This post contains affiliate links & photos. See our full disclosure here.
In this post: After a year or more of not really changing anything, we’ve updated our style and our color palette throughout the house. First up, our living and dining rooms sporting their new earthy neutral tones.
While the rest of the world was seemingly changing up everything in their house in 2020, we pretty much did nothing to ours.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
We created an office for me by taking a third of the basement family room and putting up a wall and a set of double doors. And we re-finished the back deck.
But otherwise, we didn’t change so much as a throw pillow cover.
Then suddenly, around the holidays, I felt the urge to change EVERYTHING.
Table of Contents
Hello, and Welcome (or Welcome Back) to Home Made Lovely
If you’re new here, I’m Shannon 👋🏻. I’m a momma to three almost grown kiddos, now aged 16, 18, and 20. I’ve had this blog for ten years, sharing with other mommas; DIY projects, how to decorate and decorating ideas, decluttering & organizing, and other home-making type things. I also had the privilege of publishing my first book last fall! It’s called Home Made Lovely and you can find out more about it here.
Welcome/welcome back! I’m so glad you’re here.
Why I Wanted to Change Things – Especially in the Dining Room
Pretty much everyone wanted to change things in their homes in the last year, likely because of being home more. I guess staring at the same walls 24/7 will do that to ya.
But I’ve always been home a lot. I work from home, I’ve been home with my kiddos for over twenty years (I feel both happy and old when I say that), and we homeschool/homeschooled. So, the only difference for me in the last year was that we were also home every evening and we literally couldn’t go anywhere else for months on end, even if we wanted to.
There are a few reasons I wanted to make some changes to the main floor.
01. It’s very open…
I adore the open concept of our home. Especially between the kitchen and living room. I love that I’m not stuck far away in another room making dinner when everyone else is hanging out. I love hosting in this space – and hope to be able to do that again before long.
But, the drawback to that is that there are very few walls and very few places to put pretty things like crocks and pottery and books and art.
So we built floating shelves. (The tutorial for which I will share with y’all soon.)
The plan for this area is to actually put up a small wall at the end where that weird jut out is at the bulkhead (to match the one on the right side that’s there for hidden ductwork) and then to put simple white built-in cabinets under the shelves on either side of the bookcase.
When I mentioned this on Instagram, someone asked me why we’d do that with the bookcase and its storage already there. The answer goes back to the open concept. There’s not much storage on the main floor at all. Things like most of our books and board games have to live in the basement. So we’d like to make more room for those on this level, where we use them.
And of course, I really wanted to be able to display some pretty things in one location, so they looked deliberate instead of scattered.
02. But it was feeling very crowded…
Between the black shiplap wall and all the stuff that we use in the kitchen, I needed to simplify.
So I painted the shiplap wall white, took down a few signs in the kitchen, and put away things from the counter. I organized the entire kitchen so it functioned better – both the surfaces and in the drawers and cabinets. I swapped out the vintage Pepsi crate and all those bottles, for a plain and simple round white tray with just the necessities.
We also didn’t bring the white dresser back up after we put the Christmas tree away this year and just let the space breathe.
03. And the style and feel were getting away from me.
When we moved here, I had a clear vision of what I wanted the house to look and feel like. Open, bright, cozy, with a grown-up design style.
But over time, I lost sight of that.
I got distracted by filling the spaces with signs and words and too much furniture. And my design style shifted just a little.
So, over the last couple of months, I sold and donated and purged and really thought about what we needed. I practiced what I preach when I talk about decluttering even more than before. And it feels so much better in here.
We also worked with a large brand a few years ago that I was really excited to work with. Unfortunately, the collaboration didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped, which was extra disappointing because I’m very picky about choosing the brands I partner with.
They required that I change more things than I originally agreed to and incorporate all their items, including replacing the Restoration Hardware table I loved. Which changed the whole look of the dining room for a long time.
Finally, now, three years later, we built a table I absolutely ADORE (and my sis got the dark wood one, which she loves and suits her house perfectly) and simplified back to my original vision for the space. And I LOVE it!
(I’ll share the dining room table build and finish really soon.)
Incorporating More Color…
I have always had a thing for calm, quiet, and peaceful neutral colors. White, black, and wood have long been my favorite. With a few beiges and mushroom tones thrown in for good measure here and there.
In the past, when I tried to incorporate any color, I always got annoyed with it really quickly. I think it partly had to do with the fact that I spend a lot of time in our house and partly because I find so-called “pops” of color very disruptive and jarring. (Hence, the “pop”, I guess.)
