home repairs · house

Send help… I’m fallen down the decorating well

Yes, it has happened again.  It’s summer, so it must be time for me to take on some sort of ridiculous home improvement project!  My living room needs help.  It’s in a loft area, and doesn’t really function well.  In addition, it’s a victim of bad rennovations past: the woodwork is half old and half new, with the new being cheap stained pine.  The old isn’t much better – as in many victorian homes, my house originally had painted woodwork in the family areas (upstairs) and nice stained woodwork in the public rooms (downstairs).  The people who lived here before us didn’t apparently know about that, because they stripped the upstairs trim to match downstairs.  It isn’t nice – it’s mismatched and knotty.  It’s full of dings and dents.  It doesn’t match the new trim in style or color, and it doesn’t match the downstairs wood at all.   I’ve decided to bring the house back to its original state and paint the second floor trim.  It’s taken me a long time to make that decision because I come from a long line of carpenters, and it’s practically written into my DNA to not paint over nice wood!  (Keyword there: nice).  My father, a professional in old home restoration, agrees with my assessment.  To be clear, I would never touch the woodwork downstairs, and I’m not painting the nice wooden mantels we have upstairs.  I am painting the windows because they basically are down to bare wood.  They need to be replaced, but we can’t afford that right now, so I’m trying to stave off deterioration.

Painting the trim and doors will be a lot of work, but I love painting and doing house projects.  I’m going to use the opportunity to repaint all the rooms upstairs (they get heavy use, and I’m ready for a change anyway!)  At the same time, I want to redecorate one room at a time.  I’m starting with the living room!

I’m trying to choose a color scheme.  We have a red sofa, which I can’t change (I am not mentally ready for making slipcovers!) and a dark brown leather sofa.  I’m thinking of red and turquoise accents with neutral gray or taupe walls.  Here are some mockups I made:

Wall color: Benjamin Moore “Sweet Innocence”

This a pale silvery gray.  It’s the lightest color I’m considering.  This room does not get a ton of light under the best of circumstances, so it’s best to either go light to brighten or go dark to try for a cozy look.  I’ve had dark for 4 years, and I’m feeling like a lighter shade might be best.

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore “Weimeraner”

This is the color we used in the living room at our old house (to go with the red sofa.)  I’m not an enormous fan of beige, but this has a nice warmth.   It’s possible that with the dark brown sofa this may be too much brown – I want to avoid a heavy feel.

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore “Pewter”

Medium gray.  An option if #1 is too light.

The pillow and curtains are both colorized in the photo.  I plan to make new curtains and pillows (yes, home dec sewing – I hate it, but it must get done!)  It’s not necessary for every wall here to match – the room itself is a loft overlooking the stairwell.  It’s hard to explain, but it’s basically a big open space, with doors leading off to all the other rooms on the second floor.  There is also a blue fireplace, which will tie in with the color scheme:

Here it is with the pale silver paint.  Don’t worry, I am not painting any part of the mantle – only the surrounding baseboards, which are a notably different type of wood.

Once that’s done, I have a few more projects in the space.  We do not currently have a rug – the old one died and I never replaced it.  The floors need to be covered – check out this fireplace accident:

They need to be refinished, but I’m not ready yet (I’m doing the stairs first, later this summer).  I got some great inspiration online, and I’m going to try painting a flat woven rug from ikea:

Source: I heart organizing

Pretty, right?  It won’t be soft, but that’s ok – I don’t care about soft, I just want to cover the floors!

I also need a new media center.  Right now we have our tv, 2 video game systems, my husband’s server, and our Roku all shoved into a wheeled birchwood cart.  It’s not pretty:

Yes, this is embarrassing.  

I’m going to move the whole thing out of the corner to be right across from the sofa.  As for the stand?  It’s going away.  I want to turn an old dresser into an entertainment center.  My inspiration:

Source: Addicted 2 decorating

I’m pretty handy in general, and I’ve done plenty of refinishing (real refinishing, not painting, so this should be easier).

I also need to do something about the light fixtures:

Ugly fans

I’m not a ceiling fan hater, but I hate this one (there are actually two in this room because it’s so large.)  My husband loves them, so I don’t know what to do about them yet.  I’ve thought of painting them (great tutorial here) but quite frankly I’m not sure they are worth saving.  I might keep this one (the better of the two) and update the paint, but replace the other with a nice fixture.  These, from Dimples and Tangles,  look great:

Finally, I’m making light blocking liners for the window, and new, more solid curtains.  I want to be able to shut all the lights out to watch tv – right now it’s impossible in the daytime!

So… whew, that’s a lot of work.  I do like to take on projects in the summertime!  My husband helps, but this sort of project is mostly my thing.  I work at home, so I have time to get through lots of projects.  We cleared the room today – my piano waiting room now has two extra sofas in it for awhile!