escape from khaki hell…

Most homes have that room.

You know the one.

Oddly shaped, huge honking plaster fireplace.

Too little wall space, too many windows and doors.

Or maybe it’s just me? 😉

Our family room is mission impossible.

The fact that we have a 7,000 foot long leather sectional doesn’t help matters much.

But we’re not moving anytime soon (I hate to even utter those words…they always come back to bite me) and that sofa isn’t going anywhere.

So this is our family room as of a month ago.


A little place I like to refer to as khaki hell.

The thought process behind this astoundingly blah, brown, blob of a room escapes me.

I’m embarrassed to claim it.

If I had to make my way through a 64 box of crayolas and rank them in order from most favorite to least….

you know what color would be #64? Brown.

And yet…our family room looked like it walked into the GAP and fell into the khaki display and came out on the losing end…


Let’s make a movie, shall we?

We shall call it “Escape from Khaki hell.” You know, a follow up to all the Escape to Witch Mountain movies from when we were kids circa 1975.

First up…paint.

We had the whole interior of the house painted. Gray Owl lightened by 50%. Cause Layla did it, and that’s good enough for me. 😉

Next? fabrics…


I ordered a variety of colors/textures/patterns that made me happy. (And none of it was brown!)

Made pillow covers…


Those Restoration Hardware pillows are, in fact, brown. But I ran out of fabric so they will stay for now!



and a table topper…


I love this bowl of antique fishing floats…The colors are so pretty.


I flip-flopped the furniture around, brought the PB rug from our bedroom downstairs, and voila…


The window panels are from this super exclusive shop called Tar-jay. 😉

They are Threshold and actually are meant to hang the other way. Because the coral fretwork would have been hidden by the sofa, I hung them upside down. Cause I’m a rule-breaking rebel.


Is it tacky of me to say I love it? Cause I do.

The best part of this transformation? The only items purchased were the fabric ($150) and the window panels ($100).

This entire makeover cost $250, my husband thinks I’m a genius, and we’ve escaped from khaki hell!

Nailed it! 😉





Do you have “that room” in your home? The one that needs a makeover but you don’t know where to start?

I’m now offering e design and would be happy to help you transform it into a space that you love.

For more information, email me at



36 Responses to escape from khaki hell…

  1. Debra@CommonGround July 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Love it! that pop of orange really sets it off!

  2. Stacey July 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    You did it girl! The room looks fantastic and we can see that you dog is happy there. 🙂

    Love the colors and the reversal of the sofa.

  3. Elizabeth July 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm #


  4. Amy July 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Fantastic job! My living room needs to escape from khaki hell too! Thank you for the inspiration.

  5. betsy c July 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    The room has so much more energy now. Love the fabrics you used on the pillows!

  6. Marianne in Mo. July 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    LOVE the upside-down drapes, what a great idea! The room is much improved, and more suitable for a happy outlook on life. How can you not be happy in there!

  7. amy jupin July 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    especially the drapes.
    i’ve always wondered why they would put that beautiful pattern on the bottom.
    and now i know that it doesn’t matter.
    again, genius!
    mind blown. 😉

  8. Mary July 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Relieved to see Riley approves of the makeover.

    Looks fab! But how the heck do you have time to so these things?


  9. Susan July 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    This is soooo fun! We have the khaki going on as well….I feel your pain and relief!

  10. Martina July 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Sooooooo Pretty!!!

  11. Sylvia July 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Love the room. I agree, anything that Layla does is worth copying. Just curious, when you are not photographing the room for your blog, do you have at least a couple of Auburn things in there?

  12. Sandy July 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    I had my mine set to rid the 80’s living room (burgundy & teal) this weekend. Am I the only one that had difficulty using a PB slipcover for a large sofa? We have a cream color stringed wallpaper that will remain, since it is one of the colors of my favorite wallpaper in our dining room. I guess wall paper is coming back in style after viewing several bloggers recent wallpapered accent walls. Your front two pillow covers you showed in one photo would work well with our room in progress.

  13. Kerry July 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Wha????? You’re offering e design? I see an addition coming on my Christmas wish list.

