Before and After: A Paint Swap Makes This 1950s Living Room Feel Fresh and Inviting

published Jul 19, 2021
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About this before & after
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Before: Empty living room with wood floors and beige walls
Credit: Sharon Tracy

In redoing a room, you can knock down walls (or even build them back up), re-tile, add built-ins, and more — but sometimes, the biggest difference can be made with a color swap. This living room redo from homeowner Sharon Tracy is the perfect example of that.

Sharon’s 1954 home had been occupied by the original owner for 61 years when she bought it. “They took good care of the home, but they did nothing to decorate the home for at least 30 years, so everything was incredibly dated,” Sharon says. The walls and the carpet in the living room, for instance, were both salmon pink — once ultra trendy, but not the right fit for Sharon and her family.

Credit: Sharon Tracy

“This house has incredible bones and great history,” Sharon says. “That being said, it just looked old and dirty.”

Sharon wanted to honor the home’s mid-century roots but bring some happiness to the space, too. She started by tearing out the salmon-colored carpet before she even moved in to reveal the wood floorboards underneath. “Although they are distressed, it was better than the pink carpet,” Sharon says.

Credit: Sharon Tracy

The baseboards and casings weren’t in great shape — they were scratched, and much of the old varnish had worn off — so Sharon decided to re-paint all the wood trim in fresh white. “We painted the walls a bright color to add some light and freshness,” Sharon says of the breezy blue (Behr’s Tahitian Sky).

Sharon called in a pro to upgrade all the original (60-plus-year-old) outlets, but kept a some of the other charming original touches in place, like the 1950s screen door and the mail slot built into the wall.

Credit: Sharon Tracy

Updating the walls, floor, trim, and electrical cost $500, all told — but the investment was well worth it, when it came to making a fresh and inviting living room for Sharon and her family. After moving in their furniture, it’s now a cozy hangout spot that bridges the 1950s and 2020s.

“I’m proud that we’ve been able to redo this house for very little money and make it a comfortable and safe space for our kids to play and for our friends to visit,” Sharon says.

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