Before and After: A Living Room’s Calming Redo Embraces Its Natural Light

published Nov 3, 2023
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It’s amazing the role white paint plays in making a room feel brighter — and this is especially true in living rooms that are already sun-drenched. Take this living room, which belongs to homeowners Rishma Allu and her husband, Pathivada Rajsekhar Naidu. 

“We appreciated the layout, … especially the two expansive glass doors that opened to Juliet balconies,” Rishma says. “Natural sunlight flooded the living room, with sunbeams illuminating nearly half of the space in the afternoon. However, what didn’t appeal to us was the wall color.”

Before, the wall was a brownish oatmeal color, and it made the room look and feel dated. The furniture also felt dated. “We envisioned a brighter, fresher ambiance,” Rishma says. “In essence, our goal was to transform the space into a haven of freshness and light.” She and her husband gave the room a fresh coat of paint and made other small changes to make the room feel bigger and brighter. 

Credit: Reshma Allu
Credit: Reshma Allu

White paint brightens the room.

Rishma and Pathivada painted almost as soon as they moved in. They chose a Sherwin-Williams white paint for the wall. “Wall paint was definitely a ‘first’ for us,” Rishma says. “We watched numerous videos, read blogs, and made multiple visits to various stores to achieve that. It’s certainly a simple color and plain design — something easy for many people, but we were beginners.”

In the future, she says she and Pathivada might also paint their fireplace white or add white tiles. “We are not fans of the black tiles,” Rishma says.

Credit: Reshma Allu
Credit: Reshma Allu

Smart furniture choices make the room feel larger.

After the walls, the couple focused on their furniture and layout, and again, here, they went with calming shades of white, found in the new high-top table and the IKEA shoe rack used as a TV cabinet. 

“We believe minimalism is a powerful style choice that keeps your mind free and helps you focus on important things,” Rishma says. But that doesn’t mean they’re color-phobes altogether! Rishma and Pathivada warmed things up by adding cream-colored and teal drapery, and they also went bold with their accent chairs. 

“A friend offered us their two love chairs as they prepared for a move,” Rishma says. “While we appreciated their individual charm, we hesitated, uncertain about how their color would blend with our existing green and white palette. Despite our reservations, their undeniable comfort and the promise of adding a burst of color convinced us to take the plunge.” Rishma and Pathivada also bought a new sleeper sectional, making to still leave lots of floor space to maintain the open, airy feel they like. 

Credit: Reshma Allu
Credit: Reshma Allu

Accessories and plants add vibrance.

Rishma says the accessories in the space are mostly thrift finds, and she highly recommends shopping secondhand in thrift stores or on Facebook Marketplace. “This not only saved us a significant amount of money but also got us into sustainable and eco-friendly living,” Rishma says. 

Lastly, “the addition of plants brought a fresh and airy ambiance to the house,” Rishma says, and helped introduce some shades of green into the room. The result of this refresh is certainly an airy oasis — just as the homeowners were after.