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Before & After: Living Room

Oh boy, oh boy! This room was a project. I wish you could see what this room looked like before. OH WAIT! You can. I was sneaky and took a few phone photos of what it looked like when 4 college boys were living here.
Now if only I could have captured the smell! They left of plenty of junk when they moved out. And the carpet, oh the carpet was horrific! (Hence Ellie in the basket. I would not let her touch the carpet at all!)
After taking a few loads to the dumpster, we finally got it cleaned out and moved some of our stuff in. We Rug Doctored the carpet and lived on the main floor for the first few months. Yup, bed in the dining room and all!
There’s only a few hours during the day when this room gets good light. Otherwise it’s a little dark. I wanted to ensure that whatever color we painted would lighten it up just a little.
The banister was the same color as our kitchen cabinets. Though nice, we wanted them white.
While we would have rather painted BEFORE we put in our wood floors, it just worked out that we had to wait. Nothing a few tarps couldn’t handle! (And turns out, I did manage to drip between the tarps, of course. The paint comes off our laminate flooring really well, thankfully. 😉
I didn’t want the TV in our front room, so we moved it upstairs to the playroom along with the long couch. The room felt so empty! And would you take a look at those chairs! We purchased the chairs and ottoman from the Overstock Outlet store in Sandy for a great deal. With Ellie around we knew we couldn’t have a regular coffee table with sharp edges, that’s just begging for a trip to the hospital! Brian helped me pick out the fabric for the chairs, and I love them. Not to mention they’re super comfortable. They could use an extra staple here and there, they’re still a work in progress.
We needed some type of storage for the room, that back wall just felt too empty! We settled on this Ikea bookshelf and love it. The white helps brighten the room. I’m still not set on how I’ve styled all the pieces on the shelves, but that’s another project for another day!
The painting below is my absolute, hands down favorite piece in the whole room. My grandma gave it to me as a house warming gift. I have admired it since I was about five! Turns out my dad picked it out at the store when he was little!
Technically, since our playroom is upstairs, this room has turned into more of a formal living room. I’m not a huge fan of rooms that hardly get touched, so I moved some of Ellie’s toys to the bookshelf. I love having a family friendly room to play in.
And now for a few detail shots:
Can you guess where we got the frame on our door from? Why yes, it is the same one from Monica’s apartment. 😉 Also, remember the big city photograph that the renters before had hanging in the living room? (see previous photos) They left it here for us (surprise , surprise, they left half of everything they owned! 😉 Anyway, we really liked it, but it didn’t really go with our style. So we flipped the photo around and painted it with chalkboard paint. One of the best projects ever! Ellie loves to draw on it. We also made this little bench for extra seating, super comfy and super easy. (and obviously these were taken around Valentines day, hence the heart garland, ha!)
And there you have it! I still have a few things to finish, but for the most part, it’s DONE! Whew! It now feels home-y and cozy. Ellie and I spend countless hours during the day running around the ottoman and reading books in the chairs. Next up, before and after playroom edition!
Alexa Zurcher




  • Tiffany

    This looks SO MUCH BETTER than it did before! I love every single detail!

  • Laura Rahel


  • Corina

    Looks great! I love that United states watercolor with the heart in Utah. You have the cutest home!

  • April @ Hansen Love

    I've been in my house a year, and still no progress, You're hired!!! 🙂 it looks great! way to go!

  • Alicia Snow

    I can't wait until I have my own house to decorate. You just have a knack for taking things and making them beautiful!

  • Sarah @ The Not Quite Military Wife

    Everything looks so great!

  • Unknown

    love love love love love!!!! Like, really love! Good job lady!

  • K&R

    i love it, it looks so great! i always think about one day whenever i have a place all the fun things i will want to do to it. wood floors are always a huge improvement!

  • ellen

    Wow! Beautiful!!

  • Olivia Leigh Photography

    I love your style! You are such a gifted decorator! Thanks for sharing these pictures!!

  • Samantha @ Designer in Teal

    LOVE! It looks amazing 🙂 So many pretty details!! Also, would you mind sharing what paint color that is??

  • mks

    it looks so great! i love your style.

  • Jana

    Miss Lex, you really have a talent for anything creative! The room looks WONDERFUL! 🙂

  • Steph @ Three Loud Kids!

    WOW! Talk about a drastic change! The new room looks incredible, I really love those book shelves.

  • A+J

    Come do my house? I love this!!

  • Jena

    So so darling! And that little Ellie is the perfect finishing touch!

  • The Snows

    This is absolutely amazing!! Great job!

  • Jade Stenger

    I LOVE it! You have mt convinced that I must paint my house with a soft grey and I LOVE those IKEA bookshelves. I am debating on buying something similar like yours or doing built ins in our living room. Also, totally stealing your idea with the chalkboard! Cute!

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