Home makeover ideas
Lighten Up with White
. Achieve a luxe neutral look with white upholstery and decorative accents in a variety of light hues to add extra depth and dimension.
Mix Mod and Traditional
. The 11 foot long vintage sofa in this living room is a mod counterpoint to a pair of traditional antique chairs.
Visually Divide a Great Room
. Use architectural details, like the cedar ceiling beams in this room, to help visually divide and define the rooms in the open space of a great room.
Mix Your Styles
. You can mix old and new, formal and casual, neutral and bold to make an inviting and comfortable space. A neutral toned sofa and armchair introduce contemporary lines while custom draperies add a touch of tradition.
Layer Neutrals for a Relaxed Look
. To give Country French my minimalist spin, I avoid the expected ruffles and plaids and keep it about the painted antiques and white linens, says homeowner and designer Regina Lynch. In this house, curtains would have been too much, so instead I painted the trim a dark gray for a similar, but cleaner, look.
Modernize the Classics
. Make a classic print like houndstooth check modern by playing with the scale of the pattern and using it in an unexpected color.
Get the Gallery Look
. Give a random collection of art pieces museum worthy treatment by hanging them together on a single wall.
Accessorize with Historic Elements
. Use a flat top trunk as a coffeee table to bring a sense of history to a room. This chocolate brown piece coordinates with the neutral color scheme of the room, and the nail head trim is mirrored in the decorative sofa hardware.
Invest in Antiques
. As your budget allows, invest in one fine antique per room. Here, the a round French marble topped gueridon table becomes a focal point of the space.
Create Open Space
. To keep the traffic flow open, pull the furniture away from the walls and into the center of the room a type of arranging commonly referred to as a floating furniture plan. An octagonal ottoman in a bold fabric set on a cowhide rug anchors the arrangement in this room.
Blend Elegance and Comfort
. Comfortable and formal can go together. Use antiques to anchor your room and then mix in modern touches with bold fabrics, mid century lighting, and sculptural accessories. Pair silk curtains and mirrored tables with clean lined upholstery and lots of colorful pillows.
Use Unexpected Materials
. A stone chimney is beautiful, but its also expected. The natural horizontal wood paneling around this fireplace ties it together with the built ins flanking the hearth.
Mix and Match Patterns
. This living room shows that you dont need to shy away from bold patterns in a small space. A floral rug and coordinating pillows add color to the space, while an animal print chair heightens the drama. The herringbone fireplace tile is a nice geometric touch.
Use Modern Classics
. If you want a contemporary edge, you cant go wrong with the modern classics like these white leather Barcelona chairs and Lucite coffee table.
Create a Faux Fireplace
. Give your living room a focal point by creating a faux fireplace with an antique mantel. This fireplace was set on a rectangular piece of slate as the hearth.
Let the Light In
. Short on windows to capture natural light? Replace solid exterior doors with glass ones for an airy feel and pretty views of your yard.
. Take your decorating cues from your surroundings. This home is on a lake surrounded by trees. Moss greens and mushroom browns paired with a twig and bark side table truly bring the outdoors in.
Pick a Favorite Time Period
. This living room was designed to resemble an early 1900s library; the living room contains a wall of floor to ceiling bookshelves. Two large double hung windows punctuate these built ins, along with cozy window seats below.
Let In Lots of Natural Light
. This living area has floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that fill the room with light. Horizontal mullions in the glass doors are reminiscent of Japanese shoji screens. They complement the space and guide your eye around the room.
. Dont be afraid to personalize the items you buy. Almost every chair in this room was refinished Two armchairs were whitewashed, and the blue velvet chair was gilded.
Know When To Save or Splurge
. This sofa with its supreme comfort, rich color and fabric, and clean lines is definitely a forever piece, so it was worth spending a little more money on. The honeycomb mirror over the fireplace was an inexpensive piece bought at a chain store.
Bring the Outdoors In
. Use naturally occurring colors and textures to give an earthy feeling to your living room. Potted plants and wicker furniture give this home a casual comfort.
