Before & After: Monica's Color-Filled Living Room

The Color Cure

Moving into their new home, Monica and her husband faced the challenge of integrating their color scheme with the space's dominating woodwork. After collecting dozens of paint swatches, they settled on Sherwin-Williams' Beguiling Mauve, a color that satisfied their "preference for blues while having enough red in it to make the trim stand out less." Read on for after pics and an interview that reveals every detail about this color makeover...

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

The Color Cure: When did you overhaul your space?
Monica: Mostly in the six weeks between closing on the house and moving out of our apartment. We were lucky to have that time!

The Color Cure: How long did it take?
Monica: Getting to a "clean state" didn't take too long (two weeks maybe), though removing all the staples from the carpet and padding seemed to take forever! Everything else was done in stages. We lived with just the shades on the windows for a year before getting curtains. One nice thing about waiting is that we had a lot of "Wow! What a change!" days.

The Color Cure: Where did you find your color and design inspiration?
Monica: I'm an atmospheric scientist, and I'm always inspired by the sky. And flowers. My mom had a copy of "The House Book" that I loved looking through when I was little—that's always stuck with me. I loved the exuberance of Domino magazine. We both like serene, clean, modern design. We're decidedly cool-colors people. For this room I wanted a wall color that would make the lighter colors in the room stand out and the woodwork recede, if at all possible. So I knew I needed something redder than I'd normally pick. It's really nice to have a paint store within walking distance—I could walk over to gather a lot of paint chips.

The Color Cure: How much planning did you put into the project?
Monica: When we put an offer on the house we knew we'd have the carpet pulled up and the floors underneath refinished, and the wallpaper would be taken down. We contracted out the floor refinishing and did the rest ourselves. Once we moved in, decisions were made quickly, but we didn't make a whole lot of decisions at once. It took a couple of weeks to decide on the wall color. Once I had paint chips, there was a very quick first round of eliminations, since what looked promising in the store light didn't work at home (and I didn't have a piece of the woodwork with me at the store). The rest were taped up and held up to the furniture in different lights over a few days.

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The Color Cure: What was the most challenging part of the project?
Monica: Being patient. Being on your hands and knees to pull up lots and lots of staples hurts! Taking down two layers of very old wallpaper was tiring. The bottom layer was likened to a cave painting it was so old. And it was stuck on there good! Living with things not quite the way you want them is a gnawing annoyance, too. We had a tiny TV cart I hated in the corner for a couple years. But we didn't have the time to find everything at once, or time to work to make things better all at once.

The Color Cure: Did you learn a new skill during your home improvement project?
Monica: I'm happy with the new TV cabinet, it was brown and had a really dinky drawer pull. Changing out the drawer pull involved wood putty and careful measurements, but it wasn't difficult. I was totally inspired by the ikeahackers page for that project!

The Color Cure: Are you happy with the outcome?
Monica: Yes, definitely!

The Color Cure: If you had one piece of advice for Apartment Therapy readers, what would it be?
Monica: You probably don't need to carry as much stuff with you as you think.

Thanks for sharing, Monica!

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
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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.