Before/After on the CHEAP: Den & Laundry Room

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m planning to celebrate our 2 years of living in our home by comparing the 2012 version of each room with where we are now in 2014.

If we’re going to start at the very beginning, it only makes sense to start with that first room that I painted… while 8 months pregnant.

The Den
Now you may be thinking, “Um, Joules…aren’t you supposed to stay away from fumes and stuff while you’re growing a human?” and the answer is YES. I didn’t PLAN to paint this room myself… the original plan was for me to paint the dark trim white (with the windows and doors open), while my friend painted the walls. However, due to some mixed up communication (that I’m totally not still annoyed about), that friend’s plans changed and I ended up working on the project with just a little help… instead of the other way around.

I don’t know why my preggo mind decided that I simply could not LIVE with the original dark trim and cream walls, but I REFUSED to move into the house unless this room was done.

I know. Pregnant Type A Joules is weird.

Here’s the original version of the room as we first saw it:

Den - 2012It’s wasn’t totally horrible, it just looked very mid-90′s to me. We hated the brass fireplace insert with a passion, and the cream painted paneling walls just looked kind of dirty and dingy up close. The laminate floor looks like wood, but it feels really cheap when you walk on it.

Den B - 2012I have no idea what they were thinking with room set up. If you were sitting on their couch, you’d have to be laying sideways and crane your neck to see the TV which was shoved into the little alcove.

Here is our den now:

Den - 2014I tried to take very similar angles to the original pictures for comparison purposes. For for painting changes, I painted all the trim at the tops and bottoms of the walls a nice, bright white to go with the rest of the house. Then, I painted the walls this pretty medium blue color — I unfortunately can’t find the name of the paint color I used, but it was definitely from Duron (they’re always my favorite). We ripped out the brass insert and replaced it with one from Home Depot in a more “us” oil rubbed bronze finish.

Den 1 - 2014As you can see in the above picture, there is still the odd little alcove in the corner. I had originally planned to build in some bookshelves, but at Christmas that is the perfect place to put the tree… so I don’t want to build in something permanent. I’m thinking that I may either purchase or build in a removable bench, kind of like a little window seat for reading (without the window).

Here are some of my favorite room details:

Den details - 2014I didn’t really have a place for my favorite books, so I stuck them up on the mantle and LOVE the way they look there. Even though Travis is convinced they are a fire hazard. Which they are NOT. My little flying pig was a Homegoods find for less than $15.

The doggie bookends are from Target a year or two ago, also on sale. The rug was a steal from RugsUSA — it looks similar to a West Elm rug I loved, but was WAY cheaper and has been holding up quite well. I made the Valentine’s banner last year for less than $5 and just remembered to bring it out again this year. I love it though and I’m considering it being a year-round piece of den decor.

What still needs to change?
This is actually one of my favorite rooms in the house. This view totally does it for me, especially when there is a roaring fire (just pretend it’s there):

FireplaceHowever, I do still really want to deal with that weird alcove. It’s not really a priority right now though, since it seems to be fine for a dog bed and feeding station. Eventually, it will either become a built in bookcase or reading nook. I hate the laminate flooring and plan to replace it with some gorgeous hardwood floors. However, Jack is pretty tough on the floors and it’s nice to not worry about him scratching them up with his toys. I think we’re going to give it another couple years and then move forward with the hardwood installation.

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