Living Room Reveal {Finally}

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here! And by all, I mean probably a handful of you, but I’d like to think everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting for my before and after post. I debated on posting the how-to before I did the BIG reveal, but I think it’s best to do it after. So, stay tuned to my blog within the next few days if you’d like to know HOW I painted the wood paneling in my living room and brought it to current modern times with a lot of hardwork + some helpful hints I learned along the way. Are we set?

Oh, and FYI this is going to be a LONG, picture intensive post. Grab some coffee. Order a pizza. I’ll wait. In fact, I am totally drinking red wine right now while I type this up. Look, it’s almost noon. Don’t judge.

My inspiration for this project came from Young House Love and you all. There were times I thought I was absolutely insane for listening to a bunch of strangers on the internet telling me to just paint my wood paneling. I was so upset at times during this project, that I almost wished I hadn’t even started it. Then, last night as I was thoroughly relishing in my living room, I was very thankful that enough people care about my woes and decorating problems to give me advice, encouragement and well wishes through the whole painting ordeal. From the bottom of my formerly wood-paneled heart, I thank you.

Aww, I just got teary eyed. That is how much I love my living room. I know I said I wasn’t going to post a how-to, but I did want to explain the timeline of my project. I started Monday, November 22nd. We were done painting the wood paneling about November 25th. We took a break over the weekend, and on Tuesday,  November 30th, we began painting the trim (which was also dark wood…oh the joy). Finally, last weekend, December 4-5th, we finished the door trim and bookshelves (they are built INTO the wood paneling- seriously). This past week, we’ve been doing touch-ups and decorating for the holidays. I would safely say, we probably spent about 80-100 hours on this project. But we had a lot of painting to do, and painting grooved wood paneling is insanely time consuming. If it takes you less time, please don’t tell me. I will cry.

Ready? Well, let’s go!

This is what it looked like (before obviously) when you stepped into our foyer area:


And here’s what it looks like now:














I think that about covers the before & afters, so now let’s get down to the details!

The bookshelves are built-into the wood paneling like I mentioned before. However, I wanted them to look as if they stand on their own, so I painted the wood paneling white as opposed to the gray I used on the walls. The shelves are what held up this whole post because I am awful at designing vignettes/shelves, so eventually I just tried my best and moved on.


I added LED battery lights to the top shelf to highlight the top areas. $14 for the pair at Home Depot.







And yes, 2 of the frames are empty. I don’t know what to put in there, so for now, they stay as is. I just bought those at Kohls from the Elle Décor collection. They were 70% off.



Since it’s the holiday season, my mantle is decorated as such. The mirrored/sparkly garland is from Hobby Lobby, and all the other stuff I had from last year or acquired it at estate/garage sales.




I don’t do the matchy-matchy stocking thing because we each picked one to match our personalities. Well, except mine since I can’t find my damask stocking. Curses.








I know I mentioned we were going to buy a new coffee table, but instead we decided to use the white one we had already revamped last year. Teal baskets were $4 each at World Market. It works for now. The trellis tray is from Target last year.



I love these beige/blue damask chenille pillows at snagged at JCPenney for $4.00 each a week or so ago.



Mercury glass votives from Target that were 99-cents each. Score! Lurve me some mercury glass. Big vase is from Target and was a wedding gift (we actually got 2!).


Our wedding guestbook is on the coffee table. I love reading the comments and such people wrote in our photo guestbook. Makes me cry and laugh, usually. Also makes for good conversations if people flip through it.




I usually despise faux florals, but these are gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Snagged them for 25-cents last Saturday at a garage sale.


The lamp base + shade was about $35 total at Wal-Mart. I really wanted a crystal ball lamp. And I also really wanted a mirrored end table, and we found this one for $65.00 at a furniture store in town that is going out of business. Here’s another empty Elle Décor frame that was 70% off. Candle is from Pottery Barn. 




And there ya have it! Sorry my pictures aren’t all magazine worthy- I am still learning as I go with my Nikon D5000. I’d like to thank Young House Love again for their tutorial, and I’d also like to give a shout out to Décor Chick! Her office paint color was the first paint color my husband was ever all excited about. The paint color on the walls is Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams. The trim paint is bright white in high gloss by Kilz (available only at Wal-Mart). On all the painted surfaces, we painted with Kilz oil-based primer since we were covering up dark wood. And a huge thanks to all the lovely peeps on Twitter who helped me along the way! We couldn’t have done this without you all. Most of the accessories I already had on hand and are usually from Goodwill or garage sales. I am cheap like that.

Our walls are also bare right now because I didn’t want to rush putting up mirrors/frames/artwork until I figured out the look or motif we want in our living room walls. And hey, that just gives me more blogging material later, right?

Would I ever paint wood paneling again? NO. It was so much work, but for us, it turned out to be the best thing we could have done for our home right now. More on that in the upcoming how-to post.

Well, I’d love to hear your comments, thoughts and suggestions on my big, fabulous living room makeover!

And that’s a wrap.

