One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is have a totally pink room. Like top to bottom, all pink, all day. And it wasn’t until this year that I decided it was time to give it a try. Pink is a tricky color. Like yellows and purples, it really changes depending on the time of day, sunlight, and undertones of the paint. But with Julia’s encouragement, I decided it was time to lighten up our deep green living room and go for a complete and total makeover. Thankfully, with some help from the team at Lulu & Georgia (and a TON of DIY help from Julia, more on that below), we were able to turn our room from a dark space in need of a little energy and life into a sunny, colorful room that makes both Julia and I smile every time we walk in. So, let’s start the tour! xo, Grace
“After” photos by Kelly Merchant
The difference between our room then and now knocks my socks off. The power of a totally different paint color to transform a room should never be underestimated. We went through so many pink paint options and ended up combining our two favorite colors (Literally! In a giant plastic bucket!) to create this warm, saturated pink. See our testing below:
The end result was us combining Benjamin Moore’s “Teacup Rose” and “Sunlit Coral” to create a color that, in the daylight, is the most heavenly and warming shade of pink. At night it veers a little into Miami Beach territory, so we changed our lightbulbs to cooler styles to help tone that down a bit. I’m so happy with the look, and even happier we decided to go monochrome with it — we painted the doors, trim, and heating units, too, so they would all blend in. It’s a look (not in pink, necessarily) that we see in a lot of older homes and have always wanted to try in here.
What really brought this room to life were two major pieces: an incredible L-shaped sofa and this gorgeous striped rug. Both pieces are from Lulu & Georgia and they are much more modern than I’ve ever gone for at home — and I love it. I’ve always gone for traditional rolled-arm sofas, but this clean, modern style (called the Chareslton LAF, similar models here) feels so much lighter. And yes, I know dogs + a light colored sofa = stains and mess, but we got used to that a long time ago. I basically invest in Nature’s Miracle spray in bulk and have learned to embrace a perfectly imperfect (and often dirty) sofa as a part of living with animals we love to pieces.
The rug that brings this space together is the Nurae Rug in Rust from Lulu & Georgia. I’ve been gravitating toward a pink/ochre/rust color palette for a while, so getting to bring these colors together in this space was so exciting. Hope is fully in love with the new beige sheepskin, too. She is the queen of a comfy nap spot. (Julia made our simple coffee table from a leftover piece of IKEA butcher block we had from our old Brooklyn apartment years ago).
These colorful pillows from Lulu & Georgia were such a nice bit of color for the sofa, but I also want to talk about the DIY aspects of this project, too. Like the artwork above! Julia made the wooden sculpture on the wall, while I decided to frame some of my favorite collected bits of Japanese indigo fabric (all in affordable frames from IKEA). In addition to the sketches of Hope and Winky that friends made, you can also see one of the prints we made ourselves! More on those below…
When we talked about decorating the walls in this room, we knew we wanted to keep things personal. I didn’t want to buy anything “just to fill a space,” so we decided to go DIY and got a block printing kit from Michaels and made our own simple artwork for the walls. Ours are the black and brick-colored prints. I got a little frustrated at first, but Julia persevered and we found our groove and ended up with a handful of beautiful, large pieces we could frame and feel proud of. Among the mix are a huge hand-tied knot we found at an artist market a few years ago, watercolors of us and the pets by Alessandra Olanow, and a stack of photo albums (one for each pet and one dedicated to our late friend, Georgine) that we cherish.
Speaking of DIY, one of the biggest undertakings in this room was a huge behind-the-sofa table that Julia and I built together (seen above). It’s made from plywood and a whole lot of elbow grease. It took us about two days to get all the cuts right (there’s not a single straight or un-bowed wall in this room), but I’m so proud of the clean, streamlined piece we made and how useful it is for drinks and snacks we want to keep away from the pets while we’re eating and watching TV. (Although Hope has now taken to sleeping on one side of the table because she misses being right up against the window. Dogs.)
Speaking of artwork, we moved our dog portrait by our friend Sasha Israel to our entryway and used this large space to celebrate an incredible print by Lily and Hopie from Blockshop Textiles. It was so much fun getting to know Lily and Hopie during their photoshoot for In the Company of Women and it means so much to have artwork that is connected to people we know and love. The print is meant to be hung vertically, but we tipped it sideways while working on the anchors and fell in love with this horizontal orientation and went for it.
I also decided the old hardware store handles on our built-in credenza needed an upgrade, so I bought some inexpensive raw leather online and made new handles using brass screws and a hole puncher. Voila! Easy DIY makeover.
This little corner of our living room has always been a bit dark and hodge-podgey, so we decided to bring a little extra light to it with this pennant Cydney Mirror from Lulu & Georgia. It’s nice to see some of our DIY artwork reflected back at us. (I still want to strip both sides of this door down to the original wood, but that’s a project for another day.)
This corner makes me laugh every time I look at it. Mainly because I asked for feedback online about what to do with it (because I was feeling frustrated and confused about how to make it more functional) and despite so many great ideas, we still haven’t committed to anything because nothing has felt 100% right yet. And while I love a fully “finished” makeover, I don’t like adding things just to fill a space. So for now, this corner has a cozy sheepskin chair and plenty of room for Winky (our dog) to hide all of her tennis balls. One day I think it would be nice to add a textured wall hanging, or maybe even a mobile, but for right now I’m going to let this space breathe and just be empty for a bit.
Thanks for joining us on our living room makeover tour! And thank you to Lulu & Georgia for our new living room decor! xo, Grace
From Lulu & Georgia: Charleston LAF Sectional, Nurae Rug in Rug, Beige Sheepskin throw, throw pillows, sheepskin chair and mirror.
Sconces: Brooklyn Bulb Co.
Walnut Lamp: Amish made turned walnut lamp from Canvas Home (circa 2010)
Artwork: Our living room features a mix of DIY artwork we made with a Speedball print kit, as well as pieces by Blockshop Textiles, Veronica Corzo-Duchardt, Carson Ellis, Alessandra Olanow, and a poster from a 1968 Andy Warhol show in Stockholm. Most of our frames are from IKEA.
DIY Projects by Julia: Julia made our coffee table from hairpin legs and leftover butcher block counter from our old Brooklyn apartment. She made the behind-the-sofa table using plywood, she also made the wooden sculpture hanging on the wall from scrap pieces in her woodshop.
Paint: An equal mixture of Benjamin Moore’s “Teacup Rose” and “Sunlit Coral” in eggshell finish. Thanks to our community on Instagram for all the voting and suggestions!