Embrace Bold Prints
. Dont be afraid to fall in love with a bold print. The designer of this living room was inspired by the floral side chair fabric and let it dictate the colors found elsewhere in the room.
Look for Inspiration in Unexpected Places
. This homeowner found inspiration for her walls in a bag of gourmet marshmallows She used the soft, sophisticated colors to dictate her palette. The plate rack that once showcased antique plates in her parents home holds cherished photos.
Look for Unused Spaces
. This living room is a genius use of often overlooked space; the upstairs landing was transformed into a small den that makes an inviting, casual family hangout. An upholstered wall softens the space above the built in bench, while bamboo Chippendale style chairs and vibrant turquoise Moroccan poufs add plenty of extra seating.
Add Interest with Decorative Trim
. The designer of this room added trim to the bottom of a basic sofa to dress it up and used a mix of custom pillows to pull colors from around the room.
Play with Scale
. Use large scale pieces in unexpected places. This distinctive coffee table is constructed using the base of two columns and a stone slab.
Decorate with Cottage Style
. Layer floral and geometric patterns on casual furniture for a cozy, cottage feel. Punch up your floral patterns by pairing with them with fresh flowers in mismatched vases.
Hold onto Inspiring Samples
. Keep a file of your favorite samples and inspirational images even if you cant afford a makeover yet, or havent found the home of your dreams. This homeowner/designer kept all the fabric samples that she loved in a bag until she found the right home to settle in. She d also been acquiring updated yet traditional pieces for just the kind of collected look she liked.
Get Hands On with Casual Finishes
. This living room has a please touch, no fuss feel. Its comfortable for a young family or grandparents with visiting grandchildren. Hand rubbed finishes on furnishings lend vintage appeal.
Decorate with Memories
. Make your living room unique and nostalgic by using heirloom pieces. This homeowners great grandfather owned a bungalow, and he fondly remembers childhood visits to the family home. He filled his own bungalow home with family furniture and one of a kind attic finds.
Accent with Red
. Use bright colors and strong patterns to punctuate an otherwise neutral space. The red accessories in this living room add an energetic punch without overwhelming the area.
Design for Real Life Use
. You dont have to give up style even in your high traffic living room. Guests and kids need not reach for coasters before putting drinks down on the distressed coffee table. Scrapes and dings only add to the character of the piece. A patterned area rug is forgiving of spills and dusty feet.
. You can pull off a patriotic color scheme without being kitsch. Try hints of red with a pretty blue backdrop. Use natural linen instead of bright white.
Fake a Tall Ceiling
. Ceilings look taller when the baseboard and crown molding are the same color as the wall.
Get Inspired by a Favorite Textile
. Use a fabric pattern to inspire the color scheme and style of your room. The fabric on these armchairs pulls together the tones of this living room.
Create a Keeping Room
. Since guests typically gather in the kitchen, a keeping room is ideal for overflow and comfort. Keep your furniture comfortable and durable it is sure to be the most used in your home.
Display Your Collection to Advantage
. If you have a lot of collections, always keep the base neutral so your displays wont overwhelm the space. Here, a collection of turquoise lighting elements stands out against the cream walls and plays off of the colors in the large painting.
Create a Conversation Corner
. If you have space, create a separate, more intimate seating area in your living room for quiet conversations.
Love the Lodge Look
. Get the lodge look by pairing rich leathers with rustic wood elements and classic tartans. Candles and lanterns further add to the atmosphere.
Slipcover in Style
. Ready for a change? Washable slipcovers in lighthearted new fabrics perk up old upholstery.
Choose a Sunny Palette
. Crisp whites combined with punches of bright colors immediately transport you to the coast. In this living room, aqua accents in the pillows, throw, and rug mimic the oceans dazzling blues, and the pops of bright orange are inspired by the magnificent hues of the setting sun. Whitewashed horizontal shiplap planking evokes the feel of old Gulf front beach houses.
Buy the Whole Bolt
. Inspiration for this design struck in the form of a 30 yard bolt of black and white hounds tooth fabric that was on sale for an amazing $30. Even after the window treatments, upholstery, and pillows there was plenty of leftover fabric to be used down the road as seat cushions on new finds, lampshades, and even place mats or a tablecloth.
