Updating an ‘Out-of-Date’ Living Room with Inexpensive Pizzaz!

Main Posts Background Image

Main Posts Background Image


Updating an ‘Out-of-Date’ Living Room with Inexpensive Pizzaz!

Livingroom Makeover 111-2000 New curtains, pillows, and lampshade…really added some ‘pop’ to my vintage style home.

When it comes to ‘out-of-date’ style…well, I surely must be the expert! Style, as I’ve said before, does not come easily to an artsy, craftsy, nostalgia nut like myself.  I’d rather sew, write, play guitar, or quilt than try to figure out that elusive thing called ‘style’..and it shows! Sigh..

Livingroom Makeover 003-2000
Still need to change out the hangers here..but we’re working on it. :o)

For years I’ve longed for clean simple lines, fresh colors, and a light, airy feel in my home. But how to accomplish this always escaped me!I would tell my good friend Maria, over and over again, “Oh I love that room..and this one…and oh that one too!”  These rooms were modern yet inviting and simple…and looked nothing like my home.

If I loved the simple styles and colors so much..why did I keep decorating exactly opposite of that?

dining room 1-2000 Look at my header to see this shelf ‘before’ packing up the antiques.

In spite of my desire to modernize and simplify, my love for antiques and sentimental knick-knacks would de-rail me every time! Why am I so attracted to the gawdy, ornate, and well..honestly..just plain loud? Who knows..but it is a fact that I am. :o)

New Livingroom 2 Yipes! I don’t remember my living room looking quite this cluttered a year ago!

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve never had a budget for furniture or decor so our home was mostly a collection of mish-mash and thrift store bargains. But that really wasn’t the real problem. 

Good Living and Dining Removing furniture added so much space! Space..what a luxury!

It’s that the choices I made were  not something I wanted to live with.  In the end, there was just too much stimulation in our pretty, nostalgic home—too much dusting, cleaning, and re-arranging to do. 

With our lives so very very busy, the added stimulation of so many ‘pretties’ and collectibles in a very small home, was really wearing on me.  I needed a ‘rescue’!!

I didn’t have to quit hanging quilts..just use one that was a little less ‘busy’.  This quilt is over a hundred years old and was quilted by my husband’s grandmother and great-grandmother in Kansas. 

Living room before updating.

Thanks to Maria’s blog, Colour Me Happy, I  began to get a vision for what elements go into making a home look ‘fresh’ and stylish.  Things like new and trendier colors and accent pillows for the couch that really ‘pop’ are some of the ways to do this.


If you can’t paint a whole room in a new color, you can still add splashes of something fresh and bright with curtains or pillows. And that’s just what I did here with the curtains from Ross ($5.00 each!!) and the new pillows I sewed last month. I’m so in love with YELLOW!! I would have made it brighter but the kids begged me not to. LoL!

2125behr1 Dining Room
House colors 3

Maria has already picked out the colors for our home and the paint is purchased.  The living room will be Bavarian Cream--I’m so excited! You can read about that here

Website photos 104

Our plan is to paint this summer..do or die. That is the surest cure for a home that is ‘out-of-date’…the perfect colors. For that, you will have to visit Maria. I could NEVER help you! LoL!

   Livingroom Makeover 075-2000

But one of the simplest and yet hardest things I did recently to update our ‘out-of-date’ home was to box up my precious knick-knacks…and start over.  I pulled out only the BIGGEST decor items I had and very carefully added back to the room only the bare minimum.

DSC03636[1] This is what you call too much stuff!

My DIL, Ebeth, suggested I remove all the knick-knacks from the piano..and the wall above it. “Leave the lamps,” she said, “But replace all that stuff on the wall with something big…like a modern piece of art..or a giant clock or mirror.”

clock on pian-2000  

The plate is antique (grandmother’s) and the chicken was a gift from a friend. This is the piano and wall AFTER Ebeth’s suggestion was followed.

Part of me, the sentimental part, was cringing, but the practical, get-it-done part of me was desperate for change. So I did just that. Why was I so scared to let go of my stuff? 

livingroom corner
The whole family, it turns out, was thrilled at the idea of getting rid of my ‘antique’ or retro look. That was enough of a confirmation for me. Actually, I’ve saved some of my treasures but by adding some modern things, I was able to update the general look of the room. 
Livingroom Makeover 072-2000

We moved furniture out to the office for temporary storage (yes—more of it!), and boxed up the rest. I may Ebay or Craig’s list some of it, but for now, I don’t have to worry. My treasures are safely tucked away. :o)


We spent REAL money ($25.00) on a huge clock from Ross. It was a fraction of what the price would have been anywhere else.  That clock was just perfect!!  (This is a first for us by the way.)

