Before & After: From Blah to Beautiful

Professional Project

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For anyone who's ever had a clear idea of what sort of style they wanted their space to look like, failed miserably, and thought they'd have to live with their failures forever, this before and after is proof that even big design missteps can be remedied. The designer who stepped in to refresh this space provides an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to how they got this design back on track.

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Though the shots aren't from the same angle (and the light in the "after" much more flattering), we love how you can really see how the additions made a huge impact on the space, and where the design decisions went wrong in the "before." Designer J. Allen helped this homeowner by keeping most of the existing big ticket purchases and then refreshing the space with window treatments, a fireplace mini-makeover and a few new accents. From J. Allen:

The homeowner wanted the look of grand sophistication but several missteps along the way left her discouraged and her budget in rapid decline. Here's how we did it:

1. To add some wow to the windows we replaced the drab curtains with dramatic window treatments in a graphic print. By selecting a muted color palette the bold pattern doesn't overwhelm the space adding interest and texture.

2. We removed the wall sconces which did not offer any essential light and replaced them with framed artwork. Here's our trick to doing this on the cheap: Using simple store-bought frames we pulled images from the homeowners library of books! Two of the images are pages from a book on the Washington, DC botanical garden while the others are framed sheet music.

3. Check your inventory! We shopped other areas of the home and discovered the glass end tables in the homeowners basement. We also swapped the heavy brown arm chairs with 2 chairs from their dining room. These ivory tufted side chairs add a lighter look and feel to the space.

4. Dare to D.I.Y. Re-facing the fireplace has a huge impact on the updated look of this space. By covering the dark brick with a white marble tile the space feels bright and fresh. Adding tile or stone to a fireplace is always a great way to strike a balance between modern style and a traditional home.

See more photos of this project on Perceptions Interiors.

Thank you J. Allen!

(Image credits: J. Allen)

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Adrienne photographs beautiful homes in and around her home base of Austin, Texas. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine and spends all her free time exploring small town Texas. She watches a lot of Star Trek.