Living Room Renovation, Part Two: The Plan


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As you know, my living room is giving me a headache.  The room we should be “living in” the most is an embarrassment.  There are other areas of our home also in need of a makeover, but when we evaluated the room in terms of family and safety (our #1 priorities) we realized this one was tops on our list.  It’s time to makeover this room, and STAT!

For a refresher, here’s the room now:

The problems are many: broken fireplace, ugly brick wall, dangerous areas (wires, glass on t.v. stand, brick outcropping), old furniture, no storage, no natural light…

There’s a lot of work to do!

Due to budget and baby constraints, we’re tackling this room in stages.  The first stage is the biggest; time to go from the WALL OF GLOOM to the WALL OF HAPPINESS!

Here’s the WALL OF GLOOM:

Stage One: We are adding a gas burning fireplace to replace the broken wood burning one, and having bookcases built over the brick.  I went back and forth with this one, but in the long run we decided it was best: we are mounting the t.v. over the fireplace.  Our current t.v. is such a hazard that we want it up and away from the kids.  It’s not artistic, but it’s what works for us.

Stage Two:  Paint the bookcases and beams white, brightening up the space.  Rearrange the furniture, and slipcover the loveseat and sofa in matching white slipcovers.  Create a gallery wall on the long wall behind the sofa.

Stage Three (far, far in the future..): Purchase a sectional sofa and replace the carpet– either with new carpet or hardwood floors.  My husband won’t let me buy any new furniture until the cat dies (she scratched up all our previous sofas…) and she’s only 12.  I’m working on swaying him, but with two reflux kiddos I’m pretty sure it’s better that we wait at least another year or two.

Here are some photos to give you an idea of what we are hoping to do in our living room.  We don’t have nearly the budget that these folks do, but we’re going for the same type of look.
Built in cabinetry ideas:

I would prefer drywall above the fireplace similar to these photos as opposed to the built-in wood look from the first picture: 
television above the fireplace, and interesting shelves: 
Love the subtle color on the back of the bookcase… 
My husband’s dream is to install windows instead to let in some natural light, but I can’t begin to imagine what that would cost! 

Love the windows, but also the mosaic tile surrounding the fireplace:

Speaking of tile, here’s some inspiration photos for the fireplace surround:

There’s always the granite look:
And, ohhhhhhh, slate! 

Now for color and decor inspiration:

I’m thinking neutral walls and furniture but punches of color in the accessories so I can change them seaonally.

I think this Pottery Barn mirror would be easy to knock-off, and I like the spicy accents in the room to warm things up in the winter…
and perhaps blues and greens to cool things down in the summer.
I’d like to turn our outdated beams into more soothing coffered ceilings:
I had to throw in these decorating ideas since I’ll finally have a cute mantel to style.  Actually, I just realized I won’t have much of a mantel to style due to the television, but I love these ideas nonethelesss.

Do you have some living room inspiration to share?  Is your television mounted above a fireplace, and if so, does that work well for your family?  Any favorite photos, or is this style totally off-base?
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  1. I love the shelves and think it is a great solution to the wall of doom (or was is darkness?)

    I do not envy the task – esp with 2 little ones!

  2. We are in the process of moving to a “new” (ie 42 year old) house. We’ll be adding french doors to the dining room which has wood siding. Our quote is about 1k just to give you an idea about window costs! Not sure what your house is made of so I am sure that would make a difference. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the after pics! I will have plenty of my own soon!

  3. I love your brick wall – I say fix the fire place and update the pictures as your little one grows – its such a great back drop for your photos. Hope that you are able to come up with a solution that you like.

  4. I’m planning to stucco over our hideous fireplace and paint it white, so I say do it! Lighten that room right up!

  5. Good Luck with your renovation. Such a time suck and money suck! But I think you have made some good choices. I can’t wait to see the end result.

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