Before and After: This Living Room Goes from All-Beige to Bright and Cozy

updated Dec 23, 2019
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When you move into a new-to-you home, you inherit all of its former owners design choices. Sometimes they’re good—like great architectural features, distinctive fixtures, or chic paint choices—and sometimes, well… not so much.

Katie Bray and her husband moved into their 1930s semi-detached home in the UK a little over a year ago, and got to work on every single room. The living room had some nice features, including a fireplace and a picture rail all the way around. But there were also some not-so-nice ones: blah beige walls, for one, and dated wallpaper and lighting.

The living room also came with a, er, bonus: a grammatically incorrect quote on the wall that read, “Happy Ever After / Grow old With Me, / T[he] Best Is yet to be”. No surprise here, but that was the first thing Katie removed.

But she didn’t stop there. The new homeowners also stripped the room’s dated wallpaper, filled in cracks, and painted the walls a brighter and more contemporary gray, Dulux Chic Shadow. They hired workers to knock in their fireplace (looks. so. GOOD.) and build shelves in the surrounding alcoves (can we talk about that reading corner??). And they picked out new carpeting and window treatments to lighten up the space.

The work took about two months and cost a little less than £2,000, including some new furniture and decor. In the future, Katie would like to buy a new sofa and build cabinets into the alcoves.

To anyone else embarking on a big home reno, Katie’s advice is to “paint what you can and get the help where you need it.” Smart!