Bright Living Room Makeover with Huge Gallery Wall

I am so excited to share this room with you. Shortly after the holidays, I told Scott I really wanted to overhaul our formal living room. It's a room we've never paid much attention to from a design perspective; it was definitely serviceable, but I didn't love it. Now that we've completed the major projects at our house, we can circle back to decent rooms like this and try to make them spaces we can really use and enjoy.

We have been stealing hours here and there, late at night and during the twins' naps on the weekends, slowly but surely redecorating this room. I can't believe how long it takes us to do everything now that we have two toddlers. It's nuts. But we still love doing this stuff, so we make a point to just chug along until the project is finally complete. This weekend we hung up some final pieces of art and said, "Finito!"

Wondering what this room looked like before I went with the "more is more" approach to our gallery wall? Here's a before photo from a couple of years ago, and it hasn't changed much since then:

One reason this room hasn't received a lot of attention is because like most people, we have never used our formal living room on a regular basis. Actually, let me clarify: We use this room, but we only use it as a very wide hallway. Our home's layout is somewhat unique, and this room is smack dab in the middle of the house. It's adjacent to the formal dining room, the kitchen, the playroom and the hallway that leads to the side of the house with our three guest bedrooms, including the twins' nursery. We pass through here on our triangular path between our room, the twins' room and the kitchen/playroom area, but we never stop and use the space. The room has been always been an afterthought because we just passed through and never cared about it very much.

It wasn't super unappealing, but over the years this room and most of the items in it became blah to me. I couldn't really figure out what I didn't like about it, so I started analyzing the space, piece by piece. The wall color was Revere Pewter like the rest of the house, which meant the taupe sofa just sort of blended in with the wall. That was no bueno. We liked the sofa, so we decided to start by painting the walls. We thought about whether to go darker or lighter, but I was worried about going darker because this already the room in our house with the worst light. Because it's landlocked in the center of our house, it doesn't have any direct light from our windows. In the end we decided to paint it white, the same color as our adjacent playroom, to create some contrast with the sofa and to give us a bright blank canvas for the gallery wall I had planned.

Before I get too deep into the details, I've already decided there are too many projects here to tackle in one post. I'm just going to give you an overview with all of my sources, and then I'll come back with additional blog posts explaining how we tackled the pieces of the puzzle that took the most time - the DIY live edge coffee table, our affordable gallery wall featuring upcycled thrift store frames and hanging that chair from the ceiling. I'm also planning a post about my rug and rug pad tips because I think it's very hard to spend a lot of money on big rugs when you have children and dogs, but you can still get a stylish room by shopping sales. Scroll to the end for all of my shopping sources.

The other side of the room didn't change nearly as much, but I did replace the blue and white garage sale chairs you see below with more neutral accent chairs. I like that I have a lot more flexibility to change up my color schemes for the different holidays without those blue and white chairs. 



We kept most of the big pieces of furniture in the room, but we incorporated a lot of new things. New chandelier (via Craigslist), new accent chairs, new DIY coffee table, new wall sconces, new artwork, new accessories.

The overall feeling of the room is so much happier and much more personal because the gallery wall is filled with art and photos that are special to our family.

One of my hardest decisions was what to put in the corner between the sofa and the playroom. We've rotated various items over there, but nothing ever felt right because our sofa is super tall. We put these really neat legs that we found at an Atlanta flea market on our basic Rooms to Go sofa, which made it 4 inches taller than it was when we bought it. The only problem is that it dwarfs normal chairs, so nothing looked proportional beside it. 

I'm not sure why I thought about a hanging chair, but I'm so glad I did. It's the perfect fit! I got to choose the length of the chain, which meant I could put it at the right height to look cohesive with the sofa. Not only that, but it really draws your eyes up and emphasizes the tall ceilings. Did I mention it's really comfortable and the kids love it? Everybody wins!

Because the room was going to have so many hard lines with a gallery wall of straight-edge frames, I wanted to bring in a lot of curves with the rest of the furniture, lighting and accessories. I fell for these circular wall sconces, and I was so pumped to score this graceful, oversized chandelier on Craigslist. There are rounded touches of black throughout the room - the lights, the chandelier, the hanging chair, the legs of the coffee table - that really bring it all together. They also mix perfectly with the black lantern chandeliers we have in the entryway and formal dining room.

Our new coffee table was quite an ordeal, but I'll save that story for another day. I just love the live-edge look and natural wood tones. The best part is that the edges have all been nicely rounded so the table is really kid-friendly, and the kids love playing there.

