Take inspiration from these living room transformations.
b/a living room 1
It can be as simple as a fresh coat of paint or as extensive as a full-on renovation, but changing up a room can breathe new life into a home. If your living space is in need of some updating, have a look at these Before and After photos for ideas—and for the inspiration to make it happen.
Bethenny Frankel's Fabulous Remodel
Red-orange—the favorite color of homeowner Bethenny Frankel and a signature accent of her Skinnygirl line—can be found throughout the interiors of her New York City apartment.
See the before image of this room on the next slide.
A starburst chandelier from Bethenny's inspiration book was the starting point for her apartment’s designs. The Gomez Girls' signature style—neutral tones in comfortable, contemporary settings—is evident in thecream-and-beige living room.
Design: Mariette Himes Gomez and Brooke Gomez Photography: Joe Standart
The antique fireplace (circa 1740) is a stunning focal point in the living room. The room’s new iron lamps, chandelier, and metal coffee tables are all from Formations. Salvaged ceiling beams add architectural interest. “I used beams in a gridwork that worked with the style of the doors and fireplace,” explains architect Donald Lococo.
The living room's yellow walls were lightened up with white paint, while an antique red rug provides color underfoot. The Hancock & Moore ottoman invites cozy gatherings around the fireplace. Trim added to the existing mantel makes it taller and more substantial.
A fireplace flanked by windows replaced the existing picture window. The new living room opens up to the kitchen and, thanks to the addition of French doors, the blacony overlooking the swimming pool. Sofas are from Hickory Chair, and a wood-and-iron coffee table is from Formations through Holly Hunt. The Tamarian carpet is through Woven Arts.
Photography: Werner Straube Design: Rosemary Merrill
Daffodil-hued walls offer a warm foil for a collection of 19th-century American paintings. Asian elements, including a scallop-edged chinoiserie coffee table, add to the modern sensibility. The au courant avocado hue of the linen slipper chairs is repeated on lamps flanking the sofa. A gold-leaf reproduction breakfront adds architectural presence.
Photography: Francesco Lagnese Design: Gerald Pomeroy
Thuy Tranthi and Mitch Rieder’s 1980s house was full of potential and devoid of character. “It had a very open layout, high ceilings, and lots of windows looking out onto this amazing bucolic setting. The structure itself was sound,” says Thuy. What was needed was character—and interior designer Eric Lysdahl.
Both avid readers, Thuy and Mitch agreed they needed the living room to function as a library. “When Mitch and I got together, we didn’t have the usual couple’s difficulty of sharing closet space,” says Thuy. “Our challenge was sharing library space.” To give them the library they needed, Lysdahl used old Cuban mahogany paneling reclaimed from a 19th-century Connecticut estate to transform the long white rectangle of a living room into a library/living room. The character that was previously lacking Lysdahl added back with the addition of architectural features, including the interior moldings, millwork, and ceiling details.
Another view of the living room/library is on the next slide.
The beautiful old mahogany in the living room/library was outfitted with enough shelves to accommodate both homeowners’ books. “Eric also created conversation areas and included a writing desk so that we can use the room every day as both a library and a living area,” explains Thuy. “We didn’t want a formal room behind closed doors that would only be used when we had guests.”
The new living room design recalls Art Moderne style. A fake fireplace in the previous living room was discarded and replaced with a beautiful cabinet that conceals the TV. A U-shape velvet sectional increases seating and reaps big benefits for the couple—who love to entertain. Designer Brad Boles selected the room's wall color based on the most flattering colors in Jill's wardrobe.
Designer Timothy Corrigan added raised panels on the living room walls and had them painted in subtly varied shades of cream. "We installed the paneling because we wanted the room to feel more substantial," he explains. "And it looks authentic and original." The ceiling was dressed with a plaster fretwork and the fireplace surround given French appeal. Curvaceous Avery Boardman sofas face a shagreen-and-cast-bronze coffee table designed by Corrigan.
Photography: Mark Edward Harris and Michael McCreary Design: Timothy Corrigan
The living room is awash in the beauty of natural sunlight. Dark turned pieces are sturdy and have heft but their presence is not overbearing. The color blue, seen here mainly on the pillows, becomes more prominent throughout the rest of the house.
Photography: Robert Brantley Design: Jack Fhillips
The cavernous room was instantly lightened by removing the too-rustic stone fireplace. Now, an elegant paneled fireplace surround with a limestone hearth is more fitting of a summer home. Closing the room overlooking the living area also helped tame the open space. Hefty furnishings anchor the room; O. Henry House sofas and chairs are grouped around a Ralph Lauren cocktail table.
Four heirloom Florentine silver-gilded candlestick lamps were refreshed with more modern pyramid silk shades. Refinished floors sans rugs let the wood shine. Matisse's watercolor-and-ink "Odalisque" hangs above the fireplace.
For another view of the living room redo, go to the next slide.
Framed within new built-in cabinets, former owner Lorenzo Alvary's portrait in operatic costume commands attention. "Lorenzo treated all of us like his grandchildren," says apartment owner Alison Macheras.
Ice-blue walls act as a counterpoint to the warm wood of case goods and original parquet floors. Dark taupe-and-white Chinese toile curtains lend a traditional spin to a not-so-traditional mix of furnishings. Vintage pieces mix with contemporary from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in the living room. Drapery fabric is from Duralee.
Homeowner Norm Wogan ushered in light and improved proportions by adding leaded-glass French doors. Draperies at the doors add lushness with fabric from S. Harris. An Oushak rug and wing chairs in distressed Old World Weavers velvet increase coziness. A Biedermeier box is centered on a 19th-century English round table.
Sliding glass doors in the living room let in more light and allow the room to expand to include the screened porch in warmer months. Interior designer Kelley Proxmire selected indoor/outdoor fabrics for the living room, then created interest by using florals, stripes, and contrasting piping and trim to twist the tried-and-true color scheme. Covered in a Manuel Canovas solid cotton fabric, Brunschwig & Fils chairs in front of the fireplace circle a Charles Stewart ottoman where the kids play board games. The striped ottoman fabric is from Schumacher, and the rug is from Stark Carpet.
A different angle of the living room can be found on the next slides.
"Blue-and-white isn't original, but it translates so beautifully," says Proxmire. "We played with scale on the fabrics and used mitered stripes so this version of blue-and-white would have its own signature." Furniture frames boast dark wood tones, a contrast to the crisp white woodwork and furniture in other main-level areas.
The living room sets the home’s simple-yet-elegant tone. The previously dark walls were lightened with custom Benjamin Moore paint. Two small-scale needlepoint chairs discovered at a Paris flea market sit by the windows. “These chairs just called to us,” says homeowner Mary Lynn. “When we found them, we didn’t know where they were going to go, but we knew we had to have them. The colors are so beautiful and easy on the eyes. They set the tone for the house.”
Another look at the living room is on the next slide.
Unhibited by rugs, the living room has an air of simplicity. Clean-lined linen sofas and reclaimed oak floors add to the simplicity, while lending a provocative contrast to the fanciful silk curtains. A weathered mirror and a patinated console offset the room’s otherwise sleek characteristic.
Photography: Fran Brennan Design: Eleanor Cummings