Farmhouse Decorating

Living Room Changes…

You know when something just bothers you in your house and you keep trying to just live with it?  You figure that in time it will grow on you or maybe it’s just plain apprehension about whether the end result will be better…or worse!  This describes me and a bookcase in our living room for the past year.

Our living room was the first room that I tackled.  When we moved in, I was so overwhelmed by our new home.  Literally, every. single. room. needed a makeover.  I first began in our living room where I had developed the beginnings of a vision for this room.  You can read all about this room’s original transformation here.

I have been tweaking bits of this room for a few months, but never quite felt settled on leaving the wood around the bookshelves a stained tone.  I decided to finally go for it and brighten up this side of the room!

To give you a little perspective, this is the bookcase when we moved in:


These are obviously not original to the 1836 farmhouse and we have been told that they were from an early 1900’s home.

I chose to chalk paint the shelves, and since I was working on a major budget, I settled on making my own chalk paint.  By doing this, I could use regular interior latex paint in my chosen color.  The recipe that I used can be found on this site.  (I used the recipe that utilizes plaster of paris.)

So, this is what I ended up with a year ago:


As you can see, I left the wall panels untouched.  My thought was that the bookcase would “pop” in contrast.

Well, a year later, I was over the idea of “popping” and wanted to lighten up the room.  I also was loving the painted walls on the other side of this room and wanted the space to feel more cohesive.


And yes, I used chalk paint on our piano too!  It has made all the difference and you can see the before and after pictures here.


After our recent dining room makeover, I was quite smitten with Zinsser B-I-N Shellac Based Interior Primer and Sealer that I purchased at Home Depot.  It worked so incredibly well, and I had just enough left over from the dining room to cover up the panels in the living room.  Yipee!

On an incredibly beautiful day, I opened every single window and got to work.  And no, I was not being dramatic.  You really do need very adequate ventilation when using this product.  The smell is overwhelming when it is wet, but there are no fumes when it dries.  Bonus: it dries very quickly!

Enough talk…let’s get to it with some before pictures!



The little door in the picture below is on the right side of the bookshelf and it used to lead to our first floor bathroom, but has since been nailed shut when the plumbing was installed in the house.


This sliding glass door below is to the left of the bookcase and it leads to our family room {which is on the to do list for makeovers!}.


Let the cutting in begin!  Take note of the plastic on the floor…the primer is very watery, so plastic is a lifesaver!  It is totally worth the few dollars spent on a plastic dropcloth.



After two coats of primer, I applied two coats of Glidden Premium Interior Paint in eggshell.  I do love that Home Depot does a color match, because I am sticking with Sherwin-Williams Pure White for all the whites in our house.20161010_134944_richtonehdr



Now for some close-up’s of the decor.  Everything on these shelves has been purchased second-hand and super cheap…or free!




Before we end, let’s do a quick breakdown of before:




Ta-da!  After:


So, what do you think?

I am quite thrilled with the change.

And…there’s that thing about no going back now!  🙂



  1. Bonnie

    Love the redo. It looks great.

    1. leighsn

      Thank you, Bonnie! 🙂

  2. […] other days over the summer and the fall making some more tweaks to the room that you can read about here and […]

  3. Happy to have found your blog. I also have a farmhouse but its a bit smaller at just 570 sq feet. Big or tiny, farm homes are just the best. i really love the update that you did to the old wood walls. Looks just fantastic. Such a great update and huge improvement. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your farmhouse.

    1. Leigh

      Thanks for stopping by, Tonita! Your farmhouse sounds very sweet! I so appreciate your sweet and encouraging words! 🙂

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