Room Makeover Tips
Take a cue from these real-life decorating makeovers and find fresh ideas you can use in your rooms. Each of these rooms started as a "yikes" and became a "wow." Learn the secrets behind the overhauls and how to bring the magic of a makeover to your living room, bedroom, and beyond.
Everything In This Slideshow
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BEFORE: Under Construction
While an extensive remodel made the most of the room's shell, the homeowner repurposed, reimagined, and reworked many of the furnishings she already had.
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AFTER: Fab Finish
A decade ago, the homeowner invested in a pair of 6-foot-long love seats, knowing they'd fit opposite each other just about anywhere. Slipcovered in white, they're the ideal backdrop for a rotating cast of throw pillows. And all it takes to give the wood-frame chairs a new look is changing the cushion covers.
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BEFORE: Gray, Gray, Gray
Dull and mismatched, but with some good things going for it, this bedroom needed just a few key boosts.
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AFTER: Just-Right Color
A palette of cool blues and warm golds enlivens the room's color scheme. Pops of pattern and layers of accessories add personality.
Go to the next slide to see more from this room's makeover.
Bedroom Makeover: The Details
See all the things that make this before-and-after bedroom a true makeover success.
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BEFORE: Falling Flat
This living room had plenty of space but little to love. A tiny brick fireplace just didn't do justice to the room's soaring ceilings and open-air atmosphere.
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AFTER: Style Statement
An impressive stacked-stone accent wall gives the living room a dramatic focal point ideal for its vaulted ceiling. Salvaged beams, showcased on the mantel and ceiling, supply warm rustic style, while pops of sunny yellow brighten the neutral color palette.
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BEFORE: Rescue Mission
Homeowners loved the vintage vibe of this 1930s bathroom, but the tiles needed some TLC. The space had a decent tub, sink, and toilet, so funds could be focused on pumping up the master bathroom's personality.
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AFTER: Green with Envy
The existing green tiles were removed, cleaned of adhesive, then laid with white ceramic tiles to create appealing stripes in the shower space. A patterned Roman shade provides privacy and light control without fuss, and a ceramic garden stool makes a great perch for bath accessories.
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BEFORE: Impractical Attic
Before its remodel, this attic was completely unusable. A lack of insulation meant hot summer days and freezing winter evenings. But with careful planning, the unfinished attic beautifully converted into an inviting master suite.
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AFTER: Converted Master(piece)
To make the most of the attic's sloped ceilings, homeowners installed built-ins that offer plenty of storage and display space. A window seat showcases the room's abundant natural light, and a modern pendant light draws the eyes upward. A navy color palette, punctuated with pops of orange and yellow, creates a soothing bedroom atmosphere.
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BEFORE: Builder-Home Blandness
This front room was underused and undesired before its facelift. The run-of-the-mill fireplace felt tired, but a reface wasn't part of the makeover budget. The solution? Swapping the tract-house mantel for a more on-trend look.
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AFTER: Masterful Mix
Reclaimed wood and mosaic tiles update the mantel with interesting texture.The front room's redesign spawned from dome chairs and a twist on the standard living room setup. Poufs are pulled up for additional seating during wine nights. To make the room feel elegant and mature, homeowners installed a sparkling chandelier and cozy cowhide rug.
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BEFORE: Bare Bones
Beige walls and warm wood flooring made this bedroom a blank slate. A navy throw provides the start to a cozy palette.
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AFTER: Charming Retreat
A warm charcoal accent wall complete with shiplap boards cozies up this master bedroom. A tufted headboard, plenty of pillows, and a large jute rug contribute eye-catching texture. Sheets of beaded board and rustic salvaged beams decorate the ceiling.
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AFTER: Scaled for Success
A scaled-back sectional with smaller arms provides equivalent seating but allows the little living room to breathe. A round coffee table prevents it from becoming too boxed-in, while a large mirror visually expands the space. Pretty pops of red and yellow on pillows and chair upholstery enliven the otherwise monochromatic color scheme.
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BEFORE: Little to Love
This master bedroom was barely large enough for a queen-size bed. To maximize its potential, the room was reimagined, with a wall knocked down between an adjacent spare bedroom.
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AFTER: Chic and Spacious
With the adjacent wall removed, this master bedroom has room for a king-size teak platform bed and large closet. Its minimalist decor and subdued color palette help the room seem even larger.
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BEFORE: Clashing Colors
With plenty of windows, a set of glass doors, and lively color, this sunroom sounds perfect on paper. But in reality, the minty walls clashed with the scattered furniture, and white window trim made the space feel busy rather than beautiful.
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AFTER: Happy Hues
Splashes of aqua, coral, and citron set a summery tone. Watery blue wall color extends to the window casings; erasing the trim allows all of the pillow patterns to take center stage. Neutral wood flooring, a wood trunk, and beige cushions prevent color overload.
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BEFORE: Uncharmingly Vintage
Old homes offer character but need the right furnishings to bring out the charm. Like a lot of rooms in vintage homes, this living room faced the challenge of an awkward layout. The long, narrow room is also the front entry of the home.
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AFTER: Colorful Welcome
An infusion of color updated the tired living room, and classic furniture and motifs pay homage to the home's historic roots. The room's main patterns -- the Jacobean print on the curtains and the plaid on the Louis XV-inspired chairs -- are repeated on pillows to create a unified look.
Makeover Lesson: Don't get stuck on a style. If you like classic furniture but prefer bright colors, don't feel you have to go traditional all the way. For a balanced, pulled-together look, use patterns and furniture styles that match your "root" style, but use a color palette with a bit of pep. Here, lighter shades of blue and green expose traditional style, but the pastel tones keep the look from becoming stuffy, as do pops of warm pink and orange.
Go to the next slide to see more details from this living room.
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AFTER: Style Fusion
The room's previous pink walls and oak furniture caused everything to recede and nothing to stand out. Now, with a palette of oatmeal and blues -- plus furniture in varying finishes -- the room is dynamic and stylish.
Makeover Lesson: Mix it up by stepping away from the furniture set. Look for other ways to unify the space, such as through a color palette or style details.
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BEFORE: OK but Ordinary
A timeless, clean-lined sofa and fun apple green armchairs were a step in the right direction, but without any additional color and few accessories, this living room was devoid of warmth and fell short of its potential.
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AFTER: Fab and FunShop now: stylish accent chairs!
Moving the sofa to a place of prominence in front of the large double windows gave the room an anchor and left space for an new armchair. Colorful accents and details, such as the artwork and drape trim, add the final flourish.
Makeover Lesson: Use the foundation you have; makeovers don't have to start completely from scratch. Evaluate what you already own, and build on it. For example, if you haven't budgeted for a new sofa, work with the one you have, or shop for a slipcover.
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BEFORE: Bare and Boring
Drab colors, empty walls, and lack of style were only the beginning of this living room's laundry list of issues. Add a monstrous mirror and a dominating brown sofa, and this room was in desperate need of a rescue.
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AFTER: Bright Outlook
Moving the brown leather sofa from the middle of the room to the wall minimizes its size and dominance in the room and leaves space for extra seating. Sky blue walls and shades of green blend with neutrals for a nature-inspired space.
Makeover Lesson: Put your color palette on repeat. By using dark brown elsewhere in the room, such as on the coffee table and striped fabric, the existing sofa looks right at home in the revamped space. The blue wall color is repeated in the chair fabric and pillows, and the green is reprised on accessories.
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