Spiffing Up the Living and Dining Rooms
My little 1960’s bungalow got a swift kick in the kitchen pants the very day I moved in. Now it was time to spiff up the living and dining rooms. And the rest of the house? Well there are just so many hours in a day!
I knew from the first time I looked at the house that it had lots of potential, and other than the kitchen, it wasn’t going to require miracles to make it the home I wanted. It was going to require some paint, a few new light fixtures, new bathroom vanities, and some elbow grease. All of this I can do! (If you haven’t see the kitchen remodel, pop on over here to read that post.)
When I first looked at the house, the living room had pale yellow walls, a white mantel over a red brick fireplace, and tan carpeting. The adjoining dining room (the key word is adjoining) had pink walls and, thankfully, hardwood floors.
But I purchased the house anyway and had the carpet torn out before the moving van ever arrived. It is amazing what a little demolition work can do!
The kitchen was a complete wall-to-wall remodel, but the living and dining rooms really just needed some fresh paint…well, light fixtures, window coverings, and furniture are also on that list, but hey…that’s easy! I was foolishly under the impression that I could just whip out the paint and spiff it all up easy-as-you-please, until I ran a putty knife along the door trim and the paint peeled off in sheets. Argh! Why did the paint peel off? Because the person who last painted did not prep the surface correctly…or at all!
So our first lesson in painting, or with any project, is good prep work. Good prep work lays the foundation for a really nice finish. It is by far the worse part of the project and probably takes the most time. But, oh my, what a difference it makes! And good prep work won’t piss off the next person who comes along behind you to paint! That person happened to be me. Grumbling and cursing the person who lazily brushed latex paint over an oil-based paint without priming! So what did I have to do? Scrape paint.
But scraping paint gave me some time to think about what I could do to give the dining room its own look–wallpaper or beadboard wainscoting–and how I could torture the person who was responsible for this senseless act! ?
I settled on the beadboard treatment.
I know that Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality loves beadboard wallpaper. That probably should have been my first choice because it would have combined the two treatments I was contemplating! And if you are looking for beadboard wallpaper, give her a visit. But I wanted a different look, and one that I could carry into the bathroom down the hall and not be worried about too much moisture.
I found beadboard paneling at my favorite store…Home Depot…along with baseboard that has a groove for the paneling to fit down on and chair rail moulding that finishes the top edges. It really was much easier than I anticipated. Armed with my hammer and nails, wall glue, and saw, I installed the baseboard first.
Then I cut the beadboard panels and glued them to the wall, and finally I finished with the chair rail moulding.
I will confess that it didn’t look so hot until I filled seams and gaps around the windows with caulk, finished the inside corners with moulding, and painted it. I’m pleased with the results.
Since the living and dining rooms adjoin, I painted the walls with Sherwin Williams ‘Oyster Bar’ satin paint. The trim is white semi-gloss and the ceiling is just a shade creamier than the trim in a satin. I really love the look of khaki walls and white trim. I think it is very classic and is a wonderful backdrop for just about any color palette.
But now I am going to share with you something very few people do…and that is what my living room looked like during this whole process.
It was a mess! All of the furniture for the living and dining rooms was piled into the middle of the room and had to be shifted around every now and then. I personally love seeing other peoples’ messes. It really makes me feel so much better about mine. This is the reality of spiffing up your home. It’s going to get messy before it gets spiffier!
I wanted to add a pop of color in the living room. In my previous home…a ‘contemporary Texas Hill Country’ home…I used very earthy tones with a pop of dark red as you see with my dining room chairs and living room wing chair. But in this home I want to use something fun…spring greens, shades of turquoise, and oranges. So I decided to be bold and paint the mantel green!
And oh boy, did I think I made a huge mistake! What an incredibly ugly mantel I had just painted! And just in case you want the paint color…it is Glidden ‘Spanish Olive’. Haha!
But before the wailing and gnashing of the teeth could begin in earnest, I knew I needed to get rid of that red brick. I painted the brick a flat black and saved myself some serious flogging!
What a difference! It hardly seems like the same house!
Do you know the children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? That’s how I think of my home projects. One thing leads to another. So now the search for new upholstery fabric for the red chairs begins!
What are you spiffing up these days? I’d love to hear about your projects!