The room that has the baby blue wall, shown in the picture above, is our living room which you can see from the entryway and the kitchen. The color of the wall was painted by the previous owner and did not fit my or my fiancé's aesthetic. Here is how we transformed the wall with paint, shelves and a very large television.
Choosing the Paint Color
My fiancé figured it was a good idea to paint the wall before we demolished the flooring (see post on 'Choosing Our Flooring') so we wouldn't have to put down any drop cloths and we could get as much paint on the floor as we wanted to (since it was being demolished anyways). It's hard for me to be neat with projects, so this probably benefited me more than it did Travis.
Our first step was to prime the wall with the field color (the neutral paint color throughout the rest of the home) so we could then have a neutral background to add our paint swatches to and decide on a color. This might have been our first mistake. A finish paint (like what we painted over the baby blue with) does not act the same as a primer does. Primer is created to be 'sticky', for lack of a better term, so that the finish paint can stick to it. Finish paint is not sticky at all and therefore, the new paint did not stick to it as well as we would've hoped. Read a little further to see what I'm talking about.
The wall already looks better.
We wanted our living room to be a mix of both of us with me wanting it light and airy and Travis vibe-ing more towards darker hues. This wall had to be a focal point of the room because this was where all of our furniture would be oriented around i.e., this was the wall where the TV was going and the layout of the room did not have another obvious configuration that made sense.
We were gravitating towards darker colors for this wall because...
1. There was so much natural light coming into this room that it could handle a darker colored wall
2. On the wall opposite of this one is our kitchen which has deep espresso brown cabinets. Having two dark features across the room from each other helps to bookend and ground the space
So, we scrounged Home Depot for samples of deep blues and greens. Why blues and greens? I had always envisioned a deep forest green wall for this space and Travis gravitates towards blue, so we wanted to try both and pick which one looked the best at all times of day.
These were the lucky 4 and yes, initially, the two greens and two blues look similar to each other, but they looked very different once they were on the wall. We also decided to go with an eggshell finish for the paint because it was the same finish we have on the rest of the walls. Not too reflective and still smooth. Let me explain.
How we narrowed it down was Travis and I came to our new home after work and I painted the four sample colors on the wall. We left them to dry for a bit and once they dried, I asked Travis which one was his favorite (I asked him for his opinion before I stated mine because I didn't want to influence him in any way and I wanted to see if we were on the same page).
First thing he said was that he didn't like the blues. We were 1-for-1. I didn't like the blues either. Now it was between both of the greens. I felt like I already had a win because I envisioned a deep green wall from the start. I just had to get him to jump on board without forcing my opinion on him.
Once we decided that we wanted a green, we wanted a very dark green and it turned out that Charcoal Smoke was the winner. It was weird because the Charcoal Smoke almost transformed in color throughout the day. Sometimes it looked green and sometimes it looked gray. It was very versatile.
So, we had a color, now we just needed to paint it. We planned a weekend to spend over at the new house to paint the wall went through all the steps to prep everything
1. Tape off all edges of the wall. We even taped the bottom of the wall to protect our baseboards.
2. Prime over the paint swatches. I.e. paint over the swatches with the field color
3. Stir the new paint and apply
Now, I don't want to make this sound like this was an easy process by any means. For one, it took us three coats of paint to paint this 14' x 9' wall and it was exhausting. We used a paint and primer in one for the paint, but we can't figure out why the paint wasn't applying evenly. I'm convinced it didn't work since we used the finish field color paint as the primer, but with a paint-and-primer in one, it still should have worked, right? Even after three coats, there were still spots where the white primer was showing through. We think the paint may not have spread evenly because of the roller we used. Our walls are a very heavy orange peel texture so typically, with a more textured wall, you would use a roller with more nap (the nap is the thickness of the roller). We used a high nap roller, but the paint was still not applying evenly. We were confused and frustrated as to why the wall did not turn out the way we wanted it.
To be honest, we ended up touching up the white just where the white was showing through. There was also a cloudiness to the color like the paint wasn't applied evenly, and in all fairness, it might not have been. I will admit, this was a lazy decision on our part, but we just left the paint as it was and figured once we had everything mounted on the wall, you wouldn't be able to notice it.
We let the paint dry over the next couple of days and it still looked cloudy. At that point, we were over it and just let it be.
The next couple of months after painting the wall, we wanted to do the following projects to make this space feel more like home.
1. Mount the television on the wall
2. Mount three shelves with brackets on each side of the television
Mounting the Television
I'm just going to let the cat out of the bag early and say we got a 77" television for this room. Initially, yes, it's big ;), but you get used to it. We wanted this large of a television so we could see it from our kitchen. Our house is laid out in the configuration below. This is taken from the builders' website and our layout is actually mirrored, but you get the idea. There is good distance between where the television would be and where the kitchen is. Because of that distance, our space can handle that large of a T.V.
I was initially hesitant about the television size, so we laid out what the size would be in painters tape on the wall to make sure it would not overpower the space.
Travis is the one who does the research on all of our electronics, so he did his research and waited for the television to go on sale at Costco. We went and picked it up, brought it back to the house, and hooked everything up. For the first 30 minutes of turning it on, we thought it might be too big ;). I was very against packing this thing back into the box and taking it back to Costco, so I wanted it to work. We watched it for about 30 minutes and ,needless to say, used to the size and the rest is history. If you're interested, this is the television we bought, and we are extremely happy with it: television link
Ok, back to mounting the television. Of course, we couldn't just get any old mount to mount our behemoth of a television. So, of course, Travis did all the research and found a mount at Costco that had good reviews and seemed like it would do the job (linked here).
