with their local SAMs if they are looking for a “beginner” cowhide rug at a reasonable price…and I’m so happy I’m going back tomorrow for another ;)

  13. Hi, Nester! I, for one, love all the changes you’ve made! It totally makes sense to me for the leather couches to follow the menfolk…wherever that may be. What I love most about the post, though, is the dog – he (or she?) cracks me up in every one of them weather he is lying unconscious on his dog bed or up with his snout in the camera…what a great little “fur” assistant you have.

  14. Hiya!
    Love love love that rug!! Quick question….has your cute pup tried to chew it at all? I know pups sometimes love the smell of natural fiber/grass rugs and think that they are outside when they’re not….curious if they’d get mixed up over cowhide/rawhide? I saw a really nice one at Rug and Home in Concord but was nervous!


  15. LOOOOOVE the rug and it goes just beautifully in that room with the couch! I think your idea to have the man room upstairs is perfect! You’ll all have more elbow room, and a little peace and quiet. We had 3 boys, I home schooled too, so I think this is brilliant!

    But Nester… could you do one small thing for me? Pull that beautiful white couch off the wall a bit. Give a good 6 inches of “breathing room” for it to show off your beautiful wall and drapes. Pull the table along with it. You have the room, and I would feel much better. ;) Thanks.

    Hugs From My Heart

  16. Your brave and the new rug is beautiful! Thanks for posting about it. I saw them on Joss & Main yesterday and didn’t know what to think. Now that I see one in action I might try it myself one day.

  17. I love your style!! We recently sold our house and are now living in a rental. I would have been down because I can’t paint the walls and it makes the house feel so cold. But you have given me inspiration to do more with the walls then just paint. You can make any house feel like a home with things you can take with you to the next house. Thank you!!! Also, as I was looking at your blog and all the pictures with your chocolate lab just laying there. I’m thinking, how does she get her dog to lay there while taking pictures cuz every time I try I have my black lab right in my face. Haha. So thank you for sharing that picture with us of the dog right in the camera. :)

  18. Iam falling in love with that rug!!! I never thought I would like cowhide, lol.
    I have a HUGE favor: Could you (pretty please!) do a post on how to choose rugs for a room? (Like size, colors, what materials last, ect?) We just bought a fix it up home and will have wood floors…so…would absolutely LOVE your thoughts on the above questions.

  19. I am coveting that rug!! I have found one similar, yet lighter and would rather have one more like yours. By chance did the rug have a brand/manufacturer?
    So enjoy watching you work. Keep it up!

  20. I am looking at a similar patchwork cowhide and wondered if you thought it would work under a table? Would the chair legs catch on the different hides? Does furniture slide easily over it? thanks!!

  21. I love the herringbone rug too – is there any manufacturer information on the back?
    The sale hasn’t been repeated yet on Joss & Main. It is exactly what I am looking for in our office.

  22. Will you please share where you got your great round coffee table from. Thanks!

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  24. I just received a beautiful cowhide rug from Rugs USA, but it sheds. Do your cowhide rugs shed?

  25. I have the same rug with the gray colors in a 6 foot round. Just got it yesterday from Gilt. It’s so fabulous. I’m still drooling. I love what you did with it.

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