before & after: bedroom makeover + outdoor dining

When warmer weather rolls around, I start to crave airy, open rooms like the “after” of this bedroom in Kim’s home. The clean minimalism mixed with homey accents, patterned textiles and lots of light neutral tones immediately put me at ease and make me think of summer breezes. The decision to rip up the carpet and paint the floor a warm taupe-gray was so smart — what a huge difference it makes for freshening up that space. Fantastic job, Kim! — Kate

Time: 2 months

Basic Steps: The house needed an update, refresh and to make it our own. Painting the interior white and the floors gray gave us a nice fresh, clean palette to play with. I wanted canvas that was modern and practical and that wouldn’t date; through accessories and furniture, color and character would be bought in. With the gray and white base, you can adapt any style of decor — you’re not stuck to one look forever.

We had a tight budget and needed to try and do as much as we could within that. Paint is a great way to transform a place — we painted a lot of old furniture to tie in colors and just give the items new life. A white canvas is modern and fresh and always helps a small home like ours feel bigger. I love that if you’re buying an old house from someone else, paint makes it smell brand new, like your own. — Kim

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 Sarah’s lovely new porch dining area after the jump!

They aren’t as prevalent on the West Coast, but man, would I love to have a screened-in porch! I have such fond memories of sitting on the porch in my childhood home listening to spring rain, and all the amazing dinners we had out there whenever we could. Sarah has done an incredible job transforming her spacious porch area into a beautiful lounging and dining space, and just in time for prime porch season! I love the mismatched chairs and the clean, modern-country aesthetic. Nice job, Sarah!

Time: A week for cleaning, scraping, and painting

Cost: $100 for paint, $138 for sitting area, $84 for dining area.

Basic Steps: The porch was born out of what I had around the house. I pick up a lot of free stuff on the side of the road and store it in my attic, as well as buy inexpensive textiles and doodads that I know I’ll use at some point. I rarely have a vision and then go about making it happen; I almost always react to what I have on hand and go about layering it until I think it looks good. Going “shopping” in my attic is fun because I discover all kinds of things I forgot purchasing/finding/adopting, or see an old piece in a new way.

My favorite moment when making the porch was when it struck me that I needed an old camping cot of some kind, and the next day, I was driving around and there was not one but two old metal collapsible camping cots on the side of the road! Be aware of how weather and pollen will affect everything on your porch. Windows are not sacred; hang things on and around them! Don’t be afraid of layering lots of stuff on porches. Have an idea of what your usage of the porch will be and then design around that. Ferns always look good on porches. — Sarah
  1. Lindsey says:

    Love it! I have to ask – where did she get that cute tote that’s hanging on the bedpost?

  2. Boo says:

    I love that bed! Oh, and if I spy it correctly I believe that rug in the porch is from Target?? I warn you – don’t wash it!! I washed mine and the color completely washed out! :( Looks great though! – BOO

  3. I love both of these! Great transformations on a budget!

  4. Margaret says:

    ummm…WHERE DID YOU GET THAT STRAW BAG?!?! I love love love love it! (and the before and after too, of course!)

  5. Alix says:

    Does everyone on this site moonlight as interior decorators?? I am constantly amazed by the talent evident in all these beautiful makeovers.

  6. karen says:

    What is the color of the bedroom walls? I love the softness.

  7. I have to say I am SOOOO addicted to Before and afters! Aren’t they exciting to see! I don’t care if it is a whole room or a tiny stool! Thank you for sharing!
    Have a pretty day!

  8. Chante says:

    LOVE the unmatched chairs on the patio dining!

  9. Belly B says:

    Oh my gosh I really love the windows at the dining area. That is my ideal position for writing/blogging!

  10. lauren says:

    did somebody say target? i love that rug on the porch! what is it???? is it really from target—i can’t find it!

  11. Gorgeous, love the porch makever – I love semi-outdoor spaces and this one is fabulous. Well done!

  12. Sabrina says:

    Wonderful before & afters. I have a question for Kim about painting your floor. Everytime I talk about painting our floor I get eyerolls and a lot of talk how it will make my living room look like someone’s garage.

    Do you have any tips to help achieve a nice looking floor like yours as opposed to having it look like we should park a car on it?

