Design Break: Candice Olson's Greatest Before-and-After Makeovers

Because we could look at her day-dreamy designs all day.

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With all the up and coming interior designers out there, we’re constantly inundated with a gorgeous flood of beautiful home designs. And even though there’s nothing quite like finding a new design crush, I always find myself daydreaming about one of my first true design loves: Candice Olson. She pulled me in with her elegant but cozy style, and I was completely entranced. So if you just can’t get enough of the stunning room transformations from this talented design goddess, you’re in luck. I've rounded up some of her most inspirational designs for your perusing pleasure. Just promise me you’ll give other designers a chance.   




With neutral colors, traditional furnishings and graceful lighting, this empty cavernous space was turned into an elegant, high-end retreat where Laura can get away from it all.

Jaw-droppingly beautiful, totally luxurious and still somehow extremely cozy. That's kind of Candice's specialty.

10 Relaxing Retreats by Candice

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Refined Master Suite

A hexagon-shaped alcove is the perfect setting for a king-sized bed with a plush, caramel-colored headboard, and layers of luxurious linens and pillows in a variety of fabrics and textures add interest. A comfy lounge area is centered on a beautiful gas fireplace clad in contemporary glass and natural stone mosaic tiles.

Chalet Chic

Creamy paisley wallpaper and exposed brick create a gorgeous feature wall in this cozy bedroom. A gender-neutral color scheme of rich cream, pear green and bark brown is used throughout the space in furniture, fabrics and flooring for a calming, refreshed atmosphere.

Exotic Elegance

When decorating with neutrals, use texture, depth and pattern to add richness and interest to a design. Layers of luxurious fabrics and finishes enhance the blue-gray walls and evoke a polished vibe. A few elements, like a zebra-print rug and an African-inspired fan, add an eclectic edge to the space.

Cozy Bedroom Retreat

A fresh coat of white paint freshens up the exposed brick in this attic bedroom, while faux beams add architectural interest and incorporate much-needed lighting. To create a little fireside seating area, a moss loveseat and beige chair are paired with a rustic coffee table.

Dreamy Bedroom Getaway

With its high ceilings and quirky angles sending the eye in all directions, this bedroom needed a focal point. A wall-mounted fan system is not only practical, but the oversized woven bamboo blades bring one's attention to the most important element in the bedroom: the bed.

Nature Inspired

Painted a soothing celery green, this bedroom features a sustainable bed frame topped with natural cotton and linen bedding and then flanked by walnut bedside tables with mirrors and sconces. Window treatments in a cherry blossom-patterned fabric create an airy feel, while woven blinds provide privacy.

Princess Perfect

Practical as well as whimsical, this bedroom is designed to grow with an imaginative little girl. The bay windows provide a natural home for a custom-built desk and lots of storage; sheer curtains are combined with fuchsia panels for a cozy nook or to create the effect of a stage. Fuchsia fabric is also used to flank the bed, which is topped with playful fabrics and touches of tangerine.

Boldly Modern

A masculine color scheme of aluminum, charcoal, brown and blue is mixed with contemporary furnishings and high-tech gadgets for a cool teenage boy's bedroom. For the feature wall, Candice chooses a funky rolled steel wallpaper to add interest and texture to the space.

Breezy Island Vibe

A tropical sky mural serves as the backdrop for a four-poster bed, complete with linens and pillows in cottons and natural fabrics. Beside the bed, a lounge area of a small love seat and two tufted armchairs in neutral shades is pulled together with a gorgeous area rug.

Cozy and Rustic

Walnut flooring, putty-colored walls, dark cabinetry and woven grass window treatments give this bedroom a warm, cabin-like vibe. Positioned in front of a window, the bed features a velvet, truffle-brown headboard and is spiced up with organic bedding and throw pillows in cream, brown and cognac.

Living Rooms

Neutral Transitional Living Room With Large Artwork

Neutral Transitional Living Room With Large Artwork

The living room seen here shifts the focus to a large glass coffee table, providing plenty of seating around it. Large-scale artwork adds visual interest and ties the color scheme together in its framing.

