Before and After: A 2-Color, $200 Paint Job Brings the Best Parts of This Old Living Room to Life

published Oct 1, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Large front room with dark trim, white walls, and brick fireplace

It’s no surprise that almost all of the 2022 paint colors of the year have been green. PPG selected Olive Sprig, a light grayish-green color; Behr selected a cool silvery green called Breezeway; Sherwin-Williams went with Evergreen Fog, a cozy and moody shade; and Glidden chose a cheerier shade named Guacamole, because, well, what puts people in a better mood than guac?

Green is a great foundational color to mix with many textures and tones, and many consider it to be soothing, which is why it makes such a great shade for living rooms or anywhere meant to unwind.

In Carla Morrone’s (@casa_de_car) living room, where she currently works from home during the day and entertains in the evenings, the walls were painted plain white. She’d chosen the color when she first moved in while she was figuring out to do with the place — “to set the tone… creatively to make changes down the road.”

The floors and trim were a high-gloss black, which sounds more glam in theory than it was IRL. “Every speck of dust and dog hair showed up on these floors,” Carla says.

But the fireplace was something she loved. “This fireplace is actually the reason I fell in love with the house,” Carla explains. “It’s just around the corner from the front door and one of the first things you see when you walk in. I am completely obsessed with the floor-to-ceiling brick.”

Because she wanted to keep the look of the old brick, the fireplace actually didn’t need much work, just a coat of Sherwin-Williams’s Tricorn Black on the hearth. What needed work was the surround — something to make the old brick beauty stand out.

Carla decided to up the wow factor by adding green (Sherwin-Williams’s Calico) to the walls. The green shade adds a unique twist to the space that makes its historic traits pop while still being a soothing backdrop. By painting the trim the same color, Carla created a seamless look that makes the space seem larger.

“I thought I could not handle how much I loved this fireplace before, and now that it’s in a space with a backdrop I literally can’t get enough of, my heart explodes a little every time I walk into this room,” she says.

Carla says she loves her color choice because it looks great at any time of day. (Perhaps especially when the sun hits her disco ball overhead, and light bounces onto the green walls!)

And the walls aren’t the only surface Carla painted to make her space less stark and more modern and cheery. Check out the floors, now an icy blue-green color from Behr aptly named Ice Rink.

“Painting floors is really about having a super clean (but rough) surface, and then applying your paint,” Carla says. She started by thoroughly cleaning her floors and then sanding gently to take the shine off of the high-gloss floors. “I did this by hand, but certainly a machine would be much easier,” Carla says.

After sanding, she did a second, thorough clean to get rid of the dust and debris from sanding, and then it was time for priming, adding a heavy-duty floor paint, and a sealer.

If she were doing the project over again, Carla says she would add a second coat of sealer just to protect the blue-green floors a bit more, but waiting for the sealer to dry was the hardest part.

“I was far too eager to move my things back into the living room and get to work,” she says. “This is so important, and I break the rules all the time, but give your paint time to dry. It will definitely save you from fixing mistakes later.”

But Carla’s makeover proves that breaking the rules also sometimes works in interior design. “I personally think there are no rules when it comes to a color scheme or how you’re pairing colors; there are just ways to push the envelope,” Carla says. “I think people thought I was a little nuts when I started with these colors. People either love it or are wildly skeptical of my color choices.”

If all the paint color experts who predict greens will continue adding wow factor through 2022 have anything to say, there are going to be a lot more people in the “love it” column.