  14. Kim July 2, 2013 at 1:34 am #

    Fabulous change. I love the upside down curtains.

  15. Donnamae July 2, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    Always amazing what just a few changes will do to the feel of the room. You did a great job! 😉

  16. rachel July 2, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    LOVE it! I have those exact same curtains, but you are a rebel! I’m going to go hang mine upside down right now! HA! I found one of my panels at Goodwill for $5 and bought the other one online for 25. The cheapskate in me was very pleased!

  17. Melissa July 2, 2013 at 2:50 am #

    We have the EXACT same sectional and the house we just moved to has Khaki walls – light oak trim everywhere and wooden blinds. Not to mention the large entertainment stand/buffet for our tv. I already did the fun pillows – but this post is prompting me to go big with changing the wall color. Unfortunately, our living room is an open concept to our kitchen and dining. Change one – change them all. Feels like triple the decision! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  18. Brenda July 2, 2013 at 3:07 am #

    It looks amazing!!! What a great transformation – bright and cheery!

    I laughed when I read this because I just today bought a gallon of gray owl, lightened by 50%. Because it was good enough for Layla!!! lol.

  19. Kris July 2, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    Woooo Hooooo Susan I love what you did with the family room. Wow for $250 it looks like a million dollars!!!! Love it all.

  20. Bernice July 2, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    OOhhh Susan, as I was looking at the first pictures, my eyes got wider and could she do this? Howwww did this happen? Whaaaat happened? I was , as they say gobsmacked! It was sooo beige/ brown …sooo not how I imagine you. And then….Susan to the rescue…The transformation is wonderful! I am so pleased to see the rebel come out and play! It all Absolutely came to life! A big hug and applause, it looks great! I am sure you all feel more lively in there too! And I love the curtains and the pillows for pops of color! yeaaayyyy!

  21. Diane July 2, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    That’s a joke, right? I’d be thrilled with the before.

  22. Erin July 2, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    First, super glad you escaped from khaki hell, I too am an escapee. It was a move to Gray over here too(silver gray SW, had a slight greenish undertone). I love the new look, great transformation with already owned objects!!! And YAY!!! On e design!!! I will want to know more about that as I will be changing my dining area in September:)

  23. Laura July 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Love it. So much homier. XO Laura

  24. Colette July 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I LOVE it! I also did the Gray Owl thing, but I lightened it by 25% and I love the look of it. I get a lot of compliments on the wall color! It totally changed the look of your room, awesome work!

  25. Lori July 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    Love it! The pillows you are cranking out are fantastic!
    Oh and I LOVE that you hung the curtains upside down. 🙂

  26. Maggie July 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    Hey- what about the rug? Where’s it from and was that in the budget?

  27. Stacey@ A Sort Of Fairytale July 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    Holy Moly, Sista! This is awesome!!! You really pulled it all together with the colors and fabrics you chose…looks very fresh and happy now. I see Riley enjoys the bedroom rug downstairs 😉
    Great job!

  28. Lynda July 3, 2013 at 1:58 am #

    Your transformation is amazing. You really showed what changing paint and adding fabrics can do for a space. Totally different feel – LOVE it!

  29. Deb July 3, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    I think you’re a genius too! Flipping those Tarjay curtains – great – that pop of the color on the curtains really draws the eyes to what would be a regular ol’ wall with windows. But now it’s very fun looking. LOVE the pattern/color mix in the fabrics.

  30. Beth July 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Love the fabrics. What are the sources?

  31. lori lucas July 5, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    You should be doing E-design. You’ve got the eye. Great job. Lori Lucas

  32. Mindi July 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Love the change!
    Where did you find all of the fishing floats? Love all the different sizes. 🙂

    • Maple & Magnolia July 10, 2013 at 12:56 am #

      I found most of them in Washington outside of Seattle. 🙂

  33. Lisa E August 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Looks so nice!

  34. Melissa Y September 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Where did you order your fabric from online? MUST HAVE 🙂

    • Maple & Magnolia September 9, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

      Hi Melissa, I ordered it from Calico Corner. Not sure of the names. Sorry!

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