Decor, DIY

All my living room “mistakes”

Some of my Instagram friends have been joking with me about how I keep painting and repainting things in this space and they’re right! “Didn’t you just stencil that?” they said. Yes, I did. I have painted every surface in this area at least twice, some four! We’re going to take a look at how this room keeps changing and why I keep changing it.

At first I wondered if I keep redoing things for the sole fact that I like change. I do like to change things up, but there are some areas of my house that I look at and my mind is at peace — like the dining room and primary bathroom. I’m not seeing it as a “before picture” or mentally painting or rearranging furniture.

I think I keep shifting gears in the living room because I haven’t found what works best for my style in this space yet. But I’m on the right track now. I can’t wait to show you!

Why I’ve been MIA

We hosted a sweet baby girl for a month with a short-term foster care program (90 days or less). This organization works with families before the children are taken and put into foster care. In other words, it’s voluntary by their mothers. This was our third time and it was incredible to see her mom work so hard to get things in order for her family! It’s never easy — and emotionally I can’t do it back-to-back — but it is worth it to help a family get on the right track for their future. (We used a local program, but Safe Families is a wonderful national organization. You can read the raw account here of our first time hosting.)

So that’s why I’ve been MIA and that’s why I did a little refresh in the living room. I sat here with the baby every day and my mind that never stops kept coming up with ideas for the wall behind the tv.

Finding my personal home decor style

If you are looking for your own style, look at your Pinterest boards. What are the commonalities in those spaces? What are the spaces in your own home that you like best? Why?

I recently finished updating our back lanai and I think it helped me better understand my style. Of course it’s ever-evolving, but some things remain the same. Trendy or not, I like white walls. I prefer a timeless look that is reminiscent of an old world garden, but still casual and approachable. I like black, white, gray, wood tones and pops of green. I can introduce pops of other colors sometimes, but tire of them after a year or less.

You can watch the YouTube video of me explaining all the changes here.

The ever-changing living room

And finally, here is how the living room has changed in just four years:

1.Board and batten wall

Board and batten wall DIY entryway before and after - moulding panels wainscotting board and batten moulding wall entryway mudroom diy tutorial

One of the first things I did was add a board and batten wall in the entry. I still love this feature. It adds interest to this very high blank wall.

Board and batten entryway with hooks - solution for big blank wall

The white paint in the main living area was already perfect. I’ve had to have it color matched, but my guess is that it is Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams and the comparable White Stone by Behr.


2. Trying to break up all white

White reading nook with moulding and Ikea bookshelves - library with bookcases and plants

The all white everything was bland so I decided to add in some gray and black. I painted above the board and batten wall and ledge French Gray. I found these frames at a thrift store and repurposed them.

I also painted the door black.

Stenciled living room - wallpaper alternative, Light French Gray, how to stencil, white walls, gray couches, colorful rug, big fiddle leaf fig tree, wooden accent table, hanging plants, ektorp ikea

And stenciled the tv wall. That took forever.

Stenciled living room - wallpaper alternative, Light French Gray, how to stencil, white walls, gray couches, colorful rug, big fiddle leaf fig tree, wooden accent table, hanging plants, ektorp ikea

I bought a bright rug with pops of neon pink and added blush and pink in different areas.

Ledge ideas - snake plants in baskets - living room layout - French gray paint

This ledge drove me nuts and so I decided to add snake plants in baskets. It’s been over a year and they’re still alive! (I water them once a month on a ladder, in case you’re wondering.)

Hidden tv - DIY tv frame with art - ideas how to hide the tv - how to build a simple frame

Next, I framed the tv with binary doors and added this console from Ikea.

How to paint doors + My favorite sage green paint!

Then we ended up getting new doors and windows. I didn’t miss the heavy black so I painted it Sage Wisdom. Now there’s a lot going on here with no real color palette or plan!


