Welcome back to my remodeling series where we take on the living room! If you missed my other blog posts in the series, be sure to check those out because there’s some dramatic before and afters that you don’t want to miss.
Other than the kitchen, we all know the living room is one of the most important spaces in the home. It’s where we can go read a book, catch a nap, rock out to some music, hang out with the fam and friends, or Netflix and chill (Yeah, yeah! Get your mind out of the gutter!). Since so much goes on in one room, it’s gotta be functional, comfortable, and a bonus if it’s pleasing to the eyes. Kind of like a great pair of underwear but that’s another blog post!
When we were looking at our current home with the realtor, the living room was a huge selling point for me. Even though it was painted dark with heavy curtains and dingy carpet, there were lots of windows with potential for natural light. The room was large and open with a fancy chandelier, which caused my kids to refer to it as the “ballroom.” I mean, come on! Any house that has a ballroom sounds like a great fit for a wanna be princess so that was that. End of story…
For starters, the room was way too dark. With the tray ceiling being painted the same color as the walls, it made the room feel smaller and more oppressive. Typically, not the feel you’re going for in most rooms. We opted for our favorite greige, which we also used in the adjoining kitchen and dining room, to lighten up the space and help with flow.
Instead of painting the various tiers of the tray ceiling greige, we opted for the same white as our ceiling. It dramatically made the room seem taller and lighter, which is almost always a win! For contrast, we only painted the vertical portions of the tray ceiling greige and were super pleased with the result.
For 10 foot ceilings and the additional height that the tray ceiling added, the base molding was entirely too small for the room. The room was also missing crown molding. After ripping up the base molding, we replaced it with a much wider beveled board which provided the appropriate scale for the room. My husband, John, added crown molding to each tier of the tray ceiling for a more dramatic effect.
As you can see in the before picture, there was no fireplace. We love gas logs for the heat they provide and for their cozy vibe. John built a contemporary fireplace for us off the longer wall in the living room. He encased it in wooden boards with a chevron type pattern in an aqua blue for a pop of color. It definitely became the focal point of the living room and made the perfect spot to mount our TV.
Contemporary fireplaces can add some major glam to a room and amp up the ambience ratio by a zillion. You definitely want one with a remote control, and I highly recommend one with lights (even better with glass “crystals”). It definitely sets the mood for the evening, especially if you throw in a little Pinot Noir and some Game of Thrones. Wink!
Even though the crystal chandelier was a hit with the kids, it was dated and too formal for our space. It needed a very large, dramatic light fixture that wouldn’t get lost in the room. I knew Southeastern Salvage in Nashville would have what I needed, and of course they did! It was large and modern, which fit the bill, but the problem was it only had three light bulbs. This girl likes to read, and I prefer not to use a headlamp while trying to read on the couch. To provide more light, John added can lights around the perimeter of the room for extra light when we needed it.
Now to the floors! The carpet was stained and had to go. We replaced it with the same manufactured hardwood used in the kitchen and dining room to help with the flow and make it seem like one large space. John did a cool pattern in the wood by laying the boards diagonally across the center and trimming it with a rectangular border. He also mixed the size of the boards from small to medium to large, which added a nice touch.
The house had sliding glass doors that were a standard size in the living room on the rear side of the house. Again, too small for the height of the ceiling, so we made a larger opening for the doors. By replacing them with larger sliding doors, it instantly added more natural light into the room.
In the previous blog posts, you’ll see how we made much more of an open concept between the living room, kitchen, and dining room. By raising the headers dramatically and increasing the opening of the doorways between the three rooms, it feels like one large space. So now, I can be cooking in the kitchen without having to worry if the kids are watching Game of Thrones themselves in the living room while I’m fixing dinner. That’s a win, guys!
Now, for the super dated semi-circle window above the front doorway. It took me back to a time when Esprit clothing was the shiz-nit and when Full House still claimed the Olson twins. Those days are long gone! Side note-if you’ve watched Fuller House on Netflix, they’re throwing some serious shade at the Elizabeth and James duo. Ouch! Thank goodness Uncle Jessie is still smoking though, and I ain’t talking cigarettes. Or vape pens. Or weed. Ladies and some gents, am I right?!
Wow, that was a tangent. Back to my point. Semi-circle no mo’! John added a nice rectangular window in it’s place, made the one large door into two taller versions, and suddenly we’ve time traveled back into the 21st century.
By adding color through the rug, pillows, artwork, and fireplace, it makes the room feel fun and welcoming even though the walls are neutral. I used to be anti- sectional sofas because they felt clunky and super man-cavey, (Yes, I know that’s not a word but now it is!), which didn’t appeal to me at all. Now, there are so many contemporary, plush versions on the market that I have renounced my preconceived notions from the past and am a convert. Literally, three people can lay down or prop their feet up on my couch now, which is the coolest thing ever! Super comfy, so go for it!
If you’ve gotten some value from this post or are digging the blog, please be sure to subscribe for my latest posts in the series! You’d be my new bff (we’re talking L.Y.L.A.S. here) if you shared it with friends and fam on your social media channels too! Thanks so much for stopping in and until next time! xo, Christy