Lighten up that living room!

When we started out with beige vinyl wallcoverings and brown wood trim, the living room was rather dark. I knew this large area was going to take a tremendous amount of time to redo, so I yelled for help and brought in a dear friend who has assisted me with countless home dec projects. We’ve painted more rooms together than I can count! The first order of business was to remove all the switch plates and outlet plates and thoroughly wash down the walls with warm, soapy water. That done, we laid our drop cloths carefully to cover the carpet and pulled out the five-gallon container of Zinsser’s Bull’s Eye 1-2-3 primer I’ve written about before. Before it was all over, we’d primed the walls and trim three times to thoroughly cover both (that dark wood trim especially needed all the coats). This process took about three days total, but we did this over a couple of weeks as we had time, allowing each coat to thoroughly dry.

Once the primer was dry, we pulled out the white semi-gloss interior trim paint and put two coats of it on the crown moulding and beadboard. When that had dried, I taped off all the trim so I could paint the buttercream color on the walls without ruining any of my previous work. It took surprisingly little paint to do that, even though I needed two coats for a nice, solid finish. You can see the amazing difference! The room is now light, open, and cheerful. In this photo you can also see the white ceiling fan my husband installed. The only tricky part in painting this room was keeping paint off the carpet at the bottom of the beadboard. Neither of us thought to just tape off the carpet (I figured that out later in the office!), so I used a wallpaper squeegee to help me keep paint off the floor. I’d just push the squeegee up against the wall on top of the carpet and paint the section immediately above it. It worked well, but it sure was labor-intensive! Taping off is far easier. Below are pictures going around the rest of the room so you can enjoy the full effect:

It was so exciting to see this come together so beautifully! I’d already brought over some furniture from our current home, so I decided to set up an entryway table and hang some plates. This is my inspiration photo from Country French Decorating. Obviously, this is in a much more formal, traditional home than a double-wide trailer (!), so I’m toning it down just a tad but keeping the inspiring colors and basic design idea. I found fabric nearly identical to what was used for the tablecloth in this photo, but I don’t have time for sewing right now, so that’s a project that will have to wait. This time around, I simply wanted to get the plates up on the wall with the table beneath. I don’t have wall sconces, and those would be a bit over the top for our living room anyway, so I left those out as well. Below is a picture of the area in the living room where I decided to place my entry table and the plates. I’m using the area between the batten strips, which will nicely frame this arrangement:

Since I don’t have a tablecloth or table skirt now, I went ahead and placed a favorite basket of lavender on the lower shelf and set my silver tea service on top:

Next, I measured between the batten strips so I’d know how much room I had and could make an estimate of how many plates would fit nicely. Then I laid out my plates on the floor, experimenting until I came up with the arrangement I liked:

Now it was time to place hanging hooks for the lower two plates. I wanted to hang them first so that I’d be sure the plate arrangement hit the wall above the tea set. I set the first hook by eye, then measured the distance from it to the nearest batten strip:

Now I knew how far from its batten strip the second plate needed to be, but I wanted to be sure it was even vertically as well, so I measured from the top of the first hook to the chair rail:

The spot properly marked, I tapped in the second hook and hung both plates:

From this point, it was not at all difficult to find the center and eyeball the spots for the remaining platter and plates. I did use my tape measure a couple more times to make sure plates were level (a laser level would have been a wonderful help, but I managed!). In the end, I had a pleasing arrangement of china on the wall over my entry table:

At left you see the edge of the white bookcase I’ve since placed in the room.

When I get around to making the table skirt, I’ll be sure to take more pictures. Oh, and after I snapped this one, I ended up swapping the smaller, dark blue plates with the lighter, larger ones just above them! It’s fun to play around until things look right.

Next time I’ll be sharing the adventures of tiling over laminate countertops in the kitchen. It’s much easier than you’d think, but be prepared for a bit of a mess!

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4 Responses to “Lighten up that living room!”


  1. 1 Traci July 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I have a question. I am purchasing a double wide. What is the heaviest thing I can hang on the walls pound-wise? I know the walls aren’t as sturdy as an actual house. Can you help? Thanks!

  2. 3 queenofmytrailer July 29, 2008 at 4:30 am

    As far as hanging things on the walls goes, it depends on the type of wallboard used. The “sheetrock” in our double-wide is only 1/4″ thick, so I’m not hanging any pictures heavier than five pounds unless I have a stud handy. Thankfully, there are lots of studs, and I only have a few things heavy enough to need them (like towel hooks, etc.).

    Hope this helps!

    Warmly,
    Amanda

  3. 4 Elizabeth January 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Love the plates on the wall! Great setup and it looks just wonderful!


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About the Queen…

Amanda Livenwell is the pen name of a stay-at-home mom who shares the adventure of living large on one income in, yes, a double-wide trailer! Join our family as we say goodbye to suburbia, trim down, and start saving to build our own home. We're going to talk about doing it yourself, living beautifully on less, making do or doing without, and counting it all joy in the process. We'll cover prep-work and painting, refacing kitchen cabinets, flooring on the cheap, tiling over laminate, upholstering furniture, and just rolling up our sleeves in general. If you love home improvement, this is the place for you. Let's get cracking!

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