  13. Sorry to see the bed is broken. I have one almost exactly like it. Hmm, I have been thinking of selling it.

  14. Very nice job decorating. excellent way to liven up a room.

  15. amazing! such gorgeous spaces! if these were my rooms I would NEVER leave! that patio is to die for!

  16. Bre says:

    That first bedroom is AMAZING, exactly something I’d love to do. :) Great feature!


  17. Sarah says:

    Hey thanks! The rug is from Target, but I found it at the end of an aisle crumpled up with a red sale sticker on it, so I’m not sure if they’re available anymore. Good to know I shouldn’t wash it!

  18. The bed and the light fixture in the bedroom make that room! Bedroom envy!


  19. I ab love these rooms. Fantastic makeovers!

  20. fleur elise says:

    I really love your theory of ‘purchasing/
    finding/adopting’ It’s so much fun being resourseful, recycling and mixing it up.

  21. Heather says:

    LOVE that porch. that is just an ideal place for a morning coffee or cup of tea. enjoy it!

  22. Justine says:

    Excellent outdoor space, very inspiring for renovations I’m planning for my own!

  23. Cele says:

    Love this style! soft and enchanting! But is the bed missing a piece or is it photoshop? ( under the btw gorgous bag) :)


  24. Tami says:

    Wonderful work – particularly on that gorgeous porch. I’m so glad you didn’t paint the beadboard, too.

    One question, however: Do you still have that original overhead light fixture and can I have it? (Really. I’m serious.)

  25. Sarah says:

    Tami – The light fixture is still in the ceiling! Glad you like it. I’m unsure.

  26. Brad says:

    FYI to all of us who do “before and after” shots: that well-deserved admiration and string of compliments we receive from all our hard work is almost always *partly* artificial, folks.

    Why? Because all the “befores” look like crime scene photos: lights turned off, cheap camera flash, occasionally out of focus. Of COURSE a warm, soft glow and dramatic, shallow depth-of-field “after” photo is going to look like a million bucks. It’s not an accurate comparison in the first place!

    I’d ask that you don’t sell yourself short by intentionally using bad-then-good photos to enhance your efforts. Just let us appreciate the sometimes subtle improvements you’ve made!

    1. grace says:


      you gotta cut people some slack, seriously. these are real people, not magazine editors, photographers or designers. 99% of these people are NOT thinking of d*s and d*s readers’ photo expectations when they buy a piece. they’re thinking about buying something for their own home. we do our best to get good before shots, but this is a reader submitted column so i hope you can keep that in mind. no one is doing this intentionally or trying to mislead people, they’re just snapping something quickly. when they finish a before they naturally have more time to style things, it’s just the way they work. so please don’t mislead people who’ve worked hard on projects by saying that their compliments are partially artificial. believe me, this is an audience that feels more than happy to voice displeasure so if they wanted to say they weren’t impressed, they would (and do).


  27. Brad says:

    I certainly don’t mean to imply people shouldn’t be proud of their work. *At all*. I’m impressed by many of these DIY projects, and only wanted to convey that I feel an “apples to apples” comparison may not elicit as many “oohs,” but can be just as informative and impressive.

    As for the content being reader submitted… sure it is. But if the same reader who bought the piece is capable of taking a gorgeous “after” photo, it strikes me as odd that many of the “befores” look intentionally lousy.

    That’s not to say I don’t get that many before shots are just whatever happened to be around when you bought a home, etc. I just encourage people who consciously take before pictures of their projects to ‘keep it real’… that’s all.

  28. Nadia says:

    I think you’ve done a lovely, lovely job on both spaces! I especially love the way the patterned cushions and rug stand out against the white. Both rooms are totally inviting!

    Would you be willing to share where you got those amazing cushions? I would love to have something similar.

  29. JT says:

    I often forget to take before photos. I will remember half way through a project–by then it’s a progress photo!

    Befores are ugly…that’s why we create afters. I am not going to spend a lot of time trying to make something ugly look good for my scrapbook.

  30. Sarah says:

    Brad, I totally understand what you are saying and have thought about this a lot actually. I went through literally hundreds of photos of my house and found only one of that side of the porch. I didn’t take it originally thinking that it would ever be a part of a before & after. I suspect that most people who submit are in the same boat.

  31. Lindsay says:

    I love that light in that bedroom, and that outdoor room is so clean. Great designs.


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