Friday, August 31, 2012

The Great Livingroom Make-over! Part 1

When we first moved in to our new house in October 2010 (almost 2 years ago!!) the place was in pretty good shape and generally just needed a face-lift. Everything was pretty much white and beige with no upgrades from the original finishes (1997).

Since then, RB and I have taken on more than one home reno project but they've largely been non-fun types. Like a new roof. Who gets excited about a new roof? Though the new central air unit isn't exciting it certainly has paid for itself over the two summers we've had it. We've done a few other minor things like painting and hanging things but nothing big. All the while my crazy brain has been churning around ideas for our main floor. FUN ideas. Creative ideas!

With that I have taken on The Great Livingroom Make-over!

Before you get too excited I'd like you to know that this make-over is by NO MEANS finished. My plan is to present to you the stages we've gone through and continue to go through and maybe one day I'll tie it all together. For now these are progress posts because really... who has time to do this much work in one weekend? Not real people.

The jist of it is that our livingroom is also our dining room is also our entry is also basically our kitchen is basically one giant living space which all adds up to me cowering in my (unfinished) basement. But, I'm powering through. I'm powering through so much that I'm giving you before pictures that show my messy house. Please be nice.

Here's the livingroom/entire main floor:
Coming down from upstairs... real life! Dog toys! Gym bag! Folding chairs because we didn't have a dining set! Note that beige carpet... and those weird beige curtains.

Dining space with folding chairs and an old desk because we classy like that. Please disregard my messy kitchen... Also note that awful light fixture.

Kitchen. Pay less attention to this space as it is getting less made-over. Kitchen make-overs are expensive.

Standing in dining area looking into livingroom. Beige beige beige white white black. Boring. That's a bathroom with the door open and that's the garage door next to the mirror. Front door is opposite the mirror.  

We have two giant couches. They take up a lot of space but are amazing for those post-Christmas party mornings... also: DOG!

So that's the current state of the space. A lot of beige, a lot of white, and a lot of black.

My plan for the space:

  • New floors - carpet and vinyl has to go. It's in good shape but it's a dated finish
  • New window treatment - those weird beige curtains are actually sheets with weird sheer curtains with dragonflies on them. No thanks. (Came with the house)
  • Paint - I think I've finally decided on a colour... maybe
  • New art work - I love the car pictures (taken by friends!) but I want a change
  • New coffee table - it's just all too much black. 
  • Bar cart for dining area - going DIY all over this
  • Buffet table for behind couch - provides more storage and I actually have one, just needs a face lift
  • New light fixture above dining table - that old one... will haunt me
  • New couch - this one is the least likely to happen any time soon as it'll be the most expensive addition but we'll see...
  • Bookcase - paint it or get a new one, it's falling apart
  • Dining set - the folding chairs and my old university desk have got to go
There you have it. That's where we live. This is our first home and much of the furniture is left-over student quality. We are slowly making updates and I'll tell you a secret... some of that list is already done!! Stay tuned...

Have you ever taken on a full room renovation? How did you tackle it? Did you try to DIY everything or did you hire someone? How did you budget? What would you do with my space??


  1. We remodeled part of our living room last winter. One thing I would recommend is going for a paint with a semi-gloss or gloss finish. We went with a flatter finish (or satin, maybe?), and it shows every hand print and scuff. It looks better, in theory, because it's not shiny, but I basically have to repaint a section if it gets dirty (washing just smears the dirt around, especially if it's an oily hand print). Get a paint you can wash easily. You can avoid glare on it if you put your lights in the right places.

    Another thing I recommend is thinking about what can be done while a wall or floor is opened up. When we put in our fireplace, we had the contractor run the TV cables through the wall and into a little entertainment center box/shelf so we don't have cords draped everywhere. It's so nice. One thing I didn't consider at the time was having them move our ceiling can lights -- we had the ceiling painted, so it would have been the opportune time to move some electrical around. I didn't think of that until a few months later. So, if you don't like where that dining room light is, think about moving it -- and you might need to get the table before you make that decision.

    You could put up a bookshelf or cabinet to create some separation between your dining and living space. Oh, and for a dining room set, check out a local antique store. We bought our table at Ethan Allen and our chairs at an antique store ($125 for a set of 4).

    1. Thx Rebecca! I agree on the paint - especially for a high traffic area that includes the front entry. I've had some success using Magic Eraser's for the grime but anything to make it less grimey is a win.

      Good idea re: cables etc, I'm going to take the opportunity to fill in a bunch of holes, too, before I paint. Good excuse to get everything all tidied and sorted.

      I think I'm going to move the bookcase into the corner behind the couches and the buffet table will be there which I hope will frame the dining area separating it a bit from the livingroom.

  2. Anonymous10:31 PM

    Here's one for you, Erica.

    "The Shadow of the Wind", by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I am not normally a reader of fantasy, but found this book to be one of the best I've ever read. It doesn't feel like fantasy and the characters are wonderfully developed. Give it a try.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion - will add to the list :)