Living room makeover reveal!

September 15, 2017

Our home isn’t large by any means, but it is all that we need. The open layout is what we loved most about this home, and the natural light that pours in makes it feel much more spacious than it actually is! Since we spend most of our time in the dining and living room areas, I couldn’t wait to make this space feel like home. It’s been a year in the making so I hope you enjoy the before and after photos of this living room makeover!

(a picture of the living room before we moved in)


fireplace before

fireplace after

We started this room with the fireplace makeover, which Emily Harris finished with a stain to give it an aged stone look. We also painted the walls a clean white to get a fresh start. (More on how to choose the right white paint for your room here.) 

floor carpet before

herringbone floors after

Over the summer we were able to start up the floor process. Since the rest of the first floor is hardwood, and white carpet is impossible to keep clean, we went ahead and ripped the carpet. We brought in a really good flooring remodeler who installed red oak floor boards in a herringbone technique. He sanded it down, and stained the boards in a grey hued natural wood finish. (Feel free to email me if you want his contact info!) We will eventually be staining the rest of the floor this color as well. This made the most significant visual difference in the room!

As you may remember my initial design board for the room, I chose the furniture pieces + rug as the main focal points of the space. I loved the versatility and classic color of the Sven Charme Sofa by Article, but I would say as long as you can take a good Sunday nap on it, what more could you want? Well, it’s safe to say I would replace my bed with the Sven Sofa if I could. Midcentury modern style doesn’t always mix with functionality and comfort, so I was really surprised to find this option! Considering our first couch was as uncomfortable and poorly made as they come, we have nothing but gratitude for a comfy one!

I can’t seem to quit the pink velvet phase, so it was love at first sight when I saw this slub velvet wingback chair from Anthropologie. I somehow found the queen to this king chair on craigslist a few days ago, and still can’t believe the height and color worked out so well! I love the color this duo brings into the room.

This rug continues to be the place everyone wants to sprawl out on because it is super plush and soft. I don’t know how long we will be able to keep it clean, but after years of dark rugs, I wanted to play off the natural light this room gets as much as possible! The design is by Momeni Rugs and you can find it here. We used the 7’10 x 9’10.

As for the bookshelf and picture ledge, this how-to will be coming soon! Gabe made a simple construction and figured out a good way to hang them to be well supported. I love old books and have slowly collected them over the years. We actually want to turn one of these walls into a full on home library one day. If our books are in sight you are much more likely to pull them to browse through, read, and reference.  Books are also a great way to bring color to a room, and I color coded them mainly for the purpose of being able to find a books easier. Okay, who am I kidding. I totally color coded them because I am a visual perfectionist who loves symmetry and color schemes.

Shockingly the kids don’t try to climb this ladder after one time of explaining they could fall. I mean, I thought at least Max would be hanging from the shelf by now! I lucked out and found this ladder at an antique market. It can be hard to find one over 6ft. I will probably replace some of the art on the picture ledge when I finally print photos, but how about those old city prints? Was geeking out when I saw them! They are from Brim Papery.

While our basement was being finished, we really needed a place to hold our little ones books, toys, and school books (for the hybrid school model we are doing this year). I searched high and low, and finally found these window benches that had all the storage I was looking for. They were everything I was looking for! I used the same color as our walls to paint one coat over the cream color they came in. These have been a sanity saver when it comes to clutter!

This seems to be the magnet room now for our family of 7. We all end up here for family game or movie night, to lounge, read, or enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the air trying to avoid spilling it as babies climb on top of you;) Since a creative mind never really stops turning, I am already onto the next room!  Let me know if you have any questions about the space, and thank you for following along the progress!

A special thank you to Article, Wayfair, Momen Rugs, and Anthropologie for helping me pull this room together! Lord knows it would have taken 5 more years otherwise!

Couch: Article c/o
Large Black and White Floral Canvases – IHOD Shop print downloads at Easy Canvas Prints in size 30” x 40”.
Chair: Wingback in Rosewood slub velvet via Anthropologie
Rug: Momeni
Hourglass wooden side table: Anthropologie (A similar style for less here, and also love this one!)
Mirror: thrifted and antiqued
Ladder: flea market find
Window benches: Wayfair
Pillows: Anthropologie + Wayfair
Floor lamp: Anthropologie
Leather pouf: Lulu and Georgia
Gold hammered vase: Target
Hanging planters: Ikea,  Loom and Linen Supply 
Framed art: MintedLandscape print, Cactus print
City Art: Brim Papery
Planter: Flea market
Plant: Peace Lily via Lowes
Throws: Anthropologie

Leave a Comment

  • Hi Anna,
    Love the way it came together, every lil detail is perfect! Love how your not afraid of color… seems like the trend lately is white and gray everything. Which is also nice but I’m a splash of color kind of girl.
    You have a great balance??
    One question….I’ve been obsessed with those style floors since I was young! Always seen them in older “vintage” homes but never thought I would be able to have them in mine because they seem pretty labor extensive & expensive.
    Was that a splurge (real wood) or are they floating floors?
    Labor: Hubby or Hired? ?