But something odd happened this winter. I started to notice that even some of my favorite neutral spaces (on Instagram, in magazines, and on Pinterest) were not just black and white. But rather they were full of color, just in a different way than I’d consciously noticed before; muted earthy neutrals.
While Keeping the Base Very Neutral
Even though I’ve only recently discovered my love of and added more muted earthy neutrals, I want you to notice how and where I’ve used them.
The walls, floors, sofa and other big things in our house are still a very neutral white or beige color.
I’ve just added color in the low-commitment ways I’m always telling my how to decorate class, Decorating Uncomplicated, students to use:
- throw pillows
- accents (like candles, vases, pottery)
- throw blankets
- flowers and plants (faux or real)
This way of adding low-commitment color saves money and time and allows for switching out those colors later if a change is desired again.
What I’d Still Like to Update on the Main Floor
I’m pretty happy with how everything on the main floor is shaping up now. I adore the furniture and the colors. But there are a few things that still need doing:
01. The Laminate Floors
The laminate throughout the house is a big improvement over what would have been carpet when the house was built. But unfortunately, it’s thin and quite worn through in places after years of use. I’m hoping we can get to that this year. There’s also the lovely and annoying tile jut out where the original island was that will be removed when we redo the floors.
02. The Baseboards
At some point, one of the previous owners of this house was pretty aggressive with the steam cleaner because all the MDF baseboards are curled and rough near where they meet the floor. When we redo the floors, we plan to do the baseboards too.
03. The Ceiling
Before we bought the house, part of the sale agreement was that the ceilings would be painted. And they were. But the person did a terrible job and you can see the roller marks all over the living room and kitchen ceilings. Plus there was water damage from before the roof was redone and some of the ceiling drywall in the hall and entry need repairing. Nothing major, but I notice the imperfections all the time.
04. The Laundry Room Door
We currently have a barn door to the laundry room, but I’m on the hunt for a vintage wood door with glass panel. Or at least one that looks vintage.
05. The Tile Floors
So, I wouldn’t choose the tile floors we have, but they are decent and freaking durable. So they stay. But they need a good steam cleaning/grout cleaning that I plan to get to this spring.
06. The Cords
You may or may not see cords in these photos, as many of them go shoved behind furniture. But I plan to actually clean them up and corral them this Spring. (Yes, that includes the sconce cords over the top shelves!)
07. Some of the Wood Tones
I really want to take the front entry bench and the coffee table out to the garage and sand them down. And then give them a less grey finish. But we’ll see how time goes this spring and summer. 🙂
But after a couple of months of shopping and DIYing and fluffing, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the living room and dining room as-is for a little bit. 🙂
Living Room Sources
If I’ve missed anything leave a comment below and I’ll try to list it for you.
Paint Color: Eider White, Sherwin Williams
Couch: Ektorp with Nordvalla Beige Slipcover, Ikea
Rug: Ivory Trellis Rug by Foundry Select, Wayfair
Tufted Chairs: Loredana Barrel Chair, Wayfair
Floor Lamp: Logan 60″ Floor Lamp by Charlton Home (when I bought it) a.k.a. Keasler 60″ Task Floor Lamp by Three Posts Baby & Kids (at time of writing this post), Wayfair
(Wayfair has a habit of changing names and suppliers frequently, making it hard to share accurate info with you. I apologize.)
Coffee Table: DIY, found here
Nesting Side Tables: Bouclair
Oversized Art: Lakeside 40×55, Juniper framed in Ikea Bjorksta 55″x 40″ black frame (spray-painted gold)
Pine Bookcase with Glass Doors: Mallory Vitrine Solid Wood Standard Bookcase, Wayfair (the natural pine one is almost always sold out though, sorry)
Floating Shelves: DIY, coming soon (brackets can be found here)
Olive Trees in Planters: Wayfair
Pottery & Vases: mostly either thrifted and painted or antiques/vintage from local antique malls
Shop the Living Room Look
Dining Room Sources
Paint Color: Eider White, Sherwin Williams
Dining Table: DIY, coming soon
Black Buffet: Facebook Marketplace find, painted in Sherwin Williams Black Magic
Tufted Dining Chairs: Originally from The Brick, sometimes available here
Ceiling Light: Originally Wayfair, now available on Amazon here
Lamp: Birch Lane (discontinued)
Gallery Photo Frames: 20″x20″ found on Amazon here, painted black
Gallery Photo Mats: 20″x20″, with 4″x4″ cutout, CustomMat.ca
Gallery Lights: Battery powered, from Amazon here
Gold-framed Landscape Art: Vintage, thrifted from a local shop (for $39!)
Pillar Candle Holders: Originally from Birch Lane, now available on Amazon here
Shop the Dining Room Look