House Tours: Bold & Colorful Condo

A color-savvy homeowner draws on her creative instincts to give her small Alabama condo a personal flair.

Lisa Frederick


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Living room overall
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The Blues

    The brighter the room, the bolder the color you can bring in. "It allows a space to feel larger," the homeowner says. She drew the palette from the graphic poster on the mantel. The chandelier came from her grandparents' home and sat in a basement box for years before the homeowner updated it with crimson paint.

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Pops of Red

    Take a chance on paint hues; swap out accessories; experiment with fabrics. If you can't warm up to them, you can always change the look!

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Wall That Wows

    The kitchen dresses up in spicy orange, which is one of the homeowner's favorite hues. It provides visual separation from connecting spaces.

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Expand Kitchen Surface Area

    The homeowner squeezed a console table into the kitchen to expand her work area. She freshened the piece with durable furniture paint, which can withstand food prep and buffet traffic.

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Book Nooks

    The homeowner added bookcases on both sides of the kitchen entrance to provide room to display treasures she's collected over the years. She painted the backs of the shelves a lighter shade than the walls for interest.

    Tip: Colorful collections look best when they don't compete with bright wall hues. The mementoes on these bookshelves stand out against a neutral brown background. A color that calls attention to itself would take the focus off the individual objects.

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Entryway Envy

    The homeowner used two different fabrics to construct the curtains in order to soften and ground the space. A vintage cart adds style and display space.

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Bright Dining Room

    Refurbished restaurant chairs (see next slide for tips on updating your own) and an antique pedestal table anchor the dining room. The sideboard was the homeowner's mother's childhood chest of drawers; she painted it white and now stores table linens, ribbon, candles, and other supplies in it. The chandelier, which she painted espresso brown, was an easy add-in -- it uses candles so required no wiring.

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How-To: Update a Chair

    The dining room chairs, battered relics from an old restaurant, got a facelift with new paint, seat bases, and fabric. Here's how the homeowner pulled it off.

    For chair frames:

    1. Using pliers and a hammer, carefully remove nails and all seat material.

    2. Lightly sand the surface of the chair and wipe clean.

    3. Apply primer; let dry. Apply at least two coats of durable semigloss or furniture-grade paint (available at specialty paint retailers); let dry between coats.

    For cushioned seats:

    If your seats have sturdy bases that simply need to be reupholstered, you can skip Step 2.

    1. On thick cardboard, measure, mark, and cut a template for seat bases to fit the chairs. Check all chairs against the template to note any slight differences in shape.

    2. Use the template as a guide to cut plywood into seat bases.

    3. Use the template as a guide to cut foam padding (1 to 3 inches thick, depending on preference) for each base.

    4. Layer a foam cutout on top of each plywood cutout, aligning edges.

    5. Cut a piece of batting for each seat, with enough extra on each side to attach batting to the underside of the seat base.

    6. Wrap the top and sides of each seat with one piece of batting; turn upside down.

    7. Using a staple gun, secure the batting to the underside of the plywood bases, pulling as you go to create a smooth surface. Trim any batting that hangs low enough to be visible when the seat is placed on the chair.

    8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 with your chosen fabric.

    9. Secure one seat to each chair with corner braces or screws.

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Touches of Green

    Although the homeowner first tried a creamy yellow on the walls, she found it too timid and switched to warm gray. She painted the chandelier to coordinate with the green tones she'd already sprinkled in.

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Handsome Hutch

    The bedroom hutch started life as two separate pieces. The top was part of an old desk; the bottom was a chest of drawers. The homeowner unified them with blue-gray paint and stacked them to create a spot for business supplies.

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