Coastal Living Room – Before & After

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See this COASTAL living room go from dated, dark, and dreary to light and bright and airy!

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

Hello friends! Happy Thursday! I know I said I’d be back with another makeover from the haul but I thought I’d share an updated look at our coastal living room. The last one I did was years ago and our decor has changed much since then. So today you will get to see all the “before” photos too.
And I’m also sharing this first because a couple of the haul makeovers I’ve done are photographed in here so I thought I’d share this before I shared those.

Here is my disclaimer: (haha)

When I took these “before” photos we had just moved in, literally within days of moving in. AND who in the heck knew I’d be writing a blog and sharing our lives and home, etc, with the world some years later?? I mean who even knew what a blog was back in 2004? I suppose there might have been some early versions starting out but I didn’t read them! lol So don’t judge the mess. ;)

Honestly, I am thankful I took the photos I did and only did because we knew when we bought this house it was to be a “project” house. It needed lots of work and updating. So I took photos…but sure wish I had taken even more.

So let’s see how this coastal living room of ours has changed since the big move-in day back in June of 2004.

Coastal Living Room – Before & After

Light and bright and airy.

IKEA Ektorp slipcovered sofas

I’m planning on changing out the slipcovers soon for a little bit different look. I love the white but am ready for a small change.
Stay tuned for that.

And before I go further because I always have questions about it, the furniture came from IKEA and is the Ektorp slipcovered series. (and we’ve been pretty happy with them)

Okay, basically the same view as the above photo…

before living room dark walls

As you can see, we had these style of doors in our home along with gold hardware.
We changed out all the doors and the hardware.
We also took down the dark brown paneling (there was drywall behind, thank goodness) and added board and batten some years later.
You can find that tutorial here >>> “Faux Board & Batten Tutorial

coastal living room with white sofas

And if you follow along on Instagram, you might have seen me talking about changing out this rug in my stories.
Well, I moved one of the loveseats back so I could get the rug up and liked where it sat. haha I was like, hmmm, I’ve never had the loveseat or any couch next to the window before. I like it!
And wow, the living room feels super roomy now. Which meant the rug I bought was too small (I was arranging it differently so the smaller rug was set to work…until it didn’t lol)
Anyway…long story short (I can’t ever ;) ) … I decided to keep this rug here and enjoy the big, roomy feel this room now has.
The new rug is not going to waste though…it is going up in our master remodel instead.

Love the rug?? You can find it right >>> here.

So the chair that has been in the corner for forever, is now on this side of the room.
I actually love having that corner empty now.

Round coffee table, coastal living room

This is an odd-shaped room. It is very hard to get furniture to fit nicely in it.
We used to have the tv in a big entertainment center on the opposite wall where the other loveseat sits.
I love, love, love having it over the fireplace as it saves so much space in here.

Love the coffee table?? See the makeover details >>> here.

Spider plant, coastal living room decor

Another view of where the chair is…and to also show all this extra space we have back on this side of the room.

Wood look laminate flooring

Not really usable space the way it’s designed.

Love that floor?? (we do! ;) ) You can find out all about it >>> here.

Wood look flooring, coastal living room

We love it so much and have been so happy with it, we are actually using it again in our beach house. (a different color though)

Now looking towards the back of the room…

Duck Egg Blue Shutters in coastal living room

Those french doors are a little beat up (they are original…and got painted) and are getting replaced soon. (those and the front door both)
I still love those old “shutters”… actually bi-fold doors I found out thrifting years ago.
You can read all about them >>> here.

Here is what this side of the room looked like before…

Dark paneled walls before of coastal living room

Yep! The cave as I used to so lovingly call it. haha Not!

We finally replaced those old 70’s ceiling lights with these fans recently. Much better.

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

Isn’t the difference amazing?? Wow…just so dark before…and now light and bright.

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

Love using old dressers.  They are great for storing things in. This “white stain” dresser used to be in both of my kids’ nurseries.
So sweet and meaningful piece. You can find all the details on it >>> here.

