Before and After: A Plain Living Room Gets a “Boho Barbie” Makeover with Lots of DIYs

published Nov 30, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

Thanks to the Barbie movie, Barbiecore (think: pops of pink, whimsical touches, and lots of accessories inspired by the beloved doll) was a hallmark trend in both fashion and design in 2023. To get in on the trend before year’s end, check out decor ideas that fit the bill and this “living room fit for a boho Barbie” by renter and DIYer Jacqueline Schowetsky (@aurorabyjacqueline). 

Left feeling uninspired by the plain white walls of her living room, Jacqueline wanted to amp up the space, which she shares with her husband, Brian, and 1-year-old daughter, Vienna, with pops of pink. Her other priority? Seamlessly blending Vienna’s toys into the decor. 

“My goal was to make the room feel more cohesive with calming pinks, brass flea market finds, and some DIY magic,” Jacqueline says. She wanted to make sure that the room was livable enough to be a cozy standard living room space without being too overstimulating, but also whimsical enough to also act as an inspiring and creative playroom for her young daughter.

Pink paint made the biggest difference. 

“The biggest and most important part of the project was choosing the paint colors that made the room feel more calm and cohesive,” Jacqueline says, adding that pink also has a playfulness to it that she loves. 

Jacqueline selected Behr’s Sunwashed Brick to bring a light beige pink to the walls without being too bold and overpowering. A similar creamy pink shade (Behr’s Pebbled Courtyard) was the color of choice for the sliding closet doors.

Brass details up the glam factor.

In her $250 room redo, Jacqueline added lots of brass details. She added new brass handles (gifted) to her closet doors, added sunburst detailing around the door handles with dowels and gold spray paint, made a frame TV, and mounted some antique brass wall sconces, which were flea market finds.

“They had electrical wiring and bulb sockets that I removed and dripped wax into in order to hold the nails that the candles would sit on,” Jacqueline says of her sconces. “For only $15, they made the space look more elegant, and [were] renter-friendly, as they were not hard-wired and used for an aesthetic purpose only. Flea markets and thrift stores are a great way to upcycle on a budget and add new features to a room,” Jacqueline says.

Furniture upgrades and other DIYs add more pink — and more whimsy.

“Refurbishing furniture is another low-budget way to really make a statement,”Jacqueline adds. She added a floral peel-and-stick wallpaper to the front of her sideboard); stripped and stained a shoe organizer in the corner of the room, painted a bookshelf, and zhuzhed up Vienna’s IKEA play kitchen with leather strap handles, knobs, and a DIY painted oven (in addition to adding a house-shape wall decal behind it. 

One takeaway here, if you have young kiddos? Adult furniture pieces aren’t the only ones that can be made cuter with a little DIY magic. “Vienna’s toys feel part of the room now instead of feeling like they were taking over the space,” Jacqueline says.

And overall, she’s proud of the cute, cozy family living room she’s created.“One of the main things we love about this living room project is that we feel like we truly share the space with our daughter. Since it is the room where we spend a majority of our time as a family, it is wonderful to be surrounded by an environment that makes you feel calm and happy,” Jacqueline says.