Colourful Living Room Refresh Before + After

Hey there! It’s time for another before and after! 

All right, so this living room before, this couple just moved in their furniture when they moved into the home, quite a few years ago, and they just took their furniture from their old apartment, put it into their house, and they went, “Okay, this works, those fit.”

And now as their family’s grown, it’s time to buy new furniture. It’s time to really make an adult space in the home that they can entertain in, that they can actually have people over in and things like that.

There’s a few things that they’ve done really nicely in this space, and then there are a few challenges inside this space as well.

Having custom drapery in any home does really add to that home. I almost guarantee you that the vast majority of the pictures that you have pinned have custom draperies in them. Little challenge with this custom drapery is that they’re just hemmed just a little bit too short. So, we recommended that they keep the sheers, because they’re actually really nice sheers that have a really cool, striated, mid century modern feeling fabric in it, and this is a mid century home. So it made sense to really speak to the era of the home.

I also like that this is a 120 inch window, like girl, this is a 10 foot window. It is insane. But, we want to make sure that the length of these, they’re hemmed up so that they’re just above the baseboard, and really we want those to come so that they just skim the floor.

So, luckily with these guys right here, you have enough hem to let it down a little bit, and then hopefully with the delicate fabric they’d be able to do that, to save them the money on replacing those. One thing that mentioned was that they followed the rule of going two and a half times the width of the window, in terms of how much draping they need. So, with 120 inch window, that would be like 300 inches wide of drapery. And it was so puffy, and it was so much fabric, and it was like getting lost in a big prom dress.

The reason that that happened is because this fabric is really too thick to be a drapery fabric. It’s more of an upholstery fabric, and so when you use a fabric that is thick and heavy on draperies, and then you line it on top of that, you’re just going to get this puffy crinoline feeling, really just not modern and not great.

So, those had to go, because really the fabric is just all wrong. I suggested to them, it is nice fabric, it was still in good condition, it would be great to try to reuse. They could definitely reuse it for some other pieces in their home that would require stiffer fabric, like upholstery, or pillows, or something like that. The fabric was really expensive.

This sofa was on its last legs here, but this guy is a behemoth. This sofa was like 110 inches long, it’s one of the biggest sofas I’ve ever seen that was not a custom sofa. So, that guy did need to go.

One of the things that we have to deal with here is this little bulkhead thing, and really with the way that the moldings were, and we didn’t want to have to redo all the moldings, we had to figure out a solution to make this little bulkhead look good. And I have seen these bulkheads in a lot of homes of this era, and this … So, the contractor, when they first moved in, just put in these little shelves behind here, which are great and they’re functional, but they’re also really rickety. They weren’t built very well, so they needed to go and we needed to find another solution.

On the back wall over here, you can see this is where they house the TV. They said the TV might move down to the basement, they might replace it with family photos or something like that.

We did need a coffee table, or something low and hard for the kids, because they like to eat breakfast and do all of those things at it.

We also had a few other pieces here, they said not too many people actually use, like the keyboard.

And then there was just this random IKEA Lack coffee table over here, and this IKEA bookcase. I know many people who have in their home, it’s the one with the cubes, and they’re really functional, and they’re actually really sturdy, which a lot of IKEA furniture we find isn’t as sturdy, but that piece is really, really sturdy. And we have it in our home, we actually added furniture legs to it, it looks gorgeous.

So, let me show you how we just livened up this space, brought in some mid century elements, rearranged it to give them a lot more seating, so they actually had a place to put people when they’re there, and how do we solve this bulkhead issue, and then also create a bit of a focal wall.

This is what we came up with. So, the room –  they have 10 feet here between the sofas, which one of the priorities was still allowing the girls to have floor space to play, and that’s something that a lot of parents deal with. It’s like, “We don’t want to fill the room with furniture because the kids need space to run and play, and this is where they hang out.” But at the same time, if you don’t fill it with furniture, you don’t have any place for anyone to sit.

Well, luckily this room is big enough to allow us the option of still having a coffee table in the middle like they have right now, they could push this coffee table, just so that it’s about 18 inches away from the sofa, and still get the big floor space here that they had before for the girls to play in. So, this whole thing here is not going to intrude on what they have.

