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before and afterfireplace

before & after: two living room and mantel makeovers

by Kate Pruitt


Whole-room makeovers can be so intimidating. I’ve been meaning to tackle my own living room, but I just can’t seem to take the leap and make big changes. As these two living room makeovers show, the first — and probably most important — step is changing the paint. To fix up her living room and mantel, Derona not only lightened the room with new paint, but she also made a lot of great design decisions, like the collection of green bottles and other textural elements. Lovely makeover, Derona! — Kate

Time: 3 months

Cost: £400

Basic Steps: I started with a plan and a 3-D rendering. I wanted to ensure that any furniture I bought would actually fit, as the existing furniture that came with the flat felt far too large for the space. The next hurdle was painting and creating a clean slate in the room. Once I had that neutral base, it was more obvious what could be done.

My strategy was to use different textures and pops of color in a calm setting to create visual interest, hence the faux fur throw and glass bottles. The project then evolved after a trip to Thailand, where I was inspired by gorgeous silks and bold Jim Thompson prints, which I couldn’t resist in the form of the yellow pillow cover. I also loved the beautiful wood carvings and thought it would make a great focal point on the fireplace wall and take advantage of the ceiling height.

My advice is to take inspiration from anywhere. The bottles on the mantel were a EUREKA moment when my boyfriend, a beer enthusiast, was separating the recycling. I loved the shade of green and the way it worked with the plant in the corner. He looked at me like I was crazy when I said I wanted to keep them and asked him to drink more beer, but he was happy to add to the collection over the weeks. — Derona

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Claire’s living room makeover after the jump!

This second living room is another great example of what paint can accomplish. Since Claire is renting, she was limited in what she could do to freshen up her living space. However, the minimal adjustments she did make were enough to modernize and clean up the space beautifully. I especially love the “built-in” look of the shelves, which provide tons of storage and display space to those underutilized walls. Great work, Claire!

Time: 7 days

Cost: $800 (for several rooms)

Basic Steps: We are renting this house, and it was really rough to begin with; all the walls were a dirty yellowed colour. We washed the walls and filled any gaps and painted. We painted over some wood, but not all of it, as we never got the all-clear from our landlord. We made the shelving ourselves by getting a sheet of wood and cutting it to size and adding little ledges on each end. My advice is that paint is amazing — our house was pretty ugly and old fashioned, and all we have really done is paint it, and it has a modern feel now. — Claire

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