Our New Modern Coastal Sitting Room

You guys! I can’t believe that today is the day I get to show you around our new modern coastal sitting room!

The six weeks completely flew by and I’m so happy that I took on this One Room Challenge. This room pushed my limits and I had a really good time dreaming it up and making it come to life — and can we just take a quick pause and enjoy those beautiful built ins that I built pretty much all by myself!

I can’t wait to sip my wine in here!

Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

But before we go any further, can we just take a minute to remember what this space looked like just a month and a half ago?

The “formal living room” before the makeover

First of all, we NEVER used this room and since it took up half of this big open room my plans for our eventual bigger dining room had no space. Now that the sitting room only takes up about a third of the room, there will be enough room for the ideas I have for our dining room.

There was too much furniture, not a ton of personality and this room always felt a bit dark, since it doesn’t get a ton of light.

front room before

But actually let’s take a look at how this room has evolved over the last 7 years…

This is what we started with when we first moved in. — Off white EVERYTHING!!!

original front room

Then we moved our furniture in and I had a major case of playing it too safe.

Greige walls with tan furniture and a barely color on the curtains.

Pretty much just looked like a bunch of stuff in a room. — I’m feeling embarrassed right now, but I have a duty to show you where I started so hopefully you’ll feel motivated to keep on working on your decorating skillz!

front room before

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Ok. So now that you can see that I’m a human being that makes decorating mistakes like the best of them, let’s move on to where this room is now! -Gosh I’m glad I’ve taken the time to learn to decorate and create a decor plan!

What I did to makeover this space

First we painted the walls white. I used a cool white. That means I picked a white with a slight blue undertone and it bounces the natural light that does come in really nicely.

Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

Next I got started on building this built-in.

It’s hard to find a lot of character in the Southern California suburbs where I live and I thought adding a built in similar in style to the built-in we created in our family room but with a window seat would give the room some character, add storage and display space, and provide seating without taking up as much space as a sofa.

If you followed my progress over the six weeks here or on Instagram, you’ll know that this build took up a good chunk of the time it took to makeover this room. It also forced me to learn to use a few new power tools — which I love, and best of all it made me realize what I’m capable of when it comes to building really cool stuff! –– I already have a list of more big builds that this project inspired!

Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

Product Sources:  bamboo roman shade, white fur pillow, blue velvet pillow, yellow pillow.

I really love that these shelves give me an opportunity to display pretty things and add color to the room. — Even ugly books can get covered in pretty paper and suddenly they’re displayable!

Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

Product Sources: leather cabinet pulls- Ikea

We are already making use of this space to curl up and read and I’m sure my kiddos will love looking out the window on rainy days.

Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

Product Sources:  pink throw – Homegoods, blue and white pillow, yellow pillow, bamboo roman shade

I loved the shape of the modern wingback chairs that I had in the room originally. I found them on Craigslist years ago and had to grab them even though I knew they weren’t the right color.

So when it came time to do this room I knew I wanted to have them reupholstered. I got a few estimates and was really discouraged at how expensive it was ($575 per chair) and definitely considered doing them myself, after all I’ve reupholstered dining chairs before. But the stitching on these is really unique and I didn’t think it would be something I could get really really right.

So I tried one more upholstery place that I had actually used before but they had moved and they were so much more reasonable and he did a really great job! I got both chairs reupholstered in a deep blue velvet fabric that I got online for $400. Much better than $575 per chair.


Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

Product Sources:  pink throw – Homegoods, blue and white pillow, grey and white rug, bamboo roman shade

I headed to Ikea with the giant wave canvas art in mind for this wall. I’ve literally been wanting to buy that wave art for years but never had a place for it until now.

And of course as soon as I am ready to buy it they don’t carry it anymore. –This always happens to me!

So after moping around about it for a few days I decided to google it to see if it was sold anywhere esle. — No luck.