We need to build up some height as well. So, imagine there’s some crown moldings here, we usually don’t render all those little details unless we’re dealing with those details, but imagine there’s some crown moldings here. So, you’ll still have this bulkhead, and what we recommended was actually a clear frame to hang their family pictures. So, it would be completely glass on both sides, just hung from a chain from that bulkhead, and then they could do back to back family photos. So, you can see them from the entryway and you can see them from the living room.

And that was a great solution to act as that room divider between the living room and the entry, giving them a place to put their family photos, so they don’t have to get rid of their TV to do it, because there was really no other wall to do it on, and also gave them the function, and made that bulkhead make sense, because otherwise it was just floating there, it was this weird thing in the ceiling.

We moved their IKEA clip in bookcase, you’re going to see that in a moment, but you can kind of see it here behind the sofa. So, we replaced the cubes that were built in that were kind of rickety with the IKEA piece that they already had, so it would be a free solution, besides for knocking those out. 

They didn’t really have preference on colours, and really you could have chosen the sofa in any colour. I usually recommendation that you choose the sofa in your favourite colour, because you’re never going to get sick of your favourite colour. I chose the sofas just based on a colour that was really popular in the era of the home, so that it would never feel tired, it’ll feel like it belongs in the home. That was really important.

Their walls are painted in Anew Gray by Sherwin-Williams. So we went with that, it’s a warm gray with a green undertone. And we pulled out some chairs with more of a blue gray to them, and also played into that blue with changing up the draperies into a solid colour drapery. So, in order to still get some of that light control, we went for a darker fabric, but then we wouldn’t line them with a heavy lining. So that you can have the functionality of closing them, without it being this big, poofy massive fabric. So, using something like a linen that is a lot drapy, and flowy, and not as thick and heavy will allow you to get those 300 inches of fabric, but it’s not going to look puffy. It’s going to look nice and streamlined, and really, really cute. And then we recommend just doing a nice little pinch pleat detail or something like that at the top, to add a little bit of pattern.

We also added these bookcases over here on either side. So, these guys actually had a gift card to a highway furniture store, and we found bookcases like this, we found a coffee table, we found a couple of chairs that look like this, we have a lamp like this and it was really great, because we were able to stretch that really far. Oh, we also found a side table and a coffee table there. We were able to get a lot for our money with that.

We needed to add more functional lighting. So they actually do have three lights here above the drapery, but there was no other real lighting in the room. So, we suggested adding a couple sconces on either side of the TV, and also adding a lamp over here in between the upholstery pieces.

The sofas got a little bit smaller, so these are about an 80 inch sofa, versus a 110 inch sofa. There’s two three seater sofas that very comfortably sit three adults, or probably the entire family.

And then adding in two upholstered armchairs means that we can now fit three, six, seven, eight people in this space, and pull chairs out to this side as well from the dining room that lives over here, when there’s company. So, they could easily fit 10 adults very comfortably into this space now, where before we could only seat three.

So, let me show you guys the other side of the room. Here, you can kind of see the hallway. We recommend that this feature could be hung by a chain or something. This is where that clip in bookcase came, and actually it’s about the same size as what they already had there that was already functioning really well. We just recommend, instead of just stopping it here and having the sofa hang out, that they put a bench on the back side of it. Right now they just had a mat where shoes went. Well, you could still have a mat where shows go underneath the bench, but then adding in the functionality of having the bench, just allows us to really pull that together. And then just having a nice runner in here so that the space would be separated.

And then this is just a nice view again of what that would look like from the hallway. You can see the sofa here. We added in a little bit of a lime green accent colour. Again, we were speaking to the era of the home, because when you speak to the era of the home, it’s never going to feel dated.

But what’s really great about blue is that blue goes with warm colours, they go with cool colours. So, if they wanted to change up the décor, let’s say for Thanksgiving, they could just change out these pillows here to a rust colour.
or something like that, maybe bring in some bold accents on the other side, into the pattern pillows, and now all of a sudden, we have a room that still feels really cool, really hip, still speaks to the era of the home, so it does have that tradition, but is easily workable, and moveable, and reshapable to the seasons, and also to when they just want to freshen it up, and liven it up and change it up a little bit.

So, hope you guys like this before and after, we really enjoyed doing it. I just love how it turned out, I love all the colour, I love that it just feels so much more inviting, and that I just want to go and hang out in this space. So, hope you guys liked it!

Get Your Free Guide To Hiring an Interior Designer

Where should we send your guide?

The guide will be in your inbox within 5 minutes! If you don't see it, check your spam and promotions folders.