Living Room Inspiration – Pick My Presto

Just wanted to send out a big (virtual) Happy Birthday! to Kev’s brother Kerry today!

Kerry is the principal at a local middle school here in Alabama and we’re looking forward to throwing a birthday bash for him here at TLC this weekend! But in the meantime, I thought I’d surprise him with a presto change-o of his living room. (Sure hope you’re reading today, Kerry- LOL!)

A while back he and I were talking about some changes he’d like to make in there, and while we were chatting, he showed me this Southern Living magazine photo he’d been hanging on to for inspiration:

He told me he’d love to try and capture that same kind of light, bright, “woodsy” Southern style- so I snapped a pic of their room, and told him I’d play around with it in Photoshop so he could get a better idea of how they might be able to achieve a similar look.

Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see Kerry’s living room “presto change-o” to my inspiration drawing. (PS- Google Readers will have to click over to our site to view this one!)

(Note: My drawing is for inspirational purposes only, and the ideas shown in it are just that. Spontaneous, totally 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 any of the furniture, ideas or accessories I used in the drawing would actually work in the room. Boom.)

Can’t view the interactive photo above? No prob! Here are the still images:

So, Kerry, I’m thinking it would toooootally be possible to re-create the look of the room you love in that issue of Southern Living you’ve been saving. The first step- cladding your existing surfaces with wood! It may take a while, and I’d definitely just concentrate on one wall at a time if I was you, but I think the look would be spectacular and it would really freshen up that (somewhat darker) side of your house!

Hardwood flooring (that matches the flooring in your dining room) and v-groove wall and ceiling planks painted a creamy white, and a soft, gray-blue like the ones in the SL inspiration photo will instantly change the entire look and feel of the room. After that, it’s all about bringing in a variety of warm wood tones and neutral-toned fabrics- think: earth, grass, sand, sky and sea. To keep things poppin’- choose furniture and fabrics that have interesting textures and patterns- think: leather, cable knit & rattan…and stripes, textural solids & stylized florals.

I’d have an electrician pop in a few more recessed lights, and I’d try to find a light fixture more like the one in the Southern Living pic…but you could always just update your existing ceiling fan if that works better for you guys. Maybe something that’s oil-rubbed bronze in finish. ?

I popped a huge entertainment center in there because I know you guys are always looking for additional storage, and I chose to use a white one because I figured since it was so big, it would sort of visually “go away” if it was that color. YaknowwhatImean?

Anywho- I hope you have a fantastic birthday today, and that this little surprise will help get you fired up about the look you want to create in your living room! Let us know if you need help cladding those walls and that ceiling, and we’ll be there with bells toolbelts on!

PS- We’re cladding a ceiling here at TLC in (inexpensive) thin wood planks right now- and we look forward to showing you what it looks like at your birthday celebration this weekend! 😉 (Blog post about that whole project coming soon!)


Wanna submit a photo for our Pick My Presto series?

Send an email to PickMyPresto [at] aol [dot] com titled, Living Room. (Replace the words Living Room with whatever type of room you’re actually submitting.) In the body of the email, 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: at least 4″high x 6″ wide) The bigger the better though! Make sure it’s a photo you’re comfortable with us 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 traditional or cottage style presto change-o 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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    • Layla says

      Thanks Karen! We’re about halfway done with the ceiling we’re cladding, and I look forward to blogging all about it when we’re done! 😀

    • Layla says

      Well, I do owe you a pretty big favor for fixing our broken blog this week! 😉 Send a pic on over! 😀

  1. Elizabeth says

    HA Omg is your brother in law the middle school principal at trinity? my parents loved mr. kp when my sister had him!! i graduated before all the great things happened. but what a small world!

  2. says

    Yeah, can’t wait for the “cladding” post! I am getting ready to dress my bathroon wall in thin plank paneling as well so it will be great to see what the experts come up with;-)

    • says

      Nice! We are also using a thin paneling that is really easy to work with because of how light weight it is. Thanks for stopping by! :)

      • Jill says

        I’m doing a wall in my bathroom also – but need something that is thinner than the trim around the door. Can’t wait to see what ideas you have!

        • says

          Hi Jill! The paneling we’re using is thinner than the trim around our doors, can’t wait to blog about it next week!

  3. says

    Also love that you chose a color for the ceiling! The ceilings far too often get unappreciated in all that bland, stark white. Definitely like the switch to wood floor.

  4. says

    Wow -so much lighter and brighter. I even love the way you changed the reflection in the mirror! I am sure they will love your ideas!

  5. Linda says

    Love the changes! Plus, I’m with Kat on the ceiling, I love a painted ceiling. Any idea what the name of the color is on the SL pic? It’s gorgeous.

  6. Carolyn says

    Love how this brightened up the space and the blue ceiling is exactly what I want! I wonder if anybody knows how to create a faux wood panel look with just paint?

  7. says

    Looks great! Hope he is happy with the design idea. I sent a pic in so long ago now, you probably forgot. :( Anyways, HBD to Kev’s brother.


  8. says

    Can’t wait to see the wood cladding on the ceiling. I love how it was used on the angled soffits in the pick my presto picture. Do you know if the wood cladding could go directly on a pop corn ceiling? That would be an easy way to get rid of mine.

