A living room should be a warm and inviting space. When I moved into my house, the living room was a cold, blue room, so I felt the need to make the room more human.
Built-in storage is an attractive "cohesive" element to an otherwise boring room. My plan was to build out the wall for the TV, and also build some built-in book cases and an attractive passthrough to the office area, complete with an archway.
I started by constructing my built-in units from MDF, this assured that they were not only strong, but it was going to be a lot easier to "install" these units into the wall instead of trying to construct them in place.
The original room had a corner bead along the ceiling that I decided to pull down, and in doing so I realized that the ceiling had not been taped when the work was done. I taped the corners, then decided that I was going to try to remove the textured ceiling. Big mistake!
After spending too many hours scraping and sanding the ceiling I realized that even if I removed all the texture, I'd still need to skimcoat everything (putting a layer of joint compound over everything). Time for a plan B.
Instead I opted to "fake" a reclaimed wood ceiling. I purchased tongue and groove paneling and proceeded to use all manner of implements to beat up the wood, and applied a variety of coatings (staining, painting, weathering). Then it all got nailed and glued to the ceiling.