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painted living room

Family Room Refresh

Learn how to update an outdated living room with this family room refresh makeover! See how to do it using a Wagner paint roller.



There’s no rule for how often your home should be refreshed, but 3-5 years seems to be the average length of time in between room refreshes in my household. In fact, it had been six years since I last painted the family room walls, so we were overdue!

With 3 boys, ages 9 to 14, and with light-colored walls, the paint was looking dingy. Also, the shade of the existing paint had yellow undertones that didn’t feel fresh and bright anymore. While we’ve had more time at home, and are spending more time at home (not to mention that spring is here!), now was a great time to let in more light and air into our family room!


family room before


family room after

Analyze your current family room

Our furniture was also 18 years old, having gone through 3 childhoods of jumping, accidents, and spills, hiding the dirt and stains under the dark green velvet. Since our boys have grown, we no longer all fit on the sofa comfortably.

So to compliment the new paint and to accommodate our growing family, I had ordered a new sectional, which took a whopping 5 months to get delivered!

With a fresh coat of paint, and a lovely soft pink accent wall, I took what was a worn-out looking family room and turned it into a fresh, airy, lighthearted family room that makes my heart smile every time I look at it!

There are a few more accents that the room will be getting, like a standing desk in the back of the room at the accent wall, along with some wall decor. But for now, this feels really good, and is a much needed improvement from the previous family room!

painted living room

Choose paint colors

Picking paint colors for a room refresh can be difficult because you may not be sure how well the colors work together for your room or for the amount of light the room gets. Here are some things to keep in mind to help choose the right colors:

  • Figure out the mood you’re going for in the room. If you’re aiming for light and airy rooms, stick to lighter colors that reflect a lot of light. If you want something more cozy and warm, select darker colors. Keep in mind the amount of sunlight your room gets could dictate what colors you’ll use. (e.g. my family room doesn’t get much sunlight, so I keep the paint colors light to increase light in the room).
  • Use the color cards that many paint manufacturers provide that pick colors based on moods and what colors work well together. Choosing their color combinations saves you from having to figure out what works well since they’ve done much of the homework for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. I actually purchased two gallons of the wrong colors for my family room refresh. The original white was too bright white, and the original pink for the accent wall was too pink. Instead, I went to another paint store, found their color cards, and chose three softer colors that were complimentary.

choosing paint colors

Gather materials

Doing a family room refresh doesn't have to take a lot of time or money, depending on what items will need to be replaced and what can be reused. However, here’s a general materials list of what you’ll need to do a simple room refresh.

  • Wagner Sidekick
  • Angled synthetic paint brush
  • Eggshell or satin finish paint for walls (wipe-ability, if you have kids!)
  • Semi-gloss finish for trim
  • Ceiling paint (optional, if you’ve got stains)
  • Paint roller extension stick (optional, if you have tall ceilings or walls)
  • Painter's tape
  • Spackling to fill nail holes and indentations
  • Putty knife
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Dust mask
  • Paint stirs
  • Plastic sheeting to protect floors and furniture

materials for refresh

Prep your painting area

Before painting any walls, you should follow this similar process that I used: 

1.Wipe the walls down with vinegar and water, or with Simple Green, then wipe with warm water and allow to dry before painting.

2.Tape off along the floor, edges of windows (if you don't have a steady hand for painting with a paint brush).

3.Remove any nails, fill holes with spackling and a putty knife, and sand flat and smooth when spackling is dry. Wear a mask!

4.Use a paint brush and paint along the edges of the trim and molding. If you’ve got a lot of trim, you can use the Wagner Flexio 4000 for spraying your trim.


Use a Wagner Sidekick to be efficient

Some of the biggest complaints that homeowners have about painting walls are that:

It’s messy.

It takes too long.

It’s hard to paint tall or vaulted walls.

It’s dangerous getting up on ladders or in stairwells to paint hallways.

