Projects & Improvements

Before & After: A Living Room Gets Lighter, Brighter (& Now Looks) Bigger!

published Aug 17, 2014
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Anna Sundman)

Anna and her fiancé were like many couples who are just starting out: their first home was full of mismatched hand-me-downs. Even though there’s a big front window, the room never felt like it got a lot of natural light. And it was just small and cramped. Their goal: Make their living room lighter, brighter and look bigger! Here’s how they did it.

(Image credit: Anna Sundman)
(Image credit: Anna Sundman)
(Image credit: Anna Sundman)

From Anna:

To make the room brighter, I spray-painted my IKEA curtain rod gold, hung some sheer white curtains, and added an antique vanity mirror that I found on Craigslist. The pillows I replaced with ones I already had that were solid and light grey. Then I added a white Eames chair from eBay and some white accessories to bring the color palette up a few notches.

To make the room appear bigger, I replaced the end tables and table lamps with a single vintage floor lamp. Then I found a rug that actually fit the size of the room. This made the room seem much larger, and in an open-plan house like ours it created some much-needed physical separation from the dining area.

That trunk belonged to my fiancé’s grandfather and is over a hundred years old. It’s beautiful, but it was not helping create a light and airy feel. So, I went back to Craigslist to find an original mid-century slat bench. Opening up the space under the coffee table, in addition to the see-through effect of the slats, made ALL the difference. I then put a 12 x 12 marble tile from The Home Depot on top, found some vases and planters at Goodwill, scattered some greenery around the room, and the job was done!

Product guide: Abacasa Sonoma Jewels Rug from Wayfair // Dunham Sofa from West Elm // Joya Rocker from Monte // Tripod Table Lamp from Target // Solid Silk Pillow from West Elm // Artwork from Louise van Terheijden Art Studio and Blue Palette // Marius Stool and Planter from Ikea // Reclaimed Wood Shelves from West Elm // Greyson Sideboard from World Market // Coffee Table from Craigslist // Other planters, vases, etc. from Goodwill.

Thank you Anna! See more before and after photos of this project on Anna’s blog!

Re-edited from a post originally published 8.18.14-nt