Living Room Transformation

Welcome! Pull up a seat on the couch and stay a while. I can't believe I haven't done a post on the overall great room living space that we spend about 90% of our time in. 

When we bought the house 2 1/2 years ago, the whole thing was painted in sherwin williams camelback. I hated it. Not that it is a bad color itself, just that with so much of that color it felt like the walls were closing in. Tyler actually liked it and still claims that he does, but then he also claims that this looks good. Let it be known that I painted the entire house by myself, all camelback is almost gone (3 closets left). Okay, he helped me paint the kids' bathroom, but besides that, yours truly. The new color is sherwin williams accessible beige

If I can give you any advice, never have your house painted a color until you've lived in the house and tested out some colors first. And even then, paint a couple walls, live with it for a week, then you can decide if you really want more of that color everywhere. The camelback was just too dark for me and I knew I needed something lighter. I went to the Street of Dreams parade of homes in 2011 and found the paint color. A friend and I walked into a house and I said, "this is it. Here is my paint color." It was warm, but neutral, but gray. Perfect. 

Then when I got home and looked at it on a paint-strip, it looked SO yellow. And it does still on the strip. So I thought I'd go to a slightly bluer gray and painted the living room that color. Wrong. After a couple days of a blue gray living room, totally didn't look good with the floor coloring too, I repainted it accessible beige. I haven't looked back. Now the whole house living spaces, upstairs and down, are in this color. Sometimes it has a blue hue, sometimes yellowish. It's a greige - gray brown, warm, inviting, neutral, and perfect for my space. 


And in case you need more proof. Here's what the house looked like as the decorating process was beginning. Oh, camelback. (You might recognize that rug and sideboard from our bedroom). I think its amazing how different a space can look! I did like those tweed orange curtains and the color scheme together with the wall color, browns, creams, and black could look nice...but it wasn't my vision. 

Okay enough of that, let's get to the real thing now. Welcome through the front door. One of the things we loved about the house when we first walked through the model was the large entry. I don't want to put anything against the walls because it will cut the visual space. Well, that and it's the running space for the kids. Reason #2 for the large open space. Run room. In case you're curious, the door you see on the left wall is a pocket door to a 1/2 bathroom.

I'm excited to show you all the things I love about my space. It's constantly evolving, but that's what makes it fun! The very first thing I knew was I wanted full length curtains. I wanted to treat the huge wall of windows and sliding door as one unit. I had to rig several curtain rods together to get the length I wanted, but it worked! 

It was hard to start from nothing. 

People ask me how to start decorating. 

Not that I'm good at it, but what worked for me to get a small step forward was to pick colors that I love. I like the idea of looking at what you like to wear and translating that to your home. Blue has been my favorite color for a long time. And blue, cream/white, and browns...perfect for me.

We've had so many layouts of furniture in this room. From couches in front of the sliding back door, to swapping walls with the tv, from smaller rugs to bigger rugs, sideboard included and then not, etc. This is the nature of changing things up. Eventually I'll get bored with some of this and experiment with something new. I'm not spectacular at putting all this together, I'm just good at trial and error. Then moving forward with something else. :) So if you have any ideas about layout, what I should or shouldn't include in decorating, more pictures, less, ugly mantle decor, etc. Really, really I want to know. I can take it. Anything? 

Our home office also extends off this space. I know there's some people who don't like the open floor plan because it showcases the kitchen (and potential dirty dishes) so much. I really like it and it helps me keep the kitchen clean, too. We can all be in the same space without stepping on each other. 

Our tv console is waiting for our 2-year-old to get older. It actually came with just drawers on the bottom row, but we added doors (that fold down) on the top row. These protect the cable machine, dvd player, and wii. I'll be excited to repaint and add knobs to this. We are going to wait a little longer until I know the dvd's won't be coming out all day long. So for now, I'm on the hunt for 6 drawer pulls. I think it will be a good ikea hack when it's done!

And the rug. Ahhhh, the rug. I love it. We had the other beige and cream one (that you can see above...that is now in our bedroom) and I was searching for a long time for the one. This one is 9x12 and gives the whole pop to the room. So many things are neutral, but it's a lot of fun to have something so large be such a statement. I ordered it online and it arrived just as I hoped it would. It's an indoor/outdoor rug, so not super thick, but a really nice carpet pad for under $50 makes it feel dreamy to walk on. 