In this corner below, I am using one of my favorite older furniture finds made over.
Another old dresser I love using for storage.  As a matter of fact, I wrote a post all about that and shared mine and what’s inside them.
Wanna see? You can read all about it >>> here.

Coastal dresser with board and batten

I use the top drawer of this one for my essential oils, the second for extra water and drink cups (with lids, etc), koozies.
The 3 bottom drawers are kitchen items like waffle makeover, extra pans, etc.

Want more info on the chest makeover and the graphic? Check out this post >>> here.

Looking back this way is also light and bright…

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

…but it didn’t use to be…

Brown paneled walls before of coastal living room

With my dark brown kitchen and gold countertops with red plaid wallpaper.

All gone, thank goodness!

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

By the way, our wall color paint in this room is Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.
The color on the island is on the same chip, Oyster Bay. It’s just a bit darker than Sea Salt.
Love both colors.

But I mean hello?? 
We can look all the way to all three rooms now. There used to be a wall with a door over there too.

Coastal kitchen

Want to see before and afters of our kitchen remodel??
You can see the whole remodel >>> here.

Here’s another view.
Boom box…you know it’s been a minute since this picture was taken. lol

Dark walls and old kitchen

There was even a door over there going into the kitchen from the foyer. We literally took that one off the hinges within hours of entering our home for the first time. haha There were doors everywhere downstairs. They meant to block every single room off, if needed, I guess.

And the same view now…

After of coastal kitchen with beachy chairs

This shot below was after we’d pulled down the dark paneling and started prepping the walls. Almost immediately after moving in.
We hated how dark and dreary this room felt so it was one of the first things we did.

Old wall prepped for painting

Naked GI Joe on the ground (lol), football, kids shoes…random lampshade (?…no idea). Awww….miss those days!
But with Ryder and his toys, it feels like not much has changed. haha

And what this view looks like now…

Same corner after of coastal living room

Fireplace in coastal living room

And this view, the fireplace before…

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

And now…

Fireplace after with paint. Painted fireplace

Yep, I painted the brick. This is the second color I’ve painted it and need to paint it again as it doesn’t really go in here any longer. (it’s yellow-ish because I used to have yellow walls)
I haven’t tackled it yet because I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. I think maybe shiplap up top? Or maybe stone or tile on some or all? Or maybe repaint it decoratively (distressed with some color showing through)? I just haven’t pinned that down yet but it needs a re-do for sure. Keep an eye out…I’ll get to it someday soon.

And I can’t finish up this post without sharing my favorite helper, companion, sweetest boy, Ryder…

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

(you might’ve caught a paw or two in some of my other photos lol…)

I hope you enjoyed a look back today. It’s fun to take a look back to see where you started…and where are you are now.
Are you doing a makeover, remodel, etc?? Be sure to take pics even if you don’t think you’ll care down the road. It’s nice to see how things used to look. And hey, sometimes you even capture treasures in the old photos. (like naked GI Joes and kids shoes…lol…I laugh, but it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to see that)

I also hope that by sharing our coastal living room with you it provides you with inspiration for your own home. Maybe the motivation to get started or even just seeing how different a place can look. We didn’t do all of these quickly or all at one time. These remodels/changes were done over the last 15 years of living here. It was a process, for sure. But we did it, and we did it ourselves (we were no experts, by any means) and so can you! Just baby step it. Paint that room. Change your decor that you’ve been wanting to change. Add some new pillows. It doesn’t have to start out large and in charge. That can be overwhelming. Tackle a small project and build on that.
And you don’t have to spend a fortune to decorate or redecorate your home. A lot of the things I’ve used to decorate with came from thrift stores and have been very budget-friendly for us.

PIN it to save it!