Then I typed “Ikea wave art” into Craigslist and someone down the street from my mom had posted it for only $25 the day before!!!! I was stoked! And did I mention that I was headed to my mom’s for dinner that night? Crazy meant to be right?

Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

Product Sources:  pink throw – Homegoods, blue and white pillow, grey and white rugbamboo roman shade

So that’s a wrap on this room folks! 

It’s been really fun sharing the process of this room makeover with you in “real time”. UPDATE:  Here’s the detailed tutorial for those beautiful built-ins so you can create some character in your home (downloadable plans and measurements included)! And see How I made the bench cushion for the window seat – It’s is a lot easier than you might think!

Modern Coastal Sitting Room with built in window seat

Planning this space and making it happen was easy because I stuck to my decor plan. Having a decor plan sets boundaries for my decor so there are less choices and much less overwhelm as a result.

If a decor plan sounds like something you need, I invite you to read more about my signature course, Style Your Way Home, where I walk you step-by-step through discovering and defining your decor style and creating a decor plan of your own.

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Our New Modern Coastal Sitting Room

About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

26 thoughts on “Our New Modern Coastal Sitting Room

  1. Clara L Paulson says:

    If you showed your before and after photos right next to each other, it would be easy to see the nice changes you made.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks for your input Clara! Good idea!

  2. Kathy says:

    Love how bright and colorful this sitting room is! A great space to read and be inspired. 🙂

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks Kathy, we’re delighted with the results!

  3. Angela Thompson says:

    Love the feel of this room. I’ve always wanted to do a coastal inspired room and love anchors and would like to incorporate. Great job.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks, Angela. I love spending time in here now!

  4. Lela says:

    This is beautiful! I feel like I’m in Charleston, and I can’t believe the before and after photos. I really like the window with all the natural light coming in, and those white tables fit the room so well too.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks Lela! I find myself spending much more time in here now!

  5. Lynne says:

    I love the style of your new sitting room! I’m anxious to learn how you made your window seat cushion. You inspired us to do built-ins and a window seat. Now I just need to do the cushion. Thanks for the inspiration and the “how-tos.”

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Lynne, you’re very welcome! I’ve been working on that window seat post. It’s a doozy and I’m trying to figure out how to create printable plans so it will probably be my first post in January.

  6. Melody says:

    What is the brand and color paint you used for your redo? It looks fabulous!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Melody, Great question! I used White on White by Glidden and I love it! Glad you stopped by!

  7. Marian Monk says:

    Great job on the room! It looks beautifully put together, and yet not stiff or too perfect to sit down in.

  8. Marie says:

    Hi – Great job on the update. Look forward to your tutorial on the built-ins. they really create an entirely new look – very rich and unique.
    One question: Where is your lighting for this space? Thanks.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Marie! I’m still working on the lighting. We plan to add recessed lighting but our guy isn’t available until January. For now the light from the dining room is working fine for what we use the room for.

  9. Jean says:

    Beautiful! It looks so-o-o inviting, relaxing and refreshing.

  10. Bill S. says:

    Personally it comes off as a bit too formal for me. I would have preferred a slightly more casual and freeform look to the furniture. Great improvement in space use though!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks for your input Bill. Have a great day!

  11. Julie Nichols says:

    I love your new sitting room I could sit there all day starring into that beautiful picture. What a great find!

  12. LILLIAN says:


  13. Linda says:

    If anything like your art experience ever happened to me, I would drop over dead with heart failure! I have had the same experience, however, fate never stepped in! lol Good for! That painting completes the room.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks Linda! Glad you stopped by!

  14. Randi says:

    Beautiful redo and thanks for sharing the details. Very inspiring!

  15. Well done my friend! I really love what you created and I can’t wait to enjoy the liquor that sitting on that side table with you!:-) Xo

  16. Kay says:

    LOVE your new sitting room! What a beautiful change. You’ve inspired me with some new ideas.

  17. Catherine says:

    Love the cabinet pulls. Nice work!

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