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FREE Weekend Makeover Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my FREE Weekend Makeover!

How to refresh, restyle, and redecorate 
without spending a CENT -
by using what you already have!

You know those 'BIG REVEALS'
that all of the home improvement & decor shows do on HGTV?

I don't have a bus. Or a bullhorn.
[I smile at that reference to Ty Pennington,
 because I was lucky enough to be a part of Extreme Makeover Home Edition
when it filmed in Washington state years ago - at the Dore Family House in Kingston]

So in lieu of being able to swing the front door open wide, and say
like I did for my brother, sister in law, and nieces when they returned from their vacation,
I am going to welcome you via photos!
In the MANY photos to come, 
the 'Before' shot is on the left, and the 'After' shot is on the right...

continue reading to start your tour...

 Let's begin as you walk in the door...
Here's your point of view as you look into the living room, 
with the kitchen beyond and the dining area on the right.
Today, we're just focusing on the Living Room.
One end of a massive modular sofa blocks the living area from the kitchen area.
Because this is my brother's house, I've been there a lot.... 
and I noticed that people would gather in the living area. And the dining area.
And then other people would lean on the back of this sofa between the rooms.
So my plan was to take this closed-off room and just open it up.

What you see in the same view now is the end of just one section of that sofa.
It sits back against the wall, leaving lots of space for people (and dogs!) to move between the rooms.
A basket sitting here adds extra storage and serves as a place to sit a drink or book.
Looking left, you see more of the modular sofa. It filled the whole room!
The mirror above it looks too small in comparison to the sofa's size.

Now the longest section of the modular unit sits against the wall, like a normal sized sofa.
The mirror looks more balanced above this smaller-sized piece, and there is plenty of space
in front of the sofa for people to walk into the room and sit down.
Here you can see how the modular sofa turned into a 'U'shape, 
with a chaise section sticking out into the room. 
Yes, it was comfy. But it was really only usable for one person at a time.
And it blocked the view of that beautiful buffet piece...

The chaise section has been moved to another position, leaving plenty of space for access to the buffet.
And the buffet is now family photo central, as well as some art and part of a lovely crystal collection.
All of the crystal was stored inside the buffet... hidden away because it was 'too formal'.
I pulled the pieces out and filled them with seashells.
When the late afternoon sunlight hits them now, they sparkle and add life to the room.

Confidentially, I would have loved to have replaced that floor lamp -
with a silver one with a big white drum shade. It would have blended into the room more.
But we're working with what we have here!

Speaking of photos, this shot shows how some of them were on the ledges over the buffet,
and some were on the mantel. The problem was that you couldn't SEE the mantel photos
unless you were sitting on the chaise right in front of them.

PS: The dog bed in front of the fireplace disappears in some of my after photos,
but it stayed right there. I do not mess with the family dog's favorite place to lay!

The photos were consolidated to the buffet and shelves over it.
A piece of artwork that had been hanging alone in the dining area 
was placed behind the photos to add some color, and to echo similar art across the room.
Here's a close up of the photo area:

The fireplace 'wall' is a large area with storage, the fireplace, a mantel, and the tv.
That clock that you see in the upper right is actually located on another wall, 
back behind this blue one and adjacent to the stairwell.

I wanted to turn the whole thing into 'the mantel' and give it visual presence in the room.
Clear glass vases were gathered up and filled with seashells.
I also used the tall vase with colored items in it from the buffet in the last 'before' image.
 Grasses growing in the front yard were cut to add some height and repeat the brown of the sofa.
A crystal bowl and a metal letter add more texture.

When filing up large glass jars with small objects like shells,
FIRST place a smaller glass vase INSIDE the large one - upside down.
It will help fill the space and require less small items to complete the look!

OK, now, I have to be honest with you about the way these makeovers go...
things don't always work out the way I plan.

Making changes as you go is part of the process, so plan on that in your own home.
I staged the mantel as described and shown above, and then took photos.
Later, I decided that I really didn't LIKE the way it looked!

