Living Room: Before & After

The living room was the first area we wanted to tackle when we moved in. It really only needed cosmetic changes and having a comfortable living room was something that would help us feel somewhat normal in the chaos of unpacking. So within the first two days, I set up the room with some of our furniture. This helped us breathe a sigh of relief every time we walked into the room as we endured the ever growing stack of moving boxes.
First we removed the heavy draperies that had been attached to a faux trim piece on our largest window. Just getting off those stained, dirty curtains made the world of difference with the room. Our first road block came to taking down the wood attachment. Instead of being nailed into the wall, they had been screwed into the original wood trim. As Mikael tried to take down the piece, it became clear that the screws were nearly stripped and it was impossible to use the drill. Eventually, I suggested using a smaller hand screwdriver, which with some effort finished the job. 
We then went on one of many trips to Ikea to pick up new curtains and a new couch. We chose white curtains that were sheer enough to allow in the morning light and brighten the room. We also picked up the Landskrona sofa. It features the midcentury modern style and comes in a variety of leather colors. We chose the black leather as it draws in a more modern feel to the room and will wear well. So much better!
The next step with the room was to paint. Initially when I thought about this task, it seemed like it would just be a simple coat of paint. But as we started preparing, we realized some of the plaster was cracking pretty badly. So as I started taping off the room, Mikael fixed the plaster by tapping out the bad plaster, filling it in with a plaster repair, and sanding that plaster down to be flush with the wall. 
As I dreamed about wall colors, I knew I didn't want to simply paint it white, but the green avocado and mint had to go. As you look at our trim, it has a rich chestnut brown color to it and I knew I had to contrast against that hue. For if we had gone with a warm color, it would bring out the orange-notes in the wood. (No thanks.) So it had to have cool undertones. We ended up choosing Benjamin Moore's Winter Solstice. It is a cool grey with a slight touch of blue - perfect to neutralize any orange-iness in the trim.
We are so happy with how it turned out! The color is beautiful against the trim and adds a level of sophistication to the whole room. However, in the future, perhaps we would have chosen a grey that seems a little less blue as in certain light it looks like a pale blue!

Eventually, we plan on adding crown molding that matches the baseboards. Also, did you notice the box in the middle of the wall that juts out about two inches? That's where the old fireplace used to be. We have no idea why the old homeowners took out the original fireplace, but it is definitely gone. So in the future we want to find a historic wood mantel and put in a gas fireplace. That will make the room so cozy and return it to its original glory! Hopefully that will happen before next Christmas!


  1. The layout of your house is super super similar to ours! The only real differences are we still have the fireplace, our bay window in the dining room has a seat, and we have a window where your hutch is in the dining room.

    Great job attacking the plaster issues! We have done nothing to our walls yet, as it is so daunting to think of all that plaster repair work.

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      We'll be writing a post on plaster repair very soon. Before this house, I had never repaired plaster before, however in the last few months I've done quite a bit! Feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll make sure to answer them in the post. I'm jealous you still have your fireplace! Ours was removed 15-ish years ago. Do you have any pictures of yours? One of our projects will be installing a new fireplace and we're trying to see what other houses in the area have!


  2. what a gorgeous space! I love how this turned out.

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