How I Made My Dark Living Room Bright

My living room has always felt wrong to me. When I moved in I wasn't able to place my furniture the way I wanted to because of a sagging floor.  It took two years to get to it, but the floor was repaired last summer and I never thought to move the furniture.   Sigh.  Too many things on the go all the time!

Well, I finally got the urge to move everything on Friday night.  OMG what a difference.  The room feels huge and happy and I love it.




Here's the before (like when I moved in before):




So dark and depressing...

Here's what it looks like now:


Holy this room looks BIG now.  I wanted to disguise my TV as well so I surrounded turned it into a small gallery wall.  I love it!

ps notice I got rid of my area rug?  It made the room seem much smaller.  Now the light  bounces off the floor and there's nothing to stop the eye from moving across the space.




I struggled with the gallery wall, let me tell you.  There are more nail holes in that wall than I care to admit to, but I love the final look.  The scraggly plant really made the difference.  LOL  What I really love about the gallery wall is that the TV doesn't stand out like a sore thumb.  I think it works because I chose frames and pictures that matched in colour so that it blends together.



I moved the bookcases against the far wall.  Somehow having them where the TV is now made the room so small and yet the dresser that the TV is on is much deeper.  Weird.

I didn't want to disturb sleeping beauty to style the sofa so this is what you get!  This is what my house usually looks like anyway.  The quilt on my leather ottoman?  Oh that's there because Maggie decided the leather made a nice scratching post and I came home one day to find it almost in tatters.  What's up with THAT?!  Cats... good thing I love them!

Most of the furniture and the trim got painted in between when I moved in and when I took the after photos and I created an industrial table a couple of weeks ago for my sofa side table.  If you want to see the transformations, click on the links below:


Painting the trim and the paneling definitely opened up the space. It's much brighter with the light colours instead of all the dark wood. It's really amazing how much reflection comes from even a flat white painted surface.  The lighter pillows, the throw and the lack of a rug keeps it light and bright.  The new furniture placement makes the space seem huge.  It's amazing what can be done with just paint and rearranging things.

Have you swapped your furniture around lately?  Doesn't it feel make your room feel better?!

Have a great week!



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61 comments:

  1. What a huge difference ~ beautiful and fabulous just like everything you do!

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  2. I swap furniture around somewhere in the house on a weekly basis... good for the soul I figure. Love the pretty little paintings in your gallery:)

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  3. I love what you did, and I love the blue door.

    I gave my sister a pretty leather high back chair, because the cats had put a couple of scratches on the back, and I could not bear to see it ruined. SO, I agree! What's up with the leather?

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  4. Certainly better now Anne! Brighter and more cheerful. Shall I come over for a cup of coffee tonight? :)

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  5. Wow what a difference, the white paint and new wall color really lighten the place up and the rearranging of furniture really opened the space up and makes it feel so much bigger, love the new look!! Great job :)

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  6. Wow! It looks soooooo much better! Of course the paint helps, but the new furniture arrangement really opens up the space. Well done Anne! I had seen the side table makeover, but somehow I've missed some of the other posts, so I'm heading over to check them out. :)

    Debbie

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  7. The lighter brighter room helped too but I love the new furniture placement. The tv stand is a neat piece.

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  8. Wow, so much lighter--the whole room looks bigger and even the feel of the room is brighter--it has an entirely different feel--Love it

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  9. Wow! That did make a big difference! I think it all looks much lighter and more airy-er now! You are still my DIY idol girl!

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  10. Your room is lovely and bright, Anne. Love the floors and that is a perfect dresser for your TV things. Just as soon as I paint the wall in our basement TV room I am going to be adding a gallery wall around it. I noticed the crocks now that I have some, but I haven't seen a lidded one here. Love the vintage door painted my favorite colour, too!

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  11. The room is so much bigger looking and I love your style that you are going for:)

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  12. Great makeover! And I *love* the gallery wall with the TV! :)

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  13. I love the changes! The gallery wall really makes the TV look like part of the decor. Oh and the TV stand dresser is perfect!

