This Airy Living Room Makeover Is One of My Favorite Paint Transformations Ever

published Jun 22, 2024
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empty living room brick fireplace
Credit: Liz Dineen

When I think about the living rooms I love most — from Apartment Therapy’s own house tours and Before & Afters, or from social media — there’s a definite pattern. The rooms I most want to hang out in tend to be filled with rich colors, ample bookcases, and lots of art. Texture and color are what make spaces feel cozy to me, so I’m not generally one to fawn over an all-white living room.

Except! Sometimes I see a white living room that just feels so perfectly comfortable and casual that I can’t get it out of my head. That’s how I feel about this living room transformation we published all the way back in 2021. Years later, I still count it among one of my (most unexpected) favorite living room redos.

The living room before is probably familiar to you if you’ve ever lived in a late 1990s or early 2000s home. Between the color (beige, of course), the brick (red, of course), and the clunky ceiling fan, this generously sized room actually felt so much smaller than it really was.

Credit: Liz Dineen

The secret to getting rid of the cave-like feel: The perfect white paint color (Sherwin-Williams’ Pure White) applied all over. For the walls, it’s in an eggshell finish; for the moldings, it’s semigloss; for the ceiling, it’s flat. That white paint is on the fireplace, too, in a formula made especially for masonry.

While there are a few other changes in the space, the white paint does a lot of the heavy lifting. It makes the ceilings seem higher, the windows seem bigger, and the room seem overall brighter. And all that was done without picking up a single power tool — or more than one shade of paint.

Still not sold on an all-white living room? You can use the same monochromatic paint trick with any hue you like. Vary up the finishes to add some depth and interest, then drench your whole space in color.

No matter whether you choose a neutral tone or a standout shade, make sure to follow our directions for how to paint a room. The right prep will help you get the perfect finish. Happy painting!