So I changed it...
Here's the 'Before' shot, and the first way that I arranged it.
It was 'okay' - but something wasn't looking right to me:

The tall vase on the right side was causing that area to seem dark,
while the shorter vases on the left side just didn't have the visual weight to make an impact there.
So I switched the elements -

I placed the tall vase on the left side, and the smaller vases on the right.
I also brought in the armillary garden sphere from the garage to add more texture to the right side.
Now it looks balanced - and when you walk in the front door, 
there is a lot going on visually on that ledge to entice you.

See those white gladiola flowers?
That is the ONLY thing that I bought for this makeover. 
I spent $3.99 for ten stems at the local grocer!
You can see in this photo how the large modular sofa section stuck out into the room.
And the mantel / ledge thing was basically a catchall for mail, backpacks, etc.
Not really visually appealing!

The chaise section of the modular sofa is placed here, and angled to match the angle of the fireplace.
This serves several purposes:
It directs your eye to the fireplace. It brings an energy to the room.
[When every piece of furniture is 'squared off' to the walls, things feel static.]

AND in the biggest change, it provides a place where TWO people can now sit
and talk to others in both the living room and the dining room!
It opens the space up because there is no arm jutting into the room.... just a low, open seating area.

[The arm on angle up against the wall still allows space for that cupboard door to open, btw.]

The fabric lying across the end of the chaise is simply a tablecloth found in a drawer.
It matches the curtains & placemats in the dining room, so it pulls pattern and color across the space.
It could serve as a throw if needed, but it's summer... so it's just an accent.

This is why I say don't think of any thing you have too literally!
A tablecloth is just fabric... use it on a window, or hang it on a wall, or use it as a throw.
Here's another view, looking from the kitchen back to the front door.
The sofa on the right is like a wall between spaces...

The view is not only much more stylish with the chaise positioned here,
but the room feels twice as big.
With a wider expanse of the floor showing, the visual effect is of more space.

 I know you are going to ask "Where is the other modular sofa section?"
It's coming up in the next post!

The point is don't be locked in to using your furniture or your accessories 
in just ONE WAY.
My sister in law said she's never been able to figure out how to make that sofa work in that room -
but she never thought of pulling it apart and using it as separate pieces.
When I did that, her perspective changed! So can yours.

Shove your furniture around. Take some out of the room. 
Clear the mantel and ledges, and then start playing with new elements there. Move them around.
And think about how to use things differently...
Like this:
 A glass dessert pedestal holds a collection of large seashells, 
and two pieces from the china service lift one special shell up like a trophy.  
I later moved a cut crystal bowl next to these pieces,
and the afternoon sunshine just brought them all to life!

 I just had to share this detail:
Before, this darling vintage blue phone sat on the buffet.
You didn't even SEE it in the before photos, did you?!

Well, it's just too darn CUTE to hide - 
plus I can tell that it inspired the paint color (Glidden 'Gentle Tide') .
Now, it sits in plain view of the entry on the ledge, right next to jars of shells -
the perfect personal touch 
to welcome this family and their guests to their home.

And that's what decorating with what you have is all about!

catch up with Part 1 of my FREE Weekend Makeover here

View Part 3 of this makeover !

shared online:

The Everyday Home |  Home{work} Wednesday


  1. This is such an inspiriting makeover!
    (Just wondering to myself: How many kids actually knows how a land-line phone looks like???)
    Thanks, Debi :)
    - Sylvi

    1. :) Not very many, I'd guess, Sylvi! Especially one with a dial!

  2. hey! just curious how you made the long portion still have an arm rest after you took off the chaise section?

    1. Let me see if I can explain this in a way that won't have you scratching your head! ;)

      The original sectional created a huge 'L' shape when all together - actually, because of the chaise on one end, it was more of a 'U' shape. When I removed the chaise on the left end, it became an 'L' - and the new end section had no arm.

      THEN I removed the two sections on the right end (they went into the dining area, shown in another post), I was left with a corner piece that had the solid back on TWO sides of the square section - because it had formed the corner of the 'L'. Are ya' with me so far?!

      I moved that section to the left end of the room - which was now the left end of a 'regular' linear sofa. I turned it 90 degrees left, so that what was the solid back against the wall before was now the 'arm' at the end of the long sofa. It's not the same rounded arm that is on the chaise, but it still provides support.

      I hope this helps! ;) (PS - don't miss Part 3 of that makeover story to see where the other two sections of the unit went!!!)