Before and After: 3 Room-Brightening Tricks Help Perk Up This Modern-Meets-Traditional Living Room

published Nov 7, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: Slouchy sectional in somewhat-dim living room

Sometimes homes have great bones, but they just need a little TLC to make those features pop. In this living room, upgraded by designer Erin Kanter of Juniper & Jade Interiors for her clients Maggie and Josh, that was definitely the case: The room was already graced with beautiful wooden beams, rich wood-framed windows, and a fireplace original to the home.

“We wanted to make sure we did not do any painting or updating to keep the character,” Erin says of the fireplace. What they did want to update, though, was the overall dark feeling in the room, the window treatments, and the purple carpeting by the stairs. Erin says the overall aesthetic she, Maggie, and Josh were going for was “modern traditional.”

“The clients wanted a bright and inviting space to entertain that was also kid-friendly,” she says.

Erin says she wanted to make the wood features “stand out and create a feature and visual focus in the space” while brightening up the room. To do this, she used several go-tos for making a room brighter that also worked in her favor for the latter goal.

Erin replaced the carpet on the stairs with an off-white herringbone runner, she painted the walls with Sherwin-Williams’ Alabaster, which provides a nice white contrast to the dark hazelnut brown of the trim, and she modernized the window treatments by removing the blinds, replacing them with bamboo shades, and then selecting sheer drapes to keep things light, bright, and airy.

By strategically placing the drapes in the middle of the lefthand wall, between the windows, Erin created the illusion of one, long, continuous window. “I think it is a great idea to add texture with the bamboo woven shades and add the airy sheer linen curtains over to create a layered yet functional look,” Erin says.

As for the seating in the space, Erin kept the layout pretty much the same as before (with the sectional facing toward the cozy fireplace and additional seating behind it), but just upgraded the well-loved furniture. Some of her favorite additions are the new sectional from Arhaus, the large-scale lamps on the parquet for the pop of color and light they add, and the rugs, which help to divide up the space.

Pairing multiple rugs in one room can seem tricky, but Erin has some advice: “It is important to stay within the same color palette,” she says. “Mixing and matching texture with one room and pattern with the next is a great way to create cohesiveness and interest to the space.”

Lastly, Erin added a piano and gallery wall at Maggie and Josh’s request. The couple’s kids are starting to learn piano, and the gallery wall was “very important to the homeowners to incorporate family photos and to tell a story of their family,” Erin says.

Here’s to more memories in the cozy and bright new space, including many future family piano concerts!