Before and After: Summer-Ready Living Room

Colorful decor and easy projects give this living room a showstopping summer look.


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before
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Before: Starting with Neutrals

    Before, this living room was awash in neutrals, but full of furnishings with good shapes. More colorful surroundings and a fresh furniture arrangement will bring the space to life.

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Add a Dose of Color

    All it took to give this room a summer makeover was a few splashes of color and creative furniture rearranging. Before, the sectional sofa faced the fireplace, but by splitting the components into two facing sofas, guests can now focus on conversation instead of flickering flames. A new yellow and seafoam green color scheme brightens walls and accessories using clever and affordable tricks.

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Rearrange Furniture

    Sectional seating is nothing if not flexible. Simply reconfiguring the pieces creates an entirely new look. Summer is full of visitors, so foster conversation by turning two sections to face each other. Add a table where guests can place drinks and snacks. Carpet tiles are a fun and practical alternative to an area rug. Different colors or motifs can be arranged and rearranged in creative designs. This cream and seafoam green checkered pattern adds a dose of color to the floor.

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Add Color with Window Treatments

    Applying a new color scheme to a neutral room can be overwhelming. To make the process easier, find one inspirational piece to guide your redesign. For this living room's summer look, a graphic green-and-white tablecloth served as the jumping-off point. Thanks to curtain clips, tablecloths became the room's curtain panels.

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Add Custom Accents

    Serve snacks in style by customizing your own tray to match your color scheme. Paint the tray with a design that you can carry throughout the room. Apply the stencil to the tray by using template plastic and latex paint.

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Punch Up Color

    Add color to the room with accents. Pillows and a throw boost the room's color without being permanent. Making pillows is a snap when you use a patterned two-ply place mat as your fabric. Cut a slit along the top back of the mat and stuff with batting. Leave the top few inches empty. Fold over the top flap and secure it with a button and a ribbon tie.

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Create a Reading Spot

    The corner of the sectional sofa becomes a comfy reading spot by the window. Make this area a miniature version of the living room. Add artwork, a side table, a lamp, and accent pillows.

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Personalize the Side Table

    Have fun with a glass-top bistro table by adding words and designs made from chipboard letters and stickers found in the scrapbooking aisle of the crafts store. Update the accents and sentiment each season.

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Add Fireplace Flair

    With only the bump-out wall painted a fresh seafoam green, the fireplace becomes the room's focal point. For a playful touch, a graphic from the tablecloth-turned-curtain is stenciled onto the wall. To add depth and function to the wall, add a mantel above the fireplace. This floating shelf is made of white-painted plywood. The floating shelf provides space for displaying pretty glass bottles.

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Dress Up the Fireplace Screen

    To add a bit of style to the fireplace screen, stencil it with the wall and curtain motif. Use a custom stencil to create the design.

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Create a Cheery Corner

    Turn a corner into a cozy eating area by pairing a bistro table and chairs with a leather ottoman "window seat." Add colorful walls and bright accents that repeat the living room's hues.

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DIY Cafe Curtains

    Hang square printed napkins from photo clips for an easy no-sew window treatment. The clips are hot-glued in place on the window moldings. If your windows are larger, stitch two napkins together.

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Cover Your Seats

    Add a splash of color to basic wooden dining chairs with seat covers made from inexpensive dish towels. Simply hand- or machine-stitch ribbon ties to the towels to hold them in place.

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Use Two Colors

    Add architectural interest to a room with "wainscoting." Create a picture rail with store bought hook racks. Install sections of store-bought peg rails that come with the board and hooks. Paint different colors above and below the picture rail for a fresh look.

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Get Cozy for Fall

    See the easy projects that transformed this living room from summer to fall.

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