A Well Deserved Living Room Makeover

My mother is one of the most selfless people I know. Over a year ago, I promised I would help update her living room, and here we finally finished it for her. She lives in a quaint cape cod near the Jersey shore, so I wanted the overall feel to uphold the integrity of the house while injecting some much needed freshness!

I started with a color palette of pale blue, cream, and strategically placed dark gray to anchor the room. A few dark elements always help tie a room together and instantly make it feel more upscale.

This project was kept on as much of a budget as we could possibly contain, so we kept her existing furniture while enlisting the help of paint in a lot of areas. Some other things that needed to be addressed:

  1. The fireplace – Mom had it operational but all that was there was the concrete board. It needed some LIFE! Vito worked his magic trimming it out entirely up to the ceiling, with a nice nice tile surround and mantle.
  2. Storage – We planned to utilize the open space under the stairs with some open shelving for both visual and functional elements.
  3. Size – It’s a pretty small living room, so optimizing the space is key! This was good for us, though, since we didn’t have too much furniture to buy.

Here are some before pitcures:

Living Room Before Living Room Before

Living Room Before


It definitely needed our help! To get my mom excited for what was to come, I threw together the mood board below to see if she liked the direction my head was going in.


Mood Board



After being given the thumbs up, we rolled up our sleeves in two full day and night trips. The first day we cleared out the room and painted everything while Vito started on the shelves. Then we set the tile, and I came back for a couple hours one day to grout.

Shelf Progress Fireplace Progress Fireplace progress Fireplace progress


I think the last day there was most exciting. We stayed the night so that we could finish up the final touches while my mom was out of the house. I’m so happy she was able to come home to a brand new living room, all cleaned up and ready for her to enjoy. And now, after photos!


Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After

I’m really happy with how the gallery wall turned out! A few of the frames are thrifted and a bunch are from IKEA. The prints range from stock photos, to old pictures of my grandparents, to a photo or two from our recent trip to Italy.

Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After Living Room After


This room would definitely benefit from a big rug to anchor and pull it all together, one of the last things we’re waiting to add! My mom also plans on pulling the trigger on new hardwood floors, which again will complete this transformation once and for all. I am really impressed with what we were able to accomplish on a limited budget (around $600 total). My husband continues to impress me with his carpentry skills with each passing project – I think I will keep him :).

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