Lightening Up In The Living Room

We’re back from our week at the beach and excited to dive back into things! We were so lucky to have great weather and even got to squeeze in some window shopping and a thrift store trip, so that stuff’s in the hopper. Other than that we were beach bums and pool bums just soaking up the sun. Allow me to keep it real and mention that there were three kids under the age of four, so there were also meltdowns and even a cookie-tossing incident, but it was a great trip. We really loved Destin!

Back to the salmon living room walls that are no more.

After rolling back the carpet and covering a few things with dropcloths to protect them from flying paint (doesn’t usually happen, but ya never know…) we ran around spackling all of the wall holes. Turns out there were a bunch. We just used Dap Crackshot and sanded it with a sanding block once it was dry and wiped/vacuumed up the dust before moving on to the priming step.

As is the usual for the painting duo that is John & Sherry, I cut in around all of the crown, trim, windows, and door frames while John rolled. In inside-out painting clothes of course. Here’s the primer coat going on:

Since this is just a colored wall that we’re bringing back to a lighter and more neutral tone, we didn’t need anything heavy duty when it came to the primer (no stain-blocking or oil-based stuff was necessary since it’s not like dealing with potential wood-bleed). So we just used what we had leftover from priming some of the blue and mauve doors and trim upstairs.

In fact this entire project was a $0 update since we decided to go with the same paint color that we used in our foyer (Edgecomb Gray by BM, which is actually more of a creamy sand tone than a gray) since we still had enough leftover to complete the living room – but more on why we chose that in a minute.

Thanks to the primer coat, we only needed one coat of paint. And since it was just the upper portion of the room that we were painting (along with the fact that there are a bunch of doors/windows/built-ins that cut into the “wall area” in here), we thankfully could rely only on our leftover paint.

It’s definitely not a risky choice, but it’s such a breath of fresh air to see something pleasant and neutral after living with salmon walls for the last two months.

The coolest part is how much wider the room feels now that the color sort of recedes instead of saying “hiiiiiiii!” like the pink walls did.

Here’s the other side of the room where we’d love to eventually create a nice wide doorway in the center that leads to the kitchen, with built-in cabinets on each side (sort of like the opening between the office and dining room in our last house). We’ll probably use an accent color on the back of the future built-ins, and since we plan to whitewash the brick on the other side of the room, there will be two nice “focal areas” going on (so we didn’t want the wall color to compete or make things too busy). We have even debated using a soft blue color on the ceiling between the white coffered beams. Should be fun to see where this room takes us!

And since here’s a little sofa shot, I thought I’d toss out another update for you guys since we’re always being asked how we like our Karlstad from Ikea. Still love it! After a few years with a dog and a kid it’s still going strong. We can’t vouch for any other type of cover (ours is the dark sivik gray) but it’s super durable and washable. Check out our poor console table though – we still need to shorten it and make it interlock correctly since we just sort of mashed it together from the extra long version that we had at our previous house (back when our sectional was configured to be a lot larger). Hence that earthquake-lookin’ crack going on behind the sofa.

But back to the living room walls…

… we’re so happy we devoted an afternoon to de-salmoning them right before we hopped in the car for our road trip. It was totally worth the time and leftover paint to come home to such a lighter sight.

Perhaps the most upgraded view in the house is this one…

We still have a lot of wood trim to paint and three different floors going on, but at least there’s one less room full of wallpaper, no more blue trim, and the living room has been de-pinked.

The funniest thing to us is how differently Edgecomb Gray can read when it’s next to wood trim vs. white trim. See how it looks darker in the foyer thanks to the contrast with the white trim? Meanwhile in the living room from this angle it almost looks off-white against the wood – so of course we’re more anxious than ever to keep on painting in there.

Slowly but surely…


  1. says

    The color looks almost completely different from how it looks in the hallway! Such an improvement from that salmon – the room is so bright and airy now. I think a coffered ceiling will be an awesome touch (though I’m secretly hoping you guys keep the wood beams in the ceiling natural or re-stain them).

  2. says

    I’ve been reading since you were in your first house, so I’m definitely familiar with extreme makeovers, but since everything was so polished and finished in your last house, I’ve forgotten what the in-betweens and baby steps look like. Three cheers for sans-salmon walls. Here’s to no more wood trim and a whitewashed fireplace! Keep up the good work!

  3. Chris says

    Cannot wait to see if you paint the ceiling a soft blue. One day when I’m a homeowner and not a renter, I want to do that! Thanks for inspiring me. :)

    • Sheila says

      I agree with Victoria – those curtains make a huge difference, too – especially compared with those dark floral originals!

  4. Ann says

    I loved both edge comb & revere pewter, but BOTH came off purple against the exposed redwood beams in our new (to us) house. Looks amazing in your house. I am still baffled how paints can change so violently in different lights. {Yes, I just called the paint violent.}

    • says

      Haha, it’s true! We hated how Edgecomb Gray looked in our last house and love it here. I think it’s how much light a house gets and what cardinal direction it faces. That or paints just have multiple personalities…


    • Christina says

      I’m going to go with multiple personalities! Just painted our bathroom Grey Goose by Olympic (a nice greige) and all the samples and paint chips did not prepare me for how lavender it looks in the room. Not sure how I like it but I’m 36 weeks pregnant and NOT in the mood to change it at this point! John and Sherry the living room looks great! I know what a relief it is to lighten a paint color like that!

  5. says

    Welcome home! Glad to have you back!

    I know you guys are big fans of white trim (and I’m sure it’ll look great once everything goes white), but I’m really liking all the natural wood in this room (especially the shot of the wall with the built-ins)! I’d love to get to see you work with it as-is at least for a little while. :)

    • says

      We’re fans of living with things like brick and wood trim until you’re 100% sure you’re ready to paint them (since it’s hard to go back on that). So that’s the plan fo sho!


    • Annie says

      As the hall shot shows, Edgecomb really does its magic against White trim. Indeed I think it looks spectacular there and just kind of ho hum against wood. So here’s one reader hoping for the white trim!

    • Debby says

      This girl loves me some white trim also!!!! Everything always looks so clean and crisp. I am working my way through my house painting out the trim. Not an easy task.
      Hope your vacay was nice. I love your blog.:)

  6. Dee Burn says

    Looks great! Do you have plans to paint the wood trim? Also, in your foyer you changed out the wood doors to white doors. Did you paint them white or get new doors all together? (might have missed a post but I had no luck searching for it). Thanks!

    • says

      Oh yes, check out the post for the wood trim plans! And as for the doors, we just sprayed them in the garage and rehung them with new hinges and hardware. They’re like new doors for a fraction of the price.


  7. says

    Well I guess I can turn just about anything into a story about the hubs, even painting. :D We did the same thing – I cut in and he rolled the walls. But he was 6’4″ so getting down on his hands & knees was a little comical. Thing was, he’d be done rolling in, like, 1/3 the time it took me to cut in. sigh.

    While I’d love to paint some walls in our new/old house, it’s just one more grief-hump to get over. So I’ll just watch you guys, k?

  8. Natalie says

    I love that you are lightening the house even though my living room is teal and my dining room is apple green, I love a neutral palette with punches of color. The dark grey couch still looks awesome and I am loving the master bedroom rug in the living room and the living room rug upstairs. Glad you gusy are back from vacation and looking forward to the transformation of house #3…so far so great!

  9. Jannean says

    Welcome back! Nothing like a week at the beach to recharge the batteries.
    I really love how you approach your rooms in stages. It gives you time to make wise decorating decisions but also makes the projects less overwhelming.

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