    • says

      Hi Krystle! I don’t see why it wouldn’t work over popcorn ceilings. It’s really light weight and pretty easy to hold over head. The only thing I could see being a problem is the popcorn texture is not a completely flat surface, so you may have a little trouble getting the tongue and groove to fit perfectly on some pieces. We’re having that problem in some places, but we’re just winging it as we go! :)

  9. Diane says

    Layla. As always you have the best ideas! I can’t wait to hear about your inexpensive ceiling cladding. I so want to do my basement ceiling and am looking at what would work and still not bring the whole thing down on my head. It is a dropped ceiling with permanent (not removeable) tiles. I was even looking at balsa wood sheets (1/8″ x 4″ x 48″)

  10. Maureen says

    Love your presto-chango makeovers!!! I recently covered a few ceilings in my home (ceiling tiles) with Martha Stewart bead board wallpaper. They look amazing and everyone thinks they are real wood!! At only 22.00 a roll we got lots of bang for our buck! Can’t wait to see your new ceilings!

  11. Vonda L. says

    Cute design. I have to admit, however, that I got a chuckle from you “Presto-Change-O” ing the kids right out of the picture. :o)

  12. Vonda L. says

    Cute design! I have to admit that I got a chuckle out of how you “presto-change-O’ed the kids right out of the picture. ;o)

  13. kathy h says

    I can’t wait to see how you’ve clad your ceiling. We have popcorn ceilings that have been painted over which, from what I’ve been told, will make scraping it off a HUGE undertaking. So, I’ve been considering doing something like what you’re doing. I’ve also considered putting beadboard up. What do you think? Happy Birthday to Kev’s brother!

  14. Katie says

    Layla, We love what you did to Kerry’s Living Room. That really should get him inspired. It really would bring some much needed light to that room.

  15. says

    Happy Birthday Kerry! Layla as a siter in-law how lucky for you:) Can’t wait to see the after photos. Love his inspiration room…beautiful.

  16. Diane says

    I’m excited to see your wood cladding on your ceiling! I want to do that in my basement. Needing to keep it in my very small budget. Right now, I have the ugliest ceiling tiled with extra mud on top of it. I want to cover it up so badly!

    Thanks for all of your inspiration to me. It really gets me excited and going on my own projects.

  17. Debbie says

  18. says

    What program are you using to give the room a ‘virtual makeover’?

    Would love to attempt to do that with our place.


    • Layla says

      Hi Emi! I use Photoshop to do my presto change-o’s. I’ve been teaching myself how to use it for the past ten years and I have so much fun playing around with it! :)

  19. Sheila says

    Both the SL inspiration and the Presto are Fab.u.lous! Too bad ‘those architects’ don’t think about TV and furniture placement when they design a room/home!

  20. Linda says

    I loved your bro-in-law’s inspiration photo and think you’re doing a wonderful job with your version. I hadn’t heard the term “cladding” so I appreciate learning something new. I have to admit, the first thing that caught my attention was the coffee table with the bench. That would be perfect to use when my nephew came with his little wooden train set. I think I’ll have to start looking for something similar!

  21. Mary says

    What a nice birthday gift. Just some great ideas is a gift. You’re the best. I keep telling people about you and Kevin. I just know that you will be on HGTV one day very soon. They definitely need some new blood. Forward this on to them if you want or I may send a message their way. Thanks for your inspiration. Hugs!

  22. Sandra says

    I love the inspiration picture. I need to archive that picture and use it as inspriation for my family room. Love it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Tina from AL says

      Mine is the 31st of this month. LOL I have a new construction living room that I need some major help with.

  23. Heidi says

    Love! I eat up your Prestos every time…they stay pulled up on my phone far too long (always ending up with a “you have too many windows open” lockdown) lol! :)

    And yet, I’m still totally stuck as to how to update our home’s main rooms inexpensively (think I may need to recover a couple sofas and armchairs, replace a rug and window treatments…how does one do that inexpensively?)

    May I selfishly ask: is your Presto email box as full and overflowing as I envision? :))))


  24. Caroline says

    What is the name of that rug you put down there? I had seen it in a recent search for a rug for my living room but I bought a different one. I think that would look great in my foyer though, and now I can’t find it! What a surprise to see it on this post.


    • Layla says

      It’s called Leaf Floral and it’s made by Pottery Barn. (We have the same one in our living room!) 😀

  25. says

    What a lucky brother! Beautiful job.
    Looking forward to your ceiling post. My kitchen has a PLAIN sheetrock tray ceiling with NO TRIM! Ick. Your paneling thing, plus some trim, may be just what it needs. Thanks for the continuing inspiration guys!

  26. Katie says

    I’m unable to view any photos on your website. Any tips on how I can correct this?

  27. says

    So funny. I did a huge story on that house after the owner mailed me the photos. The next day the magazine made me take it down because it was coming out the next month, love it and I hope he does your plan. It looks great,

    • Layla says

      LOVE that house! 😀 I’ll keep you posted on Kerry’s room redo…should be a fun one!

    • says

      Joni, I’m the architect of that house. We have photos on our web site that SL doesn’t have rights to. Let me know if you’re still interested in a story. (Sorry for the late reply, my daughter just alerted me!)

      • says

        Rick, I did already write the story with tons of gorgeous photos, but after a day or two, SL asked it be taken down. My readers did get to read it though and it got tons of comments.

  28. Morgan says

    Hi Layla! Wonderful job on the living room! I love the mixture of leather and fabric. It gives great texture and warmth to the room. I am dying for the entertainment center but can’t find it online. Where did you find this?

    Thanks so much!


  29. says

    Hi Layla! I love this pick my presto and I’m using it as inspiration for our living room. :) Can you tell me a little more about the sofa, please? Is it a striped fabric? Pottery barn?