. Asymmetrical arrangements can be intimidating, but formal symmetry is easy to pull off and adds a calm balance to a room. The simple arrangement above this fireplace is clean and elegant.
. Layer a variety of patterned rugs over a neutral sisal rug covering for an exciting floor treatment.
Add Architectural Interest
. Add architectural interest to your living room with a ceiling treatment. The coffered ceiling in the room creates a striking structural feature to the space.
Create a Cozy Spot for Reading
. This armchair is re covered in a botanical print fabric. The legs are painted white to lighten the visual weight of the piece. Tucked into a corner of the living room and paired with a set of nesting tables, the chair is a perfect spot for reading.
Mix Lights and Darks
. Decorating is not like doing the laundry. Lights and darks go together just fine. In fact, theyre made for each other in this living room connected by a large cased opening.
Open Up Your Living Space
. Although less than 2,500 square feet, this cottage feels larger because of the homeowners clever decision to open up and connect the main living spaces. The family room is also vaulted to reveal the loft space above yet another way of providing extra volume to a relatively modest space.
Mix Don t Match
. This homeowner bucked the matchy, matchy rule by placing different end tables and lamps on either side of the sofa in her living room. The mismatch works because, even though one table is a white Asian inspired look and the other is a black step like design, both tables are the same height. A sleek brass reading lamp pairs nicely with the simple white table, while a large silver leaf table lamp fits with the more substantial black table.
White Wash the Walls
. These homeowners wanted to let their guests be the color to their space, so they painted all of the background surfaces, including the brick fireplace, a clean shade of white. A vintage advertisement and an Arkansas license plate hang on the wall. The casual furniture is covered in washable slipcovers for easy cleanup when inevitable spills happen.
Play Up Your Favorite Color but Keep the Base Neutral
. If youre a frequent redecorator, keep the base neutral in order to let accessories really shine. White or off white walls and slipcovers stay the same even as this homeowner flirts with new obsessions. She tires quickly of things, and has gone through phases with several different colors, so she tries to change things up with pillows and throws.
Spruce Up Your Space With Curtains
. Draperies do more than block out the sun. Window treatments can transform a room, adding personality and character. These ceiling to floor draperies make the space seem taller and more grand.
Upgrade Your Doors and Windows
. To enhance the homes 9 foot ceilings, these homeowners upgraded to 8 foot tall doors and 6 foot tall windows to let in maximum light. They also aligned the doors and windows at the same height to draw the eye up and create the illusion of more space.
Flip Your Color Scheme
. Flip tradition and paint your ceiling a bright color while leaving your walls white. Bring the color down into the space with coordinating accessories like window coverings and pillows.
Accessorize with Local Pieces
. Tortoise and conch shells accessorize this coastal living room, while starfish adorn the mantel. Books on South Carolinas coastal area lie stacked on the coffee table and topped with shells. Vases of palm fronds simply picked up from outside complete the tropical decor.
Pick Furniture That Will Work in Multiple Spaces
. Everything this home can work in most any room in their house. Everything in the living room the sofa, two club chairs, and two armchairs has lived and functioned in other areas of the home. The style continuity is part of this homes peaceful, tranquil feeling.
Get Inspired by Art
. Over this fireplace, a painting by the homeowners aunt provides playful color inspiration. Its coral hues are repeated in fabrics and accessories. Wallpaper remnants are placed inside the built in glass cabinets to hide DVDs and toys and provide an inexpensive style fix.
Mix Modern and Traditional
. Anchor a room with a traditional rug and accessories, and then juxtapose them with modern art for a fresh feel. The hues of this heirloom rug play off of the colors of the bottle cap portrait above the fireplace.
Build In Your Entertainment Area
. These homeowners flanked the hearth with an additional bookshelf designed to accommodate the television.
Retrofit Your Lighting
. Dont be trapped by a lights intended use. This homeowner painted an outdoor lantern and wired it for indoor use.
Create the Illusion of Taller Ceilings
. Hang art above cased openings to draw the eye up and make the ceiling look even higher. Here black and white photographs play off of other black and white patterns in the room.
