Transforming a Dark, Outdated Living Room Into a Light and Airy Space.

On a low budget, I transformed a 1980's living room into a modern and bright haven. With some paint, new light fixtures and furnishings, the space was brought into current times. While you should never underestimate the power of paint, we also removed the popcorn ceilings (which dramatically brightened the room). This room was actually our initial endeavor when transforming our very first fixer upper.
Within one day of moving into our outdated ranch home, we began removing popcorn ceilings. It was a huge mess, but well worth the work. Here is our living room after a fresh coat of paint, removing popcorn ceilings and some new light fixtures.
White furnishings from Ikea only added to the impact of the transformation. For the walls, we went with Sherwin Williams Passive. For the beam and trim, we went with an ultrawhite, oil-based paint.
Here is a before and after of our living room. Thankfully, the hardwood floors were in good shape. One day, I would like to refinish them with a different stain, but for now they will do.
I updated the brick fireplace with a DIY wood beam mantel and white paint applied with a whitewash technique.
I love how the wood beam mantel adds some much needed warmth and character to the otherwise bland fireplace. On my site, I have included a tutorial for how we went about whitewashing the brick and making our wood beam mantel.
For more before photos, source list and instructions on our transformation, please visit my site
Hope you enjoyed this little peek of my home tour. Now go out there and design some good vibes!

Erica Van Slyke
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Bjzietlow Bjzietlow on Nov 24, 2015
    How did you remove the popcorn ceiling

  • Nadine Nadine on Nov 24, 2015
    Love the transformation. The room is so inviting now. Noticed that your two lamps are behind your sofa rather than next to it. Was this a design decision or is it because the outlets are there? I have an older built home which means all of my electrical outlets are on the wall and nothing on the floor. To get my lamps next to my sofa I ran an extension cord and hid the wire under a rug behind the sofa.

  • Debbie Pepper Howard Debbie Pepper Howard on Nov 25, 2015
    Gorgeous reno!! I have popcorn ceilings that are painted- I can't sand them down- it took 4 sand pads and I only finished a 2 foot area- my neck was breaking. Any suggestions? besides just covering them with new drywall? :)


Join the conversation

3 of 136 comments
  • Kathy Bettis Marez Kathy Bettis Marez on Dec 11, 2015
    Your post has inspired me to finally do something about our blankety blank popcorn ceilings. You achieved a wonderful transformation in what was a dark and drab room. Now, it's lovely.

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jan 07, 2018
    You have great taste--understated and casually elegant. This is a room you want to live in, but it is also beautiful.