Before-and-After Makeovers

living room
Faced with poor functionality, a lack of personality and any semblance of style, these rooms were the perfect contenders for an amazing transformation. See how fresh decorating, a few reconfigurations, and big ideas took these rooms from blah to beautiful.

Before: Dated and Dark

Dark maroon walls, oak woodwork, and tired furnishings and window treatments weren't doing this living room any favors.

After: Light and Lovely

Knowing what to keep and what to revamp was the first step in this room's dramatic transformation. The oak floors were in good shape, so they stayed. Built-ins served a great purpose and remained, but with new door faces and hardware. A better furniture arrangement makes the most of the room's dimensions. Neutral furniture with clean lines exhibits European design sensibilities, while bursts of color enliven the room.

Boring and beige, this bedroom needed a style and color makeover. A decorating transformation that kept the good and brought in the better achieved just that.

Bedroom Makeover

A boxy, dull bedroom had a few key pieces championing its decorating cause, but the room needed a boost from color and personality. Watch and see the transformaiton.

Before: Bland and Brown

While the bones and the structure of this kitchen were good, it lacked a certain cheerfulness and personality that the homeowners wanted.

After: Cottage Fresh

Savvy spending and planning refreshed this kitchen for a little more than $3,000. Updating the cherry cabinets with white paint instantly brightened the kitchen, and adding crown molding dressed up the bulkhead, giving the appearance of to-the-ceiling cabinetry. Enlarging the island was the only change to the layout. The homeowners joined three birch countertops using dowels and glue to form a 69x100-inch span of prep and dining space. They also cut out the center panels from a few cabinet doors and outfitted them with glass for a custom look at a fraction of the cost. Soapstone-look countertops are actually laminate, an easy-care, budget-friendly material. To help pay for the stainless-steel appliances, the homeowners sold their old black appliances on Craigslist. Thoughtful touches, such as turned legs on the island, new hardware, and a beaded-board backsplash infuse the space with cottage charm.

See this living room be transformed from a dull "before" to a gorgeous "after". And learn how you can liven up your living room with the same decorating tips for choosing colors, arranging furniture, and more.

Living Room Makeover

See this living room's dramatic transformation and how you can get the same results in your space.

Before: Pattern Overload

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should is a principle that could be applied to decorating with wallpaper and fabrics in the same pattern. A dizzying vine motif patterned everything in this room from the walls to the furniture -- even the bed skirt. Coupled with dated furnishings and seafoam green carpet, this room needed to be brought into the present century.

After: Color Infusion

Thanks to a fresh mix of pattern and color, this room went from one-note to hitting all the right notes. Raising the ceiling and removing a few walls improved the architecture of the space, but the decor changes are what make the room sing. White wainscoting tempers the Kelly green grasscloth wallpaper and a mix of white and colorful bedding continues the white-plus-color approach. Area rugs divide the work and sleeping spaces to make the long room seem more cozy.

See how removing a wall and adding modern style gave this kitchen a better functioning layout and a fresh, sleek face.

Modern Kitchen Makeover

See how an inefficient kitchen became a modern masterpiece after a smart remodel.

Before: Bland and Basic

With so-so fixtures, dated wallpaper, and absolutely no personality, this basic bath was the perfect candidate for a makeover.

After: Custom Look

A custom vanity fashioned from reclaimed vintage pine is the showstopper of the bathroom remodel. The color imbues warmth to the crisp white walls. Beaded-board wainscoting installed horizontally lends updated cottage styling, while a pivoting mirror, a wall-mount faucet, and slate tile floors finish the fresh look.

Before: Tired Kitchen

A box kitchen with limited storage and an awkward bank of cabinets above the peninsula were the primary problems in this kitchen, but a lack of personality and style made the space less than inviting.

After: Contemporary and Cool

Knocking out the bank of upper cabinets opened up the kitchen and connected it to the adjacent breakfast nook. A better configuration of cabinets along the refrigerator wall made up for lost storage. Moving the oven and microwave from the left of the refrigerator to the right improved functionality. Gray porcelain wood-look tile and stacked limestone backsplash offer warm contrast to the sleek surfaces.

Before: Blocked Out

An awkward wall and pass-through between the kitchen and living-dining area in this house created a disjointed feel.

After: Open House

Replacing the wall with a peninsula maintained counterspace in the kitchen, while providing the back for a brand-new dining banquette. A closet next to the banquette was transformed into a wet bar. The carpet was removed in the living and dining area and new hardwood floors were run through the cooking and gathering spaces for cohesiveness. A palette of clean white, rich wood tones, and pops of blue creates a sunny, casual vibe.

Working with what they had and shopping smart helped these homeowners create a beautiful bathroom for a modest price. See how you can do the same in your bathroom remodel.

Budget Master Bath Remodel

See how smart, budget-friendly choices completely transformed the look of this bathroom.

Before: Dark Dungeon

Big windows and all the natural light they allowed couldn't brighten up this dismal breakfast nook. The brick walls and heavy tile floor weighed the space down and yellow trim and oddly hung cafe curtains weren't doing the space any style favors.

After: Bright Retreat

New energy-efficient windows were built to match the 1927 home's original windows and keep the space cozy. An L-shape banquette packed with storage provides function and comfort. Bright pillows in a palette of blue and orange add just enough zip.

Before: Underused Dining Room

A formal dining room that gathered dust begged for a fresh face and new purpose.

After: Efficient Office

Without a single trace of its old life, the space now functions as a super-efficient home office. Cool blue paint lends serenity to the busy room, while pops of white keep it energized. Floating shelves and a storage-packed desk keep the necessities close at hand.

Before: Separate Spaces

A wall separating a claustrophobic kitchen and the living area was the root of this home's problem.

After: Open Invitation

A granite-topped breakfast bar replaced the wall, connecting the kitchen and living areas. Pine beams frame and define the kitchen area and lend a sense of character. Creamy white runs throughout the cooking and gathering spaces. Casual furniture in warm, earthy hues follow the remodel's goal of creating a more welcoming environment.

Share the gallery

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.