Use Durable Upholstery Fabric
. A sectional sofa covered in a khaki Sunbrella sailcloth floats in the center of this room. The outdoor rated fabric wont fade and will easily shed stains.
Mix Patterns the Smart Way
. Mixing patterns is a great way to add interest to a room. To keep the look cohesive, use patterns from the same color family and vary their scale.
Use Animal Print Rugs
. The cheetah print rug in this family room hides a multitude of sins.
. Antiques are the hallmark of Southern homes, but you dont have to have a room full of fine antiques one nice piece in a room can elevate everything around it. The antique desk in this room gives a sense of history.
Use Flexible Furniture in a Great Room
. This living area contains leather swivel chairs that can be rotated to face the kitchen or the TV and fireplace. The long upholstered ottoman does double duty as a coffee table and a bench.
Create a Grown Up Space
. Bring the formal parlor back to your home this ones for Mom and Dad, not the kids. Created with the feel of a warm and cozy den, this front room contains rich upholstery and textiles, dark stained furniture, and a leather wing chair.
Curate a Rotating Mantle Display
. Above the mantel, this homeowner displays an ever changing arrangement of artwork and accessories. An avid flea market and antique store shopper, as he finds new collectibles, he likes to bring them in as a quick way to change up the look.
Choose Furniture that Fits the Scale of Your Room
. In this living room, rolled arm sofas are sized up to fill the airy space. For a coffee table, the homeowner had a Duncan Phyfe dining table cut down a few notches to a comfortable height for playing games or propping feet.
Give Your Living Room a Sense of Place
. Coastal and nautical touches abound in this family room beginning with the seashell print pillows. Coastal artwork over the fireplace flanks shelving that is filled to the brim with shell frames and boxes.
Make Room for Family
. The easy flow between family room and kitchen is welcoming to all ages and offers plenty of room for this homeowners extended family, friends, and groups from church to gather. This contiguous space is the heart of their house.
Find Meaningful Local Art
. Local artwork is a meaningful accessory. A locally painted scene of Florida live oaks hangs above this family rooms cast stone fireplace.
Use Picture Molding
. Family photographs instantly add warmth and personality to your home. Take them out of the attic, off your computer, or out of the infrequently viewed albums on your bookshelves, and enjoy them every day. Pick a wall, corner, or entire room. If your chosen spot already has picture molding found in many older homes , your job will be easy. If not, adding new molding is not that complicated.
Plan Ahead for Artwork
. A stacked fieldstone fireplace takes center stage in this family room. Rather than just a sheer wall of stone, the exposed chimney is designed with a central recess for artwork, along with tapered edges on either side, to keep it from appearing too overpowering. Sconces mounted directly to the stone are an attractive way to shed plenty of light on the antique timber mantel.
Embrace Ideas from the Past
. Try a great idea from the past. The triple hung windows on either side of the great rooms fireplace are found in many older homes in the Deep South. When the two lower sashes are raised, the openings serve as passageways to the screened porch beyond.
Get Creative with Your Ceiling
. Dont forget to address the ceiling of your space. This vaulted ceiling has a rough hewn wood treatment that warms up the feeling of the room.
Splash on the Color
. This pool house living room sports sherbert colored hues and feminine flourishes. Quirky cobalt table lamps from Stray Dog Designs and an eccentric teak table serve as foils for the sofa s old fashioned fringe.
Try Natural Textures
. Warm up a room with interesting textures. Woven accessories and ottoman keep things simple and natural.
Create Display Cubbies
. Cozy built in cubbies provide the perfect place to display antique collectables and heirlooms in this living room space.
Mix and Match Your Wood Tones
. Your wood pieces dont have to be the same color. Here, a dark wood desk is at home among blond occasional tables because the pieces have similar clean lines.
Surround Your Fireplace with Built Ins
. An inglenook is a space next to the fireplace that often includes seating. These built in window seats provide extra seating and are a comfy place to read.
Add Privacy without Losing Light
. Add a little privacy to family rooms without sacrificing light by installing drapery panels that dont have a thick lining.