Even though I like the look of two couches facing each other, I really like letting light in. And we access the backyard so much from here that I don't want one of my couches to get super dirty from small hands.

So instead I got this amazing tufted nail-head chair. Seriously. It can't get better than this. I keep thinking, "I can put more of these all over my house, right?" I'm not sure, but I know I love this one.

Behind my chair, which Tyler still tries to claim as his idea, are some display shelves. I felt like I was lacking places to decorate. But you know, it's stressful trying to make them look good! I'm always browsing ideas and I am glad I got them. For now, the bottom two shelves are empty. Again, that's what having small children in your house looks like. Time and a season for everything.  Now he's tall enough that he's starting to rearrange the books on the third shelf!

I love the bookends I found. The corral reminds me of the amazing ocean that's so close to us here in Portland. I know blue and white is the nautical theme base, but I don't want that to be the total vibe in our home. That said, I do love the sea, so small things are always welcome.

The old radio is completely real. It was a $5 score from a garage sale. The bulbs and cords are still in and stored inside the back. Very cool.

This was a present I found on my shelf. A certain 7-year-old boy is saving this cool specimen for later examination. I love their curiosity.

From here we go to the couches and coffee table. Since the space was large, and we didn't want to have a sectional (we wanted to have walking spaces), we went with two sofas. They are light, but have washed up well when needed. I think it's just important that you train your kids that food belongs in the kitchen or at the table. Very important. 

The coffee table took forever to decide on. I had several others from craigslist before we came to this. That's how decorating goes. Sometimes I wished that I would walk in and it was just finished. Instead it took lots of time, swapping, and sweat to put it all together. But you know, I'd rather have it that way. I really feel like I own the look. Also, it was fun to watch my husband really get into it. I feel like our home is a representation of both our ideas. He'll see things and comment on them as much as I will. If you had to pin it down, I would say we're rustic elegance. There's an industrial edge that we really like, clean lines that are a little cold, but mixed with the soft tufted and flowing of materials. 

Okay, coffee table. It was once a desk, but we chopped off the legs and made it into a coffee table. In our office we needed more desk space, but loved this piece of furniture. Two problems solved! New desks purchased and coffee table decided on. The drawers become handy places for cars, trains, and small toys - the only toys allowed to stay downstairs overnight. 

Do you have a cuddle blanket in your living room? We have two and they were driving me crazy lumped on the couch or floor. Thanks you basket. Easy solution!

How about pillows? I like a variety of pillows and they are so easy to make. I made the yellow floral and blue floral pillows. Also, the chevron blue and white pillow (by cutting striped fabric at an angle and resewing back together). Recently, I've been thinking of different patterns but all the same color...maybe a blue color like this would mix well with what I have going on? Or orange? Or green?

I love our mantel. When we first moved in, there was nothing there. We basically built a box and mounted it to the wall. The boards were plain and we banged them up with screw drivers, awls, and other tools. Then we stained them dark and and screwed them together. The artwork here changes out along with the shelves. Right now they are both bright-themed in honor of summer. The bird art is from the Kathy Panton Etsy shop.

I love horses. Tyler thinks that all girls do. Maybe we do. Even though I grew up in Montana, I didn't own horses, we lived in a regular neighborhood. Seriously, look at how chiseled and majestic they are. I printed this photo from a find online, thanks to someone's instagram. I'd love a cool looking horse statue somewhere in my house. 

The mirror above the mantel was a craigslist find, spray painted white. I was looking for something with ornate edges. I didn't think I'd go oval, but then it ends up working out well with so many other square edges in the room. I've also decided that I love having a plant on the mantel. Something living in the room warms it up a lot. 

The picture frames on the wall are filled with black and white pictures of my the theme of dress-up. They are wearing fairy wings, cowboys outfits, batman's suit, and funny noses. It is hard to narrow down the thousands of pictures, but deciding on a theme made it so much easier! Another idea is to choose pictures from a single event. I can't get enough of gallery walls and have one brewing for our loft (reveal to come). 

This is the light, people. For real. I loved it the first time I saw it. And then I saw something similar in Keri Russel's home and loved it even more - she has awesome home style. I feel like this adds elegance to the space when there's lots of industrial and rustic accents.

