before and afterinterior design

Before & After: Grace and Julia’s Pink Living Room Makeover

by Grace Bonney

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is have a totally pink room. Like top to bottom, all pink, all day. And it wasn’t until this year that I decided it was time to give it a try. Pink is a tricky color. Like yellows and purples, it really changes depending on the time of day, sunlight, and undertones of the paint. But with Julia’s encouragement, I decided it was time to lighten up our deep green living room and go for a complete and total makeover. Thankfully, with some help from the team at Lulu & Georgia (and a TON of DIY help from Julia, more on that below), we were able to turn our room from a dark space in need of a little energy and life into a sunny, colorful room that makes both Julia and I smile every time we walk in. So, let’s start the tour! xo, Grace

“After” photos by Kelly Merchant 

The difference between our room then and now knocks my socks off. The power of a totally different paint color to transform a room should never be underestimated. We went through so many pink paint options and ended up combining our two favorite colors (Literally! In a giant plastic bucket!) to create this warm, saturated pink. See our testing below:

The end result was us combining Benjamin Moore’s “Teacup Rose” and “Sunlit Coral” to create a color that, in the daylight, is the most heavenly and warming shade of pink. At night it veers a little into Miami Beach territory, so we changed our lightbulbs to cooler styles to help tone that down a bit. I’m so happy with the look, and even happier we decided to go monochrome with it — we painted the doors, trim, and heating units, too, so they would all blend in. It’s a look (not in pink, necessarily) that we see in a lot of older homes and have always wanted to try in here.

What really brought this room to life were two major pieces: an incredible L-shaped sofa and this gorgeous striped rug. Both pieces are from Lulu & Georgia and they are much more modern than I’ve ever gone for at home — and I love it. I’ve always gone for traditional rolled-arm sofas, but this clean, modern style (called the Chareslton LAF, similar models here) feels so much lighter. And yes, I know dogs + a light colored sofa = stains and mess, but we got used to that a long time ago. I basically invest in Nature’s Miracle spray in bulk and have learned to embrace a perfectly imperfect (and often dirty) sofa as a part of living with animals we love to pieces.

The rug that brings this space together is the Nurae Rug in Rust from Lulu & Georgia. I’ve been gravitating toward a pink/ochre/rust color palette for a while, so getting to bring these colors together in this space was so exciting. Hope is fully in love with the new beige sheepskin, too. She is the queen of a comfy nap spot. (Julia made our simple coffee table from a leftover piece of IKEA butcher block we had from our old Brooklyn apartment years ago).

These colorful pillows from Lulu & Georgia were such a nice bit of color for the sofa, but I also want to talk about the DIY aspects of this project, too. Like the artwork above! Julia made the wooden sculpture on the wall, while I decided to frame some of my favorite collected bits of Japanese indigo fabric (all in affordable frames from IKEA). In addition to the sketches of Hope and Winky that friends made, you can also see one of the prints we made ourselves! More on those below…

When we talked about decorating the walls in this room, we knew we wanted to keep things personal. I didn’t want to buy anything “just to fill a space,” so we decided to go DIY and got a block printing kit from Michaels and made our own simple artwork for the walls. Ours are the black and brick-colored prints. I got a little frustrated at first, but Julia persevered and we found our groove and ended up with a handful of beautiful, large pieces we could frame and feel proud of. Among the mix are a huge hand-tied knot we found at an artist market a few years ago, watercolors of us and the pets by Alessandra Olanow, and a stack of photo albums (one for each pet and one dedicated to our late friend, Georgine) that we cherish.

Speaking of DIY, one of the biggest undertakings in this room was a huge behind-the-sofa table that Julia and I built together (seen above). It’s made from plywood and a whole lot of elbow grease. It took us about two days to get all the cuts right (there’s not a single straight or un-bowed wall in this room), but I’m so proud of the clean, streamlined piece we made and how useful it is for drinks and snacks we want to keep away from the pets while we’re eating and watching TV. (Although Hope has now taken to sleeping on one side of the table because she misses being right up against the window. Dogs.)

Speaking of artwork, we moved our dog portrait by our friend Sasha Israel to our entryway and used this large space to celebrate an incredible print by Lily and Hopie from Blockshop Textiles. It was so much fun getting to know Lily and Hopie during their photoshoot for In the Company of Women and it means so much to have artwork that is connected to people we know and love. The print is meant to be hung vertically, but we tipped it sideways while working on the anchors and fell in love with this horizontal orientation and went for it.

I also decided the old hardware store handles on our built-in credenza needed an upgrade, so I bought some inexpensive raw leather online and made new handles using brass screws and a hole puncher. Voila! Easy DIY makeover.

This little corner of our living room has always been a bit dark and hodge-podgey, so we decided to bring a little extra light to it with this pennant Cydney Mirror from Lulu & Georgia. It’s nice to see some of our DIY artwork reflected back at us. (I still want to strip both sides of this door down to the original wood, but that’s a project for another day.)

This corner makes me laugh every time I look at it. Mainly because I asked for feedback online about what to do with it (because I was feeling frustrated and confused about how to make it more functional) and despite so many great ideas, we still haven’t committed to anything because nothing has felt 100% right yet. And while I love a fully “finished” makeover, I don’t like adding things just to fill a space. So for now, this corner has a cozy sheepskin chair and plenty of room for Winky (our dog) to hide all of her tennis balls. One day I think it would be nice to add a textured wall hanging, or maybe even a mobile, but for right now I’m going to let this space breathe and just be empty for a bit.

