Updating a 90's Living Room in a Model Home

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home but when you are a family raising kids, I would say that the living room gives the kitchen some competition. Perhaps it could be considered the backbone of the home. So much time is spent there, especially as homes with open concepts become the norm. No longer are we separated in different rooms, instead we flow from space to space. 

We have some dear friends that we have been doing life with for more than a decade. We have kids that are similar ages and have enjoyed serving together in many different ways. They constantly open their home for events and functions and we have spent countless hours together in this living room with them. Over Christmas, the gas fireplace that they use nearly everyday exploded. Glass flew everywhere and sent the family asking questions about the safety of their home fireplace. Experts weighed in and what they found was that something like this is extremely rare and while the fireplace didn't technically "explode" {had it done that, the whole insert would have blown out and landed across the room}, the glass had failed over time. 

The need to replace the fireplace sent this family into complete remodeling mode with a desire to update the room of their home that has become such an important space for this family of five. While my friend knows what she likes and what she doesn't, she often doesn't trust herself to make decisions on design and I offered to be a hand to hold and thought my readers might be interested in going along on the process of updating a 90's living room. So they have graciously opened up their space once again, this time to all of you and we will be working together to complete a new design that this family can continue to grow into as their family evolves and changes.

Home Style Trends from the 90's

Can you walk into a home and get a read for what decade it was built or last remodeled in? I usually can. The '90s brought with them a lot of paint colors and techniques like sponge painting. Wicker baskets and that yellow tone for woodwork were every where and don't forget the faux plants! The open-concept home was becoming more popular so living rooms, kitchens, and dining areas usually flowed into each other. The Tuscan style was very big and most homes in the '90s seemed to have at least one room with yellow or red or green, or a combination of them all!

How Do You Modernize a '90s Home?

Paint can do a lot to update a space. I hear often that people don't want to paint wood. This goes for painting wood trim and cabinets, but if you don't like the look of the yellow-tone woodwork, why not paint the wood? Painting can instantly modernize a space. 

Another way to modernize a '90s space is to get rid of the busy finishings. This could be busy stonework on a fireplace, elaborate trim or even home decor you have hanging on the wall and have just grown used to. 

Is Wallpaper Still "in"?

Wallpaper is making a comeback! I have used it in a few spaces, but I'm now fully sold on peel-and-stick wallpaper. For multiple reasons, but the biggest is that it really is removable. While some of the '90s wallpaper prints and colors may be dated, the use of wallpaper to bring in texture and interest in a space is definitely in.

Check out this post: Is Removable Wallpaper Really Removable?

Updating a 90's Living Room in a Model Home

grey, crate and barrel, pottery barn, design, white, farmhouse

Nearly 20 years ago, this home was the model home of the neighborhood. The family initially purchased the home across the street and about ten years later, when they heard that this house was going on the market, they snatched it up before it went on the MLS.  The family entertains often and loved the open floor plan and created a space that could easily be opened up to host dozens of their closest friends and family at a moments notice. It gives me a heart attack to think about, but this is her strength and I appreciate the people in the world that have hospitality as one of their character traits.

My friends are very practical and don't like a lot of extra decorations that just aren't necessary. Books are important to them and for many years this family didn't own a TV. The one that they finally did have was something their kids walked home with that was free on the side of the road by a neighbors house and it lived upstairs in their bonus room. I actually was shocked when I went to their home and saw a TV downstairs. This was so out of character for them, but with three older teenagers, the need was great and the kids may have won out on this one!

It's always damp in Seattle but it's mild so it's a bone chilling cold that has many of us warming up in front of the fireplace on those cold dark days that seem to last for about 9 months out of the year. Ever since the fireplace glass broke, the family has been freezing! It's always so nice for them to curl up on the hearth {it's always where I sit when I come over} or by the fire and the room gets heated nicely with the gas fireplace. Now that they haven't had it, they have been in the habit of turning up the heat. Only problem is, turning up the heat requires the whole house to be heated, no longer just one room, so their bill has doubled since not having a working fireplace!

The river rock fireplace and the built in surrounds are functional, and remember, this family likes function, but it's not ever been something they have loved.

As I mentioned, the TV is a new addition to the home decor in this house. They aren't quite sure how to work around it, if they want it mounted or if they want a console table to put it on. They have always been a little annoyed that the white trim doesn't carry out into this room. You can see how the baseboard on the TV wall is oak and the other trim that butts up to it is white.

There you have it. The living room in this 90's model home. I've spent a lot of time talking about the vision of this room with the homeowners and I put together a little visual board with details that I think fit their vision.
Here are the homeowners thoughts. They want brighten up the space as much as possible. It's dark and dreary around here and light and airy is always a mood booster in the dreary months. The river rock fireplace will need to be taken down and replaced since the new fireplace insert needs to be installed. Grey stone will be added to the fireplace and a mantle, possibly of reclaimed wood will be used. The trim will be painted all white as will the built-ins, and the room will get a fresh new grey color and the ceiling will be painted a lighter color. Navy is a color that my friend is drawn to and my guess is, it will become the accent color throughout. They like lots of clean lines and a modern, though not too modern feel without feeling cluttered or over designed. 
These are a few of the design elements that are being considered. However, all of these are open to change as the reality of the design comes together. It's just a vision board at this point and I'm excited to be helping them come together with a plan.
Dixon coffee table from Crate and Barrel
Mantle and natural stone fireplace similar to the Goodwill Gal's
Lighting from Wayfair
Montclair Sofa from Crate and Barrel
Console Table from OverStock
Jute Navy and Ivory rug from Pottery Barn
Heat n Glo 7x Slimline from Fireside Home Solutions
We are just getting started but it should be fun to work on this project with some of the most generous people that I know giving them the space that they can feel comfortable in. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter via e-mail {you can find the sign up on the side bar} so you won't miss a thing and you can make sure that you come along with us during the process. It's going to be fun!

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