Farmhouse Living Room Decorating Ideas & Update

If you're new here, let me catch you up:

At the end of last year, we sold our townhouse and bought a one-story home in a semi-rural town about 10 miles away that was stuck in the 90's - and not in a cool, trendy way.

It's the ultimate project house: every single room in this house needs help.

It's not that old (it was built in 1999) so things were in fairly good condition when we bought it. The colors, though! Oh my word. Let's just say my main living area was mauve and sage green and weird 90's design choices (like: no window sills. In the whole house).

You can see all our Farmhouse projects I have done do far but for now let's focus on my living room...

Here's what we started with

I took this photo standing in the kitchen, looking into the living room

Close up of the fireplace- check out that brass!

(see all the before pics in the "Great Big Before" tour here)

Here's what we've done so far

Step 1: Floors

I'm almost entirely sure that the carpet that came with the home was the original carpet installed in 1999. It was worn, a terrible color, and was so loose in some places that your could pinch big ripples.

We have two boys and two dogs (read: messy), and decided that if we're replacing the flooring anyway, we should go with a hard floor option. We searched and searched and searched some more. Seriously, I spent WEEKS trying to find flooring I at least kind of liked the look of that was:

  • Zero-VOC or Low-VOC
  • Not ugly
  • Durable
  • Affordable
Hard woods are often treated with VOC emitting finishes. Laminates are usually made in China and contain formaldehyde and other VOC emitting chemicals. Cork wasn't as durable or waterproof as I needed for our lifestyle. Marmoleum is just not my style. Finally we found a vinyl plank floor product from US Floors called COREtec.

Wait Carissa. Doesn't Vinyl off-gas like crazy? Also: UGLY.
COREtec is not your grandma's vinyl floor. 

First, it's chemically inert and does not off-gas like soft vinyl on rolls does. WHAT? Amazing.

Also, instead of being a a big gnarly roll, it's a plank product that looks and feels like hardwood - even more like hardwood than laminate. It is not only pretty but it has texture like hardwood.

It's also totally waterproof. We didn't put it in the bathrooms due to budget constraints but I think we will eventually add it in there.

Step 2: Paint

Once the floors were installed the next thing we needed to do was paint.

Why didn't we paint first?
We didn't paint first because it takes paint 2-4 weeks to fully cure. If paint isn't fully cured, all the dust from your flooring project will stick to your wall - EW. So we did the floor first and then paint.

We chose paint from Colorhouse because it is always non-toxic and zero-VOC (many "zero-VOC" paints are only zero VOC until they add the pigment). The walls were painted Metal.03 and the ceilings were Bisque.02. 

Paint from Colorhouse is truly premium paint - it is not only the best regarding being non-toxic but it's performance is excellent as well. Seriously - there is NO reason to keep buying stinky, off-gassy paint when healthy paint is beautiful, durable and easy to acquire.

Step 3: Consult a Designer

That part might surprise you - but the truth is no matter how many episodes of Trading Spaces I watched in high school and college, I don't really know what I'm doing. Even though I have some very definite ideas about the kind of style I love (hello, modern farmhouse!) - it is a style that is new to me. I was also tackling some design challenges I'd never dealt with before - like a slanted ceiling with a blank 11 foot tall wall!

Lucky for me, one of the Creative Green Living writers, Paige Ronchetti, DOES know what she's doing - she's not only a blogger at Little Nostalgia (blog no longer active) but she is a legit designer AND has an online design consulting business: The Room Kit!

Working with Paige was a great experience because I gave her pictures and dimensions of my space and she could put together something for me that actually looked put together along with lists of vendors who sells what I want and tutorials I can follow to make things I might not be able to buy or afford.

To start, I filled out Paige's intake questionnaire for new clients and sent her some pics of my current space:

Room layout diagram:

Picture of current state of living room #1:

Picture of current state of living room #2:
(this picture is SO bad - but I did want to show her the angle of my ceiling and the HUGE 11-foot tall blank wall that was behind my sofa)

Picture of current state of living room #3

Then she asked me to send her three inspiration pics to help her understand what I'm going for:

Inspiration Pic #1
(Ashley's living room from Cherished Bliss - see the full post about Ashley's fall home tour here)

Inspiration Pic #2
(This awesome gallery wall from Meadow Lake Road - check out her full home tour here)

Inspiration Pic #3
(Leah's living room tour from Grace Lee Cottage - see it here!)

Now, like I said earlier I am not a designer, so I'm not entirely sure how her brain magically does this but after a couple back-and-forth emails about budget and colors, Paige took all this info and spit out this beautiful inspiration collage for me:

Now, she didn't just give me this awesome collage. She also gave me a detailed worksheet with a description of the design, the measurements and vendors for each of there pieces as well as some DIY instructions for things like how to make DIY rustic shutters and how to make a blanket ladder if I don't want to buy a pre-made one, etc.

Overall, I felt like what I got from Paige was awesome - and a great value! Sometimes getting design input from a person who actually knows what they are doing will go a long way to not only getting your room done sooner - but will save you money and time by keeping you from stumbling along making design mistakes over and over until you eventually find your way.

I highly recommend Paige's e-design service if you are looking to give any space in your home a makeover and you need help knowing where to go! Check her out online or hire her for your next project at The Room Kit (PS and tell her I sent you!!)

If you're working on your own farmhouse style makeover, be sure to subscribe via email to stay up to date on the latest projects! In the meantime, you can also follow my farmhouse decor Pinterest board below:

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