Before & After: Finishing Touches in an 80/20 Living Room

The Color Cure

A self-confessed "restless decorator" who loves to revamp the color in her space with each new season, Karen lets Apartment Therapy readers in on how she cozied up her home while still adhering to the 80/20 rule. What do you think she did to overhaul her already lovely, well-balanced living room?

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The Color Cure: How long have you lived in your home?
Karen: 4 years

The Color Cure: When did you overhaul the space?
Karen: June 2011

The Color Cure: How long did it take?
Karen: One weekend, with lots of breaks

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The Color Cure: Where did you find your color and design inspiration?
Karen: The inspiration for the strips came from the Old Lucketts Store "Design House" event in November 2009 in Lucketts, Virginia. (I found out about it on AT, by the way!) They had painted black and ivory stripes in the stairwell and hallways throughout the house, and I just loved it; it felt whimsical and a little bit Parisian to me. The black and ivory created more drama than I wanted, but I love the lightheartedness of the strips, and luckily that comes through even with the contrast taken down a few notches.

The Color Cure: How much planning did you put into the project?
Karen: After the Design House, I tried painting stripes on one wall of a short hallway at home, just to see, and was amazed at how it brought the space to life. Still, it took another year and a half to work up my courage to do the whole living room. I waited until my boyfriend went out of town for a week so that if it looked terrible, I could paint over it and he'd never have to know!

The Color Cure: What was the most challenging part of the project?
Karen: Choosing colors for the room was so hard for me. I don't even want to think about how many paint samples I went through. I've always been drawn to rooms with a lot of texture, and I wanted the flexibility to change colors and accessories with the seasons (I'm a restless decorator), yet it was hard to get over the notion that sticking to neutrals was a cop-out or compromise. People equate "beige" with safe and boring—it's so stigmatized! But I grew up near the beach in Maine, where the colors of the landscape are subtle and serene and all the most beautiful things are time-worn. An endless stretch of sand is the landscape of my heart!

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The Color Cure: Did you learn a new skill during your home improvement project?
Karen: Figuring out how to get the lines straight and perpendicular to the floor was a challenge, and there's probably a more scientific way than what I came up with...

The Color Cure: Are you happy with the outcome?
Karen: Deliriously happy.

The Color Cure: What, if anything, would you do differently next time around?
Karen: I wish I could have shortened the decision-making time, but I guess it's all part of the process :)

The Color Cure: If you had one piece of advice for Apartment Therapy readers, what would it be?
Karen: No great philosophical words of wisdom, but I can share a good tip for painting with a roller: Cover the tray with a plastic bag from the grocery store, pressing it flat into the corners (it usually fits perfectly). Tape it in place underneath and on top where the open edge of the bag meets the tray. When you're done, remove the tape and peel off the bag so it ends up inside-out with the wet paint inside. Easy cleanup! You can also use plastic bags to cover your brushes and rollers while you take a break.

Thanks for sharing, Karen!

Do you have a Before & After or a Color Inspiration Story to share with The Color Cure? Go ahead and get your entries in soon. We can't wait to hear from you!

The Color Cure, Week 1: Color Families
Week 1 Video: Color Families
Color Hunting: Inspiring Color Families
Color Research: Find Colors You Love All Around
Before & After: Monica's Color-Filled Living Room
Color Quiz: Which Color Family Are You?

The Color Cure, Week 2: Warm and Cool Colors
Week 2 Video: Warm and Cool Colors
Add Color to Your Kitchen Even if Your Backsplash is Tiled
Before & After: A Kitchen Overhaul Complete with Painted Cabinets
Color Quiz! Are You Warm or Cool Colored?
Before & After: Two Living Rooms Transformed with Color

The Color Cure, Week 3: The 80/20 Rule
Week 3 Video: The 80/20 Rule
Color Tip: Accent Your Entertainment Space with Colorful Dining Chairs
Color Prescription: What Color Would You Choose?

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The Color Cure

Landis is a ceramic artist who hand-makes heirloom-quality pottery for the kitchen, table, and home. She writes about tabletop design and entertaining for The Kitchn and lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and toddler.