Before and After Room Makeovers

From simple-yet-stunning decorating makeovers, to organizational overhauls and impressive remodels, these transformations prove how dysfunctional duds can become amazing spaces.

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Before: Blank Space

living room before

Low ceilings and a lackluster fireplace wall in this family room were crying out for a new look.

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After: Fresh and Fun

family room

Stripping away the tile and paneling from the fireplace revealed a pleasant surprise: an old brick wall, which was dressed up with white paint, a floating mantel, and a wallmount art lamp. Vaulting the ceiling furthered the airy design. Built-ins were replaced with furniture for a less formal, more flexible look. Colorful pillows and accessories add pop.

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Before: Almost, But Not Quite

Kitchen - black and white

An open and airy layout, like-new appliances and cabinetry, refinished hardwood floors -- this kitchen was almost there when the new homeowners moved in. But the overly traditional style didn't quite suit their modern tastes.

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After: Modern Spin

white and gray cabinets

A few key updates (done for under $1000) took this kitchen to the next level. Two shades of gray paint siginificantly lighten the look and meshes well with the existing laminate countertops, but won't show wear and grime like white. New pendants over the peninsula and sleek hardware add modern polish.

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Bedroom Revamp

See how this bedroom went from bland and boring to bold and beautiful with a few color, pattern, and character updates.

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Before: Hidden Charm

home before ,06

An apartment in a historic building needed a little TLC to draw out its character-filled potential.

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After: Cool and Colorful

living room with gray sofa and coloful pillows and pink coffee table
Tria Giovan

A crisp gray-white on the walls significantly brightened the living room while colorful accents add personality, as does a collection of midcentury modern furniture. Texture -- from the fluffy rug to the nubby sofa and leather chairs -- complete the visual package.

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Kitchen on a Budget

See how this basic kitchen received a few simple upgrades and a fresh lease on style and function.

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Before: Not-So-Pretty in Pink

Before and Afters - Bathroom

A whole lotta bubble gum pink and outdated fixtures (not to mention 1960s wallpaper on the walls -- and ceiling) gave this spacious bathroom a retro, but hardly charming, look.

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After: Collected and Colorful


The new design doesn't eschew color completely. Soft green vertical stripes on the walls give the illusion of height. But a liberal use of white keeps the look airy, while various shapes, forms, and finishes add interest. New furniture-style vanities are classic, yet fresh and boast plenty of counter space and storage. The tub-shower enclosure was replaced with a roomy walk-in shower.

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Before: Pink Slip

picture window

In another case of pink gone wrong, this living room's charm was hidden by a color that needed to be given the heave-ho.

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After: Vintage Modern Mix

living room

The living room in the 60-year-old house was cozy (read: small), which led the homeowners to select vintage furniture, which is smaller in scale. Following suit, the antique fireplace mantel lends vintage charm and character to the room. A palette of cool blues is peppered with pops of just-right, pretty, not saccharine fuchsia pink.

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Before: Basic and Meh

Before and Afters - Kitchen

A knock it all out at once remodel wasn't in the cards for this small kitchen. But a series of smart changes over the course of three years yielded quite the stunning finish.

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After: Evolved Style


The makeover started with the cabinets: sanding and stripping the wood cabinets and refinished with white paint yielded a brighter look. A white subway backsplash and new glass fronts for two sets of cabinets (a $70 update) give the kitchen a polished look. New wood flooring and appliances came in place over time. A screw-in conversion kit allowed showy pendants to replace recessed lighting. The layout remained the same, but the homeowners retrofitted the existing island with decorative feet and a new butcher block countertop, which gives the piece a custom look for less. The new top, which is four inches wider, now allows for seating at the island.

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Living Room in Stages

You don't have to complete your makeover all at once. Here's how to give your living room a revamp in stages.

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Before: Awkward Nook

built-in white bookshelves

While a secondary nook in this spacious living room was an asset, the underused space needed a bit of direction.

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After: Stylish and Functional


The square desk felt too formal, so it was swapped for a round table, which functions as a workspace and a serving area for entertaining. The cabinets were painted a light gray, which causes them to recede and allows accessories to shine.

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Before: Dark and Dated

Before and Afters

Lackluster cabinetry, dull finishes, and an abyss of brown walls were dampening the spirits of this open kitchen.

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After: Light and Bright


Calacatta Gold marble and a stunning hood on the kitchen's back wall created an elegant, airy focal point. On the island, dark Emperador marble gives a much-needed visual break from all the white surfaces. A mix of metals provide sparkle. The peninsula was replaced with an island so the room opened to the entry from the garage, creating a better flow. Building a bench into the back of the island and adding an oval table maximizes space in the tight breakfast area.

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Living Room Revival

With a few smart layout changes, a timeless, serence color palette, new furniture, and fresh fabrics, this living room received a complete overhaul that you have to see to believe.

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Before: Unremarkable Bath

Before and Afters - Bathroom

Functional, but basic, this bathroom needed a bit of oomph. A roll of wallpaper spurred on the transformation.

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After: On a Roll


An elegant white-and-gray trellis served as the kick-off point for several other upgrades in the hall bath. The existing vanity received a sophisticated facelift with black paint and new hardware. A new white Cararra marble coutnertop (the makeover's splurge) with dark veining elevates the room's polish, as does a new widespread faucet. New sconces and a custom-framed beveled mirror further the room's elegant quality.

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Black-and-White Kitchen Update

A black and white color palette also works to give a kitchen elegant appeal. See how it plays out in this kitchen.

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Before: Spacious, But Disjointed

Before and After Fireplaces 5

A lack of space wasn't the problem in this living room. The room's woes came from a hodge-podge of furnishings and a missing layer of cohesion.

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After: Eclectic, Yet Collected

Before and After Fireplaces

The furniture arrangement feels warm and inviting when joined by a rug. (Seagrass or jute rugs are an affordable way to cover a wide swath of floor.) Recovering the pieces in the same natural linen united existing furniture. Layers of accessories in a cohesive color palette, but a mix of materials and textures, bring both visual rhythm and variety to the space. Warm wood finishes balance the cool gray and white palette.

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Before: Cluttered Home Office

Before and Afters - Office

A mountain of files and fabric swatches hindered efficiency in this home office.

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After: Organized Work Space

Before and Afters - Office

Adding bookshelves on both sides of the desk provided a place for boxes, baskets and shelves, which in turn, corral papers, magazines, and more in an organized fashion. Wall-hung buckets give paint decks, markers, and art supplies an easy-to-reach home.

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