Reinventing A Living Room In a Rental

It has been exactly 2 months to the day since we moved into our new apartment. That is 60 days of living within the walls of an altogether not offensively painted apartment but a ‘not me’ apartment. I had been patiently planning and working behind the scenes with the wonderful people over at Benjamin Moore * to determine how to best breathe my personality and some new life into the walls of our home. As I have mentioned several times previously, I am just dying with happiness that I finally have an apartment that is a blank slate for decorating and one that is big enough to decorate (this is big news for me after living in under 400 sq. ft. for a year and a half folks). I went from a wee wee little single old me apartment to a spacious living room with 12 ft ceilings! Join me on the adventure of: Reinventing A Living Room In a Rental!


Living room before Row House nest

Once we decided that the ben line from Benjamin Moore was the right paint for us, I delved into all the usual debates. Being a renter, we have our restrictions. We aren’t the homeowners, so we have to be conscientious of of landlord’s opinion and since we are still getting to know each other, we couldn’t do anything too out there (no bright pink walls or black feature walls for us this time). To be honest, it suits me as I am obsessed with white. You might recall from my last apartment, I have a love for white. It just does it for me. What isn’t to love? It opens up a space, looks incredibly clean, easy to wash and touch up if need be, it’s non-offensive to landlords and it goes with everything. I especially love the fact that I can bring dark colours and accents in with my accessories – things that can change and come with me when I move.


Using the ben line was also a pretty natural choice – it is considered an ‘entry level’ premium paint thus making it a more affordable but still giving you that quality end product. Best bang for your buck! Really it is ideal for renters – just because we don’t own doesn’t mean we want our home to feel temporary or not ours. Painting to me is the most obvious choice for updating a space and giving a fresh feel without tearing down walls, putting up new ones or ripping out the painted counter that you hate so much (oh wait, that’s me). Other things I loved about ben interior paint? It’s VOC [volatile organic compound for the non-paint informed], available at my local Benjamin Moore dealer on Roncesvalles (I CAN WALK THERE!) and it can be tinted to any colour I like in the Benjamin Moore collection. Sweet. Done and done.

So I know what you are all wondering about out there: WHAT WHITE did Meagan pick?  Like white is white is white is white, right? Nope. Not all whites are created equally friends. Poor, poor, poor boyfriend. If I had had the foresight, I would have recorded our conversations of me prodding him to pick his “FAVOURITE” white as they were pure comedy. Him: “But I like them all. And they all kind of look the same.” Shameful. He doesn’t feel the same fervor I feel when I get talking about which white is right for me (I mean us!).   To help make a decision, I bought three test pots of what I thought would be my favourite whites to try out their livability.

 benjamin moore test strips of white

 I tried some of the tried and tested whites from Benjamin Moore including: Decorators White (PM-3), White Dove (PM-19) and Snowfall White (OC-118).

We lived looking at these paint patches for two weeks and decided…. That I didn’t think any were quite right for the space. I felt a little like Goldilocks. One was too creamy, one too stark white and the other didn’t cover quite as nicely as the others. So I started over. Knowing that the above 3 weren’t for me I sought advice from Sharon Grech, the Benjamin Moore Colour & Design Expert. I emailed with my idea and what I thought and guess what? Sharon agreed with me! Shocked. My hunch was right. Distant Gray (OC-68) was the perfect white I was looking for. As the name suggests, not TOO white, not TOO creamy and well, just perfect for my space.

distant gray benjamin moore paint chipHow’s that? Likely very different on every single device this is viewed on! HA!

I almost forgot to tell you how I discovered Distant Gray (tucked away, hardly ever mentioned poor thing). Distant Gray was included in the colour trends of 2014.

So colour decided – what else was I thinking about? Trim. And doors. I have been talking about painting my doors a dark colour for ages (I dreamed about doing it in the last place but never took the leap). And primer. These walls needed a good coat of primer to make sure the transformation occurred as I had imagined. The folks over at Benjamin Moore had a great suggestion – paint my trim the same colour but in a semi-gloss… Although it is already a large room, painting the trim the same colour would help create the appearance of an even larger space. And the doors? Well I am taking a page out of Daniel’s book over at Manhattan Nest. Love love love love love how these doors look in his previous apartment in NYC.

Manhattan Nest use of Onyx

Home photos from Manhattan Nest and paint sample of Onyx by Benjamin Moore.

So want a better idea of where I am heading? You may remember some of these images from my home inspiration post (with a few more for fun!)

Row House Nest inspiration

Sources: Paint: all Benjamin Moore (Distant Gray, Onyx & Gold Rush), Credenza, top right photo with Eames chairs from Wit and Delight Instagram, Aztec cloth basket, crochet blanket, round mirror, oak ladder, Kilim pillow and DIY copper planters. All other photos are mine.

So this is part 1 of 2. I can’t wait to show y’all the after. It is a whole new world over here at Chez Meagan’s. 

*Disclosure: Benjamin Moore has kindly provided me with the paint for my living room gratis. All opinions and words are my own. A big thank you to Benjamin Moore for sponsoring the Row House Nest.





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