I am sharing out living room makeover reveal and 5 unique ways to start a room makeover. A mix of traditional and bohemian, this living room décor uses faux greenery, neutrals and eclectic accents for year round styling.
Our living room is our gathering place – for conversation, a thrilling movie, or to cuddle when someone is sick. In short, it’s a space for living!
While I usually focus more on function and home improvement than design, I have done dozens of room makeovers over the years for clients, friends, and in my own home. And the core “needs list” for every space is usually the same – less clutter, and more put together. In all of those makeovers, everyone always asked me, “But where do I start?”
So today, while sharing our current living room, I thought I would share the 5 ways that I start a room makeover.
1. A Layout that fits the space
One of the first ways I usually look at a room is deciding how I want to use the space. Do I imagine myself sitting cozy watching a movie? Maybe a place to put down a cup of tea after a long day? Or maybe a place to put all the kid’s toys that they are going to play with?
One of the things that often stick out to me is furniture that is either the wrong size for a room, laid out wrong, or too heavy feeling. I also am a firm believer in leaving a balance of negative space – not every wall needs to be covered.
The former dark couches made the room feel smaller and more closed in, so I went lighter. With our family, no way I could do white or cream colored, and I can’t afford leather, so I opted for a lighter gray and compromised with white accent chairs. With the large entertainment center and oversized chairs, I paired a glass table so the room wouldn’t feel too heavy.
Even before I think about color schemes or styles, I like to first put a Pinterest board together around and examine how all my inspiration photos make me feel. Cozy, clean, airy, moody, sophisticated, vibrant?
For example, I still wanted patterns and fun, but with a feeling of fresh, simple, and serene.
I wanted to keep everything simple this time around and the coffee table uncluttered, so I created scale with large coffee table books and hid the remotes in a pretty box.
I used to have a real fiddle leaf fig, but we were total fr-enemies. Leaves would turn brown no matter what I did or didn’t do. At times, I actually felt an air of patronizing superiority coming from that plant. I kept the fresh vibe by using an artificial fiddle leaf fig, but also hardier houseplants too.
I wanted as much seating as possible since we entertain often. But the space needed to feel inviting, so some cozy blankets and throws and lots of chairs helped to create a space everyone could gather around and chat.
The best rooms always have a feature that deserves to be highlighted – a fireplace, ceilings with beams, built in bookshelves, or maybe a bay window.
Sometime just before one Christmas, I suddenly decided to add some dimension to the fireplace mantle by adding some trim boxes and a heavier mantel piece. It matches the look of the entertainment center without taking away from it as the focal point.
4. The “No Compromise” Items
Like most real living rooms, we have to decorate around the TV and speakers. However, my husband has a thing for BIG TVs. He doesn’t like golf or cars or other expensive hobbies, so if he saves his pennies for a big tv, I can’t say no to that.
This entertainment center was a thrifty find a few years back, and it could not be more perfect for this room. You can see the before and after in my painted entertainment center makeover.
5. Accent with Personal Items Unique to You
I can’t even explain how tired I am of Instagram perfect, sterile rooms decorated in nothing, but soulless but cute Target finds. (I still love you, Target, I do!)
To me, a house isn’t a home unless it reflects the things in my life that bring me joy. Yes, sometimes that does include a cute IKEA faux plant, but it’s so much more than that.
Much like my craft room organization makeover, my living centers around what I want to display. I didn’t want to have to pack something away because it was “the wrong color” or, heaven forbid, “dated”. Hello, I would never have kids if that were the case, lol.
I could display things collected over a lifetime that I truly loved like my grandmother’s Saki set, childhood books, family photographs or my husband’s treasured awards.
Mixing traditional furniture with global accents was the overall guiding principle. I am not a matchy-matchy kind of girl, so the accents brought in enough color and pattern for the room to feel casual.
Want More Home Design Advice?
- Completely Transform Your Organization in One Day
- Genius Storage Ideas to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger
- Demystifying Kitchen Island Pendant Light Size and Height
- How-to Pick the Right Paint Color
- 5 Year Before and After Home Tour with PAINT COLORS!
I can’t believe how much the living room has changed!
Sources and Materials
Everything else was purchased at either Home Goods, Target, At Home, or a personal item.
- Wall color: Valspar Oatlands Taupe
- Trim/mantle color: Valspar Pale Bloom
- Entertainment Center Makeover
- Area Rug – ours is 12×14
- Coffee Table
- White Accent Chairs
- Wood Trimmed Accent Chair
- Footstool (similar)
- Metal Accent Table
- Bamboo Accent Table (no longer available)
- White Sofa Pillows (A steal!)
- Black and White Geese Pillow Covers
- Blue and White Throw Blankets
- Floor Lanterns
- Floor Lamp
- Oversized Wall Clock
- Artwork over couch (I took to a print shop and had them change the color to navy.)
- Plants: Artificial Fiddle Leaf Fig, Snake Plants, Sago Palm
There is SO MUCH more to actually designing a room, but now you have the tools to start with a solid foundation.
My mission is to be helpful, so I hope I’ve done that!
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In the photo above showing the foyer stairs up, I see a blue color in the room behind that is darker then what is shown on the rail painting tutorial. Can you please tell me what color this darker one is? Also, did the foyer wall color change, or is it the Oatlands Subtle Taupe in both versions?
Happy to help! The painting of the railing was done before I painted our dining room a dark blue. The dining room is Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue. Its not quite as dark as Hale Navy. I did paint my foyer in Asiago, but that isn’t pictured in any of the photos in this post. If you are referring to the stairwell area, yes, that is Oatlands as well. The fireplace is painted entirely in our house trim color, which is Pale Bloom. I alternated Oatlands Subtle Taupe and Asiago throughout my main floor. They are very closely related, although Asiago is a slightly lighter off-white. I used Asiago in rooms I wanted to bring as much light into as possible – the kitchen, my office, and the foyer. The living room, stairwell, and another room are Oatlands Subtle Taupe. All of these colors come from Lowe’s except the dark blue. In photos, how the light hits the wall can often affect how it looks in terms of tone or relative lightness and even undertones.
Pamela Byers says
I love your clock, is there a name brand on it? I looked on wayfair but I couldn’t find that exact one. Thank you! Your room looks beautiful!
I unfortunately don’t remember the exact brand name. However, the one I found that is closest to that one is this: Oversized Clock Face It is 36 inches, which is the same size as mine.
Everything looks beautiful. I am considering the same paint for my entertainment center. Do you remember the color you used on your walls?
The color on the walls is Valspar Oatlands Subtle Taupe.
Meredith @ The Palette Muse says
This whole room looks amazing Rachel! So smart to go with neutrals so you can use the things you really love. I think that fireplace is my favorite though. It’s so comfortable and inviting, I bet your family loves being in here.
Thank you so much! Overall, everyone likes it. Hubby is a little annoyed that I moved his giant, overstuffed recliner to the basement. I know that the room does flow better without that big thing in the way, plus now he has to sit next to me during movie night!
Sarah | Homenourish says
Hi Rachel, I am really inspired by your living room makeover ideas. The painted furniture looks really great and charming. Thank you for the ideas and keep up your good work.
Thank you for your kind words!
Love it Rachel, it looks beautiful. And I have a few plants like your fiddle tree, lol.