Before and After: A $475, One-Week Redo Turns an Uninviting Living Room into a Cozy Hangout Space

published Jan 18, 2023
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Before: Living room with yellowish beige walls
Credit: Shanna Roberts

Although almost any paint color can look chic in the right context, it is true that some people have certain colors they just don’t jibe with. For homeowner Shanna Roberts, it’s the “buttercup yellow” that the front of her home was painted when she moved in in November 2022.

“We love the natural hardwood floors and the space available, but the color was not comfortable or inviting,” Shanna says. “It’s the first room you see when you enter the house, and it didn’t evoke any feeling of wanting to relax there.”

Credit: Shanna Roberts

Shanna and her fiancé, Aaron, knew that for them, simply swapping out furniture and decor wouldn’t make a big enough change in the space. The room would need to be repainted a more soothing-to-them color, too. “The biggest thing I struggled with was paint choice.” Shanna says. “It can be a real deal disappointment if it doesn’t come out the way you hope it will. I spent a few days comparing greens; what’s too dark, what’s too bright, what’s too bold.”

Shanna landed on Sherwin-Williams’ Evergreen Fog. “The first wall was a dream,” Shanna says. “It was perfect!” With the color decided, she and Aaron also added some chic texture to the walls during their revamp.

Credit: Shanna Roberts

“I purchased a polyurethane molding from Home Depot well within our budget, $180 for 40 8-foot pieces,” Shanna says. (Their entire redo, including a brand-new but secondhand sofa, cost $475.) Shanna and Aaron spent the weekend painting their space and touching up the trim, and then they worked on the moulding throughout the following week. Shanna drew lines for where it would be placed so that they could maximize their materials. Their 40 8-foot pieces arrived that Thursday.

Credit: Shanna Roberts

“Friday was the day we started putting it up, knowing that Saturday evening we were having family over for a get-together,” she says — and there’s nothing like company coming over to help set a deadline for home projects! She and Aaron spent 10 hours that Friday (into the early Saturday morning hours) attaching the trim.

Credit: Shanna Roberts

“I was hoping I’d be able to apply it just using construction adhesive, but it wasn’t working — too much slippage, and it wouldn’t go quickly enough,” Shanna recalls. “Luckily, I thought ahead and got trim nails. We’re slowly investing in tools, and a brad nailer hasn’t gotten into our garage yet, so hand nailing the trim was tedious, but we made it work.”

Her advice for DIYers considering the same renovation or project? Get a brad nailer. “I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait to buy one,” she says. “That’s me in a nutshell. Do yourself a favor, and make that a necessity.” Nonetheless, after hand nailing the trim, the new picture frame moulding was complete. Shanna and Aaron painted it green that Saturday morning then cleaned for their party. “We cranked it out together, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner to handle it with me,” Aaron says.

Next up for Shanna and Aaron? Painting their buttercup yellow living room on the other side. “You can still see in one of the photos that we haven’t gotten to the living room yet!” Shanna notes.

Credit: Shanna Roberts

Of course, the refreshed walls have served Shanna and Aaron well beyond their weekend hosting duties; they now have a spot that “feels like home,” Shanna says. “It’s a place I want to play board games with the kids. It has our music corner with Aaron’s instruments and piano. I can relax in there with coffee and book and feel comfortable. It brings together our interests and taste and has turned into a spot where we can indulge in our pursuits, even in the same room. We even have Aaron’s mom’s paintings on the wall, and they just help bring it all together! It’s perfect for our family.”