Salvage Original Materials
. In this living room, the heart pine flooring came from a South Carolina textile mill. It has the original nail holes, and if you look closely, you can still see oil stains from factory weaving machines.
Maximize Space with Dual Purpose Built Ins
. Built in bench seating in this small sitting room provides a lot of seating and storage for books and games.
Incorporate Personal Touches
. Can t find the exact table or chest that you need? Just add your own touches, such as a paint finish or unique drawer pulls, to convert an available piece into a one of a kind item. The designer of this living room set a piece of custom cut stone on top of the wooden coffee table in the family room, giving it a more durable surface.
Add Occasional Tables
. Several small tables in this living room offer enough room for drinks and can even be used as additional seating when necessary.
Create a Statement with Art
. With impressive artwork and sleek, sophisticated furnishings set against a perfectly pale palette, this space is a constellation of star elements.
Make Large Rooms Cozy with Multiple Seating Areas
. How do you make a gigantic room look cozy and appropriate for today when it s actually an old Virginia cow barn.Steven Gambrel, one of America s top tier interior designers, recently had a chance to consider the question. Although he lives and often works in the most urbane precincts of Manhattan, Steven grew up in Virginia and still has ties there. When the owners of a Middleburg horse farm asked him to convert one of their barns into a place for large, casual parties and just hanging out and watching TV, he took it on with relish his first barn, and on home turf.
Mix Instead of Match Fabrics
. The designer started with fabric selections to set the room s happy mood and a bright color palette of pink, turquoise, and chartreuse. Fabrics have to be matchy matchy to communicate with each other. If they share a similar vibrancy and color temperature, they ll look good together.
Use Bold Accessories
. A geometric flat weave is more casual and youthful than a heavy Oriental or wool rug. Balance it out with a large piece of modern art framed in a simple white gallery frame. Finish with blue glass lamps or a pretty bowl to add sparkle and dimension.
Add a Sense of History
. Barn builders used post and beam construction in rough hewn yellow pine. Linen curtains with vintage trim add elegance to the rustic room.
Mix Up the Seating
. Seating shouldn t be limited to club chairs and sofas. Utilize benches, ottomans, and odd side chairs to accommodate more people.
Use a Mix of Hues
. The homeowners combined several shades of blue, from almost black navy to royal, in the light filled living room. The hand blocked batik print on the curtains and bench is by John Robshaw Textiles.
Inviting Family Room Design
. Reclaimed wood beams ground the airy, white space. A large but delicate chandelier with a burnished brass finish helps anchor the room, while a vertical custom metal framed mirror emphasizes the room s height.
Give a Small Room Big Style
. A pair of oval mirrors bounces more light around the bright white room and draws the eye up, underscoring the lofty ceiling height.
Choose a Statement Sofa for a Large Room
. A tufted chesterfield sofa covered in family friendly Sunbrella fabric adds scale and traditional style. Tip A large sofa needs large pillows ours are 26 inches square.
Use a Range of Textiles
. A range of textiles including velvet, wool, linen, and cotton adds texture and keeps the muted hues of the C. R. Laine upholstery from falling flat.
Balance Rustic Elements
. Front and back doors open directly into a two story high living room, where spruce planked walls and wood beams salvaged from an 1890 Tennessee barn reflect the homes rural setting and give the space a refined, barnlike feel. Interior decorator Phoebe Howard balanced the rustic elements with color. I added an air of elegance with a soft color palette that reflects the surrounding sky and hills,
Pull Out a Bold Accent Color
. With the multihued curtain fabric as her jumping off point, designer Ashley Whittaker splashed an amped up version of pink in three places in the living room the footstool, the contrasting pillow welt, and the slipper chair trim. We wanted the home to feel bright and colorful like Florida but not like a vacation home, says Ashley. She pulled off the cozy yet elegant vibe by grounding the sun and surf palette with serious touches, such as the antique demilune tables.
Layer Patterns and Bold Prints
. Layers of classic patterns and bold prints connected by a warm palette of brown, ivory, and green give this D.C. cottage a hefty dose of handsome hospitality.