Finding the right accent wall

On the other side of this room we have this freestanding wall with the kitchen on the other side. We would love to tear it down and open the kitchen up to the living room, but that will have to wait a few years. I was all over the place on this one!

white walls beach photo

This is how it looked when we moved in. Looks like I’m trying out a California casual vibe here.

Painting walls black was trendy that year, so I gave it a go! I liked it … at least for a little while. It was dramatic and different, but it taught me that my eyes really do prefer creamy white walls.

How to wallpaper with peel and stick paper - Pink heron mural

When a wallpaper company reached out for a TikTok collaboration, I thought why not? I loved the oversized herons on this mural. The pink was ok, but definitely wore on me over time. But it was peel and stick paper so I gave it a shot.

The area under the bar was still black, making things look quite disjointed.

White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall

“Fixing” things

Now this space had too many things going on and too many colors. The stencil pattern was getting to me and so was the blush color of the wallpaper. As I sat every day with the baby, I came up with a plan.

White living room with green accents - linen green pillow - gray Ikea ektorp couch

1. Take out the spot color

I took out all the pink. I swapped rugs with the playroom. Changed out pink pillows, painted over the pink in the artwork above the board and batten wall. I knew I wanted green to be the main player here now — with paint and pillows. These green linen pillows were a big score — great quality and zipper!

White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall

2. Rearranged furniture & edit

I put the couches back across from each other for symmetry and took out unnecessary things. I moved out the table behind the couch. I took out an antique trunk from under the bench. The space needed less clutter.

White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall

3. Lots and lots of paint

I basically repainted EVERYTHING! I painted over the busy stencil and French gray above with the same white color that was here when we moved in! How crazy is that? Seems ridiculous, but I had to go through the evolution to see that was best.

White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art

What I didn’t understand before is that I didn’t have to break up the vast blank white wall with paint. I could do it with the baskets and plants, with large-scale artwork.

White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall

Then one day when a kid was home sick and I was just sitting there with him, I picked up a paint brush and painted the mural the same sage as the hallway. I was so excited. I was finally getting somewhere! I continued around to the bar area as well. Now the wall feels much more cohesive with the hallway.

White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall
White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches
White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall
White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall
White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall
gold spray painted hook on board and batten wall

I spray painted the hooks gold and painted the board and batten wall (which was pure white) the same off white as the rest of the walls.

White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall
White living room with sage green moulding and heron wallpaper - snake plant ledge - DIY tv frame art - ektorp Ikea couches - board and batten wall

It’s ok to keep trying things until you find your style and what works for you. We’re all different and it’s wonderful when our homes can reflect that.

How about you? What’s one room in your house you keep changing? OR which one do you love so much you’ll never change?


Sources

We’ve had these Ektrop couches for about 10 years! I’d love to get new couches, but it’s just not time yet with kiddos. I absolutely love that you can take off the covers and wash everything. We’ve washed them over 40 times!

The console is two Besta units put together. It even comes with the hardware to attach them.

The coffee table is from Target and I do not recommend it. It’s poor quality and very difficult to put together.

The rug is a great price and goes well in any room. It’s thick, doesn’t shed and comes in large sizes. It’s available on Amazon and Rugs USA. They prices vary at different times, so check both.

2 thoughts on “All my living room “mistakes”

  1. I love that you aren’t afraid to admit the design missteps you’ve made and your steps to correct them. I dislike the word mistake. Is it a mistake if you enjoyed it (at least for a little while) and learned something? I’ve loved the evolution of your home as well, its been fun to watch.

    My living room is the most difficult for me as well. Its small, with an odd layout and our house is old with only 30″ exterior doors! I resorted to purchasing a couch in a box so it would fit through the door. I keep moving the furniture around hoping I find something that works.

  2. I agree, Lauren. “Mistakes” is a tough word — but I had to think of an eye-grabbing headline, haha! I’m sure you’ll find something that works for your space too. It just takes a lot of experimenting and Pinterest-ing :)

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