Before & After: Christina's "Finally Done" Living Room

Before & After: Christina's "Finally Done" Living Room

(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)
(Image credit: Submitted by Christina)

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(Image credit: Submitted by Christina)

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(Image credit: Submitted by Christina)
(Image credit: Submitted by Christina)

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Philadelphia, PA
U.S. Owner
My room makeover::
We bought our first house, a rowhome in Philadelphia, nearly two years ago. Redoing the living room took a year and a half, during which time we had lots of overlap with other house projects. Our house was built in 1875 – because it’s so old, warm tones didn’t feel inviting, but dingy and yellowed. We painted the walls white to make everything feel bright, clean, and open and used frosted film on the bottom panes of the windows to add privacy while allowing light in. We had a lot of “weekend projects” – we built the coffee and console tables using slabs of live edge walnut and hairpin legs, the floating bookshelves with gas pipe and pipe clamps, and I replaced the messy tile on the mantle with white subway tile. The dining nook bench was built with drawers on either end for extra storage. I found the blown glass pendant light on eBay, and the table on Craigslist. The living room finally felt done when we hung our vintage mirror - it had been leaning against the wall for over a year!
My makeover advice::
I’m the sort of person who can walk into a space and know exactly what I want to do, so I want it done as soon as possible, which can be really frustrating sometimes. For the first year that we lived at our house, I was always embarrassed when friends came over because things never felt “done”. It was difficult learning to temper that feeling, but after some of the areas felt more defined, it didn’t bother me as much. I think the most important thing with redecorating a new space is started with the frame of the room – the big things – like couches, tables, bookcases, and then slowly adding the pieces that really make a space your own like pillows and knick-knacks.
What I love most about my new space::
Even though we have a lot of “little things” I feel like our living area always feels calm and not too cluttered – part of this is because so much of our artwork is from our friends and so many of our treasured objects have some memory behind them, from vintage cameras we bought on road trips to rocks we brought back from our honeymoon at Reykjavik. Our house is also filled with plants, rocks, crystals, and wood, which I think brings a sort of warmth even though the walls are stark and the floors are bare.
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