A Colorful Small-Room Makeover

See how Stephen Saint-Onge, designer and Better Homes and Gardens contributer, transforms a problem room into a cozy space for everyone to enjoy.


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Before: Blah and Boring

    The tricky angles of this front room threw the homeowner for a decorating loop. Far from cozy, it was a dumping zone for knickknacks and junk.

    The Mission: With the help of color and beautiful wood tones, designer Stephen Saint-Onge was ready to turn this space into a cozy reading room.

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Step 1: Add a Little Color

    Stephen chose a beautiful goldenrod yellow that instantly warmed the room and reflected the natural light streaming through the large windows.

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The Ingredients for Success

    Stephen chose fabrics that would give the room character and depth. To select fabrics for your decorating project, follow these simple steps:

    1. Start Basic. Choose a color to appear in every fabric and use that as solid on the largest piece of furniture.

    2. Add Simple Patterns. Stripes and tone-on-tone circles are classic choices to layer with a solid but are subtle enough that you won't grow tired.

    3. Play Up One Piece. Use eye-popping fabric on a single, small piece of furniture such as an ottoman.

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Tiny Space, Conquered

    Since this room is quite small, Stephen selected proportional furniture that would not make it feel even smaller. An example is the armless settee in the bay window alcove.

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A Place to Store

    This beautiful but simple bookcase is the perfect showplace for knickknacks. The backless bookcase from Broyhill Furniture allows the wall color to peek out from behind its shelves, keeping the space bright.

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Before: Lifeless Windows

    These grand windows had no personality but tons of potential.

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Instant Makeover

    To draw more attention to the windows Stephen replaced the generic blinds with natural matchstick blinds. Rusty-red tab-top cotton panels add another splash of color and complete the look.

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