See this COASTAL living room go from dark and dreary to light and bright and airy! #coastallivingroom #coastaldecor #coastalhome

See something you want more info on? A dresser, table, picture, whatever?
Maybe some of my decor?? Shoot me an email or ask in the comments below.
And also check out my >>> “Shop Our Home” page for some of the things here.
You might even want to check out my “Shop My Store” for other items I’ve bought to use in our home. (and just some of my other favorite things too)

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Memorial Day weekend!
Stay safe, be well, and enjoy!


  1. W O W ! ! ! This is such a HUGE change and I love it!!
    I grew up with that paneling. lol SO 70’s. lol
    Love the white and bright, the touches of blue. I am completely thrilled with and for you. I know it was a lot of work and you “nailed” it!!

  2. Nancy, we have finally moved and I must paint!, (among sooo much more!) I love the “Sea Salt” on your walls and am definitely thinking I am going to use that color, as well. I need to ask, what color did you use on your trim and the board and batten?….and what about the sheen of the paint for everything? I have to ask because I am new at all of this diy, but you are a huuuuge inspiration. I feel like this post was just for me, telling me, “you Can do this, girlfriend!” :)
    Thanks so much for all that you do and share! Many blessings!!!

    1. Oh fun! I love painting…even walls. ;) You’re going to love the Sea Salt. The color on all of my trim is Extra White by Sherwin Williams in Eggshell finish. I repainted every single inch of trim in our house…again (even the board and batten) 2 years ago and didn’t want it shiny. The eggshell is the perfect sheen for me. Just a hint of sheen.
      I also use eggshell finish on the walls. It gives just that slight hint of reflection (unlike flat paint) without being shiny like satin. It helps to reflect like and make the rooms a little bit brighter. We have big trees around our home and woods back up to it, so it can be darker sometimes. This really helps. (so do the lighter colors)
      I am SO very happy to hear that I have inspired you! I love that! :) And yes, girl, this post was for you, you CAN do it! xoxo

      1. Thank you very much, Nancy! I so appreciate this info, and especially the encouragement. Bless you! Bless you! Bless you!!! :)

  3. Wow, Nancy, that was quite a “before”! You have amazing vision to create such a change from that dark, drab room. Wishing you many more happy years in your beautiful home.

  4. Your house is such a breath of fresh air!! It is SO beautiful!! It has been fun watching it evolve over the years to where it is now. If only the previous owners could see it now! XOXO

    1. Thank you, Christy!! You’ll get to see it in person one of these days!! haha And yes, we say that often! Maybe they have?! Who knows?! xoxo

  5. I love your sense of style! What a change from drab and dreary to bright and calming! I too used sea salt paint, but in my bedroom. It’s such a calm soothing color! And it’s so easy to coordinate with! I love reading your blog each week! Keep the inspiration coming!

    1. Thank you, Sherry! Isn’t Sea Salt so awesome? Just perfect for a bedroom. And thank you, I am so happy to hear that!! xoxo

  6. I LOVe your home. I can’t have so much white in my home (cats, lol) but it does make your home so bright and airy. I love any color blue and it’s beautiful in your coastal home. The one thing I notice here in the photos (unless you have changed it) is you have popcorn ceilings…we do too! I don’t mind them at all and in our home I think they look nice. In your home they are a great decorating element…one that many people shave off or cover up so hurrah for keeping it. I think it all looks very nice.

    1. Thank you, Laura! Yep, you are right, we decided to leave the ceilings alone in here. :) Thanks again!! xoxo

  7. Absolutely gorgeous!! I love every square foot of this space! It’s so bright, cheerful and happy! I would never leave. You did a fantastic job!! Thank you very much for sharing your gorgeous home with us!!

  8. OMG, what a great job and a great transformation. Maybe I missed it, but how long did it take you to do that? WOW, stunningly beautiful, love that look and style.

    1. Thank you, Renee! Oh..well…we did a little at a time. We knocked out the walls in the kitchen probably 10 years ago. The kitchen got a mini remodel (very mini) at that time and the big remodel last year. We did the board and batten a few years back. So, we have slowly transformed it to where it is now. It has certainly evolved. ;) xo

  9. Absolutely stunning!! It’s like you moved into a totally different home. You are such an inspiration. I have a question about the tv above the fireplace. Do you have any concerns with the heat damaging the tv? I ask because we are thinking of doing the same thing and we use the fireplace in the winter… a lot. I love your blog!! You make me feel like I CAN do it.