We did some further research on the mount on found that this video is a helped out significantly for how to install the mount (video link). It was nice to have a visual to see how it was done if the instructions weren't 100% clear. The mount was relatively easy to setup and we were done in about 1-hour.
After mounting the television, the next step was finding shelves for either side of the television. I went back and forth on whether I wanted true floating shelves or not or, if I could live with seeing a bracket supports at each shelf.
I looked at Target & Home Depot for somewhat inexpensive shelves that looked like true wood (none of that fake veneer where it just looked cheap) and my heart wasn't sold on any of it. I soon realized if I wanted good quality shelves, I would have to pay 'good quality' prices.
After speaking with my Dad about my dilemma of finding the right shelves, he recommended a family friend who had a reclaimed lumber yard in Houston, where my parents live. We went and visited Old World Lumber Company who had an amazing selection of reclaimed lumber from all around the world.
Before coming to look at their options, I took measurements of our wall and what size shelves would look the best. I even marked out the shelf length and height with blue painters tape to see what would be most proportionate (highly recommend) I decided on 3'-0" long shelves that were about 1.5"-3" thick and 8"-10" wide.
My Dad and I were toured by Old World Lumber Company all over the lumber yard and we finally came to these 10'-0" long, 8" wide, and 3" thick boards from the Jim Beam Rick House, from before it burned down. They were gorgeous dense pieces of oak that were used as supports to store the whiskey barrels on. Travis' love language is whiskey, so I had a feeling he would absolutely love them!
My parents generously gifted these pieces of wood to us to use as shelves in our living room and Old World Lumber Company cut the lumber down for us in 3'-0" pieces and gave us us the leftover 1'-0" to be used as small shelves, or to practice different stains on.
We paid a little extra money to fumigate them (don't want any termites wreaking havoc on our house) and in about two weeks, we were able to pick them up.
Once at our house, they needed some t.l.c. Years of dust, dirt and debris needed to be cleaned off, so I took our orbital sander and gently cleaned off the grime to reveal the true color of the wood which was a beautiful light/medium brown.
I was hesitant to stain the shelves because I didn't want to ruin the integrity and color of the wood. If the wood color is supposed to naturally be light/medium brown, I did not want to deviate too much from that. I did end up adding mineral oil to the 1'-0" long extra piece, let it dry and evaluated the color. It seemed to not add a lot to the wood aesthetically, so I wasn't going to rub mineral oil over all of the shelves, if it was not that big of a change. Ultimately, I left the color of the wood as is and am very happy I did.
The wood for the shelves were all cut and at our house, now I just needed to decide on the wall brackets we would use for them. I was hesitant to put any holes in the actual shelves, since they were so beautiful and cost quite a bit of money (I was fearful of messing them up), so I wanted a bracket that the shelf would just rest on top of.
I ended up choosing these shelf brackets that I absolutely love and bought from an Etsy shop (linked here).
I bought the "J' configuration and used (2) two brackets per 3'-0" long shelf. Fair warning, there wasn't any hardware that came with the shelves to mount them with, so I used typical screws for wood-working that you can find at found at any hardware store (the ones I used are linked here).
Once the brackets were ordered and delivered, I went and marked on the wall the height that I wanted each shelf. I decided on 18" between the middle shelf and the top and bottom shelves. I measured some of the items I wanted to place on the shelves and 18" gave these items enough clearance to where they weren't touching the shelf above, but still short enough where the items on each shelf didn't feel out of scale.
Since these shelves were pretty heavy, I wanted to make sure that the brackets were screwed into the wall studs rather than just relying on anchors in the gypsum wall board (sheetrock). The best way to determine where the studs are... handy, dandy stud finder. Once I decided on the height each shelf was at, I went through and marked the stud locations at that height on either side of the television.
Once, all the studs were marked, I just went for it and drilled the first bracket in using my impact driver (I absolutely love this tool, but in all truth, putting these shelves up was the first time I used it)
P.S. The impact driver and drill that are linked aren't the exact ones I have, but they are pretty close.
I drilled the first bracket in and of course, I wanted all of the brackets to line up and be level. So, I did some research and found the absolute best tool for hanging multiple shelves (or really anything) that you want to be straight and level. The Laser Square Level! I would absolutely recommend this tool to anyone.
1. It is reasonably priced ($50!)
2. It sticks to the wall, so you can have your hands free
3. It made this job so much easier!
I was able to align all of the brackets super quickly with this tool and made sure they all were level. It took maybe 45 minutes to hang all of the brackets and it probably would have taken less time if I remembered where I kept leaving my tools.
I got a little antsy and wanted to start placing the shelves on the brackets and styling them. The picture above is shown halfway through placing the shelves on the brackets. In the end, I styled the shelves a bit differently than what is shown above and I got most of my decorative accessories for the shelves from Goodwill of all places. Check out the 'Shelf Styling' blog post under 'Design Tips & Tricks' for the styling video.
And wallah! This is how the wall, television and shelves turned out! I'm glad it looks nothing like the original wall. The last couple of items we need to add are
1. A new media console. The one shown in the picture is too small in proportion to everything else. I've got my eye on one, just waiting for it to come back in stock.
2. Potentially hiding the television cords in the wall. Stay tuned on if this actually happens.
Tools & Supplies List
A couple of things we learned from doing all of these projects
1. We should probably try using a separate paint and primer on the textured walls if we do any future painting.
2. Try using a roller with more nap on textured walls
3. Watch a video tutorial before doing any new project
I hope you all enjoyed this process and will stay tuned for what is to come!