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How My Living Room Decor Has Evolved

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Ideas on how to decorate a living room while allowing it to change and evolve over time to fit your life and personal style.


If you joined the Facebook Group, The Decorating Panel (invite here), then you know this week is all about living rooms. When I went to look for a post to share in the group that showed how my living room looks now after living and updating the house for 5 years, I realized I didn’t have one.

All of my more recent blog posts with photos taken in my living room are focused on a project I have done in the room or around holiday decorations.

It was time to gather up a few photos in one post all about how the decor in my living room has evolved to what the room looks like now. It has gone through many changes – floor to ceiling.

When I think back to how the room used to look, I realize just how much the room has evolved to make it fit the setting of the house and my personal style of decorating.

I liked everything I did in the room over the years and don’t regret anything. The longer we lived in the house, the more I could see just what the room needed. The decor became more in tune with what is most important in the room… the view out the sliding glass doors to the lake.

The Living Room – BEFORE

living room before - previous owners decor

If you have been a long time reader, you may remember how the living room looked when we first saw the house with our real estate agent. Here is a photo of the room with the previous owners furnishings.

Once we moved in, I started removing and updating right away. The process has been ongoing ever since. One that I enjoy and will never be done doing as life changes, so must the spaces we live in.

Fixer upper house wall demolition

The first big change was removing the wall with a pocket door between the kitchen and living room.

Fixer upper lake house living room

We removed it with the help of a contractor.

Opening a wall in an old house

It took some time, but was worth the effort.

With the wall removed, the view to the lake was doubled from both the kitchen and living room.

After this everything else we have done in the room, we have done ourselves to save money.

Brick wall with wood book shelves

On the opposite side of the room, we covered up this brick wall with…

Airstone Fireplace makeover

…white vertical paneling. We also built a stone fireplace using a product called AirStone.

The mantel is from the top of a dining room hutch that was in our previous house. We no longer had a place for it and nobody wanted it so we had to break it apart, but saved the top to use as a mantel.

How to install vertical wood plan paneling over a brick wall.
Wall Color: SW Pure White

I wasn’t sure yet what style of furniture I wanted for the room, so we brought the outdoor furniture into the room until we bought new furniture a piece at a time.

How to care for white slipcovers

On the long wall is the only place for the sofa. I have always had a slipcovered sofa. This one was a tie-on slipcover over a navy blue sofa from our previous house.

Living room furniture arranging ideas

I bought a new console table and placed it behind the sofa. It gave me a surface for a much needed lamp and decorative accessories.

Clock on wall in blue and white decorated living room

Eventually I bought a new Rolled Arm Slipcovered Sofa from Pottery Barn, made an oversize Fixer Upper Wall Clock and began to change the decorative accessories out every season. Blue pillows means it’s summer. :-)

Getting The Hardwood Floor Refinished

Orange toned wood floor with oil-based polyurethane before getting refinished with the Bona Hardwood Floor Refinishing System

When the hardwood floor was refinished is when I began to like the room. Up until this point, I always felt no matter what I added to the room, the orange floor always stuck out.

living room decorated for fall

The only time the floor looked OK was in the fall when I added fall colors to the room.

Dining area in kitchen

The new grey floor stain made a huge difference. I finally felt I could do what I really wanted decor wise and not have to deal with the orange wood-tone anymore.

Large white washed basket with a faux fern in it in a living room.

How My Living Room Looks Now

Faux barnwood paneled wall in living room with photo gallery, white sofa with green pillows and seagrass rug.

Sofa | Console Table | Rug | Barnwood Panels | Frames | Coffee Table | Pillows

My house is on a point lot with the lake on 3 sides and tall pines all over our property. With nature all around us, I wanted the living room to reflect that so the two felt seamless. About a year ago I came up with a name for the decorating style of my living room.

I call the style, White and Woodsy. It is a little bit traditional, not quite rustic, but has a nod to it. It’s casual and laid back, but overall has a bit of polish and uniformity.

