Sarah’s Living Room (Before + After!)

Sarah's living room tour!     Back when my husband and I bought our house in May of this year, Elsie and Emma asked us if we'd be willing to share a couple of our home rooms on our blog once we finished getting settled! So today we are really excited to show you our finished living room. I mean whatever—nothing is ever really finished, right? If you're like my husband and I, you find ways to keep the projects rolling (I already have a project in mind involving painting our two vinyl armchairs you'll see here! Should I do it!?).

Sarah's living room - before and after! Sarah's living room tour - before and after! If you have followed my personal blog or my Instagram, you have probably been along for the whole process of finding our dream house and doing some minor unplanned renovations along with a lot of cosmetic changes! When we first walked into our house, although the decoration wasn't our style, we were able to see that we loved the style of the home and all of the beautiful details. I have to say, the previous owners did an incredible job decorating this house to be very consistent with the Victorian time period! We have a lot of respect for them and the detail and care they put into this home. It just didn't really match anything of ours, and even though the room didn't look very dark with the wallpaper, it was amazing how much brighter the room became after we removed the wallpaper and painted the walls white (We used Valspar—Ultra White). It's funny—I didn't even realize until I made this before and after photo that we actually have the same furniture arrangement! 

Sarah's living room tourOur house has two living areas (one is upstairs—it's like our messy den space where we can watch movies and be lazy and leave kid toys everywhere), and this living room is our more formal living room that is downstairs. We were kind of stumped with this room because we're not fancy people, and the idea of a formal living room seemed kind of impractical. So we really wanted this space to be totally usable. I love this room—every morning we make coffee and sit by the fire while we all wake up and Imogen plays with her toys and dances to records. It's our new routine. I love starting off our days in this room. Because this room has a lot of traffic, we went with a gray rag rug, found here. I think the first thing we purchased for this room was this crazy large pendant lamp, (found here) because we were looking for something bold and different for not a million dollars!

Sarah's living room tour!  Sarah's living room tour!                    My husband Josh and I spend our days working for ABM—himself as a maker, and myself as a picture taker. But we love spending our spare time with our daughter Imogen (we also call her by her initials, IQ) and working on our home. We're kind of huge on being thrifty, so a lot of the things we've gathered have either been thrifted, re-purposed, found at estate sales, or Craigslist finds! But the thing we've found is that when you want to be thrifty, it takes a lot longer to get a room the way you'd like it, especially when you have limited hours to scour Craigslist! But for us, the process is a lot more rewarding. Our coffee table, for instance, was $5, and the map roll and paint-by-number paintings were thrifted and estate sale finds. The vinyl armchairs were Craigslist steals at $10 each. And it sounds like a joke, but we even got our sweet dog on Craigslist (best find, ever!).

Sarah's living room tour!                  Sarah's living room tour!
Sarah's living room tour!   Sarah's living room tour!    The Hopson Sofa from Joybird (in Track Charcoal) is my favorite piece in the living room. It's cozy and I love the lines of this sofa! I'm a huge sucker for mid century modern design. I'm also a big fan of baskets, especially when you have a little one. I promise all the toys that are normally in this room are still in here—you just can't see them! We tuck them away in baskets or inside Josh's clever side tables because they have a lot of storage (a DIY for these is coming up soon!).

Sarah's living room tour!        Sarah's living room tour!       Sarah's living room tour!         Sarah's living room tour!          Sarah's living room tour!
The beautiful wall weavings are from our friend Rachel! She is incredible—she also taught a weaving class right here on ABM. I'm inspired to give it a try now.

Sarah's living room tour!           Josh painted this huge painting for an art show when we lived in Phoenix, and it's one of my favorite things he's ever done. I love the home that we've found for it here! The antique lion is something Josh bought at a flea market before we even met, and it's a super big hit with any kids that come over.

