Before and After: Living Room Renovation

Renovations. It’s a simple word that can have volatile effects on people. There are those of us who relish a good renovation project (Fixer Upper fans??? Anybody?) and then there are those who want to scream and crawl under a rock rather than face a renovation. I’m in the former category, and that was what my husband and I were searching for as we looked for a home to purchase. We had saved up a decent chunk of change and decided to find a home with good bones that needed some new life breathed into it.

We are major do-it-yourselfers and love the challenge of learning something new! Let me tell you, buying a fixer upper home is a great crash course for the avid DIYer like us. We left no room untouched and no wall unpainted. Mysteriously Tyler was always busy with some all important project when the painting had to be done…Interesting.

I’m here today to walk you through a little tour of our living room renovation. The living room is so important to me, because it is the first thing people see when they walk into your home. I really sought to create a warm, inviting, and clean environment that made people feel comfortable, not like they were in a sterile environment where you might get shot if you dropped a single crumb on the rug. I’ve got two kids so I can’t be too fussed with worrying about stains and spills. It comes with the territory y’all. Here are some of the before shots:

Living Room: Before

Living Room: Before

Living Room: Before

This house was built in 1982 and was a single owner home that hadn’t been touched since it was constructed, as you can see from the carpet patterns. Need I say more? I loved how much natural light the large window let in, so I could see the potential in here.

Living Room: In progress

The first thing we did once we purchased our home was scrape the popcorn ceilings. We left the carpet down for this and painting, so we could just roll up the mess and toss it out once we were finished. My shoulders were killing me from all the scraping. Every single room people! That’s a lot of popcorn, and not the buttery good kind. Then we went in and painted the ceilings; another good shoulder workout. You can see how dingy the “white” on the walls is compared to the fresh paint on the ceiling.

Note: Just in case anyone was worried about it we kept the kiddos out of the house while we were scraping the ceilings, just for safety over what they could have breathed in.

Lailah was almost 18 months here. Nostalgia is really hitting me looking at how tiny she is in these pictures! During the renovation, we sequestered the girls into their soon-to-be bedroom with various toys and the ever important babysitter for when you’ve got serious business to attend to: TV. It’s free and endlessly entertaining. I thought Lailah was going to go blind though from standing so close to it. We couldn’t get her to stop! We also had a baby gate up so they couldn’t run out and get into trouble.

Of course no renovation is complete without a wee tiny tot to help out! My mother-in-law gave her a paint brush and a cup of water so Izzy could help us “paint”. It was a brilliant move because Izzy was and still is at that stage where nothing would please her more than to know she’s helping.

Lailah didn’t always have her face glued to the TV screen. She would venture out to see what we were doing sometimes as long as we deemed it safe for her to do so. Their Wyna, what they call their grandma, volunteered so much and was so abundantly helpful while we were working on the house. I am still so grateful for how much she helped out! She took them to the park when they got bored and went on walks, and just kept them entertained while we worked hard to finish up the renovations so we could move in quickly.

Living Room: In progress


I made the east wall of the living room, which is the one you see upon entering the house, a focal point by painting stripes on it. Once we had selected a paint color I purchased the same color of gray in a flat finish, and alternated between flat and semi-gloss to create a two-toned stripe effect. The hardest part of this was measuring and getting my lines exactly straight up and down and making sure the tape was just as straight. Most of our work really consisted of prep work, which is the worst but it is the most important step to achieving good results.

After we finished painting, we stripped up the carpet and discarded it. The amount of dirt under that 33 year old carpet absolutely disgusted and appalled me! It was unreal! At this point my parents had come down to help us for four days. In the pictures above my dad was pulling up the carpet tack strips and Izzy was helping shop vac up some of the dust. Our allergies were going crazy from all the dust flying around!

Here my dad is taping down the water barrier in preparation for the laminate flooring we were going to put in.

This is the only picture I had of the flooring being installed in the hall and living room. I had to run errands the rest of the day and once I got back, Tyler and my dad had the hall and the whole living room done! They were bookin’ it! We thought we were working hard before my parents got there, but they had us working from about 7 a.m. to 7 or 8 at night. We pushed them out the door after they were ready to go home because we were so tired! My dad still jokes about us being glad to see them go after their work sojourn with us.

We would not have been able to move so quickly without them there to help us though! Their expertise was invaluable as my dad has built several homes himself, and now that they sold their marina, my mom works with him. They are tireless folks! I can’t keep up with them sometimes! I really need to get my butt in gear.

The hallway looking to the living room.

Now it’s ready for decorations! This was my second rug choice. I had to ship the first one back, because I wasn’t happy with the texture of it. I am so glad I went with this rug. I love the shape of it. I got it at here on a really killer sale.

Here are pictures of our finished, lived-in product:

I love the pride that comes from having your hands on almost every aspect of a project. It is so satisfying looking around and knowing that we did this and poured our hearts out in making this house into a home for ourselves.

I will periodically share more pictures and stories of different rooms in our home and our journey from taking it from drab and out-dated to our own specially design inspiration.