Living Room Design Ideas – Pick My Presto

Hey there, and welcome to our very first Pick My Presto post!

I had an absolute ball putting this presto chango together, and I look forward to posting lots more of them (on a somewhat regular basis) throughout the year. (So keep those photos comin’!)

I received a lot of pictures of living rooms, and this week I chose to work on one sent in by a gal named Tracey who writes a blog called Make Room For. Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see the photo she sent me switch to the inspiration drawing I created…

(Note: My drawing is for inspirational purposes only, and the ideas suggested are just that. Spontaneous, flexible, just-for-fun, ideas. And since this is a just-for-fun-photo-consultation and not an actual-and-perfectly-to-scale-virtual-consultation, I have no idea if the furniture and accessories I used would actually fit or look right in this room. Boom.)

I was feelin’ the idea of a textured wall to break up some of that drywall, so I clad the one on the left in white-painted board and batten. I love the freshness it brings into the room, and taking it up to the ceiling (and adding crown molding) makes the room feel a little taller too. Bonus!

I also used a big, wood mirror to open up that end of the room a little more.

I spread colors like sand, sage, smoke, russet, ivory, and espresso all around the room for an earthy-meets-electic vibe.

A variety of textures and finishes give the room a cozy feel, while raising the window treatments up and out will continue that feeling of added height and expansiveness.

If you weren’t able to view the presto chango in action above, here are the still images…

Tracey’s photo:

My inspiration drawing:

Thank you for the opportunity Tracey! And thank you to everyone who submitted photos this week. I look forward to randomly selecting another one soon!

Wanna submit a photo for our Pick My Presto series?

Send an email to PickMyPresto [at] aol [dot] com titled, “PICK MY PRESTO”. Make sure to include your name, your blog name (if you have one) your design likes & dislikes, and one photo of the space in question. (No links please.) It should be clear, and measure at least 400 pixels high x 600 pixels wide. (In other words: 4″x6″) Make sure it’s a photo you’re comfortable with me showing and writing about on our blog. Then, whenever I’m feelin’ the urge, I’ll randomly select someone’s email and have a little fun creating some presto-chango/cottage-style inspiration. Oh, and since I love surprises, I probably won’t email you to let you know I’ve “picked your presto” unless I have a specific question for ya about your space.


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  1. Katherine C says

    I just love these “Pick My Presto” features! You always do a beautiful job and I seem to draw inspiration from each and every one you do!

  2. says

    Wow, that is amazing!

    The color scheme is great and I would love that wicker chair! Great job pulling that look together :)

    I will definitely be sending in a picture soon :)

  3. says

    What a great idea!! I will have to send you a pic of my family room! If I include a picture of myself can you make me over too???

  4. says

    Oh yes, yes, yes, love, love, love! The colors are us, and I love the flooring and the idea for the walls and banisters. Can’t wait for my man to see this so we can get to work. I’ll send you photos once we make some changes.

    Thank you for picking my presto!

  5. says

    What a neat and unique feature! Love the idea of it, and I really am impressed with the changes you made to the room. Its a great room made much better with your input.



  6. says

    You clever girl. She could arrange the current furniture to the chango design and get a feel for it right away.

    The rug is a good anchor. I’m big on mirrors. The one thing that makes a difference is raising the height of the curtains. It might even work to use the current set for now and add a stripe at the bottom to make up the new length.

    I like that cool shaped recliner in the corner of the original photo. I have a feeling you’d have a hard time talking me out of that one. And isn’t it a shame you can’t just spray paint fabric furniture?

    Still wish you’d come live with me and chango my place from top to bottom, Layla. *Sigh*

  7. DJ Conger says

    The board and batten look is great. Any recomendations on tutorials or how-to’s on that?

  8. says

    I love the changes you’ve suggested especially on the wall change and window. It made the space look fresh and cozy.

  9. says

    Layla, you are toooooo clever. Love your style girl and that big smile of yours. A beautiful idea to do that for people. Love your blog and work all the way from Australia. Kathy

  10. Marty Trout says

    LOVE this! thank you. i’ll go take some pics now to send into you ;) can’t wait to see what you’d do with a closet, turned office, which is now being made into a small laundry room!

  11. says

    Beautiful, Layla! This transformation is fab! I love everything about it … the colors, the textures … everything(!), and I’m sure the owners will recreate as closely as they can to your design! May I ask what software you use?

    And, continued positive thoughts and prayers with you and Kevin during your adoption process. My hubs and I adopted our son, Jax, now 4 (we were in the delivery room when he was born) … he’s our world! Thanks for taking us along on your adoption journey. xo *Becca* (

  12. says

    What a great idea for a regular series of posts and the transformation ideas are amazing! Hmmm, maybe I should send in a picture of our main living area. It’s a bit challenging for us.

  13. Jen says

    A ~ mazing!!!!!!!!!! Love, love, love! Once I stumbled upon your website, I was hooked, and now, I’m going to be LOVING this new presto thing! My hubby and I just put on an addition, and it is a complete blank slate ~ I would sooooooooo love help on that! Of course, I have ideas, but envisioning it is always hard ~ one is a master bedroom (YAY, for us!) and the other is mudroom/bonus family room.

    AGAIN ~ LOVE your website!!!!!!!!

  14. says

    Great Job Layla! I love the new look – especially like the black banister (which we did in our house about a year ago). Can’t wait to see more!

  15. says

    I LOVE your presto changos! I need to take a good photo of our family room to submit. :) What kind of software do you use to make these?

    Looking forward to the next one!

