Before and After: A $150 Project Gives a Plain Living Room a Luxe Transformation

published May 7, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Living room with '90s-00s-era furniture and blue accent wall
Credit: Van Tuyet

Adding a little texture to your ceilings or walls is a great way to elevate your space and give it a dose of old-school architectural style, whether that’s with molding dupes (perhaps better for renters) or the real deal (often worth the investment and woodworking).

Need proof that great molding can transform a space? Take a look at artist and DIYer Van Tuyet’s (@percivalinbloom) living room redo. When Van moved in, the room already had a high-impact spot: a bright blue accent wall. But the blue was just too much, and it didn’t match Van’s modern and serene style.

“I like to have neutral walls in common living spaces and incorporate color with furniture and rugs,” she says. “The blue accent wall was drawing all the attention, and that needed to change.”

Credit: Van Tuyet

Van painted the living room a “versatile” white (Behr’s Ultra Pure White) and decided to add interest with molding on the walls. “I had considered adding crown molding, but with the open layout, it was too big of a project for me to take on,” she says. Instead, Van decided on classic picture frame molding.

She cut and added the molding herself using angled cuts on her miter saw — a DIY first for her. “I’m still intimidated by it, but I also can’t imagine not using it for future projects,” she says, and her takeaways are helpful for future DIYers.

For instance, Van says, if you’re using pine molding, it’ll likely split when you make cuts with the miter saw. She recommends adding painter’s tape to the end you’re cutting to prevent splitting.

Measuring and determining the layout took the longest — Van recommends planning out the boxes and marking them on the wall before installing anything — but the most tedious part of the DIY was getting the white paint to fully cover that bright blue wall. “I ended up doing two coats of primer and four coats of white paint,” Van says. “The makeover took almost a month because with a full time job, I can only do projects on weeknights and weekends.”

The molding project only cost $150 though, including the paint — making this a super affordable DIY with big impact.

Credit: Van Tuyet

Van made other changes to the room, too, including installing a new fan herself. Proving that you don’t always have to abide by outdoor/indoor labels for furniture, she chose Hunter’s Park View Outdoor Fan with an LED Light — a much more modern option than the brown one before it.

She also outfitted the room with a gorgeous Loloi rug, which helped to set the color scheme for her new house, plus a sleek sectional and an inviting pair of armchairs.

Now, Van’s living room is both modern and classic, luxe, and inviting — with not a drop of blue paint in sight.