Now that the room has been redecorated and is a little more functional for us, we are spending so much more time in here. I'm really pleasantly surprised that it's turned into such a family hangout space for us because I really just intended it to be a pretty hallway, you know? I didn't envision us sitting on this rug playing with blocks and eating our little cheddar crackers on this table. It makes it feel worth the time and money, which is good because the hubby is giving me a little bit of side-eye about how much money I spent on this makeover. Oops. (Insert shrugging emoji) 


Wall color: Pure White, Sherwin Williams
Sofa: Cindy Crawford Home Chelsea Hills Beige Sofa from Rooms To Go (with custom feet)
Coffee table: DIY, with twist hairpin legs from Modern Legs (blog post coming soon)
China cabinet: Weirs Furniture
Rug: Arabella Faux Cowhide Diamond Tiles Rug from Rugs USA (9x12)
Rug Pad: Superior Lock Premium Rug 1/4" (I normally skip the rug pad step to save money, but this one is high quality and made the rug feel so much softer - perfect for twin toddlers with bad balance!)
Accent Chairs: Charcoal Oscar Chair from World Market (We got these on sale for $185 for each, and I thought they were out of stock, but I guess not! World Market has great sales so you may want to wait if you have time and patience.)
Side table: Handed down from my mom
Chandelier: Craigslist (lucky us!), but it's still sold at Pottery Barn- Lucca Chandelier

Wall sconces: Round wall sconce from Houzz
Kilim extra long pillow on the sofa: 16x48" kilim pillow by Sebil Pillows on Etsy
Art print (blue woman): Ka'iuliani Paper Print from Hayley Mitchell Art
Abstract print behind the hanging chair: August by Beth Allen, from Jenny's Print Shop
Glass vase: HomeGoods
Gold vase: H&M
Mirrors above the accent chairs: Target, several seasons ago
Gold task lamp: thrifted

I'll be back with more blog posts soon that will explain how to make a live-edge coffee table, how to organize a gigantic gallery wall (and find nice frames for cheap) and how to hang the Swingasan from the ceiling. Plus, my favorite rugs and rug pads. Thanks for visiting!
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New Year's Day Brunch Decor (Word of the Year)

My last post was all about hosting a New Year's Eve dinner party and how to create that dark, glitzy, nightclub feel in your own home. Today I want to show you how you can use a lot of those same elements to create a daytime table setting that is perfect for a New Year's Day brunch. You know those fashion posts that show you how to take a day look to night? Let's do that in reverse.

If you're wondering why someone would throw a brunch instead of a NYE party, hear me out. Some people have a hard time going out on NYE. Perhaps you are like me and you have small children. Since so many people have NYE plans, it can be almost impossible to find a babysitter. You know when I always have free time, thought? New Year's DAY. Most jobs, mine included, have that as a holiday, so we are all feel to luxuriate and have brunch. If one of my friends were to host a brunch at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day (enough time for others to recover from the night before) and told me there would be munchies and mimosas, I would be there in a heartbeat!

If you haven't read my last post, here's a quick glimpse at the same dining space and how I changed it from day to night while keeping a lot of the same pieces.

Let's get right to it! I wanted this brunch tablescape to feel fresh and hopeful, like the start of a new year should feel. I chose natural wood finishes and touches of purple (in honor of the Pantone color of the year!) to create a pleasant atmosphere for any brunch occasion.The disco ball ornaments are important accessories here, instantly taking this from party from generic brunch to New Year's brunch. I tried to mix the natural elements of the wood and plants with the more sparkly accessories to create a soft, welcoming look.

I kept the base of the table setting the same from day to night. The chandelier, mesh table runner, mirror centerpiece and place settings are all the same as my NYE dinner party decor, but they have a different look with natural light. You still get a little sparkle, which is a subtle nod to festivities.

I hatched the idea for those DIY candlesticks back in May when we were building our new media cabinet. Those are actually made out of furniture feet that you can find in the lumber section at your local Lowes. I used some of those low, round bun feet on our media center, and I remember thinking at the time that some of the turned feet really resembled some of the fancy, rustic candlesticks on the market. The table feet come with a screw sticking out of the top so they can be attached to furniture, so the only thing I needed to do to convert them to a candlestick was drill a tiny hole in the bottom of my taper candles with my power drill and screw the candle on to the top of the furniture feet. I love how they feel both traditional and casual. I painted the tops of the smaller ones to add a bit of color to the centerpiece.

You can see how different this mirrored table runner feels when it's layered with greenery from my yard and the raw wooden finish of the candlesticks. It really warms up the slick finish of the mirror so that the table feels cozy instead of glamorous.

For the table settings, I used an unexpected item - a shower curtain clip that I spray-painted gold - to hold a rolled sheet of paper. The curtain clips came with the little clamps, wihch I used to hold a flower and an abstract Instax photo of the tinsel chandelier. At $7 for 14 curtain rings with clips, you could use them as napkin rings, wine labels, etc.