    1. Thank you, Monica! Yes, it absolutely is!! haha Feels like that to even us sometimes.
      Honestly no because we don’t use the fireplace. We just never have. So I’m not sure if it would be a problem or not but I don’t really think it would.
      And thank you…I love to hear that! I am so glad because that is my hope…to provide inspiration and give you guys the courage to just do it…because you really can! xo

    1. Thanks, Cate! Yep, well, we removed the door that was in the doorway from the foyer to the kitchen. We also removed 2 walls…and one of them also had a door. (to the dining room) :) xo

  10. For what it’s worth, I think the fireplace would look so good painted the same gray color you have in the kitchen on the island. Beautiful – and obviously a lot of hard work. Great job!

    1. Oh, that’s a thought! I really need to figure it out and get it done! ;) Thank you so much, Jan. xo

  11. What a huge difference! I love the light, airy feeling,and the board and batten. It added a great deal of character to your home. I am going to watch your tutorial about board and batten. I am thinking about adding it to our powder room. Lots of ideas! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much, Sue! OH yes, I agree! And yes, do…it’s “faux”, as in all we added were the boards. Pretty easy! Would look great in your powder room. :) xo

  12. I love your decor. Can you believe all the paneling they used in the 70’s? The rooms were all so dark and spaces were separated. It must have been an evolution of sharing space thru the generations, going from one room schools, and sharing bedrooms with multiple siblings to wanted individual space. And now we want open, shared spaces again. Well, anyway – Great job! I’m off to take pics of our rooms….. since we’re currently working on updating the kitchen. LOL

    1. Thank you, Kathy!! And yes, I know! They liked things dark and cozy back then…and closed off. And yes, I bet you are so right. Sure makes sense! (yes, get those pics!) xo

  13. Amazing transformation from dark and gloomy to light and bright. I LOVE the sea salt color, though I don’t have any blue in my home, I may use this in our bathroom. I am still stuck in the brown era, not a bad thing, but am really loving all the colors people use to lighten up. I need much motivation to get things done and you are such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing all your hard work. what is the blue color on the side tables?

    1. Thank you, Kris! Sea Salt would go great with brown! And I am so very glad to hear that. I love that I have helped motivate and inspire you!! That is what this is all about. :)
      The blue color on the side table…by the chair? That is Provence Blue by Annie Sloan. You can see more of that post here.

      1. I love brown, and the way it looks in our room, but I am thinking I am ready for a face lift. I’m not a big fan of brown w/Blue, but I found a great blue color today that I think I am going to do my guest room in. I have a great cherry red/white buffalo check duvet cover and I think i am going to go a bit coastal and go with the blue I found w/white and farmhouse coastal vibe.
        thanks for your inspiration.

  14. I like that your house looks so real. I feel like I could, take off my shoes, grab a throw, pick up a book and curl up on the sofa. Feels like people really live there! I was looking at the shutters by your door, have you ever considered moving them up a bit to be even with the top of the door? Just a thought… You must be so proud of how far you’ve brought your home!

  15. They say light colors make a room look bigger. Your room looks huge now in bright colors compared to the before pictures. I like the cozy warm feeling it has! Huge congrats for the work and the result!

  16. It’s amazing!! I love it all! So bright, open & cozy. You’ve done an incredible job!! I wish you lots of happiness, family times & making of memories Un your new space! Blessings 🙏💐

  17. I love the room is so light and airy! Love your decorating and reuse of older things. Trash into treasure! What is the name of your wood flooring? I have a hard time finding something I like but this goes perfect with the light colored room. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much, Laurie! We really love our new floors and have been so happy with them. I actually wrote several posts about them…you can find them here.:)

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