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  1. Carolyn
    December 12, 2010 / 11:27 pm

    You did an incredible job. If I still had my design business, I'd hire you for sure. Really beautiful job… and I know how much work went into that.

  2. By Word of Mouth
    December 12, 2010 / 11:30 pm

    Great reveal, and done for the holidays! It looks peaceful and serene … love your colors, the soft blue and gray work so well together … congrats!!!

  3. The Lovely One
    December 12, 2010 / 11:47 pm

    Beautiful. It's amazing how much just painting the wood paneling completely transform the room. And I love your wedding guest book!

  4. Bella Mia Bows & Things
    December 13, 2010 / 12:19 am

    i love love love it! that grey is gorgeous! and i love all the personal touches! looks great!

  5. Roo
    December 13, 2010 / 12:39 am

    This is gorgeous! I am WOW-ed with how bright and cheerful and welcoming that room is now that you've redone it. Well done!

  6. Anonymous
    December 13, 2010 / 1:24 am

    great job! and can I say I LOVE those pillows you got from JCP??!

  7. Eboix
    December 13, 2010 / 1:56 am

    Everything looks awesome y'all did such a great job love the decor! I also have a d5000 and I love it!

  8. Naomi
    December 13, 2010 / 1:57 am

    I <3 it!!! (a million times) It's f'ing gorgeous!

  9. Augmented Gem
    December 13, 2010 / 2:07 am

    Amazing! Your space has a totally different feel to it. So much brighter. Great job!

  10. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality
    December 13, 2010 / 2:26 am

    Monica,it looks great!! I know you were way over painting by the time you finished, but really, it looks fantastic. You'll enjoy it so much. Love the color too. BTW, you are so pretty!

  11. Decorchick!
    December 13, 2010 / 3:57 am

    Oh.Em.Geeeee!!! That looks fantastic!!! That is really quite the transformation. I LOOOOOOVE it!! Good job girl. 🙂

  12. Alena @ Charmingly Chandler
    December 13, 2010 / 4:34 am

    You did a great job!! It looks wonderful!!

  13. Jennifer
    December 13, 2010 / 4:37 am

    You did an amazing job. Looks great! Totally worth all the work put into it. Enjoy.

  14. A Girl Who Loves Cupcakes
    December 13, 2010 / 2:56 pm

    You did an AWESOME job!!! It looks fabulous! Love those built in bookcases! – Jenn (iheartreading)

  15. the cape on the corner
    December 13, 2010 / 3:30 pm

    hello, fantastic redo! i am soo glad you painted that panelling, it changes the room completely. we had started to do the same in our sunroom, but we ended up taking it down and doing drywall. of course, we decided that after i primed the ceiling and some walls.

  16. Amanda
    December 13, 2010 / 3:53 pm

    I LOVE it!! and those pillows -oh my gosh! PERFECT!

  17. Anonymous
    December 13, 2010 / 3:56 pm

    Your living room reminds me so much of mine! the panelling, the rock fireplace, the heavy cedar beams on the ceiling and as a mantle… When we moved in to our house, someone had already painted the panelling for us… but did a lousy job and used a white FLAT paint… it wasn't long before I had to change it and it still amazes me to this day what a difference a little paint can make! I love color – and my deco style is more of a country chic theme – so I opted for a faux finish technique of oranges, golds, yellows and reds. I'm still amazed at how much work painting panelling is and you did a REMARKABLE job! so classy and beautiful!

  18. Brooke
    December 13, 2010 / 4:35 pm

    wow. great job!! 🙂 and i love what you did with your bookshelves. we're having bookshelves built in and i'm worried about what i'm going to do with all that space!

  19. Michelle
    December 14, 2010 / 3:32 am

    Absolutely fabulous!!! I know how hard you worked on it and boy, did it pay off! So clean and serene. Well done!Michelle @ Everyday Celebrating

  20. sarah @ life {sweet} life
    December 15, 2010 / 3:44 am

    wow, you did an amazing job!! i love the room itself and all of the decorations are beautiful. of course all of the damask accents are my favorite! 🙂 great job!! 🙂

  21. Anya
    December 15, 2010 / 4:58 am

    Wow, amazing! I loved how you placed xmas balls on the shelf: simple, chic, and e l e g a n t !

  22. Creative in Chicago
    May 7, 2011 / 9:59 pm

    Just an amazing transformation. I know the hard work that went into that as I have just painted my entire basement whose every wall was 70's paneling (who in their right minds EVER thought that looked good) Between work and other commitments it took me 10 weeks but was definitely worth the effort. You can see before and after pics herepainted basement and Teenage basement penthouseApart from painting I have yet to "decorate" the basement – that will be the fun bit.

  23. Niki
    June 30, 2011 / 8:36 pm

    This is kind of a random question but I love the pic of your wedding guest book. My daughter is getting married in December. Can you send me some details on that book. Thank you

  24. Lime Green Rhinestones
    September 2, 2011 / 3:34 am

    Your hard work really shows Monica. The room looks great!