After going back and forth on ways to make the clock pop and add more of a cozy feel to the room, I chose to accent these two walls with Barnwood paneling instead of painting them a color.

Adding it made the room come together instantly. I wouldn’t want it everywhere, but as an accent it works well.

January decorating ideas for living rooms. Rustic and cozy corner.

Wall Clock | Lamp

It is cozy, yet bright and cheery. Cozy is more than a look, cozy is a feeling and I wanted it for this room.

I created the gallery wall to create interest and to see the people I love the most on a daily basis.

The Fireplace

Fireplace decorated for the winter months.

I change what is on the mantel seasonally, most of the time restyling items I already own in new ways.

I looked for a long time to find comfy chairs that not only recline, but rock and swivel all around. This allows us to face the TV, the lake or swivel around to look at the fireplace.

Full Room View

Small room fall decorating ideas.

Pom Pom Ottoman Slipcovers | White Sideboard

The size of the room is 15′ x 16′. Not large, so I like to keep the furnishings minimal and cohesive.

To create a conversational grouping of furniture in the room, two chairs across from the sofa would have made the space feel cramped and the chair backs would block the view to the lake.

Instead, for more seating that visually doesn’t block the view, the pair of ottomans works perfectly. Extra and moveable seating when needed while adding to the decor.

I painted the existing ceiling fan white.

Autumn decorated living room using items from nature to create a white and woodsy look.

This wide-angle shot kind of distorts the room and makes it look larger than it is, but you can get a better overall feel for the space.

Sliding Glass Doors & TV Wall

Living room with Bona refinished floor after one year.

I semi-made the extra wide drapery panels on the sliding glass doors by sewing two pre-made panels together. The TV is on a swing arm mount so we can easily change the angle to the kitchen or living room.

Decorative Details Around the Room

Green moss globe on floor in whitewashed terracotta pot.
Large basket made into a diy end table. It sits next to a brown chair with a white throw and pillow. A floor lamp behind with a dimmable socket to adjust the light.

Basket Table | Floor Lamp

Finished Planter Now with an Aged Concrete finish.

Faux Concrete Planter

Fireplace wood storage in living room.

Firewood Storage

styling a coffee table

Coffee Table Styling

blue and green pillows on white sofa

White painted mantel with classic decor on top.

Long reclaimed wood planter with dried hydrangeas on white mantel.

Seasonal Changes

One reason I like neutral walls and seating is that I can easily change out the decorative accessories to seasonal colors and not worry about having things match or coordinate. No matter what color I place in the room, it goes. No set color scheme to have to work with.

summer decorated living room
Summer
Christmas decorated living room using red and plaid.
Christmas
Living room decorated for fall using brown and green color scheme.
Autumn
Floor to ceiling built in DIY plate rack wall

The view from the kitchen to the living room. My latest project was creating this plate rack wall. It provides a nice transition between the two rooms.

White spray painted planter filled with white hydrangeas on coffee table

I know that was a lot of photos, but they tell the story of how the room has evolved over 5 years we have lived in the house.

The room will never be done as I enjoy changing the decor seasonally. I also know that my life and tastes may change, so will this room.

Do you like to change things up in your living room for the seasons or as your tastes and circumstances change?

3 images of living room decorated with white and green, Text says Living room decorating ideas

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45 Comments

  1. Such a BEAUTIFUL home! I love your refinished floors and hope to do the same to my orange floors?. Can you tell me what product was used to achieve this beautiful color?

    1. She has blog posts on redoing the floors. She used Bono refinishing. The posts are great.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this transformation! Wow! I’ll be back again and again to study all this so when I can finally go shopping! Can’t wait!

  3. Warm, inviting and so very comfortable looking. Inspiring me as I rethink a living room do over. Thanks for the tour Diane…
    Love your new picture, you look beautiful and quite chic!

  4. Hi Diane! I enjoyed seeing your living room pictures/refreshes through the years. I think your current style is just perfect for your life by the lake. I like to change my mantle decor seasonally too. You’re very talented!