Wagner is a master of creating tools that help solve these problems. One such product is the Wagner Sidekick. Since moving into our house in 2010, I have tried my share of painting tools, and I have to say, this one is my favorite! It basically eliminates the need to use a paint tray to constantly re-load the roller with paint!

painting the walls

Don't worry about constant re-loading

Re-loading your paint roller is the point at which most problems occur: spills, drips, and having to climb up and down a ladder or platform in order for more paint.

But with the Sidekick, the paint is sucked right up from the 1-gallon or 5-gallon container with a tube (the Sidekick accommodates both). The paint travels through a long tube and into the roller, where with the push of a button, the paint is released onto the roller. This means you can keep going, without having to stop to reload (which is messy) or climb down from the ladder or platform (which can be dangerous in high or awkward locations, like stairwells).

smart sidekick with paint

Set up your Sidekick

To easily set up the Sidekick, simply:

  1. Open your can or bucket of paint.
  2. Place the paint can against the Sidekick.
  3. Insert the plastic tube into the slot for the tube, and lower the yellow tube holder. The tube should be inserted all the way into the paint.
  4. Attach the roller cover and hear the “click” into place.
  5. Screw on the roller handle (attach a painter’s pole, if necessary, for taller walls and areas).
  6. Push the “ON” button and see the paint sucked up into the tube, into the hose, and it will begin to bead up on the roller color.
  7. Turn to “OFF” and begin painting. You will see beads of paint on the wall, indicating that the paint is beginning to flow. 
  8. Press the yellow button to turn “ON” the Sidekick to release more paint when the roller begins to need more paint. Press the yellow again to turn “OFF” the Sidekick when an adequate amount of paint has been released.
  9. When the gallon or 5-gallon bucket is empty, raise the tube, wipe it off, re-insert the tube into a fresh bucket of paint, and keep going!

painting with smart sidekick paint roller

Clean between color changes

Changing from one paint color to another isn’t difficult, but you will need to clean the Sidekick in between color changes. For my family room refresh, I did the main color walls on one day, and then the following day, I completed the pink accent wall, washing the Sidekick in between paint jobs.

You can see with the new paint color on the main walls, the color was a very light gray with lavender undertones. It looked much more fresh than the cream color from 6 years ago, yet still light enough to make the room feel bright and airy!

painting with roller

Final cleaning process

You’ll need about 15-20 minutes for cleaning the Sidekick, including a bucket of hot, soapy water and a rag. Here’s what you should do: 

  1. Shut off the Sidekick.
  2. Remove excess paint in the roller with a  roller cover cleaner.
  3. Insert the tube into hot soapy water, turn on the unit, and clear out the water that's remaining in the tube, back into the paint bucket.
  4. Once excess paint in the tube has been cleared, add the metal part of the roller (don't put the whole handle in water) and let the water cycle through the roller and the unit. Change the water as needed. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Disassemble the roller and thoroughly wash it to reuse later.
  6. Wipe down the Sidekick and store it for next time!

You can see how to clean the Wagner Sidekick on YouTube. 

cleaning wagner smart sidekick

Other suggestions

Sometimes it only takes a few key things to make your family room feel more updated. Here are some other suggestions on ways to refresh your family room:

  • Borrow decor from around the house and mix it in, without having to buy new things. 
  • Buy a less expensive rug area rug to lay over your existing rug to layer your flooring.
  • If you’ve got curtains only, add blinds for a layered look.
  • Update your lightbulbs. Old incandescent bulbs can be replaced with newer LED bulbs for a brighter look.
  • Pick a color you’ve always loved and try it as an accent wall. Add pillows or planters to help tie in the new accent wall to the rest of the room.
  • Buy new plants or move plants from other rooms into your family room for a different look.
  • Spray paint your picture frames and update the pictures to more recent photos.
  • Add slipcovers to an old sofa if you can’t afford to upgrade your sofa.

Family room refresh makeovers don’t have to be too expensive, depending on what you’re changing. With just a little bit of paint, perhaps a new sofa or slipcovers, and some layering, you can achieve a family room that’s perfect for your family to enjoy!

This sponsored post was created by Thrift Diving. Head to the blog for the full post and details.

painted living room
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