Quick DIY projects and furniture swaps bring new personality to this family-focused space, all for less than $1,000.
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There are no dull days in the Goins household. Kelsey and Marcus's Ankeny, Iowa, home is constantly bursting with energy supplied by their two young daughters, Amaya, 6, and Gianna, 2, and two boisterous dogs. But the family's fun-loving spirit was nowhere to be seen in their roomy yet sparsely decorated family room. With its builder-grade built-ins, neutral color scheme, and disjointed furniture arrangement, the room hardly matched the wide smiles and easy laughs that typically fill the household.

Looking into living room with tv and fireplace
The Goins family room before its makeover.
| Credit: Ryan Krull

These working parents needed help adding color and personality to their family room, and California-based designer Anita Yokota was up for the task. Her challenge: Stick within the family's $1,000 budget, and do it all in less than 60 minutes.

Living room with patterned wallpaper, tv, and fireplace
The Goins family room after the 60-minute flip.
| Credit: Ryan Krull

As the family's go-to spot for movie nights and game-day gatherings with friends, the room needed a more functional layout for both entertaining and everyday activities. "We're constantly living life in this room and enjoying time just as a family," Kelsey says. She also wanted the space to better reflect their personalities by showcasing memories of sandy vacations in Florida and visits to Marcus's family in New Orleans.

corner of living room with display shelves with patterned wallpaper before and after
The family room built-ins before and after the 60-minute flip.
| Credit: Ryan Krull

To infuse more life into the room, Yokota started with the built-ins surrounding the fireplace and TV. Temporary patterned wallpaper ($1.13 per square foot, Wayfair) in Kelsey's favorite shade of green now covers the backs of the built-ins to turn the shelves into a focal point. Yokota chose the herringbone pattern for its vertical lines, which draw the eyes upward to visually expand the space. Rearranging the existing shelves accommodated larger accessories including colorful artwork and potted houseplants.

Corner of display shelf with patterned wallpaper
Credit: Ryan Krull

A quick DIY hack made it super simple to install new light fixtures ($80 for set of two, Amazon) inside the built-ins (no electrical work needed). In place of a traditional lightbulb, Yokota attached battery-powered puck lights, which are controlled by a remote, inside the brass sconces before mounting them above the top shelves. Dark blue on the lampshades, updated with a little spray paint, repeats in vases and other accessories strategically placed on the shelves.

drawer with modern metal handle
Credit: Ryan Krull

Switching out black hardware on the drawers and cabinets with new brass pulls ($9 each, The Home Depot) required only a drill and a few minutes of time. The simple swap gives the built-ins a brighter, more contemporary look.

yellow wall family phots blue chairs
Credit: Ryan Krull

Above a cozy seating area to the right of the fireplace, an updated gallery wall showcases photos of Kelsey and Marcus with their daughters. Yokota had the photos printed in black and white to maintain a cohesive look; the frames were spray-painted bright teal to deliver a dose of color. A blue-green polka-dot fabric ($6 for two yards, Joann) covers the table lamp's drum shade and ties into the room's jewel-toned color scheme.

Weaved basket with a blanket
Credit: Ryan Krull

A narrow table tucks behind the sofa, which was moved to the center of the room from its former spot in front of the windows. The reworked furniture arrangement helps section off the large space and allows for a straight-on view of the TV. Baskets nestle underneath the sofa table to store extra blankets and the girls' favorite books in easy reach.

Bench in front of window with a plant
Credit: Ryan Krull

A new bench along a wall of windows provides overflow seating when the family has company. A teal tasseled pillow and striped throw add texture and comfort. For an inexpensive refresh, borrow accessories from other rooms.

tan, blue and yellow dining area with chairs and table
Credit: Ryan Krull

The previously unused back corner of the room now features a small bistro table and chairs, which the Goins can use as a serving area for snacks during football games or as an arts and crafts workspace for the girls. The abstract wall art was a simple DIY created by Kelsey and her oldest daughter Amaya. They glued colorful tissue paper cutouts to a blank canvas using decoupage medium, overlapping the shapes slightly to create a dynamic, layered look.

People standing in living room
Credit: Ryan Krull

After just one hour of speedy DIY projects and furniture arranging, the bare-bones family room is now a colorful, cozy hub that can keep up with this bustling family. Divided into zones for conversation and lounging, the layout provides seating for guests and the Goins to spread out. The living room can handle both entertaining and family time with a colorful, easygoing personality that reflects the Goins.

Comments (6)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
March 4, 2021
Love it! I also would like to know where you got the rug
Better Homes & Gardens Member
February 16, 2021
Brilliant! I would like to know where I can purchase the bench and rug in front of it.
Better Homes & Gardens Member
February 14, 2021
great makeover! what is source of the teal and striped throws? thank you
Better Homes & Gardens Member
February 14, 2021
what is source of hanging pendant light near bistro table?
Better Homes & Gardens Member
January 26, 2021
I would love to know where the picture to the right of the window (on wall) came from?
Better Homes & Gardens Member
January 26, 2021
I would love to know where the picture to the right of the window (on wall) came from?