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Decorating in Stages: Sunroom

Our three-step makeover inspired a warm and bright forecast in this window-wrapped sunroom.

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Jumping into a decorating project is exciting, but it can be scary, too. You're faced with lots of choices and you want to spend your time and money wisely, so where do you start? Hi, I'm Doug Hanson and I'm a project designer for Decorating Magazine. Today, I'm going to show you how I turned a tired sun room into a bright and cheery retreat, and by breaking the makeover into three stages, you'll see how easily you can create your perfect room. Right now, this sun room doesn't look like much, but it has tons of potential and it's big enough to become a great living space. The first step in a decorating project is to decide what stays and what goes. Here, there are several decent pieces. The love seat and lounge chair are classic and comfy and I like the shapes of a few tables. With different fabrics and paint, these items will look like new. At stage 2, the room is well on its way. Can you believe these are the same sofas? You'd swear they were reupholstered but they're actually fitted in custom slip covers in fabrics that establish a color scheme and the mood for our makeover. Since the room is long, it makes sense to divide it into two zones that are both large enough to be usable. The lively fabrics I chose for the love seats establish a focal point. The fabrics are related but not identical which gives the sun room even more personality. I add the trim strip to reveal the beautiful oak casements. The windows get another boost from pretty woven shades that add texture and provide privacy while allowing light to enter. I painted the walls a yellow that's nearly neutral. In this case, it would have been too strong to take my wall color from the love seats so I chose a Kolmer warm hue that makes a great compliment for them. Just look at this room now. We're in the final stage of our makeover. We're letting the sun shine in with a cheery palette of blue, green, and yellow that creates a warm retreat regardless of the weather outside. Draperies can change a room as much as anything and with huge modern stripes, these panels sure do. Although the striped pattern is big, the colors are low contrast so the draperies don't dominate the room. The radiators heat this space so they had to stay but they weren't much to look at and they took up floor space. By boxing them in, I transformed one into a table that's perfect for showing off accessories. The other becomes a comfy window seat for the secondary seating area. To add color to this end of the room, the lounge chair is slip covered in a bright twill fabric. The new window seat and the braided rug complete this sunny new lounging area. Remember where we started? The walls were dingy, the great woodwork was covered with paint, and while there was some decent furniture, it lacked pizazz. In stage 2, I chose fabrics for the love seats to establish the room's mood and color scheme. Stage 3 brought it all together with a second seating area, handy covers for the radiators, stylish draperies, and additional fabrics and accessories. There's no question that this sun room will quickly become a favorite retreat for the entire family. Don't turn your decorating project into a chore. Start with a couple of pretty fabrics and let them guide you down the road to the perfect room for you and your family. For Decorating Magazine, I'm Doug Hanson.