Before/After Living Room Renovation

We are SO thrilled today to have the very talented Whitney of the Instagram account Carpendaughter here to share some of her amazing living room with you! Be sure to check her out over on Instagram (gorgeous feed!) and she’ll be here sharing once a month, too. Give Whitney a warm Remodelaholic welcome:Amazing living room renovation with built-in bookshelves around the fireplace and mantel. A nice balance of modern style and color!

I was flattered when Cassity asked me to jump on board and join all the lovely creatives that fill this space. So where should I start? I thought I’d write a little about what I’ve been up to the last few years.

I bought my house in 2011. I stalked the neighborhood I knew I wanted to buy in for months and eventually honed in on a perfectly dilapidated house with overgrown yard and never any lights on. It was only one block from a beautiful rose garden, pond and playground. The perfect location. Of course, “run down” not only meant it was going to be a deal, but meant lots and lots of projects were waiting for me.

The house belonged to an elderly woman who had passed away and I tracked down her next of kin before it went on the market. I’ve learned the hard way that once a house is on the market it means there’ll be cut throat competition with local flippers that wanna paint every wall with the same beige color and carpet every surface with the cheapest Berber they can find. Ew.

I knew this house was gonna be work but, being my first complete home renovation, I didn’t realize just how much work I would have to do before I got to the fun stuff. Long story short, we ended up taking each and every wall in the house down to the studs and hauled out hundreds of pounds of plaster and lathe. In hindsight I would have rented a huge dumpster, but I was young and dumb. We ripped up all the carpet and found beautiful red oak floors begging to be refinished. We had all the knob and tube wiring replaced and all the walls spray-foamed and drywalled. Then came the fun stuff.

BEFORE entryway and living room renovation Carpendaughter
I thought I’d first talk about the room we spend most of our time: our living room. Now that it’s finally starting to feel equal parts cozy and stylish, here are a few ways I’ve been able to mold this room into the space I wanted.

Tips for a Living Room Renovation

A mixture of painted and dark stained wood.

Yes, I painted lots of oak woodwork but I also refinished the oak floors so consider it a trade-off for all those who consider painting wood a sin.

Beautiful entryway and staircase makeover with dark wall and white stairs and woodwork

Adding built-ins on either side of fireplace.

I am incredibly lucky to have a dad who is skilled in woodworking. To be able to explain to my dad what I’m thinking, supply him with wood and measurements and shortly thereafter have something ready to install is truly a dream. But if you can afford to hire out or if you are handy with wood yourself, I think adding custom shelving or built-ins makes a huge difference. Not to mention the added storage.

Gorgeous mantel update. Add bookshelves to each side, plank shiplap wall, and paint the window frames black. Carpendaughter on @Remodelaholic

Customized furniture.

I fell in love with a bright green sofa from Anthropologie, but it was way out of my price range. And, funny enough, I found almost the exact same sofa at IKEA, but it didn’t have the legs I wanted. With a little luck and an evening sifting through the ocean of sofa legs available online, I had what I needed. Even with its replacement legs, my IKEA sofa cost over $1,000 less than Anthro. Yay! I’m not an advocate for filling your entire house with IKEA furniture but the other sofa in my living room is also IKEA. My way of making it look a little more unique was opting out of the available oversized arms. I wasn’t sure if it would still be comfy without the arms but let me tell you it is. Maybe even more so.

An easy update to an IKEA sofa -- new legs to look like a designer piece!

Painting the interior window frames.

The biggest bang for my buck was definitely painting all my window frames black. It just makes them pop. My friend, Dana from House Tweaking, once described it as “eyeliner for windows.” Brilliant. I personally just feel prettier with eyeliner on and I’m pretty sure my windows feel the same.

Stunning white fireplace and mantel with black window frames -- every home needs black window frames, right?

One really dark wall in a sea of white.

Making the stairwell wall dark makes such a big impact on the room. The contrast between it and the crisp white woodwork of the staircase is just my favorite. Period.

living room and entryway renovation, from dated solid wood to modern and colorful Carpendaughter on @Remodelaholic

Welp, there you have it. My first blog post ever! Thanks for letting me share. I’m really looking forward to sharing other spaces in my home and how I’ve renovated and customized them! If you want to see more of what I’m up to on a daily basis (or some unabashed breakfast and cat photos), you can always find me on Instagram.

Amazing living room renovation! Great tips for making a room stand out when you renovate @Remodelaholic

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Pouf: Etsy (gifted)
Wooden hand mannequin + Glass cloche: Amazon
Wall color: Valspar, Sawyer White
Dark wall color: Valspar, English Tea Party
Stain color: Minwax, Dark Walnut
Large area rug: Rugs USA
Pink runner: West Elm
Mirror above firepace: CB2
Candle holders: Target
Wooden vase: Target (discontinued)
Floor lamp: IKEA
Grey sofa: IKEA, Kivik
Green sofa: IKE[tps_title]A, Stockholm
Sheepskin: IK[/tps_title]EA
Coffee table: West Elm
Entry way table lamp: Target
Grey and white pillow: CB2
Black and white pillow: Target
Pink and white pillow: Target
Black side table: Target
Wood tray: Crate & Barrel
White vases: West Elm
Flower print: Lulie Wallace
Cactus print: Urban Outfitters
Watercolor: Britt Bass
Fiddle-leaf fig: Home Depot
Plant basket: Target
Small wall-shelf: Urban Outfitters (discontinued)
Black and white planter: Target
Driftwood and brass armadillo: thrifted
Brass/glass terrarium: Hobby Lobby


More living rooms we love:

My sister’s living room makeover

Living Room update-2

Beautiful living room built-insGet This Look - Living Room Built-Ins - 7 Tips from Remodelaholic

Our Park House living room revealLiving Room Remodel with yellow accents wood floors and built-in bookcases and columns with arches-22

Beach-themed living room Casual-beach-house-themed-living-room-before-and-after-interior-design-3.jpg

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  1. I love all the black and white with wood and gold. The emerald sofa is great, I also have two IKEA sofa’s because they were the only ones that had the shape I wanted and fit in the budget as well and they are super comfortable.

  2. Just found you on Remodelaholic yeaaaahhhhh! I love your style so I shall be stalking you from now on. Well not you lol! don’t worry!! your blog. It’s amazing. I love your style and bravery (ie. the way you are not afraid to mix colors etc. Happy blogging. Marie from Ireland

    1. I totally agree Mb @ MBZ I am at present painting out all the pine wood in our house white and cannot wait to paint some of the wooden floors ‘black’ to resemble old dark walnut or ebony. Wood is wood with Al it’s fantastic kept in tact painted or not – it remains Beautiful.

  3. There is no denying this room is very lovely and tasteful. However, I feel it’s important to maintain original character in old homes whenever possible. Our old houses represent architectural history and it’s rare to find a home with original wood finishes like this one had. It makes me really sad they chose to paint all the trim work, built-ins, bannister, newel post, window and door casings. Glad they got rid of the paneling though.

  4. could you tell me the color of your dark wall going up the stairway? I am looking to do something similar and would love to know! thanks!

  5. I absolutely love the renovations you did. I’m really wanting to add some little windows above our built ins and wondered where you got yours? I love the character of them! Thanks so much.