Before and After: This Basement Living Room Was Lacking a Wow Factor

published Feb 28, 2019
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This garden-level space was the home’s entrance, office, guest room, and living room all in one, and though it was full of intriguing art, fantastic patterns, and great furniture, it needed a little something to make it as welcoming and cozy as possible. Removable wallpaper to the rescue!

Here’s a little background on the home, this space, and the DIYer determined to make it fabulous:

“Our home is souterrain built, meaning that the downstairs area of our house is more or less half-underground. This lounge is also our entry to the house and is used on a daily basis to put on clothes, take them off, get to the laundry room or the room of our teenage son. So you can see—frequently trafficked. For convenience we have a sleeping sofa under the staircase and a small secretary where I occasionally work. All very functional—yet what we want is cozy.

As you can see in the ‘before’ picture, I already created some sort of gallery wall above the sofa and desk, but still felt it lacked some ‘wow’ factor. Since I am working as an interior designer and always looking for new things to recommend to my clients and have also personally already played with the idea of trying something other than paint, I discovered the magic of removable wallpaper. And when I came across this lush botanical print, I knew it would be a perfect match to the rest of our home.”

And what an improvement it is. Christin of Earthly Urban Design@earthlyurbandesign on Instagram—turned a comfortable, personal, high-traffic area and turned it into a lush oasis, while maintaining the comfort and practicality. The deep green coordinates perfectly with all of the plant life and leafy textiles, while the pale tones link beautifully with the sofa and painted wood, and the warm highlights match the desk, lamp, and terracotta pot. It is quite a feat of coordination, without being at all matchy-matchy.

Christin explains what it took to make this verdant wonderland a reality. What begins as a cautionary tale ends in triumph:

“The whole project took about four hours, all in. I recommend having a friend and helping hand at your side to contribute to a smooth workflow. I however couldn’t get anyone quick enough (I am impatient) and my husband was busy as well—so I tackled it myself. Being DIY-savvy I thought it should go well. And it did! I had no major surprises during the installation. At some point the wallpaper panel, I was working on toppled over my head so I did have to keep cool to not end up with a big ball of sticky mess. Also, at the beginning I thought it’d be a good idea to start at the bottom and not the top, as advised. Needless to say that didn’t work too well, and I reverted to starting at the top of the ceiling, as I should have from the beginning.”

It’s impressive how wallpaper (this one is Bushes wallpaper, available from Coloray) finishes and polishes a space so thoroughly. This living room was great before, but now it’s fully realized, complete, and totally gorgeous. This desk is a wonderful piece that’s framed perfectly by the bold wallpaper. Rather than distract from the desk, the wallpaper highlights its beauty. The paper also activates the white walls as a contrast to the grassy statement wall. Christin is rightfully thrilled with the low-risk results:

“I am completely smitten with the result. This print in its glorious green tones, mixed with blush and rust hues, really transformed the a-bit-unloved space into a kind of oasis.

Would I do anything different, if I’d do it again? Yes—follow the instructions from the beginning and do not pretend I know better AND do it earlier and not wait around forever. If you have someone who can help you, accept the offer. It will make things easier and probably quicker for you. If you are, however, a bit of aa lone ranger like myself, don’t let it scare you as it is totally doable with a good portion of patience. And yes, if you have considered using removable wallpaper yourself, but aren’t sure yet, let me tell you—it is much better than regular wallpaper as you completely skip the glue-y mess part”

Christin’s words of encouragement should inspire anyone interested in trying out removable wallpaper, whether or not they’re by-the-book types or prone to winging it.

Thank you, Christin of Earthly Urban Design!