my weekend living room makeover.

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories





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As you already know, having people come over is one of the best reasons to get things done around the house. It was also the spark that started a whirlwind of activity this past weekend in our living room. Not only is thanksgiving around the corner (and at our house) but after the living room’s initial redo (which  consisted of a new coat of light aqua paint) it was somewhat untouched and let to muddle in it’s lack of cohesion. Now, Matt has been wanting to hang things up and have the room be “finished” for a long time. I wanted that as well, but I wanted to decorate and do it right rather than just get it done. I’m not much of an interior decorator so it took a while for me to formulate a plan and he has been patiently waiting for me to transform and decorate the room. I’ve also put it off because it’s such a big project, but this weekend I took it on. Armed with ideas and the help of Campy I set off to redo the living room in a big way. It ended up being like one of those “while you were out” shows in which we repainted and built things from scratch, so here’s the story of what I did.

LR before

It started Thursday night. I thought, might as well paint while I a watch a marathon of nbc’s lineup. Matt had left that afternoon for nationals, so it was possible to have everything be a complete surprise. As with any redecoration it’s hard to know where to start, but I finally decided on the things I wanted to do:

#1 REPAINT  The aqua color was nice during the day (because of the light) but at night it changed and was too dark. It didn’t really pull the room together and I thought it was throwing everything off.

#2 CHANGE THE CURTAINS I wanted to hang the curtains to make the window look larger, and I also wanted a lighter color to brighten the room.

#3 ADD LIGHT I wanted to keep our couch in the same spot (it’s hard to arrange with all of the doors) but I thought be adding light behind the couch it would really brighten everything – this meant putting some sort of table back there.

Since I was starting with paint  I rushed to Lowe’s and made a quick decision on a blue ($31). Campy was ready to help so I had to choose something fast. I don’t usually do well with quick decisions, and this was no exception. I guess I had to take one step backwards before I could move forward; maybe it was more like 3 steps backwards. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had them mix this blue that was so vibrant, so dark, well… you can see it below.

LR blue

Of course, when I first put it on I thought – yikes! and then, maybe this will work. So, I kept painting until 1 am until I had almost all of the room done so I could really see what it looked like. I woke up the next morning and new it was a mistake. This time, I needed a new color – I thought “something blue-gray, kind of like a cloudy day.” I consulted a few diy and home decorating sites to hopefully point me down the right path, but since I was already repentant I knew I’d make a good choice this time. I went for more paint ($31)- only this time I went to home depot and not lowe’s – and found a color called ozone; I went for the behr paint + primer, since I knew I had a lot of color to cover. I was going to keep the whole project a secret from Matt but since it started as such a disaster I told him about the painting. You can see below the first blue was the middle swatch of the top stack, the second color the top swatch on the bottom stack.

LR paint

Friday night I went to work re-painting, making sure to put it on thick so I only had to do one coat (it worked). I felt better already. At first the color looked  gray against the garish blue it was hiding, but when the room was finished it was the perfect combination of smoky blue I was looking for.

Painting behind me, I moved on to the building portion of the makeover. I thought building the table I wanted behind the couch would give me exactly what I was looking for, and I also settled on a valance to hide the hardware and expand the feeling of the window. After a trip to the farmer’s market I bought the wood needed ($60) to complete my projects and had everything cut to size. I used screws and some wood glue as reinforcement to put everything together, it was simple to create the pieces I needed. Of course, I couldn’t have done it without another set of hands so it was great to have Campy help – lexi watched on and wandered around as we tried to keep her away from the glue.

LR building

LR project

Next stop was the fabric store, where I bought what was needed to create an upholstered look to the valance and curtains for the side ($40). I also wanted to hang a fabric above the couch – I wasn’t sure how I would do it or what it would look like, but if it worked I thought it would add some nice interest and texture to the wall.

I covered my wooden valance frame in batting and then layered the fabric over it, using a staple gun to secure. Thankfully I cut the fabric in half, because like any good pair of dress pants, it needed two layers. It was at this point, that Matt arrived home early to a disastrous house with us mid-project. Oh well. At least he could help us now!

It was Sunday when we finished everything up. The table was painted white, the new blinds were hung ($80), fabric piece for the wall was made, and we all worked on hanging the valance. Of course the measurements were off the first few times, but after double checking and marking several times we got things right and secured the valance to the wall.

LR valance

When all was said and done the living room make over was complete and now looks like this:

LR after

Do you love the transformation? It was a lot of work but honestly not that hard and completely worth it, especially for a grand total of $242 on supplies. Now we are ready to hang things on the walls, get a few new pillows, and start enjoying the space. Can’t wait for thanksgiving!

ps if you are going to start your own makeover start today! don’t leave it until the night before :)

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