Red and gold to bright and classic

July 24, 2015

Today I'm going to take you back…way back. To the old days of our living room. These are about my favorite posts ever! Living here for 11 years now makes it especially fun to look back at our spaces, and when they've changes as much as this one has it makes it even more fun. 

I've been thinking about this space a lot lately because for the first time I truly LOVE it. It's always been a hard one for me because of the high ceilings and the layout. Breaking out of the box of pushing all the furniture up against the walls is what really made me fall in love. 

Let's start from the beginning, shall we? I shared this photo with you all at the 11 year tour I shared a few months go -- it's one of the best I have of this space soon after we moved in: 

I thought I was working with the tall ceilings by putting art way high up. I've since learned that I don't need to fill all of that space and bringing things back down is what makes it feel more intimate.

The furniture was handed down from my Dad and the nesting tables were a new purchase from my absolute favorite store for years, Bombay Company. RIP to the Bombay stores (they are still online!).

You'll notice I always had the sofa pushed up against the only solid wall in the space -- here's a look at that rectangle on the wall with the new sofa we got a few years in: 

I've said it a million times but it's worth saying again -- I'm not one to bash my old styles. I LOVED that rectangle on the wall at the time. I still think doing something like this is a super easy and inexpensive way to fill large wall space. 

I changed it up a bit later by adding some molding (so began my love affair) and then adding some dark red accents. Red and gold were my JAM:
That DIY sofa table cost less than $20 and worked SO well. I loved that it allowed for some accents behind the sofa. I added more molding and that rectangle looked even better:
art on large walls

I started moving away from the red and gold and I think that's when it really hit me that our walls were PINK.  Like, truly, completely, 100 percent pink: 

They looked a little more brown in some light, but most of the time…pink:

I always felt like that little spot between the windows needed something. I tried lots of things there, as you can see: 

Then, thankfully, we painted over the pink. Whew, WHAT a difference! My new favorite neutral, analytical gray, was added to the house:

I tried something new between the windows. (Ha! Told you.): 
sisal rug

That rug was soooo pretty but not so comfy and the dog chewed a hole in it within a month of getting it. Cleaning it was a pain too, so it didn't last long. 

That corner I told you about earlier this week saw a lot of changes too. I had a chair over there, then a desk: 

Then I moved that to a new spot and tried the bookcase there: 
tall bookcase

I quite liked it so it stayed like that for awhile. I felt like we were getting there…I loved the windows trimmed out sans drapes. I feel like they became the star of this room, which was good because it took away from the ginormous wall in there. 

Now, what looked like this:

Now looks like this: 
walmart slipcovered sofa

Obviously I think it looks better now because it feels more like us and my style right now, but I liked the before too. :)

Here's the before shot of the tall wall:

And how it looks now. Adding the wainscoting really helped to ground the space!: 
scrapbook art

And here's one that shows that you don't HAVE to have window treatments on every window: 

 I think they look better without fabric:
craftsman trim on windows

I quite love looking back at old photos. It's like looking back at a baby you've painted and added trim to over the years. ;)

I think my favorite part of the transformation is this corner that I was always messing with (OK, I was always messing with the whole room):
sisal rug

Now looks like it should have always looked like this: 
half wall bookcase

If you missed my tutorial on that project check out this post. :) 

The point is that our home has always been a learning curve for me -- I feel like it's taken me ten years to figure out what I really love and how we really use spaces. That's a long time! Not saying it should take that long for you, I'm just saying don't get too frustrated if it doesn't come to you right away. It will eventually. You just may have to live in your house for a decade, no biggie. ;)

I don't have many regrets in life, but I do regret trying to fill up our spaces with furniture after we moved in. We bought things because we hated having empty rooms -- and I didn't wait to figure out how I'd use them or what I really loved. I think a lot of us do that though and it's part of the process, right?
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  1. "I've said it a million times but it's worth saying again -- I'm not one to bash my old styles. I LOVED that rectangle on the wall at the time."

    I love this! So often we feel regret for how we used to do things when there was nothing wrong with it! It was our style for a time and it's okay to move on. I think it's amazing that you have pictures of every phase of your living room. So fun to see how far it's come. I love where you've ended up... for now! ;)

  2. It's a journey. I don't love all the phases on my 10 y/o livingroom but I respect that I was doing my very best at the time :) I am currently on Phase 43 in the 10 y/o room and I think you may have inspired a few tweaks here Lady! Cheers.

  3. I love the way your room is right now! I love the grey walls. I love the white trim and wainscoting. I love the naked windows. I love the furniture placement. I love it all! It's so fun to see the transformations over the years. Well done.

  4. I love this living room. I cannot say it enough! I never share peoples living rooms but I did yours - it is sophisticated, and airy with just the right touch of warmth and homey feeling. Love it. Youa re a true decorator!!!

  5. "I don't have many regrets in life, but I do regret trying to fill up our spaces with furniture after we moved in. We bought things because we hated having empty rooms -- and I didn't wait to figure out how I'd use them or what I really loved."

