Home Before & After A Living Room Makeover’s DIY Terracotta Walls Add Drama

A Living Room Makeover’s DIY Terracotta Walls Add Drama

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Design inspiration can come from anywhere, at any time. For Diana Yen (@diana_yen_), her penchant for Spanish design style influenced her stunning living room makeover. 

“The living room was pretty generic — just a plain white box,” before, Diana explains, and although her two-bedroom house is technically more mid-century, “the arches throughout feel Spanish,” she says.

The arches — and the view of the mountains outside — were the only two things Diana loved about the “before,” and they spurred an entire design vision. Diana took inspiration from historic Spanish design for her living room makeover (think: warm earthy tones, textured walls, wooden and stone accents, and vibrant patterns).

A terracotta treatment on the walls adds all-over character.

Diana used a DIY stone-like wash on all of the walls; she chose a terracotta paint mix from Kalklitir. While the color adds a ton of depth and character as-is, the application method is really what sets it apart. 

The color washed walls have a lived-in, textured finish that is typically achieved by feathering out the brush strokes and applying a glaze to the top layer of the paint. (The more frenetic your brush strokes are, the more successful the end result will be.) “I did it all by hand with a small paintbrush, and it gives my home a homemade quality,” Diana says of her living room walls. 

“I really love paint — I think it’s an incredible way to completely change the mood of a room, and it’s relatively inexpensive even if you use the best stuff,” Diana says. “I ended up going with an earthy pinkish terracotta shade that I love seeing transform from morning until night. Everyone always says it’s their favorite part of my house.”

Plush furniture softens the space.

The room is filled with thoughtful accents that truly give the space its European elegance. Plush throw pillows line the down-filled couch from Sixpenny — which Diana notes was her biggest splurge of the $10,000 makeover — and striped or geometric details bring a playfulness to the side table, table lamp, seating area, and wall trim.

Some things didn’t go to plan; the furniture took a lot longer to arrive than expected. Diana was left using camping furniture until it arrived, but the end result was well worth the wait. “The furniture is low and deep; you can really sink in and relax. And I have a big Noguchi floor lamp to keep it feeling moody and warm,” Diana says. 

Her aim was to create a living space that felt inviting to everyone, and that’s exactly what she achieved. “I think it just feels so safe and comforting in my living room,” she says.

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