{Reader Submission} Bridget’s Fiesta Living Room

Bridget's Fiesta Living Room

Bridget is a renter in Utah and she has a very serious problem. Like, really serious. Her living room is fit for a fiesta… And not in a good way. She writes:

Don’t judge me.

I have been here 2 months and seriously have had no idea where to begin. It’s gross.

Chips and salsa, anyone?

Let’s assess the damage and see what we can’t do to help a sister out…

Bridget's Fiesta Living Room

Bridget's Fiesta Living Room

Bridget's Fiesta Living Room

Bridget's Fiesta Living RoomFirst the good news:

Those windows are incredible!!! I wish I had windows like that in my apartment. ENVY!!!

Bridget's Fiesta Living RoomAnd that fireplace? Puh-LEEZ! Could anything be more divine? I’m dying over that tile. DYING. And I love that you have little clusters of cuteness on the mantle. Bravo, you, and MORE ENVY!!!

Bridget's Fiesta Living Room

Bridget's Fiesta Living Room

This room could be gorgeous with just a few easy fixes. Here are some ideas I have for turning this Mexican chain restaurant into a sanctuary:

  • PAINT THE WALLS! If this room isn’t painted soon then I won’t be able to sleep at night. I would go with an earthy medium gray. Make sure it is a warm gray, rather than a cold gray, to avoid the concrete wall look. (Bring home lots of paint chips to see what looks best in the room before buying something.) Tip: Go to Lowe’s (not Home Depot) to buy paint. I HIGHLY recommend Olympic’s No-VOC paint. It’s easy to paint with, very inexpensive for the quality, and there’s no stank for you or the environment. Get the flat finish. Also, tell the paint mixer you have stucco walls so they can recommend the appropriate roller/tools.


  • Paint the fireplace. Not the bricks, of course! Just the stucco portion that’s orange. I would do something complementary to the wall but in a bolder color, like this earthy blue-green. I think the tile and brick would look amazing against this color!
  • Remove those light fixtures. Those are so awful and really date the room. Some things are timeless — like that fireplace and tile. Other things are not — like mustard yellow light fixtures featuring iron reptile details. Who says you have to live with ugly light fixtures just because you’re renting? I don’t think light fixtures in those locations are doing anything but taking focus off the fireplace, so I would take them down, put them in a closet until you move out, and put a ceiling cap up instead (to cover the holes). Then you can use lamps for light, which are much nicer anyway. Tip: When you go to Lowe’s to get paint, ask someone to give you some ceiling caps. They just screw into the existing hardware in the ceiling — so easy! Take a photo of the fixtures with your phone before you go so they can get you exactly what you need.
  • Remove the white shelf and bookcase. There isn’t much on them and that’s a very big wall. I think we can put something better there.
  • Move the TV. If you put the TV on the wall next to the fireplace (the side farthest from the windows) you will free up that big fatty wall. I would either mount it using this wall bracket (I have 2 and they’re awesome — super easy to install) or put it on a little side table, perhaps with wheels so you can pull it out in front of the fireplace to watch TV from all angles of the room. Bonus: You get a side table AND you cover up the cords for the TV! Magic!
  • Move the sofas. I would definitely put the big couch on the wall where your shelving lives now (across from the windows) and put the loveseat in front of the windows, where the sofa is now. Doing this make your room look and feel so much bigger! Make sure to leave some space between the back of the loveseat and the windows. This will create an intimate conversation area in your living room and make that gorgeous fireplace the true focal point — as it should be!
  • Move the art around. I love the 3 big pieces you have now! Take the house that’s by the TV, your dog’s portrait that’s on the mantle, and the canvas that’s between the fireplace and windows and group them all above where the big couch will live on the big wall. It will help fill up that empty space.
  • Add a coffee table. I would get something like this. It’s rustic but still clean and not too bulky. I think it would complement the style of your house and furniture well. Center it between the 2 couches, once they’re facing each other in my suggested floor plan.

Bridget's Fiesta Living Room - Coffee Table

  • Add a few more throw pillows. Adding one or two more to the room will cozy it up a bit. Go along with the southwestern vibe you’re rocking and get some inspired by Native and Central American style. I like this one and this one.

This room is going to look incredible after all these things are done! I hope my suggestions are helpful. Please send us photos after you make the changes so we can see the after! Does anyone else have any tips or suggestions for Bridget?

10 thoughts on “{Reader Submission} Bridget’s Fiesta Living Room

  1. Taylor Lynott says:

    For the color pallet I might go with something like this (http://www.hgtv.com/designers-portfolio/room/contemporary/bedrooms/2364/index.html#/id-4552/room-bedrooms). A warm sage-y color (maybe with a bit more green) OR this (http://design-seeds.com/index.php/home/entry/color-entrance-hues). Then it might be fun to add some moss graffiti to the brick on the fireplace (http://abespenny.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/moss-graffiti/). Just a personal touch.

    1. Apartment Envy says:

      Thanks for posting! I LOVE the moss graffiti! I’ve never seen that before! I would, however, strongly advise against both of those color palettes… Bridget’s living room gets so much bright yellow light that using anything saturated (even that mossy green) is going to explode on the wall — a la current orange situation. (I’m sure that orange paint looked rust under the blue-ish lights of the paint store.) Go with a putty or warm gray, like I suggested, and the natural light will bring out the greens and browns in different ways throughout the day!

      1. Taylor Lynott says:

        Ohh.. I didn’t even think of the light coming in. Good point. I’m such a fan and advocate of color, but it can go so wrong so easily. I guess that’s where art, throw pillows and artwork come in!

      2. Apartment Envy says:

        I love color, too! Sometimes it’s difficult to restrain myself. But you’re right about the accessories! And those can be even more fun because you can really go crazy with those, since it’s just a little bit a crazy ;) And since the fireplace is such a small area, that would look great in a bold color! I hope Bridget paints it that earthy blue-green I recommended (or something similar)!

  2. Sarah says:

    Love all your suggestions! It’s SO important to think about the color of the light entering the room / which direction the room is facing. I think the grey would look perfect in that room! I hope we get to see how Bridget chooses to update her room.

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