Allison’s Living Room & Kitchen Makeover – The Final Reveal

Happy Friday, everyone!  I’m really excited to share today’s before-and-afters of Allison’s home.  The changes are pretty dramatic, as you will soon see.

royal blue trayAllison’s “new” coffee table

Do you remember where we started?  Following a rough emotional year for my assistant, Allison, she really wanted a whole new look for the home her family had lived in for almost twelve years.  The home had a gold and red color scheme, which was quite popular in the 1990s.


Allison wanted her main color to be a blue, so we started by testing paint colors with my Small Wall sample boards.  It’s so much easier to visualize using large samples rather than paint fandecks and store-size swatches.  We decided on a light gray-blue to create a fresh and peaceful backdrop for the main area, which includes the entry, the living room, the kitchen, and the hallway to the bedrooms.  Here’s the after photo from the entry:

gray cashmere blue living roomAllison’s living room after

Allison was in desperate need of new upholstery, so we found this pretty tufted sofa for a great price at American Signature and the pair of club chairs at West Elm.  The sofa arrived in just a few weeks but only came in a few colors, so we were beyond lucky to find this turquoise one that works so well with the wall color.  The West Elm chairs took a total of twelve weeks, which sometimes happens when upholstery is on back order.  It’s just one of the common inconveniences of decorating, but something you should be aware of when planning to redecorate on a timeline!  You may also remember our rug fiasco, which I wrote about here. Fortunately, it all turned out for good, and Allison is thrilled with her yellow living room rug. Here’s a before photo from the bedroom hallway into the living room and kitchen:


We traded out the oversized chair-and-a-half for a pair of more human-sized club chairs.  We also decided to reorient the furniture, which works for a couple of reasons:  it opens up the room, the face of the sofa draws you into the space from both the entry and the bedroom hallway, and the orientation of the sofa now hides the awkward diagonal break in flooring between the wood floors and the vinyl kitchen flooring.

blue living roomliving room after

You’ll notice the fireplace tile is different.  Before, it was dated and didn’t match the kitchen flooring.  I suggested she have it painted (yes, painted – are you surprised?).  That’s exactly what she did, and it turned out great.  I’ll explain that process in an upcoming post.  Here is a before view from the back of the living room, facing the entry.


Now you can see how the new entry integrates with the living room, and how pretty Allison’s mother’s roll-top hutch looks in the space.  We brought in accessories in light to royal blue to keep the colors from being one-note.  Varying shades of blues make the room more sophisticated and less matchy-matchy.

yellow and blue color schemeliving room after

Before the makeover, this wood cabinet dominated this wall of the living room next to the bedroom hallway.


I wanted to find a long credenza or dresser with storage below to better-utilize this wall space, and we eventually decided on this painted piece from Craigslist.  Topped with mercury glass lamps from HomeGoods and the art that formerly hung in Allison’s bedroom, it’s really perfect on this side of the room.  The taller wood cabinet now sits on the other side of the room (you’ll see it in previous photographs above).

white buffet credenzanew credenza and mercury glass lamps

A credenza like this one is the one of the most versatile and functional pieces of furniture you can own.  The small picture frames, dark blue leather box, and silver sculptural bowl are all from our HomeGoods run after we placed all the furniture.

white credenzaCraigslist’s credenza

Now let’s take a look at the previous state of the kitchen.  Red walls and ceiling, racing stripe tray, and high contrast.  That contrast can really make a small space look smaller and just plain choppy.  Your eye doesn’t even know where to go.  And look how many stripes there are, starting from the bottom:  tan flooring, white baseboard, red wall, white chair rail, red wall, white ceiling, red tray stripe, white crown molding, red ceiling.  Whew, I’m getting dizzy.

7O3A3798kitchen before

Because this is the only dining area for this family of four, Allison was ready to invest in something that would serve them better in this space.  I suggested this dark wood trestle table from World Market, along with a couple of x-back chairs in black.

blue kitchen dining areadining area after

Allison already had this rustic bench, which works as seating on the other side of the table. The new light fixture from Lowes is a reasonable upgrade, but the color of the walls and ceiling make the biggest difference, in my opinion. Now her beautiful plantation shutters look more architectural and high-end.

designer breakfast nookbreakfast area after

See the view from the living room into the kitchen before. Lots of choppiness and disconnect. Notice the diagonal line on the floor where the flooring changes?

7O3A3806view into kitchen before

Like I explained earlier, the sofa placement camouflages the awkward change in flooring and the whole transition is smoother and more cohesive.  That color in the tray ceiling?  Same color as the ceiling in the entry, so the whole space really flows together.

breakfast areaafter

This space had a lot of design challenges.  We’ve already discussed how we solved the challenge of the change in flooring and paint color flow in adjoining rooms, but there’s much more to cover.  That includes the painted fireplace tile makeover, the painted melamine lower cabinets (who knew that could work??), the odd ceiling angles, the textured ceiling, and a few more surprises.

the decorologist living room makeover

What’s your favorite thing about Allison’s home transformation?


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