The first room to make a big transformation in our house was our den. It’s one of our favorite rooms to hang out in, because of the windows (to both our front and back yards) and the wood burning fireplace. It’s a prime location to watch for deer! It also has a lot of character – ceiling beams, wood floors with pegs, paneled walls, and a brick fireplace. The problem when we moved in was that everything had a dark tone – even with two huge windows (taking up the majority of two walls), it felt like you were inside of cave!
The first thing we did (after posing with the old curtain rod as a… bow staff?) was prime all of the walls. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve sanded first. There are areas I’ve had to touch-up because of paint chipping off, and I think sanding before priming would have resulted in better paint adhesion (mostly just an issue in the trim under a doorway, since it’s a main walkway). We didn’t touch the ceiling beams or brick until after the walls were painted, but it became glaringly obvious that those had to be lightened, too. We used a soft gray color for the walls (Benjamin Moore, Wickham Gray), a green/gray for the ceiling and back of the built-ins (Benjamin Moore, Beach Glass), and a white for the ceiling beams and trim (Valspar, Snow White). We used this shade of white for all of the trim, wainscoting, kitchen cabinets, and built-in banquette seating at our first house – it’s a crisp white without looking overly sterile, so we fell back to that color for this house.
Next, I decided to whitewash the brick (instead of paint), because I still wanted some of the original color variation to come through. I followed the tutorial to whitewash brick on Young House Love. It was SO MUCH easier than you would think and it’s a very forgiving process – if you can handle painting, you can tackle it! You just mix your desired paint color and water (I used a 50:50 ratio of Snow White and water), paint it on, and every few minutes go back over painted bricks with a rag to absorb some of the paint/even it out.
Here’s a few more before and afters, looking out the window to the front yard and at the back wall. I still can’t believe what a difference painting made. This room is such a cozy space for us now. We are always in here (even the kids, and especially the pup)!
Other than painting, I think the easiest way you can make a big impact to a room is by adding curtains/window treatments. You would think I’m used to it by now, but I am shocked EVERY time we get to this point in a room. It definitely adds a “finished” feeling – you almost don’t even realize something was missing until you after you add curtains. Well, it’s more obvious in the before photo’s below, since the curtain rods were already up… haha. (Just scroll up for the pre-curtain rod photo’s 😉 ) I used Joel Dewberry, Birch Farm Series, Hydrangea in Egg Blue fabric to make the curtains (so pretty in person!).
My little snow baby spent a lot of time napping in this room when she was itty bitty (that baby picture was taken just over a year ago). Now she’s old enough to use the play kitchen (what’s happening to time?!). Actually, they’re all giants now compared to when we moved in (which was June 2016)!
I spent quite a bit of time putting this puzzle together in January next to some cozy fires. Is there anything better than putting together a puzzle by the fire when it’s snowing outside? Okay, maybe Netflix…
I also love sipping coffee in this room while watching the birds and other critters run around outside. Anyone else have a den or sitting room to enjoy “old lady” hobbies? 🙂