Family Room Wainscoting

by | Mar 26, 2014 | Before and Afters, Family Room, My House | 90 comments

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.

DSC_0076_edited (1)


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.


  1. Nancy

    Stunning transformation!
    Thanks for the travel through time. I agree with taking out the fireplace (I normally wouldn’t), but it makes a huge change….
    The wainscoting is perfect!
    Now we need a tutorial…

  2. Sandy

    Beautiful. I love everything, especially the wainscoting. Thank you for sharing the before/after pictures. You are such an inspiring woman.

  3. Jennifer

    The ceiling looks so much taller and the wainscoting adds a lot of character to the room.

  4. Candice

    Beautiful transformation!

  5. Karen

    Beautiful Marian! the wainscoting looks fabulous and you have a great collection of beautiful chairs.

  6. Courtney D

    Beautiful! Is that your childhood bench I see at the table? Will we be seeing close ups of that? It looks so fresh! I’d love a post of you sharing your milk paint colors on all those chairs and pieces in the room!

  7. Debbie Pankey

    Hi Marian, I check in with you almost every day and find inspiration. Thank you for being so faithful in writing a blog for us almost every day, Wonderful! I was wondering if you had considered painting the wall above the wainscoting a bit darker to really make the white “pop” a bit more or changing out the white curtains for something blue. I think it might make that awesome wainscoting stand out more. Just my preference. Love all the blue!

  8. Michelle

    Your space is beautiful. What a transformation. It’s interesting that the room now appears larger but yet it has more furniture in it then the before photos. Removing the fireplace made a big difference. Thanks for sharing. Feel better soon.

  9. Rhonda

    What a transformation! I love the wainscoting, it looks so nice!

  10. Betsy

    It looks so wonderfull! What a transformation in such a short time. Your style has really evolved and is refined. I love it all…
    Still enjoying your book and really enjoyed meeting you in Montgomery, AL at the Chapel Markey in the fall.
    Much deserved success, you should be very proud of all your hard work.
    West of the Square Designs

  11. Jannean

    This is such a beautiful transformation. It doesn’t even look like the same room! The wainscoting is truly the finishing touch that pulls the entire space together. Thanks for taking the time to post even though you are not feeling well. I always come away inspired after reading (and seeing) what you have been up to.

  12. Yuko @ northfield gate

    Beautiful transformation! Wainscoting certainly adds architectural interest to the room. It’s so light and airy – just beautiful!

  13. Jessica Tew

    I have a question. How did you hang your plates and platter dishes? I’ve tried it once and it was an epic fail with my platter dish in a million pieces and chunks taken out of my wood floor. I’ve googled ideas but people responses after trying them weren’t the greatest. I would love your advice because it looks amazing!

    • Teresa

      I am not sure how Marian hangs her plates but I use disc adhesive plate hangers instead of wire ones. They have worked wonderful for me and I never had any problem with them falling or the adhesive coming off. You can find them on ebay and probably local craft stores.

    • Jane H.

      I also tried the adhesive pads…some plates were odd shaped on the back so we added strong glue to make sure they held. They were inexpensive plates I picked up at Home Goods…so I didn’t care if the pads didn’t ever come off. You can use wire hangers but I always hated seeing the wires around the plates.

  14. Teresa

    Wow… I had never seen the “before” pictures of the family room and its quite a transformation. The wainscoting is like the “icing” on the cake. Just wondering where you moved the German clock?

  15. Jaimee

    It’s always so much fun to see how someone’s style has evolved. I look back at pictures of our old rooms and almost cringe, but then I remember how tickled I was at the time because it was “ours.” Love how clean and fresh everything looks. You always inspire me!

  16. Kayla

    Love it! You have TOTALLY inspired me! I just love your style! I recall that you mentioned painting doors in your book. What paint do you recommend for doors?

  17. Kenda

    Wow! The wainscoting really completed the room. It really flows and looks phenomenal! I would love to know where you purchased the white curtains from or did you make them? Thank you! You are such an inspiration!

  18. Debbie

    Wow! What a beautiful family room. I love everything.
    White really brightened up the rooms. Thanks for sharing.

    PS. I check your blog every day. Love it.

  19. Siggie

    Wow, what a transformation! Seeing this, gives me hope for my living/dining area. I have a lot of warm tones and would like to give it a fresher and whiter look also. Not always sure how to go about it, I’m taking baby steps, but steps nonetheless.

    Your family room looks so inviting, and the wainscoting makes it all the more cozy. Love it!

  20. Shelley

    It looks beautiful!! Is it always so bright in that room? I didn’t see any table lamps so I wondered if it was always so light filled! I love it!

  21. Tineka

    LOVE it!!! I was wondering if you would be willing to share the source for your drapes- they are perfect!!

  22. Veronica

    The wainscoting came out great! It’s beautiful

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  24. maggie

    I hope you’re feeling better soon! Your wainscoting looks great! Everything looks just beautiful. Isn’t it amazing how our tastes develop over the years? I am still in love with that buffalo check on your sofa.

  25. Doreen @ Hymns & Verses

    It’s so light and airy! Just love the wainscoting – and the amount of seating you have in the space is amazing – great for entertaining!

  26. BrocanteuseRose

    Perfect for days with the sniffles and snuggling, or anytime!

