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Family Room Wainscoting


I spent all day in bed yesterday…down and out with a virus or something.  I was still dragging this morning, but was feeling well enough this afternoon to get my photo shoots done.  Unfortunately, a photo shoot is much more involved than just snapping a few pictures.  I had to finish some details in the room, clean and then style.  I just chipped away at it slowly to get it done.

Get ready for a lot of pictures!  Here’s what the family room looks like now…






















And here’s a look at how far this room has come since 2009…





I don’t have pictures of the other side of the room, because it had a the jump-a-roo and other baby/kids toys.

We removed the fireplace a couple of years ago to make a space for a wall-mount flatscreen TV.  The fireplace was massive and didn’t work, so I didn’t feel too back about breaking it into little pieces with a sledgehammer.

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I knew when we bought the house that the family room was a great space for hanging out and entertaining, but it took me a long time to move from the warmer palette to my favorite blue & white color scheme.  We’ve also worked over the past few years to tie the family room and kitchen, which are a part of an addition, in with the 1940’s part of the house.

As I took the pictures and worked around the space, I realized how much I love the room now.  The wainscoting put it over the top for me.

Now I’m curled up under a blanket…a little stuffy-nosed and worn out, but enjoying the space.

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  1. The room looks beautiful, Marian! The wainscoting did pull it all together. Oh, and what a difference from 2009! :-)

    Is that bench in your dining area white or some kind of light blue? I am thinking, it might look good if it was the same color as your bar stools.

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      I was testing out a new paint on that bench, so I didn’t get to pick the color. I just used what was sent to me and, yes, it’s too pale for me. I didn’t want to paint over it, because I wanted to see how the paint was wearing with hard use. Anyway, I’m going to paint over it with some milk paint and rough it up a bit to give it some more character and make it stand out from the wall.

  2. Michelle says:

    I love the board and batten/wainscoting. It looks so crisp. I do have to ask, though, how many chairs and couches are in that room? :-)

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      LOL…Jeff was looking over my should and said, “good question!” We have a sofa, the french daybed, four arm chairs, my desk chair and the dinette set. If I were shooting this room for a magazine or book, I would probably edit it some, but in the space it doesn’t look overcrowded and it’s very functional. You have to remember that my husband was a youth pastor, so we often hosted movie/game nights and needed lots of seating.

  3. Barbara says:

    Your pictures are so bright they are almost blinding and show no contrast. For instance I can barely see the plates on the wall. Is it me and my settings or what do you think. I noticed another comment made the same complaint. Love your house and your blog but sure wish I knew how to resolve this issue. I want to see every nook and cranny.

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      Someone said they made an adjustment on their monitor and then they could see it fine. I am able to see the contrast in the photos on my monitor, so I’m not sure…

    • I have the same issue. The pictures on this blog are so bright you can’t see any contrast. I too, want to see all of the details. I don’t have this issue on any other blogs or websites so I don’t believe it’s my monitor. It seems like there should be a setting on the camera to adjust the amount of light or something so we can see more contrast in the photos. You are very talented and I want to see it all!

  4. [email protected] says:

    Gor-geous!!! It went from cute as a button to Oh My Word! You make it look easy but it’s certainly not. Take care and feel better.

  5. Holly says:

    Oh my… What a great job. Isn’t it nice to relax in a place that gives you warm fuzzies. I love reading your blog. It’s nice to live vicariously through your posts. VERY inspiring Miss Mustardseed. :) Hope you feel better soon!

  6. Eliza says:

    Marian, it looks just wonderful! You can get done more with a virus than I can in the peak of health:)

  7. I adore your home!!! I’m trying to go lighter on my walls to get a nice clean open look. What paint colors did you use? Also I love the white cabinet. Was that painted with milk paint, if so what color? I have a corner hutch I need to tackle and I need to find the perfect white!
    Thanks so much! Your work is inspiring!

  8. Anita Ward says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!!

  9. Oh, Marian!! I love it all so much! You didn’t move the platters, and I’m glad that you didn’t, because I think they look great right where they are, and they make perfect sense there with the rest of the things in the room. I also love the color the bench is now, but it will look good a darker color, too.
    There are so many things I love about this room. Don’t have enough space to comment. Wish you could come and style my home. :)

  10. Trudi says:

    Lovely! What a relaxing and peaceful place to be:) I’m wondering it there will be a tutorial on the wainscoting? Did I miss it in a previous post?

  11. Eileen says:

    Love the room and how you developed your unique MMS style!! I recently reviewed my pinterest boards and saw how attracted I am too at the blues and whites. I thought about how much I love your style and recently painted over my greens yellows and reds to soothing blues grays and whites. I did the board and batten too!! My LR and kitchen are so inviting and lovely now! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  12. My wife and I love the look of wainscoting and are thinking of doing it in our family room. 2 questions that may be answered in previous posts.

    1. What to you do when your baseboard has a very flat profile towards the top? ( We have 8 inch baseboards, but they curve towards the wall at the top.)

