Before and After: A Boring Living Room Becomes a Bright Family Hangout for $700

published Apr 13, 2022
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messy living room light grey sofa close up
Credit: Hana Sethi

While older homes are historic and full of charm, there’s nothing wrong with loving (and customizing) your new build. There are tons of affordable, creative ways to add details into your home that make it feel cozy and full of character.

Credit: Hana Sethi

This living room redo from Hana Sethi (Hana’s Happy Home) is a perfect example. Hana’s home was built in 2017, and ever since her family moved in she’s been doing fun DIYs adding personality into every room. “We had left the living room with no design because it was such an awkward shaped room,” Hana says. “So it had no artwork, character or focal point.” The walls were painted a simple shade of white, with no molding, texture, or detail.

Credit: Hana Sethi

Hana’s main goal was to add more interest to the two main walls in the living room. One wall was completely bare, and the other had a few guitars hung up servings as decor. When considering ways to add more character in the room, Hana’s mind was immediately set on a building a custom fireplace. “I grew up with one and loved all the memories we created around it,” Hana says. “and I wanted my kids to have this memory as well.”

Credit: Hana Sethi

To create the fireplace from scratch, the first thing Hana did was build a frame. “It’s really important while building the frame to ensure that all your corners are square,” she advises. Next, she attached the frame to the wall, then gave it some texture with faux brick. That came in a shade of red that didn’t really go with Hana’s style, so she painted it black to give the fireplace a more sophisticated look. Using a couple different colors and layering them in an organic way helped the brick look a little more realistic.

From start to finish, the fireplace took approximately two weeks — and Hana did it while she was nine months pregnant. “I literally finished when we were 38 weeks pregnant,” she says. “I’m sure that anyone could do this a lot faster than a pregnant lady.”

Credit: Hana Sethi

After the fireplace was finished, Hana turned her attention the larger wall behind the sofa. “I wanted to bring some grace and sophistication into the space,” she says. “I felt like this room really did not reflect my style and it wasn’t very inviting to guess who came over.” Adding picture frame moulding brings a sophisticated, classic look to the whole room.

In the end, the entire makeover took about a month — with Hana’s new baby arriving in the middle — and cost just $700. Even though the furniture is still basically the same, this looks like a totally new space. “It truly has become a living room where we can create so many memories,” Hana says. “and I don’t think there’s anything I would do differently.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: 2 Projects Totaling $700 Turn a Boring Living Room into a Cozy Hangout