Maria was right. You CAN mix the old with the new, if you just have a few really quality pieces in the collection. It makes the older things look more ‘updated’.  It’s definitely worth a little splurge. :o)

good piano wall 

Next purchase on the list?… According to my 16 yr.old son, it’s something to replace those lanterns on top of the shelves.  Thanks to Ross (an outlet store), we can purchase some modern style glass bowls and/or vases for accent pieces. We want them to be a LOT more colorful than the rest of the room.
Livingroom Makeover 031-2000

Both my daughter, Rebekah, and son, Christian have been a huge helping in making this transition, along with my DIL, Ebeth. Who would have thought my Toys-R-Us teen son would have decorating ideas? I’ve decided that I will never again go shopping without my teens in tow for advice.  

I’m afraid I’m the ONLY one I know with this problem of being stuck with an old style habit.  All my friends seem to ‘get it’. But hey..I know when to ask for help! :o)

Livingroom Makeover 030-2000

I hope my experience helps any of you who are trying to update in spite of your natural inclinations. And if you need more help, just visit Maria. Her blog is a great resource. After a year of reading her advice, I think I’m finally making progress.

good livingroom

Decorating our homes is an ongoing process, I think. Are we ever really done?  But with some new ideas, some de-cluttering, and fresh color, we can make our homes not only more beautiful, but more functional too.
Are you doing any re-decorating or home renovation this summer? I’d love to hear your ideas for updating your home. :o)

new signature


Needled Mom said...

It looks fabulous, Donna. Those are just my colors too. I am one of those who cannot part with the antiques and wonderful knick knacks that my children have given me, but I love that fresh, uncluttered look.

Donna said...

I didn't part with them either..but some of them are tucked away for now. My mind needed a rest. LoL! :o)

claudia b said...

I think it looks awesome - but hey, lanterns are cool! :D We have a bunch hanging from the gazebo.

Don't think of it as putting them away, just rotating them, ya know? We have so much "stuff" too and that's how I think of it, otherwise I'd never put anything away :D

Donna said...

I may do that Claudia. I just know I need the stuff out of sight for now. :o) I used to feel the same way right before each baby was born.

For me visual input equals stress I guess.

Kerrie said...

Wow, lots of changes, great new look! Hugs, Kerrie

Beautifully Veiled said...

Donna! It is beautiful! (but I DID love your antiques.....) I love how clean and neat it all looks. You did great!

Alana in Canada said...

Hi--visiting from Maria's blog. I am very impressed with your "new look" --the quilt is the perfect piece to bring the colour and style together!

Old--but with a modern feel. Meaningful, full of family--and yet crisp, lively, and happy, too. Love the discipline you've brought to the room and your new, clean "eye."

Can't wait to see the walls done in Bavarian Cream. The room will elevate to a whole new level...it'll be fabulous.

I've been struggling with what to do with a quilt my Great Grandmother made--you have given me an idea--thanks!

Trudy said...

Love the new look.

free indeed said...

Great job! We must be quite a bit alike...I use to have all the knick knacky stuff out, but after six kids that got old and a pain to dust and every thing always looked cluttered. I am getting the declutter bug too. Stuff for the house was never high priority for hubby...the farm usually eats up any extra. He did find a really good deal on a couch for our den and asked if I could live with it...it's plaid! I'm sure I can come up with something...like a primitive look or something; for the price and something new, I'll do anything :). Keep up the good work!

Maria Killam said...

I love and adore what you did Donna! Looks so clean and fresh and that quilt is so beautiful! Okay, one more piece of advice. Your drapes need to hit the floor so get some fabric to coordinate with your sofa and sew it on the bottom. It will add a nice contemporary touch and finish the look of your drapes. (just like the loft I decorated on my website, www.mariakillam.com).

Look great Donna!!

Kathy said...

It is an ongoing process - I like to bring change seasonally - to lighten and to brighten things - Love your yellow and that quilt is priceless!

Donna said...

Oh Maria..I had to laugh..I KNEW the curtains were too short and wasn't sure what to do. I never thought of a coordinating swathe at the bottom. Like I said..'modern..or style' escapes me. That's what I have you for! :o)

I'm glad everyone like this. It's been quite a process!!


Donna said...

Hey everyone, Thanks for your input! I'm so glad I'm not 'alone' in this. :o) I hoped it would inspire you.

Susan said...

Donna, your home is very stylish! I love the quilt!

Heather said...

Looks amazing! Everything looks very current, but also comfortable. I have the opposite problem, my house is kid friendly to the point of being, completely un-designed. Thank you for the inspiration.

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

Friends of Comin' Home

Thanks for visiting!

Search This Blog


Copyright Comin'Home 2020. Powered by Blogger.

Error 404

The page you were looking for, could not be found. You may have typed the address incorrectly or you may have used an outdated link.

Go to Homepage