Living Room Makeovers
Before: Blank Canvas
Color could turn this room from basic to brilliant. Our tip: Treat a white space like a blank canvas.
After: Crisp Style
The secret to this subtle yet super-stylish wall treatment? Ceiling medallions! We installed the ones shown here (from $12.28; homedepot.com) in a single day using adhesive caulk. A Belgian-linen slipcover by Bemz updates a standard Ikea sofa—and delivers a soft dose of color.
Before: Dull and Boring
Drab colors and scant furnishings downplay the potential in this large living room.
After: Bright and Light
In the renovated living room, new window seats also function as storage for blankets and toys. Outdated Berber carpet was ripped up to make room for plush, tufted carpet. A sectional sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams mingles with a denim-upholstered Hickory Chair seat and a coffee table from ABC Home.
After: White and Blue
Farrow & Ball's French Gray lightened up the dark ceiling beams, window frames, and door. Roman shades—in fabric by Hable Construction—introduce a cheery hit of blue.
Bright Idea: No need to go whole hog with patterned fabric on the chairs, which have a just-right stripe instead.
Before: Dark and Dingy
Old carpet and narrow space indicated that a much-needed update was in order.
Before: The Bare Essentials
Previously buried under decades of neglect, Tere and Mac Thomas's circa-1825 Mississippi home has new stories to tell, thanks to diligent research—and a three-year gut renovation. When the Thomases purchased their Fayette, Mississippi, home six years ago, it was uninhabitable. However, the unfinished rooms, like this dilapidated living room, allowed the homeowners to start from scratch to create the perfect home.
After: Country Living
Each wallboard was removed and numbered, then put back in place after electrical updates. Scraping away decades of paint revealed original artistic details, including marbleized baseboards and faux bird's-eye maple panels, which a restoration painter was able to revive.
In the living room, Pottery Barn pillows adorn slipcovered armchairs by Lee Industries. The collection of framed prints are from a flea market and hang beneath ironstone plates.
Before: Needs an Update
The difference really is, as they say, in the details, whether that’s a new lipstick, a touch of truffle oil, or in this case, pillows and paint. This living room already had a lot going for it: a rough-hewn coffee table, a versatile sofa by Cisco Brothers, and a gorgeous ceramic garden stool. But apply one shopping trip’s worth of accessories—all under $100—and this just-okay space turns remarkably elegant.
After: Colorful and Chic
Paint fixes a multitude of sins, like the bad veneer that originally topped this $10 thrift-shop table. The heavy books in the built-in corner shelf were swapped for lighter white ceramic pieces, and the small pieces of artwork was taken down in favor of a more balanced salon-style collection of frames. The walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Sea View.
Bright Idea: To recreate this birdcage lamp, remove the cage’s base, then outfit it with a basic lamp-cord kit and chain from the hardware store. The finishing touch: a chandelier shade.