10 of the Best Living Room Redos of 2022, from Minimalist Havens to Maximalist Hangouts

published Dec 26, 2022
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Credit: Selma Chatto

Of all the rooms in a home, the living room is where you’re going to do the most lounging. It’s the space where you sprawl out on a couch and disconnect from the world by watching the latest must-see show, or sink into your favorite arm chair for a re-read of your favorite book, or surround a coffee table to play a board game with friends — so it should be a space that feels comfortable and reflective of your own personal style. If you’re peeking around your living area and realizing it’s not where you’d like it to be, take inspiration from the 10 best living room transformations we saw in 2022.

From rundown fireplaces that needed some love, to rental paint colors that were anything but welcoming, to walls that needed to go and shelving that had to be replaced, these DIYers took it upon themselves to create living rooms that feel good to look at and relax in. Read on to see how they pull them off.

1. A Luxe-Looking DIY Tile Project Revives This “Sad Brown” Faux Brick Fireplace

While the couch plays an important role in the comfort of a living room, a fireplace commands its aesthetic attention (whether it works or not). And when it’s not looking its best, as was the case with Jennifer Harrup’s (@jenniferlauraliving) fireplace, that one feature can drag down the rest of the room. “The before was this sad, brown brick-looking tile,” Jennifer says of her fireplace. “It was so dark and unfortunate looking. I loved everything about the fireplace, the molding, the mantel — all of it was beautiful! But the tile really made the entire thing look so dated and drab.” For about $1,250, she remedied the situation with white mosaic tiles in a chevron pattern, backer board, and supplies to get the job done. Now the bright and light fireplace is an attention-getter for a good reason.

2. Three Room-Brightening Tricks Help Perk Up This Modern-Meets-Traditional Living Room

When designer Erin Kanter of Juniper & Jade Interiors was hired by clients Maggie and Josh, she wanted to hold on to the beautiful details in their living room: the wooden beams, wood-framed windows, and an original fireplace. The other, darker aspects of the space needed to coordinate better with their wish for a brighter room that balanced the old and the new. White paint, a matching sectional, and accents that match the wood achieved the goal, and created a continuous look across multiple rooms. ​​“Mixing and matching texture with one room and pattern with the next is a great way to create cohesiveness and interest to the space,” Erin says. 

3. A Ceiling-Height Gallery Wall Makes a Maximalist Statement in This Cozy Living Room Redo

When Paula Truscott and Martin Loortis (@mismatchedhome) first toured this home, they were struck by the possibilities of the living room’s emptiness. “The huge blank canvas of a wall was a major selling point for us when buying the house because we really wanted to create an epic gallery wall,” Paula says. By wallpapering the alcove to match the black hue of the TV, thus disguising it, the living room’s main appeal is its big gallery wall, complete with shelves of books and knick knacks. 

4. A Bare Living Room is Transformed with a Totally Unique IKEA BILLY Bookcase Hack

Selma Chatto (aka @chateauchatto) had a living room that had plenty of souvenirs from past tenants. “Without a focal point in space, the room just looked so long and disjointed,” Selma says. “We moved in a year ago, and this wall was covered by old-fashioned wallpaper, a fire surround that was screaming for an upcycle, and vintage-style wall lights.” By adding built-in shelving with help from IKEA’s BILLY bookcases, and painting it all a fun lilac shade, now the living room looks like quite the pulled-together hangout haven. 

5. A Plain Fireplace’s Renter-Friendly Redo Only Cost $57

DIYer Laura Bradford (@lessisboreinteriors) had an idea for the leftover peel-and-stick wallpaper she had — and it wasn’t just throwing it in the trash. Instead, she put the windowpane pattern around her fireplace surround, which now matches the same print on the living room’s opposing wall. ​​“The before was just a plain fireplace,” Laura says. “I wanted to put my stamp on it ASAP… it took me two hours to apply to the opposite wall and about 30 mins to apply to the fireplace. The best bit is it’s completely removable!” But the best part? The entire project cost her right under $60.

6. A Floor-to-Ceiling Fireplace Redo Brings the Drama to a Once-Very-’90s Living Room

Shoshanna Shapiro, the principal designer and owner of Sho and Co., describes this home as having lots of builder-grade options from the 90s, but the living room at least had big windows that let in lots of light. She customized a gray paint to be brighter and put that on the walls with a white trim, instantly illuminating the room. Then she created a neutral palette for a calming finish, which also allowed the stone fireplace to shine. “The husband was much more into the rustic, natural aesthetic while the wife was more into the light, bright, modern feel,” Shoshanna says. “We kept this in mind throughout our design process.”

7. A Closed-Off Living Room Gets an Airy, Open New Look

Brittany McNab’s (@hurryhometoyou) living room had everything to make it worthwhile — a fireplace, a large footprint, and big windows — but it also had a low-threshold entrance that cut it off from the rest of the house. “We knew that if we took down the wall that separated it from our main floor, added beams, a bigger closet and built-ins, and updated all the surfaces and trim, we could make it a statement room with a big impact,” Brittany says. “This room had so much potential.” With a five-month timeframe and professional help, she and her husband did just that, creating a warm-yet-neutral living space full of light.

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8. A Dull Living Room Corner Becomes a Design Feature for Around $500

DIYer Lara Lucas (@inside_the_painted_door) had an alcove in her living room that needed some redesign help. “The previous owners had a dresser situated in the space, but in my opinion it was too small and looked bare,” Lara says. “The dark wood didn’t stand out and got lost against the blue wall… I had always liked the idea of chunky, floating shelving that I could style and change as and when I wanted.” She and her husband painted the wall a gray-blue shade and added reclaimed wood shelving, and then she filled in everything with decor. Now it’s a storage space with much-appreciated style. 

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9. ’70s-Era Living Room Cabinetry Gets a $1,200 Facelift Fit for 2022

Amy Smith’s (@homebringsjoy) living room was accented with a built-in bookcase constructed in 1976 and a tan brick fireplace — both were far from the look she was after. She had done some work to it after moving in, but this past spring, she completely overhauled the area with new extended bookcases, lower cabinets, and picture lights. “I’m not a professional carpenter, but they look incredible,” she says of the $1,200 project. 

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10. A “Dark, Muddy, and Uninspiring” Living Room Is Now Filled with Vibrant Colors

As J. Rycheal told AT, his living room was once “dark, muddy, and uninspiring.” He started his update with a moodboard, an existing sectional, and a few trips to Lowe’s to get the right paint, which turned out to be a mix of purple, blueish-black, and green. He brought in new furniture and his art collection, infusing the place with his own style sensibilities for $3,800. “I love it when my personal spaces feel like cozy little galleries that I get to live in,” J. says.