  16. laura says

    What an excellent design. I have a corner fireplace and an odd window to the left of it and several feet of bare wall to the right of it. Always looking for inspiration to help me place my furniture. One day I’m going to send you some pics!~

  17. Megan D. says

    Looks awesome! Question? Since you are picking at random can we send in more than one room for you to possibly presto?

  18. says

    LOVE the change — you did and awesome job! Since you have so many living/family rooms, now I wish I had sent in my kitchen. Can I change?

  19. says

    I love the change! There are many things about this room that I would love to incorporate in my home especially the colors!

  20. Amanda says

    Love! This also helps to answer a question I had – we have an oak banister that we’d like to paint, and I never can figure out the most visually pleasing way to do the white trim/dark work trim combo. (The rest of our house trim is white).

  21. says

    That looks great Layla. I think just the furniture placement alone will help a ton with the space, even if she doesn’t have the budget to buy anything. She has some nice pieces that space planning can make all of the difference for. I love this idea because I think you are going to give some great fresh ideas to people.

  22. SheilaG says

    Love, love, love! I really need to figure out a good angle to take a pic of my living room. Did I mention I love this? :D

  23. says


    The board and batten wall, the painted banister, raising the window treatments — small tweaks with HUGE impact. I am trying to decide which room to send you. Perhaps I’ll send all sixteen! :)

    Your Friend,

  24. Kathleen says


    What a unique series you started…. I ‘m really going to enjoy this. I love that most of your “prestos”( even the past ones done on your blog) include board and batten or bead board. These make for more cozy textured, interesting room. Love it!

  25. Gwen says

    Awesome! This is one of the best. I haven’t been a follower for very long, but this will definitely keep me checking. Great job.

  26. says

    Hi Layla –

    I just wanted to let you know that your cottage look has totally inspired a girl who lives in the desert. I mentioned you on my blog today. Thanks for showing me your part of the world!

  27. Alima says

    Wow! Great transformation! I love the window treatments and the wood floors! Just those two things make such a big difference.
    I want to send pictures of my bedroom so bad, but I’m almost embarrassed. It might be beyond help.

  28. GinaE says

    This makeover is just great! I really love your style and so glad PW posted about you and your site. I’m now a follower.

  29. says

    ooh, looks awesome! Can’t wait to see the changes that Tracey and her man implement!

    P.S. I just sent my presto change in :)

  30. Kim H says

    I didn’t realize you did this for fun… I just can’t rationalize spending a few hundred dollars to get my room decorated in a nice way.. although your talent is worth that and more! I’ll definitely be taking a photo to send in! Beautiful redo of this room btw :)

  31. geri says

    Hi layla.
    beautiful “chango”.
    You make it look so simple.
    We all know though it’s not so easy breezy seeing
    our own rooms.
    I loved that I learned crown molding on a not so high ceiling would
    make it look taller.
    I only have 8 ft ceilings downstairs and even lower by a ft. upstairs.
    Will it still give the same look on ceilings that low.
    I can definaltely see the curtains adding height and really polishing the look.
    Are the shades/blinds hung above the window too to hide the space between.
    I am off getting by 4×6 out ASAP for some a layla magic. Happy wishes, geri.

  32. Jenny B. says

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!!! I love the wall treatment and the painted stair railing! It all looks SO good! LOVE the presto chango! ♥

  33. says

    absolutely incredible, lay!!! So, probably going to be submitting a room…or you can tell me which one you’d like to get your hands on. ;-) Hope you have a good one, friend!

  34. Wendy says

    Layla, this is beautiful! I’ve been intending to paint my banister from it’s current (I kid you not) pickled oak but I am paralyzed by paint color choices. Can’t seem to find the right paint color. I’ve been looking at blacks, then browns along the lines of espresso…can you recommend a color to get the effect you provided in this presto? Thanks for motivating me out of analysis paralysis…

  35. says

    You always post the neatest stuff…

    I just awarded you with the Stylish Blogger Award!

    I listed you as one of 13 of the coolest blogs I follow!

    You can go to my blog for details!

    Thanks for having such a cool blog!


    To Accept The Award you must:
    1.)Thank and Link Back to the Blogger Who Awarded You With
    2.)Share 7 Things About Yourself
    3.)Award 12 Recently Discovered Great Bloggers
    4.)Contact The Bloggers Inform Them of The Award

  36. Kim in MD says

    Wow…the transformation is amazing! I love the addition of the mirror and raising the curtains higher! It really does expand the room! Great job!

  37. says

    Love this change!! I’ve been wanting to change the railing on our stairs. It’s an orangey-colored wood like in the before picture. My jaw dropped when I saw the new one in your after picture! What would you do to change that? Paint? Stain? I was thinking about a distressed black.

  38. says

    I love the idea for this series.

    And you did a great job with this room. The color palatte is so soothing that it makes me want to walk right in and gab with the homeowner over a hot cup o’ joe.

  39. says

    You’re brilliant. Amazing work on the after-drawing — and Bossy should know, she used to be an interior designer and often tried to render these unknowns. Just, wow.

  40. says

    I have continually stalked your blog for sometime now.. I love all your ideas! And I love this new presto changes you have started. I love the wicker chair you put in this room.. any suggestions where I could get one similar?

  41. says

    Thanks so much Layla!! I love PB..but I haven’t seen that chair before.. hmm off to search PB now!!

    PS I can’t wait to see what you will do in a child’s room and I am so excited for you to be adopting. I am adopted, I have two nieces who are adopted and my aunt just adopted from Ethopia so I am big supporter of adoption!

  42. Jazmin says

    WOW! this is super cute!
    Can you tell me where the rug is from? I would love that in my home!

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