    • Hi Shauna! Good q! Since the rest of our floors were hardwood, and the carpet was such a pain to keep clean, we decided to put the investment in the hardwoods. We found a guy who had great rates to install (herringbone requires experience!), and we used red oak which is harder to dent and knick. The price comparison from a regular vertical pattern to the herringbone wasn’t actually that much more, but might depend on the contractor!

  • Knowing what I know about your house, I am blown away by the transformation!! I love it…i need you to come help me design our new house!! Great job!!

  • Love it so much. It’s just so well put together and altogether beautiful and functional.

  • Your room makeover looks beautiful!!! I love all of the natural light and the overall aesthetic. I’d love to have the contact info of the gentleman that did your wood floors. Our house is on a slab so our options are a bit limited. Enjoy your lovely room!

  • The new living room is beyond gorgeous! Love the open layout and the books arranged by colour. It just really adds to it!

  • Love, love, love! From getting to know you and your family through your blog, I can safely say this room is sooooo you! I love how you mixed and matched pieces and I am going absolutely gaga over that rug. Although I do not have kids, I feel like a dog and a husband put me through my paces enough, so I’m not sure I’d be as bold to try a light colored rug as you. I can see how the space is a family magnet. Great job!

    • ha ha ha! you are exactly right! Definitely my style written all over it. Thank you so much Nicole for the kind words. Every person that coems to visit says the same thing….”whoa, this rug is SO soft.” I imagine a spilled drink or two is in our future, but spot shot is my best friend!

  • Love love love the makeover and how much color you put into your rooms without making it feel over the top.
    Would love your opinion on white paint with so many kids running around. We have 2 dogs and a baby and our living room is painted an ugly yellow and I would love to switch to white but worried about how quick stains show up. Did you just buy extra expecting to pain every few months? Do you spot treat the walls with something? Or is there a certain type of paint that helps keep smudges and fingerprints easily cleanable?


    • Hi Hannah! Thank you so much! That is a great q. I was hesitant with white at first, but since it isn’t a bedroom, they don’t have their hands on the wall as often. Still, smudges and finger prints happen above the couch so we use a magic eraser if it’s slight, or touch up every so often with paint. If you use an eggshell or a satin finish, it’s easier to clean! Highly recommend White Moderne by Behr Collection:)

  • Your living room is gorgeous! I love how much of a difference white washing the fireplace made!


  • Love how it turned out. So much charm and beauty in every little corner! Great job Anna and Gabe!

  • Interesting article thanks!

  • I absolutely love posts like this and your before and after photos are incredible. You have done such an amazing job. I love all the little details, such as the colour coded books and the fireplace. Just looks heavenly. I hope one day I can have a living room like this

    Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  • Beautiful!!! I have a question / am wondering if you can give advice. I love that there isn’t a huge TV in the middle of your living room! I have always wanted to nix the TV, as we really don’t watch much… but every now and then, it’s nice to have it to gather around to watch a football game as a family or a movie or something like that (I’d say we use it 1-2 times/week on average). Do you keep a TV elsewhere in your house? Or do you just watch on the projector that I’ve seen you feature in other posts? Any advice on how to get the ugly TV out of my living room?! ;P. I even have a cover over it, but it still feels too central. Thank you!!

    • Suzanne, Good q! I should have addressed that in the post. The TV is on a console table on the opposite side of the couch. I am almost done with the gallery wall so will share it soon. I like to blend it into a wall;) We use it for the same reasons! Family movie night, football, and the bewitching hour when I am making dinner! 😉 I didn’t want it to be the focal point of the room though so I like having it off to the side.

      • Okay! I can’t wait to see your gallery wall – I’ve been thinking of trying that as a different way to hid the TV, but I’m a little overwhelmed by the idea of finding all of the right pieces to pull it together. Thank you so much for the response!!

  • Can you tell me the wall and trim paint colors? It looks like a warm white.

  • Hi Anna,

    I just love your couch from anthropologie! Could you share what color it is?

    Thanks 🙂

  • Hi Anna!! Absolutely loving this space! We also have a rogue cathedral ceiling I’ve never quite known what to do with, and I’ve got more books than I can admit (to my husband’s chagrin) 😉 we are really looking forward to the shelf tutorial, as it might be the exact solution we’ve been looking for! Thank you, as always for sharing your vision and design! ?

  • Love those shelves! Eagerly awaiting the tutorial. Will it be posted soon?

  • The monochrome scheme is fairly overpowering with the orange/yellow pallet.

  • Absolutely love this transformation! One question on function; it would appear that the ladder wouldn t actually be useful in obaining any books located over the couch. Is it inly for form vs ttue function, or is it the camera angles?

  • Hi, love the color scheme, but:
    How do you reach the books above the couch?!

  • I love everything about this makeover!!! We have a pair of wingback chairs (teal, from World Market) and a similar rug in a different room and we are actually about to move. I am hoping to find a house with a fireplace and if we do, I am totally stealing this layout!!!

  • Emil Droschkey

    The makeover looks great. However, I would argue that if you remove a TV from any room, then most design options will look much better. It changes the function of the room to remove the TV. I would be more impressed if you continued to have the TV in this room and somehow created a new focal point. Otherwise, I see this as not better than making a laundry room into a library and leaving the house without a way to do the laundry. Removing the TV from this room makes me think the homeowner no longer has a place to watch TV.

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