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  14. What a difference Anne it is so light bright and spacious too!Perfection is what comes to my mind when I see your gallery wall! Oh yes cannot disturb there beauty sleep LOL!
    xx
    Anne

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  15. Hi Anne,
    Your living room is really nice with this new arrangement and the light painted trim. The one other thing that I would suggest is to change out your drapes for white ones, or cream coloured ones. Just a suggestion.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  16. I have not swapped any furniture around lately and I don't think that plant is scraggly.
    Bliss

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  17. Hi to a confused eclectic kinda a girl...LOL..everything looks awesome including the gallery wall.....if you run out of things to move in your house you know where to find mine!!!!

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  18. Anne, you have never ending energy....the room looks incredible..I love the change and it looks so fresh and bright...and I am happy to see your paintings on the wall....just beautiful...I thought you placed that white quilt on the ottoman to make the room brighter and softer...and it does!!!!...Great job as usual Anne!!!

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  19. Nice arrangement Anne ... looks fresh and bright. Love the gallery wall to ... hardly notice the TV.
    Blessings,
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

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  20. Oh my goodness what a difference Anne! Thank you so much for sharing with us at the Pretty Things party :)

    xo, Tanya
    twelveOeight

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  21. Such a huge difference! looks so bright and happy now!

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  22. Love your change, it made a "huge" difference. I think you "nailed" the gallery wall. lol fondly ~lynne~

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  23. Painting the walls and panelling really helps! And the new furniture arrangement is fabulous as is the gallery wall!

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  24. I think it looks great and totally agree with ditching the area rug. I did the same thing a couple of years ago and it really opens up the space plus with two cats and a dog, the poor rug didn't have a very high survival rate.
    Our homes must be around the same vintage. Our living room opens directly into a porch too but I have three doorways, three windows and a chimney bump out plus the dining room and living room are one long open space which makes it very difficult to re-arrange the furniture. Believe me, we've tried everything!

    One of my cats has taken to using a leather chair for a scratching post too. I thought leather would be safe but big mistake! Yours looks very relaxed on the sofa.

    Have a great week! :)

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  25. What a beautiful, cozy space! Great job! I popped over from Give Me the Goods--thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

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  26. Anne, everything looks really good. I like the cabinet the TV is on!

    Cynthia

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  27. It is quite a lovely change! Much bigger and brighter!

    Smiles,
    Rachael
    The Joyful Thrifter

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  28. Losing the area rug really made a difference - I love the lighter side of the room. Creative to blend the flat screen into the gallery wall.

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  29. I love a good decorating cheat and one of the easiest way to get a brand new look is moving your furniture around! You did a super job, looks so light, bright and cozy! Great space to relax~ lucky kitties!

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  30. I really love your "new" space! I have an older home with knotty pine in some areas. It didn't take me too long to decide to paint the kitchen because the wood was not in as good of a condition, but in the dining room and hall were in perfect condition so everyone around me kept saying not to paint it. However, I know the feeling of being surrounded in so much brown and feeling closed in. Now that you've shown me your space, I just might have to reconsider!

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  31. It looks great Anne, much brighter and more spacious! I love the dresser for your tv and the artwork around the tv looks really good!

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  32. Everything looks soooooooo good. You did a fantastic job, warm and inviting room. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

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  33. Big difference, Anne. It looks very nice.

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  34. Oh Anne, you've done a terrific job brightening up your living room. It is so pretty and inviting and very spacious looking with your new arrangement.
    Mary Alice

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  35. It looks great Anne! Please come over and fix mine too! xo

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  36. Oh, my goodness- it looks amazingly bigger and brighter! You've done a great job creating a warm and inviting space- love it. I'm apparently ADD when it comes to rearranging furniture. I moved the living room around before Christmas, still haven't moved the picture that is [mostly] hidden behind the tv. I've gotten so used to it, that I barely notice it anymore! :P

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  37. Hahahah! Love that kitty is in the sofa picture :-) Our dogs always seem to make their way into my room pictures - sometimes I don't even notice them till I'm looking at the pictures after the fact!

