Before and After: A $3000 Floor-to-Ceiling Redo Livens Up a Dated Living Room

published Mar 6, 2021
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Before: Living room with outdated curtains, striped wallpaper, and gray carpet
Credit: Katrina Justiniano

Colonial-style houses come with many gifts, like great windows, symmetry, and tall ceilings. But like any place built over 100 years ago, homeowner Katrina’s 1900 Colonial Revival house needed some updating — especially in the living room. While it had large windows, the space felt dark and uninviting because of the old gray carpeting, dark valances, clunky ceiling fan, and striped beige ’70s-era wallpaper. Katrina and her husband decided they needed to tackle this room first when they moved in.

Credit: Katrina Justiniano

“We knew at minimum the carpet would need to go,” Katrina says. They pulled up the carpet — making sure all the staples were out of the floor was tedious, Katrina says — and underneath were hardwood floors. And not just any hardwood floors: actually well-preserved hardwood floors, which can be a rare find.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the floors through the whole house,” Katrina says. “The thick, ugly carpet really protected the original flooring.” To get the wood looking like new again, Katrina and her husband hired floor refinishers to give them a new coat of stain in a classic English chestnut color and a matte finish.

Credit: Katrina Justiniano

Katrina and her husband stripped the 1970s wallpaper themselves and patched any of the resulting wall flaws with plaster. Next, they painted the trim a refreshing white (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace) and landed on a light pink shade (Benjamin Moore’s Yours Truly) for the walls.

Choosing the color wasn’t as easy as Katrina expected, since the hues look so different at home versus at the store. What helped? Getting more samples than necessary and looking at paint chips at various points in the day to see what the colors look like in various lighting conditions.

“The process was about two weeks for the work to be completed but took a little bit longer to source some of the décor,” Katrina says. For a comfy living space, she opted for breezy boho curtains paired with glam curtain rods from West Elm for the windows, a mirror from HomeGoods, plus a dimmable chandelier (bye, clunky ceiling fan), marble-top coffee table, and colorful rug from Wayfair.

All in, the redo cost $3000, which includes everything from the floor refresh to paint and supplies, new light fixture, rug, curtains, and the mirror. Now, Katrina’s space is totally bright and inviting, and the new finishes make the original 120-year-old Colonial Revival features sing.

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