Feb. 8, 2021

Our Living Room Transformation: Part 1


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Last updated:
Sep. 7, 2022 @ 3:11 pm

Of all the rooms in our house, I have struggled most with designing our living room. Why? It mostly has to do with its functions and its layout. Our living room acts as our entryway, hallway to our bedroom, and office space. A lot happening there, right? Its large windows and beautiful views make it one of my favorite rooms in the house but it has a funky layout and very little wall space. Total first world problems here I know! But I’m determined to make this room a space that we can actually use and enjoy. Welcome to part one of our living room transformation journey!

Solving the Biggest Challenges In Our Living Room

Check out the before photo of our living room room. I should mention that this isn’t the before, before. Huh? By that I mean I touched this space up after we bought our house. This is go two at making this space all that it can be! Fingers crossed that it all works out!

The Before


The Before Before (When we bought the house!)


Balance Form With Function

First things first, our living room has to be able to fulfill all of its intended functions. Of course, right? It needs to have clear and defined pathways, allow for doors to open and close, and not feel cluttered and all over the place. Oh, and we want it to look pretty!

Create A Warm + Inviting Space

Our living room has always felt a little cold. Funny because it’s the only room with a fireplace! I set out to use materials and textures that would warm our living room up to make it super plush and cozy. 

Make It A Space We Will Actually Use

As I mentioned, we hardly ever use our living room. The reason? Probably because it doesn’t have a TV. That and the seating is kind of all over the place and too separate for really intimate gatherings with friends and family. Our investment in this room means that we actually need to make it a space we will use!

Sprucing Up the Fireplace

 We decided to start our efforts with the fireplace. When we bought the home it came with these pretty terrible built-in shelves. I’ve always been afraid of what’s behind them so, rather than ripping them out, I started with a fresh coat of dark grey paint (they were brown). That satisifed me for about three years but the time came to demo those babies. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the walls behind the shelves had drywall (thank goodness!).

Demo Day

We started by pulling out the bookshelves. Fortunately (and also very scarily), there was one screw holding them up! They slid out pretty easily and the drywall behind them was in fair condition which made our job a heck of a lot easier.


Reenvisioned Shelves

We still wanted the storage that our old shelves offered and set out to recreate them with a clean look. We opted to go with drywall shelves that would be light and airy and blend in with the rest of the house.

Engineering these puppies was no easy task but we found success in a plywood/sheetrock method. I then taught myself (very messily) how to drywall and make a bullnose edge look nice! It actually took hours and hours to get right and my calves were pretty sore. But I’ll make it sounds easy breezy. 

When drafting our plans (very LOOSE drawings), we picked the TV we wanted and taped out the dimensions of where it would go. We landed on the Samsung Frame TV which would sort of blend in like art! The bottom two shelves were spaced slightly further apart to allow it fit nice and clean. We opted not to put the TV above the fireplace which would involve new wiring (we also felt that it would be too high!).


Creating Visual Interest

After removing the old shelves, we lost the moulding which added some, albeit outdated, visual interest. I wanted to create something appealing to look at and decided on a horizontal line that would carry your eyes from side to side.

We started by integrating some oak wood shelf fronts on either side. This, of course, led to me wanting a mantel over our fireplace to connect the line. Thank goodness I have a willing husband. The way the studs sat above the fireplace made this an interesting task. But, it turned out better than either one of us could have expected! The image below shows the mantel unfinished. Scroll along to see it in it’s full glory!



Adding Some Finishing Touches

Once we had the structure in place, it was time to paint and add some finishing touches to the fireplace area. I changed the color of the fireplace to green. I go back and forth on whether I should have kept it terracotta. But, we can always change that!

For the mantel, I wanted to pull our kitchen and living rooms together and decided to use some leftover cement tile that we used for our backsplash. I was super excited to discover that the tiles fit perfectly and I didn’t have to make any cuts!

Lastly, I made another impromptu decision to penny tile the fireplace hearth. We went with a matte black penny tile and black grout. We felt this was a practical option considering ash that might get on the surface. Check out the after picture below!


Next Up: Furniture!

Stay tuned for part two which will include our new furnishings and textiles for this space!

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