From: Troy Beasley

Pretty enough for a showroom but comfy enough to actually live in, this living room proves you never have to choose between style and function.

Candice's Top 12 Living Rooms

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Rustic Chic

Hand-scraped oak flooring is the perfect contrast to the impressive limestone fireplace, and a wall of cabinetry with custom bookcases and stainless steel dressers provides plenty of storage for the TV and media components. Distressed leather furniture with tufted detail adds vintage elegance to the room with blue linen draperies creating a beautiful backdrop to the space.

Urban Functionality

In this urban loft, a color palette of gray, black and white is paired with shimmery steel and rich wood accents for a cool, contemporary vibe. Modern furnishings, smart track lightings and a dramatic ceiling fan combine for a stylish and functional living space.

Bold and Colorful

Two feature walls, one a brilliant fuchsia and the other covered in teal-and-gold paisley wallpaper, create an instant wow factor is this open plan living room. Low-slung furniture in white and peacock blue create a cool, lounge-like vibe, while natural-stained maple flooring and updated shag carpet ground the space.

Comfy Elegance

A metallic floral-patterned wallpaper provides a luxe backdrop to the cozy living room, which features a silvery linen sectional and a classic writer's desk. Soft, gauzy sheers trimmed in gold satin separate the living and dining rooms, as well as diffuse natural light from the large windows at the end of the rooms.

Muted Sophistication

Finding the right place for a TV is often problematic; however, in this living room, the 46-inch TV takes center stage since it doubles as a mirror when not in use. Carpet tiles in shades of calming blue, green, taupe and beige reflect the fabric used to cover the bench seat and pillows on the sofa. Stainless steel accents add a contemporary flair to the room.

Gender Neutral

For most family rooms, creating a space that appeals to both genders is a must, so Candice chose a mostly neutral palette of deep browns, cool creams and inky charcoals for this living room. The corner is turned into an office with an antique desk flanked by mirror-backed bookcases, and the living room is ideal for relaxing with a large sectional and leather club chairs.

Cottage Casual

Custom cabinetry plays a key role in this living room, providing plenty of storage and a place to display collectibles. The fireplace flows seamlessly into the cabinetry and features a sandy-tone mosaic tile surround. To give the room a more intimate feel, a fan is hung 36 inches below the ceiling, while a color palette of white, sand, pale blue and green keeps the space light and airy.

Romantic and Feminine

Dark wood paneling is painted antique white to brighten up this living room, which features a color palette of pink, green, cream and chocolate. To mimic the fabric used on the chairs, whimsical vinyl graphics of an agapanthus flower are transferred onto the ceiling, giving it the quality of a hand-painted piece of art.

Multi-Functional Living

To create a more functional space, divide a room into different zones. The bay window is the perfect setting for a home office and features custom built-in shelving, while the area next to the back window is the library lounge, an ideal spot for conversations and reading. The main area of the room is used for TV watching and hanging out. Tie the entire space together by using the same color palette, like the combination of chocolate, caramel and oatmeal in this living room.

Effortless Style

To brighten up this attic living space, Candice installs light-toned wood floors, brings in a cream sectional and adds track lighting. A color palette of greens, blues and tans complement the lighter tones, while paisley fabric and wall decals add a feminine, bohemian quality to the space. A reclaimed wood ceiling with faux beams adds architectural interest.

Eclectic Mix

Modernize a living room with a combination of different design styles. Sleek chairs in a classic paisley print are mixed with a traditional tufted ottoman in butterscotch leather and a contemporary sectional in taupe velvet. Rustic meets elegant in a two-layer treatment of woven blinds and silk draperies on the bay windows.

Contemporary yet Rustic

Rustic elements are combined with streamlined contemporary furnishings to create a couple-friendly living room. The tumbled marble fireplace contrasts well with the dark, luxurious wooden hearth and cabinets. For optimal fireplace and TV viewing, a large sectional sofa in creamy chenille and an ottoman in espresso brown are centered in the room.


