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Old House – Living Room Updates


Our Living Room DIY Updates

I still am not 100% sure what I’m even doing writing away on this little blog but I’m just going to keep winging it for now. One of my favorite rooms of DIY projects in our old house was our living room. In fact, one of the living rooms in our new house is almost exactly identical to that of the old house – it looks like we transplanted the entire room into the new house.

Before… it looks like it’s just a solid room with dark brown trim. Wrong. It’s cream colored wallpaper! And it was in bad condition. Seams torn apart, rips and scuffs – basically, our only option was to tear it all down, again. The living room was large but luckily it was not wallpapered past the chair rail where it was solid wood. The updates made a big difference!


I’m going to be honest, I loved this room’s character. The built-ins, the fireplace, the floor-to-ceiling window & door on each side of the fireplace.

Our task list

  • remove wallpaper, ugh
  • paint all wood trim & built-ins bright white
  • sand, prime, and paint walls
  • paint fireplace (remove brass door)
  • furniture
  • replace ceiling fan/light
  • knock out wall into kitchen (decided against this for profit/budget reasons)
  • replace flooring
  • replace exterior patio door with something more energy efficient

We honestly did tackle most of our projects for this room. Only decided against knocking down that wall into the kitchen because it didn’t make financial sense to dig into our potential profit when we were going to sell.


Wallpaper, as usual, was a pain. But we did it with the help of our friends and family – thanks y’all!

Paint: The wood trim was easy to paint, just took lots of patience. I chose the brightest white trim paint. Wanted it to be easy to clean and stay nice and glossy for years. The built-ins were my favorite once we got them bright white, I used a roller for that part of the project and when I rolled the same trim paint onto the lower half of the wall below the chair rail; the rest of the trim, I just used a trim brush.

For the walls, I knew I wanted a deep navy. Honestly, I assumed navy would be SO easy to paint on because it is dark and would cover well. Wrong. It took like 4 coats. But I loved how it turned out. Navy is my favorite! And it was such a contrast against the white trim.


Painting the fireplace was by far my favorite project in the room. What a difference! It took it from a country-style ranch to a stylish bright focal point. Decorating for Christmas and holidays was SO much more fun with the white as the blank canvas. SUPER easy too – if you are on the fence about painting your brick fireplace, DO IT! I used a bright white trim paint and a trim brush. My husband and I literally tackled this in ONE nap time while our baby napped. And we are lucky if our little one naps for an hour, that’s how quickly we finished this. Wish we would’ve done it sooner.

Ceiling Fan

We replaced the ceiling fan (and painted the ceilings a brighter white) almost immediately. I went with a nautical themed fan that was suitable for a patio because I loved the lantern look, we just mounted it flush with the ceiling. My one regret with our fan was that the light was SO bright and I’m not a huge overhead light person anyway – I love lamps. So I never let B turn it all the way up.


We replaced the flooring, old dingy ivory carpet with the same laminate flooring we used throughout the downstairs and we were very happy with it. Even in the most high-traffic areas of our home, it was perfect and fairly easy for us to install ourselves.

Furniture & Layout

For furniture, I will admit layout was kind of tricky because of the windows and built-ins and 3 different doorways going into the room. When we first looked at the house, it was so overly furnished it was hard to look past it. B (think that’s what we’ll just refer to my husband as, that’s what all of our family/friends call him anyway) really wanted a sectional but it just wasn’t going to work in the space. I think we came to a great compromise – B wanted a dark leather, I wanted a nice light neutral with lots of fun pillows. Our 2 black labs and a growing baby boy were the main reasons we agreed to avoid that.

We get all of our furniture locally from Biggerstaff Furniture, I love the way they treat us and they always have the best stuff! This dark brown leather Basset Hamilton sofa was large enough to please B and the nailheads made me happy + with the Robert Allen ikat fabric ottoman and matching pillows, I knew it was the perfect blend of modern pattern for the old house. Plus the gold and white gallery wall behind the couch added lots of personality to the space.

And our last project was replacing the exterior door, we just went with an energy efficient replacement that was safer, more security & eliminated the draft from the original door. I painted it white to match the rest of the room.


What do you think? We spent the most time in this room by far and we were so happy with the end result. When I show you our den at the new house, you won’t believe the similarities!



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