REVEAL: MY GREAT ROOM BECOMES GREAT

I am so excited to share my new Great Room reveal!!! This makeover has taken longer than usual because my schedule has been very limited this year with my kids’ activities and my job working in a firm demanding a lot of my time, but I tried to squeeze out every minute of free time I could to slowly work on this room… and every minute I spent was well worth it!

Let’s begin with the before photos…

Our great room is very important in our home because it’s physically and figuratively the center of the whole house. We spend a lot of time in this room hanging out or watching tv, and whenever we have guests over we usually congregate in here and the adjacent kitchen. Because of the amount of use this room gets it was important for me to make it a space people really want to be in. And after years of waiting to get to transform this room, I’m grateful that it has turned into what I originally envisioned—a bright and comfortable room I don’t want to leave!

Take a look at the photos…

The changes I made to this room were actually quite simple:

  • I changed the fireplace surround to something more modern (see this post for more info on my fireplace transformation)
  • I added taller baseboards (which Ive been doing in phases throughout the whole house), painted all of the walls white, and freshened up the trim with a clean coat of white semi-gloss paint
  • I removed the ceiling fan and replaced it with a statement chandelier
  • Finally, I changed out all of the furniture, decor and window treatments

None of these were complicated changes, yet I knew they’d improve the look of the room and bring a different feel to the space. What I didn’t expect was just HOW MUCH these simple changes would create a totally new ambiance in the room! It made it feel like a completely different space! It feels larger, brighter, more open, and more interesting! I particularly love the view of the space while sitting on the sofa…

This room transformation began with the fireplace. The way the room is laid out the fireplace wall is a natural focal point. That’s why I knew that improving it would have a big impact on the space.

This standard mantel wasn’t just boring, it was also not the style I was going for. The simple shiplap wall gives the clean modern look I prefer while also creating an interesting focal point.

I ended up painting all of the walls and trim myself with some help from my husband. This painting process took a lot of time (it took 4 coats—2 primer and 2 paint—to cover the previous taupe color with white), but it was a pretty simple task and it saved us thousands of dollars compared to hiring someone. The lighter color brightens up the room and makes it feel bigger while also providing a clean slate for all of the new furniture and decor.

I’d been wanting to remove this ceiling fan for awhile. While it is good for circulating air up high it’s not great for my allergies. I’m quite allergic to dust and this thing is a dust magnet! It’s so hard to keep it dust free because it’s so hard to reach (I need a ladder). Not to mention it’s flat out cheap and ugly looking so it was time for it to go. I decided the best option was to replace it with a statement light fixture. 

I was originally considering a similar light fixture that was smaller and much less expensive but I was concerned that it wouldn’t be large enough to really make a statement in this room. This is a grand two-story space that needed a fixture that matched the room’s proportions. So I felt like I had no choice but to spend hundreds of dollars more on this larger fixture (it’s 4’ in diameter). The extra money was worth it because I feel the smaller fixture would’ve felt like the wrong size in here and I would’ve regretted it. This one is the correct proportions for the scale of the room.

When we bought our home thirteen years ago it came with custom white plantation blinds on every window in the house. Over time they’ve started to look old and dingy, and I decided I wanted something more textured and interesting so I chose natural woven shades. I paid extra to get them with blackout liners, but I knew it was necessary since the light can be quite harsh in here in the afternoon.

For the upper windows, I removed the plantation blinds so I could clean them (since they are so hard to reach they hadn’t been cleaned in a decade probably!) and then put them back. However, I ended up preferring the way the windows looked without any window treatments at all so I never put the blinds back. I feel like its a cleaner simpler look… plus now I never have to worry about getting up there and dusting the blinds again!

The final transformation in this room was simply updating the furniture, decor and wall art.

Early on in my planning for this room I considered installing built-in window seats on each side of the fireplace. In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth the time or money. The fact that the two air vents in the room are on the floor right where the window seats needed to go would’ve complicated the project, plus I didn’t like the idea of of taking up floor space for window seats that could never be moved down the road if I wanted.

So instead, I opted for some independent benches. They easily allow air to flow underneath from the vents, plus they were cheaper and didn’t take any time to build, of course. I am kind of surprised by how much the benches give a similar look to the wall as the built-in window seats would have.

For the wall art over the fireplace, I chose this abstract piece that features soothing colors. I ordered it online from art.com but was unhappy with the fact the edges of the canvas were dark brown (I don’t think I’ll be ordering more canvas prints from them again) so I ended up making a white wood frame for it in order to cover up the brown edges.

This set of framed art is actually some abstract art featuring countries that are all part of our family’s heritage. I ordered the prints online and used stock frames that were on sale. I purchased custom mats from a framer since the prints were not a standard size. It was much cheaper than ordering everything custom framed. I like the soft neutral colors along with the fact these pieces have a personal meaning for us. Visitors to our house have already tried guessing what countries they are so it has ended up being an unexpected little game.

I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted for the art over this console table so I painted it myself on canvas and then made a simple wood frame. It was the only way to get exactly what I wanted and it ended up being super cheap too — it cost me about $55 total for both 24×36 pieces! The simple shapes create a minimal look that has a mid-century modern vibe.

(please ignore my ugly kitchen in the background)

The one area of this room I didn’t get to address that I really wanted to was the half wall that separates the great room from our kitchen. I’ve been wanting to take it down and open up the circulation between the two rooms and had hoped to do that as part of this renovation. I know we could easily have had the electrical outlet removed and taken the wall down and finished off the columns ourselves, the problem was the flooring underneath the wall. The only way to match it to the existing flooring would be to have new pieces spliced in and then sand and restain all of the hardwoods in the house (and we have a lot). That’s something we simply don’t have the money for right now so it will have to wait to be a part of the kitchen renovation once we can afford it (I plan to give the kitchen a complete renovation at some point). I’m still grateful for all the other changes I could make to our great room.

THE SOURCE LIST

  • RUG  |  Overstock
  • CREDENZA  |  Scout & Nimble
  • SOFA  |  Scout & Nimble
  • CHAIRS  |  Overstock
  • CONSOLE TABLE  |  CB2
  • ACCENT TABLES  |  Scout & Nimble
  • STOOLS  |  Article
  • OTTOMAN  |  Overstock
  • BENCHES  |  Target
  • WINDOW SHADES  |  American Blinds
  • CHANDELIER  |  Overstock
  • PILLOWS  |  Petaja Fiber Works, Tshaj
  • THROW BLANKET  |  Amazon
  • WALL ART  |  art.com
  • TRAY  |  Kouboo
  • DECOR AND ACCENT PIECES  |  Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, HomeGoods, Amazon, Target, At Home

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