  27. Susan M

    I’m amazed at what you have accomplished in five years! While that may seem like a long time, it’s really not when you consider the expense and elbow grease that each update requires. AND you work when you are sick witha virus!! You inspire me (or…make me feel lazy in comparison…lol). LOVE your beautiful home!

  28. Bara

    Perfection. Your husband must be so proud of you and your talents. You must be so proud of him for his talent of support and his ability to help you follow through to your vision. So blessed this woman is.

  29. Katie

    That room is massive! It has like three, three, couches. The green step stool is my favorite piece. It looks great. You should feel proud, and probably tired.

  30. June Pope

    It is lovely and it has been a pleasure seeing the room transformed. Congrats!!!
    What is the week of the Lucketts Fair? I live in Arlington, VA and want to drag, er, bring my husband. I look forward to the fair and I will see you there. Looking forward to it.

  31. Bree

    I just wanted to to say thank you for inspiring me and re-assuring me that I can transform my home, one bit at a time, myself! I’m an Army wife with 3 kids, and am finally making my way out of the “baby cave” and am getting to the point where I can actually think about decorating for the long term! My challenge of course is moving every 2-4 years, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have beautiful, cozy, and inspiring now! Thank you again for being an inspiration! This next deployment will be spent doing a great deal of painting & re-arranging of the furniture! 🙂

  32. Vanna

    Sooooo gorgeous Marion!! You have got to be feeling so proud! What a transformation! I hope you feel better soon! Vanna

  33. Carolyn Ericson

    Hi Marian,
    You have worked hard and it has paid off. The room is magazine ready.
    Love the plate arrangements. The wainscoting is beautiful and I absolutely love the cane sofa that you recovered before Christmas. Both you and your Husband are so talented.
    Been reading your Blog for quite awhile. Good Luck with all of your upcoming ventures and projects.
    Sincerely, Carolyn

  34. Jeanine C.

    Two defining adjectives for your family room…”cozy” and “restful.” Of course it all encompasses a sense of beauty too!

    Rest well, in the space you have been blessed to call home <3

  35. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    Looks AWESOME!! Sorry to hear you’re still feeling a bit under the weather. This weather has made it a rough winter for sickness.

  36. Krista

    Beautiful! Feel better soon!

  37. AnnW

    This is great. I’m thinking of adding that kind of wainscoting to my entrance and up the stairs to replace wallpaper. Now that you’ve got to this place, I’m wondering what your next move will be. You know that you change things about every three months! The room looks great and removing the fireplace was key. It’s very restful, isn’t it. Hope you feel better. Ann

  38. Seleen

    It’s so beautiful and peaceful! When can I move in? 🙂

  39. Suzanne

    I absolutely love your family room. It doesn’t even look like the same room. I’m just beginning to start my transformation in my 1919 house. You definitely inspire me. I’ve always loved blues and whites, beach cottage cozy décor, but I’m loving your French Provincial influence. You should be proud of all your hard work, and thanks for letting me know it is possible, but just takes time. Also, I am a lover of fireplaces; however, this particular time, I have to agree with your decision to remove it. Thanks for sharing…hope you feel better 🙂

  40. Charlotte

    Love what you’ve done with the room….It’s beautiful!

  41. Holly

    Just gosh darn pretty! Wow!

  42. Linda

    Wow. I think what I’m feeling might be envy! That is new for me. In a good way though. What an outstanding job. Now I wish I could start all over! Keep up the good work and inspiration. Hope you feel better soon.

  43. Cindy

    I love it all! I get so many great ideas from your blog.

  44. Cheryl

    You have done such a fantastic job! Beautiful……now here’s my two cents! I would hang the plates evenly around the top of the wainscoting. Leave the top plate on the wall and hang the others the same, horizontal to the wainscoting. But I would definitely take the plates OFF THE WAINSCOTING. it competes too much with the pattern in the wood. Just sayin…..I am not a professional. Just like to decorate. Thanks. For listening! Feel better!

  45. Charity

    LOVE! Your such an inspiration to me and my love for French farmhouse décor.

  46. Zee

    It looks so good! I want to see more pictures of your china cabinet.

  47. Laura

    It is just stunning! It doesn’t even look like the same house.

  48. Jelena

    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

      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.

  49. Michelle

    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

      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.

  50. Barbara

    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

      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…

    • Mary

      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!


    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.

  52. Holly

    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!

  53. Eliza

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

  54. Lisa

    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!

  55. Anita Ward

    Absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!!

  56. beth

    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. 🙂

  57. Trudi

    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?

  58. Eileen

    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!!

  59. Jared

    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

      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.

  60. Sandy

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

  61. Patricia

    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?

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      I think when the wall is flat, you can use it as a part of the wainscoting.

  62. Leah Huete

    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.

  63. PAUL B


    • Patricia

      Wow, you feel very STRONGLY about this apparently.

      • Annie

        LOL My hubbie does that too… all CAPS.

  64. Suzan

    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 )

  65. Mary Borgsmiller

    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

  66. Paula Lusk

    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.

  67. Stephanie Hobson

    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.

  68. Patricia

    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!

  69. Pamela

    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!

  70. Kelley

    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

      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. 🙂

  71. Natalie

    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~

  72. Lynn Dumouchel

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

  73. Tina

    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???

  74. sarah j

    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!

  75. Dianne

    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.

  76. Marti

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


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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