Sally’s farmhouse living room | the before

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Room Makeovers41 Comments

I mentioned taking on a second makeover as I’m finishing up the one for my mom, but I haven’t had the chance to sit down, give it some focused thought (and edit the pictures I took back before Thanksgiving!)  As I said, my services are free, but slow.

While I haven’t sat down with a blank piece of paper to draw out some sketches, I have a pretty clear vision for this room.

Here’s how it looks now…



Let me back up, literally.  Because you really have to take a few steps back to appreciate how cool this house is.


Yeah, I know.  That wall!  I want to take it home with me.  Sally wants a fresh farmhouse style in her living room, which is fitting and perfect, since she lives in an 1800’s farmhouse.  It has a Green Gables-esque quality about it, doesn’t it?


Anyway, they’ve done a lot of work on the family home over the years, mostly on the exterior and they are now ready to address some of the interior rooms.

The living room is currently a “hang-out” sort of room.  It’s a place for people to sit and talk, away from the rest of the bustle of the household.  So, they have a family room off the kitchen where the TV and recliners and all of the comfy/lounge-friendly/football-watching stuff is.  This room does still have to have a comfort and durability element, though, and the furniture has to be able to stand up to kids, teens and pets.


Sally likes greens, but the combination with the burgundy and floral elements isn’t achieving the farmhouse look she wants.

The piano is a keeper, but fair game to be painted.  Mwah-ha-ha.


The sofa is a goner.  It’s dated and worn and definitely not farmhouse-style.  I’m cruising Craig’s List to find a budget-friendly replacement.


The coffee table is okay, but it’s a little modern, so we’re going to replace it with an antique wooden chicken crate that is currently hanging out on the porch.


The built-ins are a great feature and just need some styling and a little oomph added.


I love the vintage chair exactly as it is.

mms-811 mms-817 mms-809

Based on my meetings with Sally, here are my ideas for the room…

I actually like the green walls, but I want to change them up a bit to make a real feature out of them.  I think a soft, tone-on-tone mural of trees would provide a great backdrop.



I picture the piano painted in a creamy off-white, maybe a custom mix.



And, I like the idea of adding wood planks in the back of the built-ins and giving them a fresh coat of paint.



And, we’ll add lots of farmhouse touches.  The good news is that Sally has a lot of great things to work with, so we won’t need to buy very much.



I’ll reveal more of my plan as we get into this makeover a bit further.  Finding the sofa is the first step and I need to give Sally some homework and then we’ll be underway…

Sally’s farmhouse living room | the before

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41 Comments on “Sally’s farmhouse living room | the before”

  1. The bit about the piano cracked me up!
    I started pinning the heck out of “sepia murals” and Rufus Porter a few months ago. I was remembering a layout Martha Stewart had about murals. She actually had the artist who did the mural in her Turkey Hill property do a tutorial in her magazine and show. You can catch these online, if you haven’t already.
    I think your bathroom wallpaper inspired me to want to give it a go rather than shelling out the $300 at Anthropologie. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!!!

    1. Katy, I don’t know where you live. II live in Maine and I went to the Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton. They are fabulous. There is also a house three doors down from me that has several of his works as well. He was a really interesting fellow.

  2. Her house is amazing! I’m drooling over that brick wall and French doors! That room has so much potential, I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I would love to know how you come up with your budget for design projects. I’ve been asked a few times to do decorating jobs, but I’ve shied away from it because I didn’t know what to charge.

  3. You have a lovely home, Sally! I like the way you arrange and design the interior. And the cream-off white color of the piano is perfect, too.

  4. As soon as I saw the vintage chair, my immediate reaction was that I hoped you’d keep it! Can’t wait to see the finished room. Lovelovelove Sally’s house!

  5. Just so you know, I’m 64 and a huge Harry Potter fan. When I saw that brick wall, I flashed back to Ron Wesley’s house. That wall looks like it was put together by a pack of red-headed wand-wielding kids! I LOVE IT! Can’t wait to see you work your magic on that room!

  6. Looking forward to this makeover! I like greens too (and have some in my house), so it would be nice to see what you do out of your natural blue element. 🙂

  7. Love that room….particularly the chair, hardwood floors & the rug….but THAT CHANDALIER!! Must know more about it. What a beauty!!

  8. The doors on the built-in cabinets can be beefed up a bit by adding a wood trim around the outer edges. I like the clean, simple look of Shaker style, so when I did this to the plain door fronts on my kitchen cabinets, I used thin, plain strips of wood rather than a fancy molding as the trim. The strips of wood I used are about 1.5 inches wide, about a quarter of an inch think, and come in 2-4 foot lengths, so perfect for small jobs like those doors. They cost about $1 or so each. I cut and mitered the strips, glued them on with Liquid Nails, clamped the strips until they dried, and then caulked the seams to give a smooth finished appearance; finished with a coat of creamy white paint called White Chocolate. The look ended up being more colonial than Shaker, but I like it very much.

  9. Love your ideas and anxiously awaiting seeing the room unfold. Tell her I would be interested in buying the rug if she wants to sell it! I’m serious.

  10. Love that house what a beauty! I hope you are going to keep that rug because its fantastic and the antique chair are definite keepers…cant wait to see the room once you have finished!

  11. What a neat Anne house – although hers was probably decorated more Victorian than farmhouse style. I can’t resist putting in my 2 cents: I’d like to see the sofa turned parallel to the built-ins instead of placed in front of the windows. I love long windows and light and like to see them featured. That built-in is so sweet! I’d make the area around the front door into more of a “foyer” (but then, that might require moving the stove). I love French doors, but not always the room they take up when open. My sister put in pocket doors when she did her remodel and I love them. I know, you’re not doing a major remodel, just a little decorating makeover…

  12. Would the coffee table look a little more farmhouse-y if you painted the top and distressed it? And maybe put painted planks on the bottom shelf?

  13. Excited to see the transformation!!!
    I know it will be amazing!!!
    You have a great imagination, and that’s what it’s all about!!!

  14. Can’t wait to see the finished product! I love your ideas and yes I adore the brick wall it’s timeless!

  15. her home is really a great old house and i am sure will be wonderful when finished. This is very exciting,thanks Marian for the journey.

  16. What a beautifull home. Can’t wait to see it all come done up. Those bricks, they are really neat. Clearly that house isn’t here in earthquake country!

  17. Love the house and the brick wall. I do think the sofa is farm house!! I would re cover and keep it and I would not paint the piano. Farm homes never had a painted piano and growing up we were in a lot of the relatives far houses and none had painted pianos. The chairs are awesome!!

  18. can i be next in line for a master bedroom makeover?! i just love your ideas…i’m stuck and don’t know what to do with it.
    i look forward to seeing the finishing touches applied to this room.

  19. Oh, I love all your smart budget friendly ideas for making this farmhouse more farmhousey. I see way to many rooms like this. It is hard for me not to sit there and redecorate them in my mind. If people could just step out of their 1980s comfort zone they feel trapped in, they would realize that there are so many creatively frugal things you can do to a space to achieve the look you dream of. I can’t wait to see the finished space! You go girl!

  20. Oh my goodness, it’s gonna be gorgeous! I should hire u for a consult. You have the touch . I never know where to start

  21. Wow great ideas !
    I can’t wit to see the finished room, it has so many great things to work with. I’m interested in the rug if she decides to sale it.

  22. Just love her living room. This is my favorite part of your blog. So fun to live vicariously through all your makeovers. I wish I lived closer and I would see if you would take on my living room. 🙂 I was just wondering if you have finished it and I have missed it somehow.

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