3-Step Decorating Makeover: A Cozy Living Room

Our three-step makeover turned a cold, beige room into a cozy (and storage-packed) space for family and friends to relax and spend time together.

Stage 1: Beige, Bland, and Boring

With beige walls, comfortable -- but brown -- furniture, and few accessories, this living space didn't invite relaxation or family fun. The sectional sofa offers cushy seating for a crowd. But a lack of side tables made it an uncomfortable place to snack, work, or watch movies. Other seating in the space was limited to a dining room chair, an upholstered side chair, and a few floor pillows.

Stage 1: Tucked Away

A small nook, tucked away from the main living space, is ideal for organization and storage. With an abundance of natural light, the space cries "work area." But the nook was only outfitted with a small hand-me-down breakfast table, chair, boxes, and stacks of papers, books, and mail.

Stage 1: Seeing the Possibilities

The potential to transform the room from dull to "wow" was there. Architectural accoutrements -- such as the traditional mantel, French doors, and beautiful wood floors -- provided good bones and the foundation for a stylish family-friendly room.

Stage 2: A Slow Awakening

A rug, throw pillows, and drapes bring color and softness to the whole room. A lively rug anchors the sofa in the center of the room. Throw pillows break up the sectional's neutral upholstery. The small TV was replaced with a sleek flat-panel unit. The upgrade gives the room a home-theater feel.

Stage 2: More Office, Less Clutter

The work space became more functional with the addition of a do-it-yourself desk. A scrap piece of countertop was used as a desk surface. The top is supported by two file cabinets. The file drawers corral mail, papers, and office supplies.

Stage 2: Making Progress

The entryway now houses items for storage and organization. Drapery panels in a kicky stripe frame the large windows. The former office nook table was placed by the window for another light-filled work space. Mantel accessories also shift this space into a new gear.

Stage 3: A Lively Family Retreat

Adding more color brought this room to life. The playful palette of sky blue and pumpkin orange gives the room a punch of personality. Additional throw pillows contribute more color and pattern. A coordinating entertainment center and coffee table provide storage and display space for accessories.

Stage 3: Stylish and Functional

The office nook now hosts a built-in work space where family members can be productive but still be a party to the room's gathering and fun. On the windows, relaxed Roman shades add another layer of softness. The striped drapes remained in place and can be pulled to dim the room for movie watching.

Stage 3: Tidy Accessories

Colorful and decorative desk accessories make work more fun. The wall behind the desk was utilized as a message board. Two pieces of corkboard are a post for pictures, notes, important papers, and more. Maximize your space by choosing accessories that are stylish and functional, such as the white three-compartment bowl.

Stage 3: Welcoming Entrance

The adjoining hallway also got a fresh coat of color. The pumpkin orange from the office nook colors the hallway, helping the two spaces flow together. The locker-style storage has cubbies for each family member. The piece has both small and large cubbies that give backpacks, sports equipment, and pet necessities their own place.

Stage 3: Space for Fido

Pet owners know how dog and cat toys can end up everywhere. Keep your animal's favorite things in a central location. You'll know exactly where to go to find Spot's favorite chew toy.

Stage 3: Fabric Pairings

When choosing fabrics, look for some with a common theme to create a great ensemble. The fabrics used in this room are different weights and patterns, but they have a similar color scheme. Also, the stripe is a bold print, while the floral is more minimal, creating contrast and balance.

Ta-Da! The Final Look

The lounging area now hosts a handsome leather chair for additional comfy seating. Abundant throw pillows add color and pattern to the once-bland beige sofa. The former TV stand, an apothecary table, was placed behind the couch. The unit offers storage and keeps games and toys out of sight from the room's grand entrance.

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