    Thank you so much for this! I am struggling to remind myself of that daily. Just bought a new home, more than twice the size of my old one. So many empty rooms. And rooms with furniture that isn't right for the new space. I keep finding myself trying to like things that are cheap or free rather than waiting a little longer to find or save for something I love. I will not fill my new house with things I don't love just to fill up space (I did too much of that in my old house). So thank you thank you thank you thank you for the reminder of that. And the reminder that it doesn't have to be perfect all at once. :)

  6. I'm sure you have answered this a million times, but I just can't find it! Where is the rug in there from? I feel like I am in the middle of your before and after, trying to move from dark and uncomfortable to light and bright! Thanks!

  7. I quite like the rug. But I wonder why all of the framed pictures appear to be quite crooked!

  8. It looks perfect! I think back over the way our house has looked in the past--decor for the time! But the fun is evolving through the present and keeping the house ever changing. Your home is absolutely beautiful! I know you posted about the sofa one time. The pillows are a statement!

  9. What a change! I love the space today, and I agree - the windows don't need any drapes. Leave them that way for good! :)

    Antonella |

  10. Where did you get the lamp in the living room on top of the black console? I love it.

  11. I think it looks much more inviting now.

  12. I love the corner now! Well, I actually love the entire room-it looks amazing. I love the changes that you've made throughout the years :)

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  13. LOVED seeing all the changes over the years!

  14. It is always fun to try new looks. I love the tall bookshelf!

  15. We're definitely dealing with the "we need to fill all the empty spaces and rooms" thing now, so this was perfect time for your advice.

  16. Sarah check this out on Amazon
    It's a page from
    "Paint Style: The New Approach to Decorative Paint Finishes Paperback – February 15, 2008
    by Lesley Riva (Author), Benjamin Moore Paints (Author)Benjamin Moore

  17. Great post. Love following your evolution. One question: did you slipcover the old sofa, or is that a new one? I'm just debating whether to slipcover or buy a new sofa. Thanks. C

  18. It looks perfect now! LOVE IT!!! I can totally relate. We have been in our home for just under two years and yesterday I painted the bathroom, for the second time. I love love love white. And white bathrooms all over Pinterest, I thought I could do it. But realistically, we live in our home and boys and dogs are messy! And I don't wish to scrub the bathroom everyday! :) So a light greige will hopefully hide the grime. Love reading your adventures!

  19. I love your living room, you have made some beautiful changes, and though it was pretty before, I love the new look.
    I love the pops of blue, looks great with the gray wall.. and the white bookcase in the corner that you added. Just perfect!!!
    I so totally enjoy looking at your before photos.. so fun to see the changes..

  20. Seeing how you've evolved and your home with you is part of growing, changing, being as a person. Nothing wrong with that, it's healthy, shows you're awake, aware, keeping yourself fresh. I loved every way you had your living room, it all looked fantastic, you're one heck of a decorator. You've tried, learned, changed your furniture, your likes, good for you. As you proceed in life you'll keep changing and that sure is a good thing. I just turned 75 and I'm still changing what I like, how we live. Hubs not so crazy about my changes always but he just goes with it cause if it's something he's not crazy about he knows eventually it'll be changed to something maybe he'll like alot more. Keeps him guessing. Enjoy all you do to make your home comfortable and pretty. It's a life process. Happy weekend

  21. Sarah -- Fantastic! Much as I'm a fan of white walls, I adore your gray! And that tall bookcase -- I'm drooling over it! The half-wall looks perfect also -- just like it was "borned" there! Keep up your excellence!!

  22. Thank you for sharing your talent & transformations! My style has also changed so much over the years and I'm glad to know that I'm not alone and that it is achievable! I love your style every project you do. Your home looks amazing! I would also like to know where you found your rug. It's gorgeous!

  23. I finished reading this and immediately went around the front of the house and pulled down all of the curtain panels. Such a simple idea with such a huge payoff! Thank you for the inspiration!

  24. My living room went from very brown, to black and white, and now it's moving toward more blues, each with varied states in between. I've never been satisfied with it, and I used to think it's because I change my mind often. Now I think it's because it's never felt quite right. Hopefully I'm getting closer because I'm ready to just enjoy it and not analyze it!

  25. I love seeing how your style has evolved! I need to take more pictures to document my evolution!

    My Bright Blue House

  26. Such a fun post!! I love a good "before and after", but this is even more fun because you show the WHOLE transition. So great! Thanks for sharing! I needed some living room inspiration. :)

  27. Your house is beautiful. I love your inspiration!! You have inspired me to also add the "B" word to my house...BLUE!!

  28. It was so fun to see how your room has evolved over the years. You have created the perfect mix of light, bright and sophisticated yet welcoming and comfortable. I love it!

  29. I love this! It's so fun to look through pictures and see how a room can change over the years. Love your style!

  30. Love this post! I always like seeing transformations over the years, it also validates that your style and home will come with time. Not everything can be done RIGHT as you move it (guilty as charged). Such a transformation but I LOVE how it looks now, and you are right that corner shelf looks like it should've always been there!

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs


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