    Isn't it amazing how some rearranging can make such a huge difference? :-) When we flipped the TV and sofa round in our family room, it looked and felt like a completely different - and much better - space :-)

    Love your gallery wall - it really helps to disguise the TV :-) Maybe it was the height of the bookcases than made them seem like they were taking up more room before?

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  38. Wow Anne, looks fantastic! Love the new, brighter look.

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  39. I love the changes you made, Anne. You're right. . .the room looks a lot bigger and brighter. Well done.

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  40. I like the change. Painting the bookcase and the panelling really helped. Just in case you are looking for future transformations, what about going with off-white/lighter color drapes? Maybe rough satin or possibly a horizontal stripe? I am thinking of using double panels on each side to make it look fuller and maybe even a more substantial curtain rod. (You could even buy several rods and photo each. Let people vote, choose the best and return the other two.) Just an idea...

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  41. Love the lighter look. Great idea on blending the tv with art!

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  42. Wow what a difference! Great job. Thanks for linking up~

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  43. Love the transformation! As much as I appreciated the real wood and paneling look in certain settings, like a weekend cabin, I would paint it too, if it were in my home. Removing the area rug, and painting up the shelving units really make a difference, too. What a welcoming home, obviously kitty thinks, so!! Thanks for sharing ~ Amy

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  44. This is a great transformation it looks so light and spacious. My favourite bits is the door, bookcases and the way you have displayed the pictures around the TV.
    Sarah x

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  45. Love the 2 barn pictures on the gallery wall. Did you paint them or where did you get them? I love the colors and they look so serene.

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    1. Thank you Patty! Both paintings are mine - painted by me I mean! :)

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  46. I love how comfortable and inviting your room looks. The interesting chest of drawers under your TV is really a nice piece.

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  47. We got rid of the area rug that was under our table (which is in our living room because our townhouse has no actual dining area) and it made a world of difference! Now I'm anti-rug.

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  48. Wow, what a big difference, Anne! Love it. And I spy two crocks - my fave ;) Thank you so much for sharing at Give Me The Goods Monday!
    Jamie @
    Better With Age

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  49. Wow you did an awesome job it doesn't even look like the same room. It looks like it has so much more light in it. I also like the pictures around your TV.
    Julie@http://www.lovemysimplehome.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks so much Julie! I'm glad you popped in!

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  50. I love that, Anne! Thank you for linking up each week! You have such wonderful comments and interaction. Don't stop blogging! I love hearing your voice and seeing your projects!

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  51. love the way the tv is incorporated into the gallery wall, and it looks like you must get a lot of light with those plants! enjoy your new space!

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  52. Anne, it looks amazing! I love the gallery wall, and it really does blend with the TV. You did a beautiful job.

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  53. Wow,Anne, what a difference. It surely looks more spacious and light. I like the white throw on the ottoman. It brings even more light into the room. I always admire the way you make much with just a few different changes around! Joan

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  54. Wow, Anne!!! Like night and day!!! Absolutely love it!~~Angela

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  55. Your living room looks great, Anne. I love what you did. Your gallery wall (wonderful artwork, by the way) has given me a great idea on what to do with the TV in our next home. Thanks for sharing this at Every Room In The House. xx Nancy

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  56. Hi Anne, I`m your relatively new follower and first of all, thank you for your blog! We are renovating a 1920`s little house in New Zealand and favour quite the same style, so your blog is a huge inspiration. Now forgive me for this suggestion if it`s unwelcome , but have you considered widening the door from living room to the dining? Then it could be left open or proper french doors could be installed, bringing lots of light to the living room. Or do you think it will reduce wall space suitable for furniture etc?

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