dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Living room changes

Let's look back at some old pictures of the living room, shall we?  I can't find any pictures of when we first moved into this house 4 years ago, but at that time, we had a large sectional couch in the living room (which now lives in the much larger family room).  It didn't take me long to realize that the couch was too big for the room.  So, shortly thereafter, I purchased a normal size leather couch and recliner.  I decided upon leather because we have 2 dogs, and I figured it would be easy to keep clean.  Fast forward to this past summer, when I was given (given, yes, for FREE) two large bookcases which I placed on either side of the fireplace.  So, this is how the room looked at that time.

Yowza.  Can you say dark?!  I knew the leather was dark, but once I added the tall and imposing bookcases, the room kinda felt like a dungeon.  It's worse in pictures, but still- it was dark.

It didn't take me long to decide what I really needed to do was to paint the brick fireplace.  I had actually wanted to do this pretty much since we moved in, but I was so scared.  It is such a permanent thing, and I didn't want to do something I couldn't undo.  So, I delayed.  But, finally, I bit the bullet and painted the brick.

It immediately lightened up the space.  It was like the living room lost about 100lbs.

I also added a lot of lighter accessories.  I painted that barn star on the mantle a light color, I got some lighter throw pillows to break up the dark leather furniture, and I brought in some softer textures with the ottoman and fuzzy throw.

It was better, but it still wasn't quite there yet.  So, after much more hemming and hawing, I finally decided to use this past long weekend to tackle the project of painting the bookcases.  I started on Friday after work, and I finally got all the shelves loaded  back in and staged at least a bit last night.  It was a LOT of work.  I wiped down and primed every surface.  Then, I painted everything with between 3 and 5 coats of paint.  Then, I touched up all my mess-ups, and there are STILL more touch ups that need to be done. 

But, the transformation is amazing.  This is finally what I was going for all along.  The white paint just makes everything look so fresh and clean.  I also painted the back of the bookcases an army/olive green color, which makes everything pop.  This is so hot in the shelter blog world, and it's a trend that I love.

I have only staged the shelves with things I had on hand, mostly, but I even think it looks pretty good so far.  Of course, there's always work to be done!  :)  (For example, I would love to devise a way to make the bookcases built-in.  I would need some sort of addition from the top of the bookcase to the ceiling, and then there's the 6 or so inches between the left one and the wall.  Anyone got any ideas?)

Let's have a quick look back again.  Then, and now:

The difference is amazing, don't you think?!



PS.  I would be remiss if I did not provide any photo credits.  All of my usual, sub-par photos are taken by yours truly with my frugal point and shoot can't-go-wrong, perfect for the photog illiterate Nikon on the basic settings.  (All I know how to do is turn on or off the flash.)  These most recent photos of the living room were taken by my son and budding photographer, Colin, on his fancy pants camera.  So, a large part of the difference is the photo quality.  I hope to have Colin take more pictures for the blog in the future.  We are still discussing payment.  Hugs and kisses is what I've offered...


  1. Hi Emily! Just discoverd your blog and I LOVE your style! Can you tell me what color the green in your living room is? I have had the hardest time with greens and have more sample jars than I can count! Yours looks lovely! And great job on the redo!

  2. I am having a terrible time posting to this blog. I tried Google and my account does not have access to this account! Trying another approach. Love the room

  3. Emily, this is such an impressive transformation using just paint (and sweat!) I have a lot of dark shelving in my living room, and while I can't paint the shelves white, I think I am going to paint the back boards a lighter color to see if that helps! The room looks great! About the DIY built-ins - I wonder if a pair of small cabinets (like the kind that are meant to go above a refridgerator) plus some trim and a white paint job would polish off the tops to make them look more permanent?

  4. Jennifer- Hi! **insert wavy hand** Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. As you probably noticed, my blog is still a baby, so it's good to see someone- anyone- is reading! Haha. The green is color matched from an old tattered paint chip I had from Ace Hardware from a million years ago (and now I can't find). I color matched it with Behr, and the top of the paint can has the following on it: Top row: CLRNT, D, E, F, KX. Next row: OZ, 2, 0, 0, 0. Bottom row: 384th, 137, 23, 165, 57. I can snap a picture of it if that would help?

    Anonymous- is that you, Mom? If so, it worked!

    Steph- thankyou, thankyou! Yes, it is amazing what some paint and elbow grease can do. Definitely give it a shot. There is so much inspiration out there- see if you can find some that you love and can reproduce. I like the idea of dark shelves and a light background. I was wondering the same about a couple small cabinets. My carpentry skills are, ahem, lacking, so this would be a stretch for me. Maybe I should talk to my dad. :)

  5. Hi, I finally got around to reading this post. Great job - the white cabinets look awesome!

    I'm having a little trouble reading this particular font. Oh wait, did you just now change it? It completely switched. Are you reading my mind? But...this one is hard to read too.