You may be wondering why I rolled up a sheet of paper to put inside the ring. I thought it would be a great conversation started to have each guest write down their word of the year and take it home with them. Have you ever chosen a word of the year? The basic premise is that instead of a doing a New Year's resolution, you choose a word that embodies what you want to focus on in the year ahead. Some of the words I've chosen in the past have included focus, gratitude, hope, present, etc. 

I've always really enjoyed the exercise of choosing my word and think it would be really fun to discuss it with my close friends over brunch. You could even choose a word to describe 2017 and talk about the highs and lows of the previous years before discussing your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. I would love to hear what my friends pick and the rationale behind it. I really think you can learn a lot about a person through a discussion like that, and I love getting to know my friends better.

Over on the shelves, I used some of my favorite items from the Lowe's home decor section to really set the scene. How pretty is that carved driftwood mirror? I fell in love with its rustic charm right away. I am a total sucker for that weathered driftwood finish.

That rose gold lantern is a classic shape, and you could use it for so many things. Since it was New Year's Day, I decided to surround the inner candle with my disco ball ornaments for a little extra sparkle, but then I tied it in with the florals of the centerpiece by adding some greenery from the yard.

I asked my husband to build me this planter box, and he did not disappoint. He picked select pine (a little nicer and straighter than the normal pine) and used his table saw to cut 45 degree angles in each corner. Some quick screws brought the box together, and then I hot-glued the street numbers to the wood to incorporate the brand new year.

I filled the planter box with $5 clearance exotic angel plants and then styled it out with more disco ornaments and those LED orb lights from Lowe's that I love so much.

The other accessories on the shelves are my own, including the hammered copper tray filled with bar supplies, the crystal whiskey glasses and the original landscape painting by my father in law. I even grabbed our metallic ornaments with the paper holders to spell out a message to the party guests. That's just some scrapbooking paper I had laying around that I cut into different shapes for each paper holder. It's a subtle message, but I love adding interesting details to my parties.

You can shop the look here:

I love this New Year's Day brunch tablescape just as much as the dinner party. Which type of party is more your style?

If you want to see the dining room in person and listen to me walk you through my favorite DIY aspects of this brunch decor, come watch my story on Instagram (@jordanG106).


This post is sponsored by Lowe's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.


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Glam New Year's Eve Dinner Party Decor

If the holiday season doesn't already have you feeling glittery all over, get ready. I put together a glamorous, glowing New Year's Eve dinner party so you're about to see a lot of sparkle!

For this tablescape, I partnered with Lowe's to show you how to use your DIY skills to create a really special dinner party scene without breaking the bank. It was a blast to put this together, and I'm already thinking about how to have a dinner party every month just so I can break out the sparkly stuff more often!

Let's start with my favorite DIY part of the party decor, the 2018 projector light. I had a Pavlovian reaction every time I plugged it in - instant dance party. It's still pretty even during the daytime, and the twins were basically hypnotized every time I turned it on.

To fully appreciate how bringing this projector light inside (it's the same kind you use to project snowflakes on the outside of your house as part of your holiday lights) changes the entire vibe of my normally bright, casual dining room, you have to see it in Boomerang form. The light swirls around the ceiling, and it feels so much like a disco ball. It gives a fun nightclub vibe, perfect for NYE.

How did I make the projector look a little more like a lamp with a base? I stuffed it inside a quart-sized paint can that I spray painted with Valspar's gold metallic enamel paint. Did you know they sell empty paint cans at Lowe's? Me either, but it was perfect as a little base for my projector. Wondering where I hid the cord to the projector? It's taped to the back of the can so you can't see it and runs back behind my shelves to the closest plug.

Once you add the letters or numbers on the sheet of acrylic behind it, it becomes infinitely customizable. I'm thinking you could use this for graduation parties, birthdays, weddings, etc. For this party, I used my hot glue gun to adhere the nickle street numbers to the sheet of acrylic. To make it stand straight up (which is necessary so that you can project the shadow on the wall), we used some spare pieces of wood we had in the garage to create a base. Basically, two chunks of wood were screwed together (with the acrylic sheet in between) in each corner. Voila, an acrylic sign that is unique to your occasion!

I had so much fun playing with the shadows to see the best way to project it on to the wall. I'm no lighting engineer but I think the background shadow adds a little extra oomph.

And because I wanted the strobe light fun from the ceiling to continue down to the tablescape, I decided to use a $6 wall mirror for my table runner. It's hard to beat $6 for a table runner, and this one has the added bonus of reflecting all of the swirling lights from the ceiling so that even when you're sitting at the table and looking at your friends, you can still see the dancing lights in the center of the table.

