Before and After: 3 Changes Make an All-White Living Room Color-Drenched and Cozy

published Sep 24, 2023
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Sometimes it doesn’t take much to transform a living room. You don’t necessarily need to knock out walls or tear up flooring — a new light fixture can work wonders, as can a new sofa or a new paint color. 

In the living room belonging to pro design couple Savannah and Kaitlyn Stone (@ainslie_design_studio), paint made a drastic difference — but so did two other big changes. Savannah and Kaitlyn originally had white walls “because it felt like a safe bet with the blue velvet sofa,” Savannah explains. “We figured we could work with accents being colorful.” 

But over time, the couple grew more and more inspired by color-drenched rooms, so they decided to make a change. The timing was ideal because they also wanted to rearrange the furniture a bit. “Before, it felt small, and we couldn’t quite figure out sizing and placement of everything,” Savannah says. “We initially went with a really large rug to fill the room and brought the sofa forward to leave a walkway behind.” 

A few of Savannah and Kaitlyn’s wants for the space? A larger feel with a better flow (including a “drop spot” for keys, sunglasses, and the like), a warmer color palette, and a fireplace. Savannah says there were “three important changes” in the living room revamp. 

A new arch-shaped opening feels cohesive in the space.

Opening up the wall to allow for a peek into Savannah and Kaitlyn’s green home office made the room feel larger and made the floor plan flow better in the home. This was the one part of the project the Stones didn’t DIY. 

“We could’ve done the drywall ourselves, but both my wife and I knew that drywall wasn’t our strong suit,” Savannah says. Instead, they hired a trade they regularly work with at their interior design business who was able to help with drywall for the new arch cutout, which matches the existing ones near the front door and leading to the hallway.

The new arch is flanked by two new sconces from Amazon, and the space between is the perfect size for a new Target credenza and a bowl for keys and sunglasses. 

A fireplace adds a focal point. 

Savannah and Kaitlyn did install the fireplace themselves. “We taped out heights, and how much it would stick out, and where we would make the cutout for the fireplace many times,” Savannah says of planning for their new focal point. “We then made a mantel that mirrored the floating shelves we have in our kitchen.” 

Savannah says building a fireplace was a first for both her and her wife, a designer and carpenter, respectively. “We bought an electric fireplace and built the surround out of 2x4s and drywall,” Savannah explains. “The mantel also took time, as it was sanded, stained, and sealed with polyurethane. 

The new comfy seating by the fireplace was a sale find from HomeGoods, and the oil-on-linen artwork above the mantel is from there, too.

Mauve paint creates a moody backdrop.

Lastly, the mauve paint in the space probably makes the biggest difference. It’s Benjamin Moore’s Mauve Mist, and the white paint on the wainscoting is Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. “I was … inspired by designers who mixed color and pattern beautifully,” Savannah says. “I was feeling really inspired by mauve and loved how it looked with the blue velvet sofa.” 

Savannah says painting the ceiling above the crown molding made the paint feel like a truly maximalist choice. “The painting was tough because we did a base coat and then two coats of the mauve, and painting a ceiling is always a little tricky.”

Savannah’s renovation advice is that things always take more time than expected. “Things need time to dry, be sanded, glued, rewired, and more.” But the result of Savannah and Kaitlyn’s renovation is coziness and warmth. 

“We spend way more time in here now than we did the first two years of living in the house,” Savannah says. “The room is so much warmer than before, and with these cold Midwest seasons, it’s perfect to snuggle up in. Many of our friends have come over and have mentioned how cozy the room is and have said they don’t want to leave. Several have fallen asleep.”

That’s a sure sign of an inviting living room.

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