Cozy Costal Inspired Living Room Transformation & Reveal
I’m so excited to FINALLY share our living room transformation on the blog today. It’s been a long time coming (my photographer literally shot these photos in October) but I’m glad I’m getting this up before our 1-year anniversary in our house! This room is the first space that’s completely finished in our house (transforming a house is WORK and MONEY ya’ll) and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out – especially since it was the room that stumped me the most when we bought the house.
I’ve never had TWO living spaces before (we’ve lived in small apartments up until we bought our house) and our couches and tv went into the family room. This space stayed empty for the first 5 months of us owning the house while I hemmed and hawed and tried to figure out what to do with the space. I knew it was going to be a living space, but I wanted it to be functional and inviting and not the room you by-pass every day because it’s just for looks.
These before photos are from our house’s listing online that I saved for comparison’s sake and a couple I took right when we moved in. This is exactly how the previous owners had it styled and the wall colors are spot on to what they looked like in real life. I love our house, but those paint colors gave me nightmares. I mean, WHO paints their front room chocolate brown? BLECH. So not my style.
While we are really happy living in Utah, the one downside is that it’s a landlocked state. As a born and raised New Englander, being away from the Ocean makes my heart hurt. I wanted this room to feel coastal without being cliche (no anchors or fishes for me) so I drew inspiration from the atmosphere of the coast: bright, airy, and peaceful. At the same time, I wanted our living room to feel cozy and welcoming because I feel like a lot of “formal” living rooms look stiff and uninviting. That’s how we ended up deciding on a “cozy coastal” feel.
Choosing the Paint Color
I knew that the chocolate brown accent wall would be going AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If you’ve been hanging around HTC for a while, you probably heard me rant about how angry it made me on my Instagram stories more than once. Who paints their house chocolate brown?! I hated that the first thing people saw when they walked into my house was the dark, ugly poo-brown wall. I wanted to change it drastically and knew I wanted it to be some form of blue. I initially choose a beautiful blue-grey color by Behr called “Watery” but when we didn’t realize that Sherwin Williams had a paint color the SAME name which was more blue-green. We literally painted the whole wall before we realized that the color was a little off from what we thought it would be and it wasn’t until we compared it to the sample that we realized that Home Depot had mixed the wrong “Watery.” We decided to see how we felt about the color after a few days and I decided that I liked it just as much as the original shade we picked out – and felt that it would add more contrast to the rest of the walls than the original shade would.
Our main floor is super open-concept, so I knew I would have to really commit to the main paint color because it would go through the whole house. I also knew I wanted to do grey because it would bring a lot of brightness into our space (especially since the tan with olive green undertones made the house feel so dark and dank.) Because the awful tan color made me so mad, I didn’t want to do any warm-toned greys, but I also didn’t want the grey to be too cool and cast blue shadows around. I can’t tell you how many shades of grey we went through until I finally found “the one.” We decided to go with Behr’s Urban Putty lightened to 50%. This shade of grey is stunning and seriously looks different depending on the time of day (sometimes it looks white, sometimes it looks blue, sometimes it looks green) and I just love it. We also decided to go with a glossy finish, so the light really bounces off the walls and has allowed the natural light to really brighten the space.
I’m not kidding when I say I based this whole room around one piece of furniture – the Bainbridge double chaise lounge that I got from Costco. I saw it one day, sat on it, and knew I HAD TO HAVE. It seriously feels like you are sitting on a cloud. Everyone who comes over to the house asks if they can sit on it because they saw it in Costco and want to know if it’s as comfortable as it looks (no need to ask, by the way, if you come over. Just sit on it!) Trust me, it is so comfortable. And since I wanted to make this front room comfortable, inviting, and the perfect space to snuggle up with a book, I decided it would be the perfect place in the house for the chaise.
Our grey couch (similar here) was a STEAL of a find at RC Willey’s. When we’re looking for furniture, we pop in once a week and browse their “as-is” section, which is where they put furniture that has minor cosmetic defects sold at a fraction of a price. This couch was an 800 dollar couch that we got for $350 because of the TINIEST knick in the fabric on the back corner. You can’t even see it with the couch is put against the wall. I love that it has this oversized cushion look to it and added to the cozy and comfortable vibe I was going for.
We originally had black bookshelves from our old apartment but I felt like they went against my vision of bright and airy, so we moved those into our downstairs utility room for storage and bought white ones from IKEA. I liked that these ones were a little more narrow, so they didn’t overwhelm the space. I have a lot of books from my teaching days, so I decided to showcase most of those instead of stylizing them with all new things. I choose a few vases and fake plants that reminded me of the ocean from Home Goods to place in my bookshelves, but really let my books speak for themselves.
This room doesn’t have any lighting (besides a chandelier right by the front door) so I knew I had to get a surface in there to hold some lighting. We got our little white table from Wayfair, which I thought would be the perfect way to add a little bit of storage to the room and to be a platform for a lamp.
Our white bench by the door is also from IKEA – we use it to store our shoes and bags when we’re home and it’s the perfect place for our guests to put their bags and coats when they come into the house.
Rug – I wanted to choose a rug that would add another color to the room (and not be just blue and grey) along with looking a little weathered to fit the coastal feel. My sister and I found this rug at Target and I loved that it had accents of spring green that felt bright and coastal at the same time. This rug is actually an outdoor patio rug, but it works out well for the indoor space because it holds up against puppy paws really well.
Mirror – I knew I wanted a big mirror above the couch to help make the space feel even bigger then it is, and I always go to Home Goods for my mirrors. They always have a great variety of mirrors at a really great price (I got this one for under 50 bucks!)
Pillows – Most of my pillows are from Home Goods, as well, so I can’t really link them here, but the prices just can’t be beaten. Dustin chose the blue and green patterned ones on the couch and I added the silver and white chevron patterned one and the grey home one to get some different textures in the room. The map pillow is from Uncommon Goods and I love that it gives the room a homier and rustic feel. In contrast with that pillow, I put a fun sequin pillow that I got from Ankit. I love how all the textures of those pillows play with the blue furry blanket (a Ross find.) Since shooting this room, I’ve added a knit blanket and a printed blanket to the couch and chaise to really make the furniture feel cozy and inviting.
Lamp – Like I said previously, there is no ceiling lighting in this space, so I had to get a couple lamps in. I love the lamp on the table – that was another Home Goods find and I loved that it was more modern and elegant. Plus, it’s a little glam and I’m a big fan of that.
Making this house into our home has been a journey. I knew it would take time to really make this space feel like ours, but I didn’t realize just how much work and money go into completely transforming our house. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’ve still got a long ways to go to finish the rest of the rooms in our house. I can’t wait to slowly unveil the rooms as we finish them, but I do want to say to anyone who is working on decorating their own home – it’s okay to take time to put your vision together.
What do you think of my living room transformation? Better than the chocolate brown walls?