There I am, obsessing over my Boomerangs. I'm telling you, nothing shows off the DIY projector-light-disco-ball-thingamabob better than a Boomerang.

Have you ever used decorative mesh ribbon as a garland for your Christmas tree or stair banister? I bought a 30 foot roll of the white/silver colorway to create this subtle, sparkly table runner and I'm so impressed with how well it works for this purpose. The silver threads catch the light beautifully. Sometimes they looked gold, sometimes they looked silver, but they always looked subtly glamorous. I was able to create a table runner and four place mats with my $10 roll, and I had a lot left over. The beauty of the white/silver combo is that it could be adapted to so many different parties, just like the acrylic sign. We all know that white goes with almost everything! I think it's so versatile that I'm going back to buy more when the holiday stuff goes on sale.

Did you notice my lantern chandelier hiding under a glamorous sheet of tinsel? How fun is that sparkly silver? It fits the theme so much better than my plain lantern, and it was so easy to do.


When you buy the silver tinsel (which some people call "icicles"), it comes in sheets that are folded into fourths. If you want to use the icicles individually to drape them on your tree, you simply tear or cut them off the top strip. I kept them on the strip instead and taped them to my chandelier, using two layers to create dimension while covering the whole chandelier. This is one of my favorite parts of the NYE makeover, and it was also one of the easiest. I have a new appreciation for tinsel.

The way the light from the projector bounces off the tinsel really helps it shine. I actually used my instant camera to take closeups of the tinsel for the place cards. It ended up being a glittery abstract photo that I felt like really captured the happy, playful feeling of NYE. For nights like this, there is no such thing as too much sparkle.

One of the most versatile products I brought home from Lowe's for this project was the LED string lights. I liked them so much that I put them everywhere - along the table runner, inside the bowls and glasses in the centerpiece, on my shelves behind the table. I even hid a strand inside my chandelier because I preferred that soft glow over the current light bulbs inside my lantern. Those tiny lights make every surface instantly feel like a party.

This NYE decor is really all about playing with lights and reflective surfaces. Between the projector lights, the LED copper light strings and the candlelight, everything really glows. By adding the mirrored surfaces everywhere, from the table runner to the disco balls and even the metallic candle holders, the light bounces around and makes it feel ever warmer and more festive. Dare I say, glamorous? As a mother of twin toddlers, it's been a LONG time since I felt glamorous.
I almost forgot to mention the LED orb lights! I found those at the last minute and Supermarket-Swept five of them into my cart instantly because I loved them so much. They come with clear string and a hook so you can hang them from trees like giant ornaments, but I chose to hang two from clear thumbtacks above the side chairs on either side of the shelf. I even added a few inside my planter box to have a tiny glow on that third shelf.

Speaking of shelves, I styled them out with this glitzy clock, which is a must for counting down to midnight. It's really this clock that set the tone for all of the decor. The silver frame almost looks like fireworks, and it just screamed NYE to me.

Then I brought our little bar (a flea market hammered copper tray with some random glasses and bottles of whiskey) from the den to the shelves, along with a few mini golden bottles of champagne for extra pizazz. *jazz hands* The shelves were dark at first, but the string lights solved that problem. When I was trying to accessorize this space, I basically just walked around my house and tried to find anything metallic. If it was gold, silver or copper, I brought it to this room I am a big fan of mixing metal finishes because I think varied shades adds more interest. If everything in this room were silver, it would be icy cold. That's still a fun theme if that's the vibe you want, but I'm more of a warm golden girl myself. GOLD SPARKLES EVERYWHERE! 

Thank goodness I already had a thing for disco ball ornaments because my extensive collection really came in handy for adding even more New Year's Eve vibes to the decor. I mixed both silver and gold disco balls throughout the table and on the shelves, wherever I found a surface that needed a little something. 

It always helps to have varying heights in your centerpiece even when you're like me and you prefer to keep it low so your guests can talk across the table without their view being obstructed. In this case I used a brass bowl and some crystal whisky glasses to elevate some of the disco balls off the mirror. The crystal glasses were perfect pedestals because I was able to stuff some of the LED string lights inside and get a glow from the inside out. The cut glass on those cups bounces light around the room almost as effectively as the disco balls. 

So, who wants to come to my party? As long as someone else handles the cooking, I'm in.

Hop on over to my Instagram (@jordanG106) to see me walk through some of the details in person with my Instastory. Warning: My voice is cringeworthy. I can't help it. Bear with me.

Guess what? I'll be back this week for part 2 of this series where I set this same scene with completely different decor for a fresh, happy New Year's Day brunch. Because why have one party when you can have two?


 Photos by the lovely, talented Renee Fernandes. Boomerangs by yours truly.


This post is sponsored by Lowe's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.


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