From the living room, you can see the kitchen and dining room. I love the huge open space in the middle, room to run and play for the kids. It's also handy when we entertain. I'm working on putting together our next Comedy Night.

You can see our House Rules posted to remind the kids that we do have some set things we hold to. It's fun to have them refer to them and read them out-loud to their friends.

The table we built is still one of our favorite projects. We finished it the end of last summer and haven't regretted a moment of it. It has seated up to 12 bodies - great for birthday parties and dinner parties. Also amazing for the kids to do projects. They can be working on one end while the other end is being prepared to eat dinner. I love how it looks and the girth it portrays. You can't get much more industrial than that!

The drum light above the table was a random antique store find. I'd been on the look-out for one, clean beautiful lines, and found this for a great deal. The print on the far wall of the dining area is a street layout of Chicago, IL. Tyler served a mission for our church there and still thinks often of the growth he achieved and craziness he saw. I've searched for the dealer of the print and can't find it, sorry. I found it on

Looking back towards the entry, the garage entrance is to the left, the pocket bathroom door to the right. There's also a coat closet right to the left of the garage door. (I'm turning our garage into a workout room!)

On one of the entry walls I have silhouettes I made of the kids. I can't believe it's been 2 years since I made these! I thought I'd update them through the years, but I think I'll leave them. It's such a good capture of their little-ness. 

On the other wall I hung a picture that I took at Seaside Beach. There was a huge log covered with barnacles on shore, too cool to pass up a picture. Like I said, I love the ocean and in small ways, want it present in our home. There's something grand and powerful in it. I guess much like horses to me.

And here's we've come full circle. Shoes off at the door, under the bench. The bottom of the stairs is the fast time-out place for the kids as well as a great well-lit place to play. I want to keep things simple here, letting the arches and openness of the floor plan speak for itself.

And if you were to turn towards the stairs...well, then that will have to be a whole other post. If you could even make it through this one with me. :) 

I hope you enjoy your home. And if not, make a plan, find colors that you love, and know that it will take time, trial, and experimenting to figure it out. Even then, you'll still have more projects. It's all part of the fun! 

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  1. love. love. love. the gray! and that dining room table. perfection

    1. Thanks, Brooke! I know, the table still gets me...and I see it every day. :)

  2. You've created a really beautiful space. I love it.

  3. Umm...awesome! Can you come decorate my living room? I want to see what photos are in the white-frame-collage. :)

    1. You're right, I need to post the photos! I tried to take some pictures of the wall, but the reflection off the glass was really bad. I'll add a couple of my favorites to this post instead. Thanks...I think I would like to learn some of your photography skills. :)

  4. I love the coffee table and the tufted chair!

    1. Thanks, Kayla. I hope you're settling into your new place!

  5. Replies
    1. You're gorgeous. Also, I love that your doing the Nectar Collective Weekly Wishes. I've seriously thought about that and her snail mail connections for the past 2 days. Thanks for the tip off to positivity!

  6. So excited to see you posted this. Love everything about your great room, thanks for sharing such amazing ideas!

  7. Bonnie has two blogs!!!

    This is exciting and everything looks beautiful! Great job and cheers to hardwood floors.

  8. Beautiful! I was scrolling through thinking.... wow this is the house I would have if I didn't have a kid...

    1. Whatever! You can totally pull this off. It's definitely good to teach the kids to respect our home. That doesn't mean they don't try and climb walls and spill things and color on tables...but we're taking steps! Thanks, Jenn. :)

  9. Wow, wow, wow!!!! It's gorgeous! That rug is amaaaazing, and those chairs are great... and so are those cool open shelves!

  10. I love your table and chairs!

  11. Your house is beautiful! Love the floors!!! Do you know what kind of wood?
    The light fixture is beautiful, table & chairs awesome, the bookends & radio are fantastic.

    1. I can't remember the type of wood...although there might be a box on a top garage shelf that is left over. It is fake wood, holding up perfectly to lots of use!

  12. Oooo! I love your living room! It looks super comfortable and 'home-y"! Lol I also really like that rug! Cute!

    XX Brytani Sierra
    |Downtown Glamorous|

  13. Nice post. It looks a lot better after repainting the walls. Thanks for the post.

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