    2. Can you do this on walls with orange peel or small knock down finish? It looks great on smooth walls, but we’re wondering if the texture on our walls will look weird.

    Anyway, your space looks amazing!

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      We had smaller baseboards like that and removed them in favor of boards that would butt against the vertical boards in the wainscoting. I have seen people cut the trim at an angle to meet with the baseboards, but I think that’s a short cut that looks a little funny. You can add an 8″ board behind the current baseboards (which would still involve removing them), so the trim can butt against the board. Make sense?

      Yes, I think it would look strange on a textured wall, so I would probably use real wainscoting in that case.

  13. Sandy says:

    Gave the room some class. Excellent taste. That fireplace was ugly & needed to go. Good job.

  14. Patricia says:

    It’s so much fun to watch the progression of things and see your pretty room.
    My question about the wainscoting sort of piggy backs on the comment above. When is it best to have a wood panel as part of the wainscoting instead of the wall and how would you go about that?

  15. Love the wainscoting! The transformation is really incredible. You do such lovely work Miss Mustard Seed!

    I’d have to agree with some of the other readers re: image brightness though. Some of them might be a touch overexposed which is causing the problem. But aside from that, I’m always a fan of bright and airy spaces and you do that so well.

  16. PAUL B says:


  17. It’s gorgeous Marion – and can I tell you how impressed with how far your photography skills have come ( mine are still at your before stage lol )

  18. Mary Borgsmiller says:

    I love love all of this! Did you use drop cloths to upholster your chairs. If yes, what kind did you use? I love the fabric on your chairs. Well actually, i love it all but i’m especially interested in the fabric on your pieces. Your room is awesome. Mary

  19. Paula Lusk says:

    Oh Marian, your family room looks beautiful yet livable. There is nothing that you need to add or take away. But, we all know you will. lol You need to get some rest, you have been doing too much and not letting your body rest. Take care.

  20. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Marian, I solved my problem with pillows on a leather sofa. I put 1-1/2 cups of dried pinto beans in a gallon size baggie and rolled it up tight. Then I opened one end of my pillow, the end that is the bottom, put the baggie inside the cover, and stitched it back up. It worked perfectly! The weight in the bottom keeps the pillow from sliding at all; it will actually stand on its own! Kind of like those stuffed animals with a weighted bottom. One could use any number of things for the weight but I just happened to have pinto beans in the pantry.

  21. Patricia says:

    I love the wainscoting as the foundation of the wall and all your lovely things layered on top. And the palette of whites and blues is so soothing. And I love that you’re never boring!

  22. Pamela says:

    This room has become so soothing and peaceful. I love the pale blue walls, the natural jute rugs and the wainscoting. The curtains are gorgeous. I’m digging all the French chairs. The cane back sette/daybed looks amazing in the checks. Happy you got rid of the fireplace. Its better off broken into small pieces. I love the blue throw over that gorgeous ottoman. I hardly recognize the room. TRANSFORMED!

    Nicely done gurl!

  23. I loved seeing the refinished little bench your mom gave you!

    Also, will you be considering something to cover your TV flat screen when not in use? Just wondering.

    Lovely results. Hope you feel 100% soon.

    Happy highways,

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      I love the idea of covering up the TV, but the fact is that this is our family room and we watch TV, so we’ve decided to just leave it in the open. I know it’s a big black box, but it’s just life. :)

  24. Natalie says:

    Good Morning MMS…I LOVE this room. It truly feels like you could/would come in, kick off your shoes and curl up. Even though it is white (or light in color)….it is definitely a room ready to be lived in. It is warm and welcoming and tastefully done. Hope you feel better soon. The offer of the casserole still stands if we ever get to live close enough. LOL. ~ Natalie~

  25. Wow what an amazing transformation!!!
    I want your house:)

  26. It looks Auuuhh-mazing! Looking forward to a tutorial to teach us all how to achieve the same look. By the way, where’s the horse???

  27. sarah j says:

    I love your photos! It’s such a beautiful transformation. I’ve been too nervous and unsure where to start in my own house (even with the simplest projects), but I’ve been reading your book and am so inspired to make it happen. I’ve even completed a chalkboard project and started painting two bar stools! I have two quick questions that I’m sure you’ve answered before (I have littles around, so not a lot of time to search for the info…) 1. what color are the walls in your family room? They are so light and airy, I need that color for my master bedroom!! 2. What finish do I need to put on my barstools? lol! I’m painting them with grainsack milk paint (of course) and I don’t know if I need to put a clear coat on top…

    Thank you so much for being so inspiring for those of us who aren’t sure where to start and how to make it happen! God Bless!

  28. Dianne says:

    Beautiful! As well as I can tell, from looking at the photos, I think your pale blue wall color would look great brought up onto the ceiling. I love your style.

  29. Marti says:

    I absolutely love this. Can you tell us what paint color you used on the walls?

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