The 10 Most Dramatic Home Transformations We’ve Ever Seen

published Oct 15, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
kitchen before renovation beige counters white walls
Credit: Lauren Sears

Despite what some may say, everyone loves a little drama — at least when it comes to home design. A new framed piece of art or a slight rearrangement of furniture can be satisfying in their own right, but when a space is completely transformed, it says something about the layers of creativity and drive that go into a stark before-and-after. Big changes take a lot of planning, a lot of time, and a lot of energy, and when all the details come together, it’s only natural to be taken back by the shift. 

If you’re craving change these days, perhaps the drama of home design renovations is what you need. Here, editors’ 10 favorite makeovers that truly deserve the word “dramatic,” from a dollar store bathroom revamp to an all-white kitchen of social media fever dreams, so that it’s possible to see your space as an envelope you’re more than welcome to push. Take a peek and bask in the type of drama where everyone and everything comes out better for having experienced it — in other words, the best kind of drama there is. 

1. A Neglected Barn Becomes a Full-Time Residence and Workspace

Lizzy Gill and Tom Pillar were simply looking for a potential weekend escape from New York City when they found a rundown 19th century farmhouse with a 20th century barn. They decided to tackle the barn first — it started falling apart more recently — and planned to turn it into an apartment and art studio before moving on to the more challenging farmhouse. The beautiful results, which include an airy bedroom with plenty of storage, convinced them to move out to the country permanently. 

2. Peel-and-Stick Tiles Turn a Boring Bathroom Into a Colorful Canvas

White bathroom tiles usually come standard in rental bathrooms, thanks to their steady mass appeal. But Daniele Federico Melilli of Stag Pads wasn’t satisfied with such a conventional look, and made a colorful switch using vinyl peel-and-stick coverings. A hypnotic triangular pattern and orange stripe now accompany the white classics, as well as a terrazzo-tile print on the vanity, providing an aesthetic that’s entirely unique. 

3. A Dated 1990s Kitchen Is Given the Covetable All-White Treatment

Blogger Ela Bobak wanted the type of awe-inspiring white kitchen countless others dream of, but the one she had was far from it. Floral drapes, an ornate pendant light, and dark countertops firmly placed her kitchen in the 1990s, so she renovated it to reflect current takes on the all-white design. New cabinets are painted white (Benjamin Moore’s White Dove) to match the subway tiles beneath a new hood, while light wood and gold accents complete the space. Now it’s the type of white kitchen that sparks (at least) 1,000 saves. 

4. Dollar Store Contact Paper Gives a Bathroom a Fresh Start

DIYer Raj Thandhi had a main bathroom that was essentially an unavoidable eyesore. After four years of looking past its drab mirror and worn out cabinetry, she decided to give her kids brighter surroundings to start their day. She used floral contact paper she found at the dollar store as a fresh backdrop, and painted the vanity a totally on-trend shade of sage green. With new hardware and a round mirror, this bathroom is very much a sight for sore eyes.

5. A Guest Bedroom Turns into a Nursery With Floral Wallpaper

Kelly Choi had a guest bedroom that looked rather forgotten. Its furniture and decor was down to the basics, and she needed to turn the space into something that was bound to get much more use: a nursery. She repainted the walls a calming pastel blue, and took advantage of an alcove’s eye-catching shape by punctuating it with floral wallpaper. There’s no way to ignore this room now, especially given that cozy, colorful nook. 

6. A Dark Walk-In Closet Becomes a Bright Pink Home Office

When blogger Joëlle Anello moved into her home, she was excited about the fact that it came with a walk-in closet. But over time, she realized that the space would be much more efficient as a home office. She nixed the built-in storage and installed hardwood floors, and then added statement-making pink wallpaper to go with the rest of the design. The room is fun, streamlined, and energizing, making it the perfect place to work. 

7. A Black-and-White Palette Updates a Tired Mint Green Bedroom 

DIYer Kate Chipinski had a mint green bedroom offset with wood accents, so it’s no surprise that it wasn’t a reflection of her much sleeker sense of style. She opted to paint most of the walls a bright white with a black accent, and then infused the room with industrial vibes like a dark wood headboard and matching ceiling fan. Black and white pillows, art, and an area rug tie it all together, creating a look that’s a better match for Chipinski’s tastes. 

8. A Disjointed Kitchen and Dining Area Are Flipped for More Cohesion

Lauren Sears and her husband Kameron knew they had to do something about their awkwardly placed kitchen — after all, it was next to a dining room that had been converted into a bedroom. The couple wanted a more seamless layout, so they gutted the space to flip the orientations of the dining room and kitchen. White cabinets, charcoal subway tile, and light wood floors offer a sophisticated backdrop — and now these rooms feel much more cohesive, while also letting in plenty of natural light. 

9. A 1970s RV Is Renovated With Painstaking Peace, Love, and Understanding

While the brown and beige motif of this RV would’ve been far-out to those driving it in the ‘70s, the current owners couldn’t say they felt the same. Angela and Phil Lamb wanted to fix it up for themselves and their two kids, and did so with a bohemian theme inspired by Woodstock. White walls in the master bedroom, which took a lot of sanding, are accented with a “peace” pillow and handmade wood bead chandelier, making it feel extra cozy while on the road. 

10. A Couple’s Take on Victorian Style Includes Some Modern Features

Josh Booher and Austin Andries live in an older home, and wanted to embrace a more traditional style for their otherwise bland bedroom. They were inspired to create a “modern Victorian” feel, in which they painted the walls a dark green and refinished the original oak floors. A four-poster bed and tin ceiling tiles add even more moodiness, while the terracotta and mustard accents tie in some of-the-moment style.