Living Room Before and After

Monday, February 23, 2015

By now I know that most of you have seen the after shots from my Rue feature, but I'm sure there are very few of you who remember the way it looked before.  I'm talking before, before.  Before I ever read a design magazine, a blog or discovered Pinterest.  I'm talking the real before, like when I thought that everything should be brown and was terrified of color.  Before, when I was to afraid to paint anything for fear that it would decrease our home value.  Before we had enough money to spend on anything, let alone home furnishings. Yes, we are going way back. 6 years back to be exact. 

Here is exactly what our living room looked like the day we moved in, and to be honest about two years after that. 

Can you tell I thought "grown up" spaces should be brown?  It's crazy, I remember living in this space, and actually liking it.  Now, I see it for what it was, the first of many layers.  That's the thing with home design, unless you know exactly what you are doing and/or have about a ton of money to throw at it, you do things in stages.  I can't hate on this space too much, it was just the first layer of many more to come.

This was what the living room looked like about 2 years ago.  Better? Yes.  More layers, some art, some color... sure it's still brown but it's a nice space.  The problem was that the space still wasn't very "us."  In real life we are about as opposite as you can get from brown, and I wanted the space that we spend most of our waking hours in to reflect that.  Also, after nursing two kids on that sofa, we definitely had to make a choice... toss or save.  I went with save and you all know how wonderful that turned out.  

Now, the afters...

I mean... can you even believe the difference?  The after space has so much texture and visual interest.  Our living room now feels so warm and inviting, sometimes I can't even believe the change myself!  The major difference was the reupholstery on the sofa, and the addition of the sideboard.  The rest is all minor changes.  A rug under the sofa and dining room table.  An inexpensive side table and some throw pillows with varying patterns.  Nothing too crazy, but man it makes a difference. 

The tables and chairs are the same (for now) and I had the chairs recovered in a french ticking fabric that was very inexpensive.  The total for all 4 chairs was $95, including labor and I'd say I got my money's worth.  Not pictured are the 30 plants that share this space, but again it's the pattern play, and textures that make this space so inviting. 

Below is the full view and you can find sources below.  My takeaways from redoing this room are the following. First, you can't go wrong with color! Your sofa is a perfect way bring this in.  A velvet is a great material for young kids, or messy adults in that it's easy to clean and wears well.  Purchase throw pillows in similar hues and varying patterns.  Second, texture, texture, texture.  My husband always says that if I say we need more "layers" again, he's going to throw me out, but honestly it's the truth.  The layers are what makes a house a home.  Art, wall pieces, a lamp, plants, and books these are where your personality really shows through and these don't have to be budget breaking pieces.  Invest in the things you will have forever, the rest you can find at more inexpensive places. (Here the side table and blanket are from Target, and the lamp I purchased for 3 dollars at a garage sale and spray painted.)  Do I think I will have those pillows forever?  Probably not, but that sofa... well, I'm being cremated with that thing!

Same goes for this space, we splurged on the sideboard and everything else were from around the house or gifted to us.  My plants take up most of the sideboard, and are what give our home the most character.  Also, large scale art can really elevate a space.  It's a little more costly on the front end, but when you think about what you would need to buy to really fill a wall that large, I can guarantee you that in the long run you are actually saving money.  This picture is from a friend of a friend I saw on Facebook, and is of a break I used to surf growing up.  I went with a canvas on most of our large scale pieces because then you don't have to pay to frame it, which can be very costly when you are dealing with this large of a piece. 


sofa (similar here), also you can read all about the recovery process here and more details on the sofa including cost here.  The original microfiber sofa was from here. 
dining room rug (similar here)
ottoman originally from restoration hardware, (similar here)
gold side table target (similar here)
dining room table and chairs (similar here, but this is the next thing I'm changing.
If I could wave a wand, I would pick this table with these chairs (with pink velvet bottoms.) The original chairs were recovered in french ticking fabric.
pendant (similar here)
bowl holding lemons (vintage)
lamp in living room, custom (as in I spray pained a garage sale item ;)) (similar here)
Basket for tree not shown) 
tray on ottoman from west elm (similar here
blanket on sofa target (similar here)
living room art (black's beach California) by Myles McGuinness 

I'll be back tomorrow with the before and after on our master bedroom.  You guys are not going to believe the transformation!!!

After photos by Sarah Winchester


Dawn said...

I've been following your blog for the past 4-5 years (at the time I lived in Boston, but I'm now a west coast transplant). I love your home transformation and have been eagerly looking forward to this series of before and after reveals. Looks great!

Can you tell me about that West Elm rug? Is the accent color blue or black? How do you find it with regard to shedding (I've read complaints)? Thanks!

Robin M Anderson said...

Hi Dawn!

Thank you so much for your sweet comment! You got out of Boston just in time... we are buried!

The rug, it's actually a dark gray. Yes, it absolutely sheds the first month or two, kind of like dust bunnies I would find them in the corner, but it quickly dies down and ventrally stops. It's very soft and I don't mind sitting on it, and the kids play on it all the time. You will need a rug pad for sure, because it will slide without. I got a thick one from restoration and the combo has been great!

Dawn said...

Thanks Robin. I've been trying to find a rug to complement this cheapo Ikea rug that I just love and which works well on one half of my Portland bungalo living room.

On the other side of the room I have a much more expensive wool rug that just doesn't capture my fancy. Something sort of like this but with wider stripes.

I think it's too dark and I've been looking for something lighter. I might have to go check out the West Elm offerings in person to see if it will work with my navy (curtains, rugs and accents), grey (furniture), ivory (rug) and orange (accents) living room.