Before and After: Bespoke Wall Treatments Give This Living Room a “Vintage Feel”

published Sep 4, 2023
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If you’re an avid DIYer, maybe you’ve already gotten to every room in your home. In that case, why not take your woodworking, wallpapering, and painting skills on the road and help out friends and family with their projects? Perhaps this dad-and-daughter living room DIY will inspire you, this living room redecorated by sisters, or this kitchenette made for a mother

Krista Wells (@georgestownonmymind) is another DIYer who used her skills for others. She redid this sunroom for her friends, Maria and Paul — and since it’s a space used for entertaining, she’ll even get to reap the benefits! Before, the room was “a little bit of an unknown,” Krista says. “With another area for a dining room plus an adjacent living room, we decided to create a lounge space for reading or entertaining and making cocktails for guests.”

The room had nice floors and windows that overlooked the backyard going for it, and Maria and Paul loved the light fixture, “but it lacked the warmth and character that Maria craved,” Krista says. “It was plain and boring and a little cold.” Here’s how they added some character and charm — no demo required. 

Credit: Krista Wells
Credit: Krista Wells

A new wall treatment and color added warmth.

“We installed vertical shiplap to the window wall to create height in the room and draw attention to those beautiful windows,” Krista says. (They painted the shiplap a muted brown-gray, Benjamin Moore’s Weimaraner.) 

The remaining walls are painted the same color but also got a stenciling treatment with a William Morris stencil in one shade darker (Farrow & Ball’s Mouse’s Back) “to create a tone-on-tone wallpaper look,” Krista says. She adds that the triangle-shaped wall under the stairs was the most difficult one to stencil. “But it worked out just fine in the end!” Krista says. “While I assumed the stenciling would be the most difficult part of this project, it wasn’t at all. With patience, it was easy to do and made a huge impact on the overall feel and visual appeal of the space.” 

It did, indeed, require patience because stenciling the entire room took seven hours. (Well worth it, though, according to Krista!) “The addition of the wall treatments and the muted paint colors really added warmth to this space and truly transformed it,” she says. 

Credit: Krista Wells
Credit: Krista Wells

A few tips will help stenciling beginners.

Krista has takeaways for those who would like to try wall-to-wall stenciling — and she does recommend it because it costs less than buying wallpaper and is easy to paint over if you mess up. 

“If you’re going to try your hand at stenciling, pick something busy and a small space or wall with very little obstructions,” she says. “Take your time and be patient. Fill in all the space you can with the whole stencil before you start chopping up the stencil to get in the corners or small spots.”

Credit: Krista Wells
Credit: Krista Wells

Furniture and artwork complete the space.

Next up, Krista helped Maria and Paul decide on furniture for the space. Seating in the room was lackluster before, but they selected a long black metal sideboard with a wood top as well as four boucle chairs and a rattan coffee table to fill in the space. The Loloi rug is the same one from before. “The addition of multiple textures really made the room sing and gave it depth,” Krista says.

Lastly, adding artwork was the most difficult step. “With so much to choose from, it was hard to narrow down what would go in those frames,” Krista says. “The nice thing is, it can be changed depending on seasons or even just if Maria and Paul’s tastes change.”

She says the only thing she’d do differently in the space is choose a wider mirror, but she does love that it reflects the window “and gives more light and makes the room seem bigger and more airy.” Overall, Krista is pleased with the new look she created for her friends. 

“It’s warm and has just a touch of a vintage feel,” she says. “It’s a wonderful place to curl up and read or have a drink and hang out with friends!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.