Formal Living Room Makeover: Part 1

Let’s make one thing clear before we get started.  I am not an interior designer.  That doesn’t mean I don’t love reimagining spaces, though.  You see, you don’t have to be formally trained to know what you like.  For this project I went straight to Pinterest and compiled a stack of photos of living spaces that appealed to me.  I then thumbed through them, searching for common elements that I knew I could replicate on my own.  I was loving mostly flat woven rugs, I’m super into more industrial style accent pieces and tables right now, and the idea of throwing in a couple of small ottomans for extra seating and a pop of color seemed to, well, keep popping up.  See what I did there?  Uh huh.

If you’re looking to revamp a space, I’d suggest trying the same process.  You’ll see patterns in what you love in no time, and you’ll save the $99 you would have otherwise spent on Laurel and Wolf or Havenly to have someone do that for you!

Before going too far into the choices that I made while designing the space, here’s a glance at how the room was staged while the house was on the market.

The end of the world? No.  but there is plenty that I found unappealing about this design.  The rug is too small, the layout is strange and obstructs the fireplace, and the art… well… eh.  Maybe it’s just not my style?  Also, don’t get me started on the fake plants.  Just don’t.

I’ll provide links to help you shop this look later, but for now, lets dive into the design.  I started styling this space with a mostly blank slate.  Just the way I like it!  We would bring in one piece of existing furniture, the white leather couch that was previously in our living room when we lived in the city.  I loved how the white color kept the space bright and airy, and wanted to build the remaining design with a mixture of similarly modern pieces balanced with several more natural and less formal elements that would tie in better with the rest of the home.

We also hung the art early on in our process.  This is actually first piece of real art that I ever purchased, and it remains one of my favorites.  The piece is called “Bright Lights, Zen City,” and it is by an artist named Michael Nemnich.  His work features layer upon layer of rich color, one on top of the next, and scratches that he makes with various tools to reveal the layers underneath.  It’s good stuff, you guys!

Prior to purchasing any additional furnishing, I mapped out potential furniture layouts on the floor with painters’ tape.  Do this!  What an easy way to see that you are on the right track and save yourself the trouble of buying (and returning) pieces that don’t work well.

29869765113_17e9e5a709_o After ample experimentation, I finalized my plan to place the couch parallel to the window wall facing a coffee table and pair of accent chairs.  The low profile of the couch would not obstruct the beautiful light from the window wall, and the openness between and around the chairs would allow a nice visual flow through to the adjacent dining space.  I always try to float large furniture (like sofas and chairs) away from the walls to add visual interest and increase traffic flow, and was pleased to find this space large enough to allow that to happen.

Happy with my plan, I just went for it, purchasing the coffee table, accent chairs, accent table, accent ottomans, and accessories.


The wing back chairs were chosen in a neutral color to offset the white couch; their higher profile gives them the visual weight that I wanted without being too obtrusive in their overall footprint.  I chose to use accents of natural linen and woods in contrast with pops of teal and gold.  The teal played nicely with the colors featured in the main artwork and the gold added the touch of formality that I was after without being too stuffy.  The natural linen accent pillows and lamp shade, coupled with a creamy comfy throw and wooden blocks for the kids kept things fresh and comfortable.

With all of the main components in place, I was ready to select a rug to complete the look.  I knew that I wanted a flat woven rug, both for its style and its durability.  After scouring West Elm and Overstock for days, I identified the piece for the project.  Neutral colors and a subtly geometric pattern (that has interest when viewed up close but isn’t too busy from afar) were just what I needed.  The size is a bit smaller than I planned on, as I’d love to have it extend from the back of the couch all the way past the back legs of the chairs, but hey, you can’t win ’em all, right?

I finished the space with a few final accessories tie things together; a gold vase and clock, a mirror hung opposite the windows to reflect additional light into the room (always a great idea!), some building blocks for the kids, a magazine rack end table, a bonsai tree and orchid, and photo books for a personal touch.

Part II of this makeover will be coming later this year, including window frames, window coverings and *fingers crossed* a fireplace makeover.  In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying this bright space, perfect for reading, watching the sun go down, and, of course, waiting anxiously on the couch for dad to come home from work each evening!

I’d love to hear what you think of our new space.  Are there things that you like or things that you’d do differently?  Let me know if the comments below!  Oh, and if you are interested in shopping the look, I’ve got you covered:


The Hansen House Living Room Makeover Part I: Shop the Look

  1. Fine Art By Michael Nemnich.
  2. Navel Orange Bonsai Tree from Bonsai Boy, NY.  They ship across the country and provide great instructions if you are new to the world of tiny trees.
  3. Accent Pillows from At Home.
  4. Functional and Fun Alphabet Building Blocks by Areaware.
  5. Gold accent pieces from Target.
  6. Wood and Metal Aiden Coffee Table from World Market
  7. Brass Coral Accent Table from At Home (with substituted clear glass).
  8. Grey Wingback Chairs from At Home
  9. Handmade Concentric Diamond Wool/Cotton Rug from Overstock.

(Wall color: Benjamin Moore, natural cream.  Trim color: Benjamin Moore, simply white.)

For more from my home and garden, click here!




3 Comments Add yours

  1. kelleysdiy says:

    Your living room looks beautiful!! And so is your family..


    1. blroetzel says:

      Thank you so much! That is so kind. (I’m new to blogging and have loved following your blog, too 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kelleysdiy says:

        Ahh…thank you! I look forward to following along on your blog!!

        Liked by 1 person

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