HGTV’s influence keeps cropping up in my life. They continuously make over rooms with ease and color and manage to use the home owner’s own things in new, fabulous ways. For over three years, I’ve had this living room that had some furniture thrown into it, and except for hanging out with the Christmas tree in there, we largely ignored that room. In fact, this is the only picture I could find from that room.
Those are Christmas tree lights reflecting in the framed picture. Somehow the putty wall color manages to wash out even my husband’s fire red beard. Our vintage couch is in need of a reupholstery job, and it looks awful with the walls and light.
Shortly after New Year’s, my resolutioned spirits were high and I was ready for Project Living Room Decorating, a.k.a. Project PAINT. Because PAINT is the answer to every decorating dilemma.
First, I turned to the overall first floor color palette. With an open kitchen/family room, formal dining room, living room and entry hall, our entire first floor is a circle with one room flowing into the next. The family room and dining room colors were already set, so I worked off of that. Here’s the first floor palette. (keep in mind that screen colors aren’t even close to how they look on walls)
Olympic Paint: Vanilla Wafer, Tomato Bisque, Wine Barrel, South Pacific
I began painting after moving a few cumbersome pieces of furniture. My kids pretended the book case (which my husband made years ago) was a train, a plane, a race car, a boat, a dungeon, a jail, a hospital and bunk beds.
Meanwhile, I carefully painted all of the trim with Semi-Gloss Olympic A16-2 Vanilla Wafer, and three of the walls in Satin finish of the same color. Normally I wouldn’t be so matchy, but I needed to continue this trim color from the entry and dining room and wanted to keep this room bright to contrast with a darker, more dramatic dining room.
The accent wall in the living room is Satin Olympic C25-6 Wine Barrel.
In addition, we removed a lot of clutter (toys, the dog crate, things stuffed behind the couch) and rearranged everything except the placement of the couch and coffee table. We bought two floor lamps and a small table lamp at IKEA.
The large map was there before, but looks much better on this dark brown wall. It still needed a little oomph, so I bought six white frames for $1.99 each, spray painted them a light blue-green, and made my own signs. Each of the six frames holds the name of a city/state where we’ve lived. I downloaded the free vintage fonts and found backgrounds on Google Images, and then messed with the placement in a basic word processing program. Easy and just what was needed!
Then we rearranged a few giant pieces of furniture. The piano didn’t technically take up more space than the bookcase, but there was a psychological space around the piano bench that cut into the room. So we switched these two behemoths and they look much more at home now. Thanks to Petit Elefant for the idea of book color blocking. My inner English nerd sighed when I un-alphabetized my books, but they look much neater now.
Last, I tackled curtains. Three sets of Matilda sheers from IKEA had to be hemmed. I only bought one set (two panels) of the leaf print curtains for three windows. I cut them into vertical thirds, hemmed them, and hung an 18-inch strip on each side of the windows.
But seriously, the curtain thing took me forever. There was copious cussing, blood and tears. Ok, just a little bit of blood. The sewing machine and I are undergoing a temporary separation.
Here’s a picture from the kitchen doorway, showing how both the dining room and living room are visible at once and flow together with their own spaces and matching palettes. The dining room is the same color below the chair rail as the accent wall in the living room.
Estimated living room decorating costs:
$40 – paint (I already had the brown; this is 2 gal. of the vanilla)
$200 – 3 curtain rods, 3 sets of sheers, 1 set of curtains
$48 – 2 floor lamps, 1 table lamp
$12 – 6 small picture frames
= $300 for our new living room and a space we actually ENJOY living in!
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