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The 12 Best Living Room Before & Afters We Saw in 2019

published Dec 17, 2019
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Credit: Hatty Parker

As its name implies, your living room is a primary hangout spot. Bad lighting, awkward room shapes, and unfortunate fixtures can set stumbling blocks between you and your dream gathering space, but don’t despair. We’ve collected some of our favorite living room makeovers of 2019 to inspire you to reach new heights of coziness, no matter what sort of structures you’re working with.

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1. This Dark, Dim Living Room Fireplace Goes Light and Bright

White often gets a bad rap as a base color to be immediately painted over, but it isn’t always boring. Designer Leigh Savage ditched her living room’s wood paneling for white shiplap and swapped out a brown brick hearth for cement tile, creating a clean, bright space just waiting for a fire to be lit.

2. This Rental’s Living Room Went from Dark and Sad to Bright and Cozy

Sometimes an apartment just needs a little boost to become the apartment of your dreams. With the help of a generous landlord, some new light fixtures, and a paint job, this once-drab living room is a testament to the power of rental-friendly upgrades.

3. See This Frumpy Living Room Go Cozy-Modern

Owner Hatty Parker described her living room’s original style as “full-on granny chic,” replete with dusty-feeling old patterns and previous residents who had lived in the home for 50 years. She and her husband stripped the walls and floors and installed a new wood-burning stove to create a bright, open, and contemporary space.

4. This Living Room’s Beauty Now Knows No Bounds

This Victorian home came with some excellent features that were just waiting for a modern upgrade, like the fireplace that got a full floor-to-ceiling concrete makeover. By simplifying the fireplace, the new owners let the rest of the original features shine underneath a new beamed ceiling and asymmetrical chandelier.

Credit: Paige Hansen
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5. After a Minimalism-Inspired Makeover, a Dark, Dated Living Room Is Light and Bright

New York apartments aren’t known for their abundance of natural light, but this new homeowner was determined to find some. So she replaced the window blinds, painted the walls, and even (gasp) ripped out a built-in bookshelf to support her brighter, minimalist new lifestyle.

6. A Plain White Living Room Gets Lots More Color and Charm

An all-white paint job isn’t for everyone, as evidenced by this makeover. Olivia Tinker of A South London Style spent a year contemplating the navy accents and gallery wall of her dreams before she brought them into reality, with the help of some budget-friendly strategies like DIY curtains and thrifted artwork.

7. An Uninspired Sitting Room Gets Some Neon Personality

This neutral-hued Victorian gets to keep all of its features, plus an electric new color scheme. Over the course of a month, this living room got introduced to tile stickers, floral wallpaper, and highlighter hues to bring it into the modern era. 

8. Living Room Goes from Bland to Glam

Your living room is a cabaret in this makeover from Bravo’s “Best Room Wins” series. This living room was designed for an episode themed around “Hollywood Regency” and inspired by guest judge Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Palm Springs digs. The tray ceilings and arched windows gave the designers a  standout base to add some black and white pizzazz, complete with a glittery ceiling.

9. The Best Part of This Stunning Living Room Redo Is a $5 DIY

One Vancouver designer took IKEA hacks to a new level, transforming an expanse of earth tones into a sleek white space. One wall, however, got an extra VIP treatment, with a DIY pseudo-wainscotting and some black tape to add drama.

Credit: Arianna Danielson
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10. A Pink ’70s Makeover for a Split-Level Family Room

See an “unused and abused” lower-level space through rose-colored glasses after its owners gave it a 1970s-inspired makeover. Contemporary blush tones cover the walls around this den where every detail has been attentively designed.

Credit: Chantel Breault
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11. This Cold Living Room Is Now a Cozy Spot for Curling Up

While there’s nothing wrong with plopping down a couch in front of your fireplace and calling it a day, we know you can do better. Reader Chantel Breault certainly did in this almost-unrecognizable room transformation, bringing in built-in bookcases alongside new light fixtures and furniture to unify the long space into this cozy open design that’s full of personality.

12. This Basement Living Room Was Lacking a Wow Factor

Not every renovation needs to be a massive undertaking. Just look how far some removable wallpaper took this gathering space, turning it from high-traffic thoroughfare to lush oasis. A low-risk project with next-level results? Yes, please.