Before and After: This Plain Living Room Is About to Get 100 Times Cozier

published Nov 16, 2020
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About this before & after
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Before: living room with blank walls

Weird layouts can make designing a cozy hangout spot tricky. Take it from Julie Garel of Lavender Julep, whose long living room presented some challenges.

“Our home was not custom by any means, so while we could pick some of the finishes, we didn’t get much say in terms of layout,” says Julie. “While we were so excited to be in our first home, we knew the living room had to get an upgrade. It’s the room we spend the most time in, and its long, awkward shape wasn’t super functional.”

While they created a room that looked pretty nice with what they already had, it still felt pretty plain—and Julie knew it could be better. “Our biggest need was storage, so we knew that shelving and built-ins would be extremely helpful!” Julie says. “We’ve also always loved the look of a fireplace, and while we couldn’t do gas, we knew an electric insert would provide the same cozy vibe.”

So Julie and her husband got to work, taking on the living room redo as this year’s One Room Challenge and doing most of the work on their own.

On one end of the room, Julie and her husband installed an electric fireplace insert for peak cozy vibes. The fireplace also helps create a natural focal point in the room, above which Julie mounted a Frame TV—when it’s off, it looks convincingly like a piece of art.

While some things are new—like the rug and the sofa—Julie was able to save a little money by keeping the same coffee table. For a fresh look, she swapped out the old top for a new wood one and painted the legs gold.

On the other side of the room, Julie created the storage she needed with a new sideboard. It’s made with IVAR cabinets that she painted in a soft vintage-y green. Floating shelves above help add interest to the once-blank wall.

While the whole room is modern and timeless thanks to its neutral color palette and materials, it still has pops of color that make it feel warm and inviting.

“What I love most about the ‘after’ is the fireplace!” Julie says. “We have an open-concept layout, so it has really become the focal point of the whole main floor, and it makes me so happy. We were also able to hide all of the TV boxes and cords within the structure, so it definitely solves all of our clutter problems, and just looks like it was supposed to be there.”

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