Thanks for joining us on our living room makeover tour! And thank you to Lulu & Georgia for our new living room decor! xo, Grace



From Lulu & Georgia: Charleston LAF Sectional, Nurae Rug in Rug, Beige Sheepskin throw, throw pillows, sheepskin chair and mirror.

Sconces: Brooklyn Bulb Co.

Walnut Lamp: Amish made turned walnut lamp from Canvas Home (circa 2010)

Artwork: Our living room features a mix of DIY artwork we made with a Speedball print kit, as well as pieces by Blockshop Textiles, Veronica Corzo-Duchardt, Carson Ellis, Alessandra Olanow, and a poster from a 1968 Andy Warhol show in Stockholm. Most of our frames are from IKEA.

DIY Projects by Julia: Julia made our coffee table from hairpin legs and leftover butcher block counter from our old Brooklyn apartment. She made the behind-the-sofa table using plywood, she also made the wooden sculpture hanging on the wall from scrap pieces in her woodshop.

Paint: An equal mixture of Benjamin Moore’s “Teacup Rose” and “Sunlit Coral” in eggshell finish. Thanks to our community on Instagram for all the voting and suggestions!

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  • Wow this is fresh and bright and gorgeous — beautiful job.
    Curious what window treatments you’ll be doing, if any?

  • Your makeovers are wonderful to see and read about. Your pink living room is fabulous. I love art work by Laura Horn. I think her art would be fabulous in that corner you are letting rest.

  • I think you two did a fantastic job! It looks SO great and I think you’ll really love how bright and cheery it is in the winter months. I really love the built in shelf behind the sofa too.

  • Grace!! This is so beautiful. Seeing it in bits and pieces on your Instagram stories has been wonderful but getting a view of the whole room is breathtaking. Amazing.

  • this is awful, don’t want to be blunt, but the original room was really stylish, the flaws lay in the fact that it wasn’t styled, not enough art, personal decor, etc. The new pink is overwhelming. The only upside i can see is that your skin will glow in that room.

    • Hi Patricia

      You’re welcome to disagree and share your opinion, but the way you phrased your comment here is far from constructive or kind. We’re all in community with each other online, even if we don’t know each other face-to-face, and telling people their homes (or clothing, or makeup, etc.) are awful just isn’t a great way to have an open, kind, or constructive conversation.


      • What a beautiful and graceful (no pun inteded :) reply, Grace. Thank you for addressing this so beautifully.

  • I LOVE this pink room!!!
    And all the beautiful and personal details you added to it!!! And the DIYs make it so special… you did a marvellous job!!! ❤️

  • Beautiful use of my favorite color! Why not put a tall tree (real night plastic) or hanging plant in the corner behind the sheepskin chair? I love the look but, I think you need some plants in the room.

  • I was SO not sure about the pink, but you’ve converted me! Its Wes Anderson without being twee, and so on point with the ochre accents. Holy perfect sectional and rug batman! 10 out of 10.

  • What an incredible difference in this room. It by no means looks anything other than brand new. Makes the dark grey and white seem pretty morbid by comparison. Well done Brave Hearts for doing that which makes your hearts sing. It looks lively and fun, warm and pleasant. Enjoy to the fullest.

    • Rachel

      I would suggest contacting Lulu & Georgia on their contact page to ask about that particular style. It sold out quickly, and sadly I don’t know if they’ll be re-running it.


  • Painting my dining room pale pink this weekend…wish me luck!! Thanks for the inspo, I would never be ballsy enough to mix two colors. I appreciate the way you’re willing to take risks and how sometimes DIY is just GO FOR IT!!

  • Dear Grace,
    Thanks for having the courage to share your very own design decisions with us! I always appreciate your honesty.
    I know that you and Julia love the new look and I think that’s what matters – a home is for those who live there.
    Take care, looking forward to enjoying the rest of your final Design*Sponge year.
    – Lex

  • Wow, it is so different! I have a paint question. Did you paint the trim and doors in the same color but higher gloss, or did you use one finish throughout the room? Thanks!

  • This is so cool – I can only imagine how lovely it is to see slices of it from the next room or hallway.

    And you have left space to add to it or let it evolve, which is really refreshing!

    Thank you for sharing, Grace.

  • I admire the pink choice, but something about the room just doesn’t click for me.

    I think if the window and door trim and doors were natural wood, not pink, that would help (I think the media cabinet top, which is a great wood, looks fab next to the pink). I also think the white painted wood joists and ceiling is too light next to the pink…It just feels too bubble-gummy. Gallery wall artwork is nice, but I think 3 similar pieces would be enough, mixed with some other artists…as is, it’s too much of the same thing for me. Love the lamp on the media cabinet.

  • I love everything about this, but most of all is the courage and vision it took to create this! It is so nice to see something that reflects the owners so beautifully, and to stand out from the sea of white rooms we find ourselves looking at these days. (Although, they too have their beauty).

    The only thing I find jarring about this post is that all the photos look somehow like they were created via virtual reality. It took a few readings for me to realize these weren’t renderings – they were actual “after” photos.

    I’d also be curious to know how the room looks at night, and how the wallcolor changes throughout the day.

    Thank you for sharing!