Sarah's living room tour!                 Sarah's living room tour!
Sarah's living room tour!             Sarah's living room tour!              Sarah's living room tour!               I would say I'm a very colorful person, and Josh is very minimalistic, so with this house we have had to work to find our balance! I think we're doing pretty okay at it if we're both content. Thanks so much for letting us share our home! xo – Sarah

Credits // Author: Sarah Rhodes. Photography: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Leona, Joey, and Lillian from The Lightroom Collection.

  • I’m new to ABM, so I apologize in advance if my question was answered previously, but what did you do with the mirror above the fireplace? It looks like it was part of the mantle, etc.

  • Informative is a very important part of every home.Choosing the right type of furniture is important for the additional beauty and utility it brings to your room. Quality furniture will ensure that you do not have to spend money on maintenance and repairs.

  • Can you just come decorate my place? i just rented a very industrial loft and not sure what to do or where to start!

  • Really, really nice! The house itself looks pretty big (and beautiful). Will you ever share more rooms with us? I love your style, it’s classy and warm and joyful at the same time, if that makes sense. Such a welcoming home you have!

  • what a lovely room! i absolutely love that couch– so pretty!
    xx nikki

  • I love the balance between color and neutral that you’ve found. It’s so inspiring! 🙂

  • Holy cow, what an amazing before and after. I love your taste in decor, and the painting that josh did is beautiful!

  • What an awesome transformation!!! I love the side tables and all the colors :)) I’m thinking about redoing my living room as well and this could be very helpful… thanks for sharing

  • Hi Katie! It’s from 🙂 -Jacki

  • I’m in love with your living room (and dining room)! Fantastic job!!!! Beautiful! and I love that a lot of your stuff was thrifted and repurposed!

  • Love this!! Where is that rug from? I am looking for something like that for my house

  • Really, really love it!! My perfect combination of bright and neutral with a few unexpected details.

  • I love how you saw the “bones” of the house and used that to create a space that is modern but relaxed, homey and with lots of personality! Such a fantastic job.

    And I love how much light there is! Light makes such a huge difference in a room. Older houses here are like dark little caves 🙁

  • I’m impressed by this makeover. The new room looks a lot more modern, but clearly reflects the personality of the owners and their interests at the same time. Love it!

  • Beautiful and great balance of your styles! I’m feeling super jealous of the huge houses out there. 🙂

    Any suggestions on where to find super cute couch pillows like yours?!

  • I am IN LOVE with that couch. Such a beautiful space, Sarah. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah, it’s beautiful. I just love your style and your photographs.

    Have the same combination with me and my boyfriend- he loves modern minimalism and I love colour and bright African prints (I live in Johannesburg, South Africa)- great suggestions for combining these.

    Thank you,

    Nikki P

  • Wow, lovely room!!! love all the wall decorations! 🙂 Nice job!

  • Wow! It looks so beautiful and I’m glad that you guys found the right balance of colorful and minimalistic. Great job!

  • Wow…your home is gorgeous….I can’t quite get over the size of the rooms!!

  • Waaauww, this is so beautiful. You are so good.
    I like to style houses myself, but I can’t pay that now

  • What a great makeover. Finding the balance when living with a guy is the hardest part.

    Meg | Meghan Silva’s Blog

  • What a wonderful transformation!!! Love the fire place!

  • My favourite piece in the whole room is Josh’s art – you found the perfect place for it!

  • Its just such a stunning space to begin with as well, and I think you’ve decorated it perfectly. It’s so beautiful and you really put your own spin on it!

  • What a major transformation! It looks amazing you and your husband have a great eye 🙂

  • Loveee the living room, It looks so cozy and alivee you knoow with all the right funitures 🙂 can’t wait to have my own houseee..


  • Hi!! Love your living room! Random question: What is the book under the record player in the 13th pic? Looks awesome!


  • I love how much more bright and open the after pictures look! Normally I’m a fan of vintage aesthetics, but the modern style you switched it too looks so much more fresh and inviting. Now I just want my house to look like this, haha!


  • I love the maps hanging above the sofa! And I LOVE the shot in the reflective top of the french press! Thanks for sharing!

  • I love paint by numbers!! I am working on one right now to hang in my living room

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