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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