3 Simple Changes to Lighten Up My Living Room

Ah, January – the time to make all these ambitious plans for the new year.  Time for a fresh start.  Time to lighten up…

Sometimes I make New Year’s resolutions, sometimes I don’t.  I think it’s because I always have a running list of house goals and personal goals.  For me, it doesn’t make sense to declare them all in January and then feel the pressure to finish them all by a specific deadline.  Here’s an example…Around this time last year, I announced one of the first projects of the year and did I accomplish it?  No.  Am I still planning to do it?  Yes, of course!  But as we all know, sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes other things take priority.  If you read my blog often, you might remember how long it took me to buy my counter stools!  Hey, things happen…

While I am still working on many things from last year, a new goal popped into my head the other day.  I stepped into my living room and got the urge to freshen it up!  Spoiler alert – these are just my plans so if you are expecting a bunch of before and afters, you will be horribly disappointed!  (But, I did include an updated link at the bottom of this post, where you can see the latest change I made to the room!)

Living Room and plans to lighten it up more

I love this room.  I know some people don’t use their formal living room too often, but we actually do.  Maybe because ours isn’t too “formal”.  In fact, it’s very family friendly.  The kids practice their piano in there, I read in there, my dog, Rosie sometimes sleeps on the floor in there.  I often find my younger son on the iPad in there…probably escaping his older brother! But for whatever reason, we all use the room and I want to keep it as inviting as possible.

I think if I just make these 3 “simple” changes, It could give the room a fresher look…

1.  Take Down the Tapestry.

Tapestry in British Colonial Living Room

This tapestry has hung on this wall for at least 15 years and I think it’s time to change it.  Although the colors work well with the room, I think I want to hang something lighter or brighter.  I have never really been a tapestry type of person anyway…whatever that means.  I guess it means, I need to make a change…

To replace the tapestry, here are a few ideas I have in my head:

  • One large mirror
  • One large mirror with smaller prints hung on either side
  • A gallery wall

What do you think would work there?  Although one large piece of art would be nice, I don’t want to buy some inexpensive, mass produced artwork…and an original piece of art that size is not in the budget!  (Especially when you see #3 below!)

2.  Change the dark red pillows.

Living Room Pillows and Tapestry

These darker pillows have been in here since day one.  I always liked them because they help give the room that British Colonial feel I love.  They are still in perfect condition and I will probably bring them back in next fall but for now, I want something lighter.  Possibly, some green since after all, it is the color of the year!  Not that I really care if green is the color of the year…I just want the room to look refreshed.  The rug has a mixture of white, tan, yellow, green and red so I have a few colors to work with.  The rug is staying by the way.  It’s traditional, wool and in perfect condition.  Plus, I could never justify that purchase to my husband!

3.  Swap the silhouette shades for plantation shutters.

Shades on arched windows

I say “swap” like it’s a two second project!  This one will actually take some serious husband-convincing but it was one of the half-finished updates I made in the room long ago.

Originally, I planned to complete the look by hanging curtain panels on the sides of all three windows.  The shades were less expensive than plantation shutters so I thought I was doing the “right” thing.  Well, I never committed to window panels and also realized that by the time I actually did, the price would have been more than if I had just gone with the plantation shutters from day one!

Shades side view

So, now I have these partially finished window treatments that look plain from the side view.

Most of the time we just keep them open which is why you have probably never seen them.

Living Room Freshening Ideas for the New Year

I do love it when the shades (and windows) are open, but we need to have some privacy in this front room sometimes.  Although, we don’t run around naked in our house too often…

Then after installing plantation shutters in the family room this year, I knew that I definitely wanted to add them to the living room as well.  Luckily, the existing shades are in perfect condition so I hope to sell them on Ebay or Craigslist.

With these “simple” changes, I hope to have a lighter and brighter living room!  Time to start watching for plantation shutter sales again!  (That part make take some time…and it won’t be “simple” convincing my husband I need to buy them!)

**Update:  Click over to my more recent post to see the changes I made to the room so far – The Clean and Classic Look of Plantation Shutters.  (I guess the title of the post is a giveaway!)

What changes are you making in your home? 

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  1. I think a large mirror would be pretty. Especially since you have windows that would reflect the light across from it.

  2. I think the changes you mentioned will really lighten up the room! I like the idea of a mirror that would reflect the natural light from the windows. And you know that I absolutely love plantation shutters. Great ideas!

  3. Shelley, I think you are on the right track. Those are exactly the things I did in our last house (minus shutters). We put a collection of mirrors on the wall opposite the windows and it made all the difference in the world.

  4. I've been a painting fool! Redoing my bathroom. About the wall your tapestry is one: it's a long wall. A big mirror would be pretty. I had a gallery wall, but I got tired of it and changed things up.Brenda

  5. You have some great ideas, Shelley to liven up your space. Pillows are a quick fix! I like the idea of a mirror. Your windows are beautiful and plantation shutters would finish the room perfectly!

  6. What fun you will have. Yes, I agree, simple things like changing what is on the wall, or pillows is an easy change….always a good idea.I love the windows open….they are such beautiful windows!Nancywildoakdesigns.blogspot.com

  7. I am thinking the same things you are about changing some things up. The pillows will be quick and maybe the art or mirror over the sofa. I got some new pillows recently and they have been pleasing. Just do a blog post about them.I love the open look of the blinds and you won't have that with the shutters. I have both. Shutters and blinds. They both have advantages. Keep us posted on your projects.

  8. I think all of your ideas are great. The pillows alone will be a good start. I just changed up mine in my living room and loved it. I think a mirror would be fine, but I wouldn't rule out something else either. I love the tapestry, but you are right sometimes we just need a little change to freshen things.

  9. Mirrors are a wonderful to reflect light and brighten a room. The idea of a smaller mirror with flanking prints could answer all your questions. Looking forward to seeing what you decide!

  10. I love the idea of changing the pillows to lighter colors…mirrors are my favorite decorating tool…a really large mirror and nothing else would be amazing…a mirror as large as you can afford will open up the room sooo much. It's a lovely room…

  11. This room is so pretty Shelley! I love the three windows with the arches – a big mirror would be gorgeous in there to reflect them!!

  12. I love simple ideas like this for making spaces brighter and more up to date! And switching out those pillows made a big impact. I also love big mirrors, great tips!

  13. These are all very doable changes that will give your room a fresh look. I like the idea of a mirror over the sofa.

  14. This post really caught my eye.. Our home is English tudor and our living room has a somewhat English cottage style.. I really love medieval touches, as well,, but it looks nice and cosy during the colder months but by this time I am really ready for lightening up.. Love your ideas.. taht tapestry is coming down after valentines day. Love plabtation shutters.. we have them in the kitchen, our master, and are ordered now for hub's office… Would love to do the dining room and lving room but it is all in one space and 7 windows… I doubt thwt is going to happen… your den is gorgeous.. looking forward to seeing the living room.

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