White Kitchen With Gray and Orange Floor

White Kitchen With Gray and Orange Floor

Known for her super luxe, traditional spaces, design diva Candice Olson focused on function as well as form when designing this long galley-style kitchen for a busy family of four. She chose white wall cabinets to keep the space bright but decided on a dark stain for the island to break things up. Gray, gold and black linoleum floor tiles add a playful touch and echo the colors found in the glass tile backsplash.

From: Candice Tells All

Is anyone else totally drooling over this spacious kitchen? Candice mixes practical can lights with dramatic chandeliers for an extremely functional and sophisticated space.

Her Divine Kitchen Designs

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Durable Solutions

Design your dream kitchen for durability. Three kinds of porcelain tile and carefully planned cabinet storage make this kitchen a stylish workhorse.

Open Up Your Space

Knock out a wall to add space to your kitchen. This kitchen seamlessly integrates with the dining area, using a buffet island to separate the two.

Update Cabinets

On a budget? Refinish existing cabinetry. These former maple cabinets look custom with their new finish and same-color painted bulkhead.

Love Your Kitchen

Design your kitchen to cater to what you love. This baker's dream kitchen includes a peninsula for entertaining, a lounge area and comfortable flooring.

Use a Similar Color

Integrate family rooms into the kitchen through color. Dark, espresso-toned cabinets coordinate well with this space's black sofa and warm khaki walls.

Find Inspiration in Your Favorites

Bring the charm of your favorite place to the kitchen. Displaced after Hurricane Katrina, this couple now live in a Big Easy kitchen with French-style accessories.

Unique Flooring

Make a statement with your kitchen flooring. Stripes of light and dark concrete-like material add an unexpected touch to this contemporary kitchen.

The Necessary Island

If your kitchen is all about family, invest in an island. This long island features a stunning white quartz countertop, white and chrome bar chairs, and a dark wood base to match the mahogany floor.

Creative Backsplashes

Backsplashes add character to the kitchen. This tin-tile backsplash was painted cream for an antique effect.

Mix It Up

Two-toned kitchens are more interesting than one-toned. A marble island, different cabinet finishes and Art Deco tile make this Candice's favorite Divine Design kitchen makeover.




Glass mosaic shower tiles and marble floor tiles lend a watery theme to the bathroom completed in restful hues of blue and green. Modern sconces and recessed cans allow for ambient and task lighting, while a skylight illuminates the soaker tub and frameless shower enclosure. Mirror-mounted faucets add an ultra-contemporary finishing touch to the space.

Photo by: BBP


So serene, this peaceful bathroom features gorgeous glass tile, a large soaking tub and, of course, Candice's signature hue: cool blue.

Candice's Dreamy Bathroom Makeovers

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Bathroom Blues

Every room in this 1920s house had been remodeled except for this small bathroom. The owners weren't sure what to do with the room's retro blue fixtures and the awkward layout. Enter Candice Olson.

Blue Be Gone

Candice replaced the blue bathtub with a soaking tub set in a white quartz surround. She added a glass-enclosed shower, maple cabinetry with quartz countertop and cut-glass vessel sink. Fabulous finishing touches are an iridescent mosaic tile wall, crystal chandelier and heated towel rack.

Cramped, Cluttered and Dingy

This master bathroom had seen better days. The owners, parents of three small children, wanted a space where they could unwind after long days.

From Chaos to Calm

Candice began this transformation by taking down a wall and utilizing unused space from a dressing area. The extra space allowed for a glass shower and soaking tub. Cracked flooring was replaced by heated marble tiles. More luxurious features include mahogany cabinets, quartz counters and mosaic marble shower tile.

Outdated Attic

This home's owners want to transform unused attic space into a master retreat.

Retire in Style

Candice began by gutting the entire attic and dividing the space into a bedroom, dressing area and master bath. Inspired by the colors in her client's stained-glass work, Candice chose a watery blue-green palette and incorporated rich finishes including walnut, marble and quartz.


Lounge and bar

Lounge and bar

SH07K026DIVINEDESIGN Nov. 5, 2007 -- By blending light with bright, elegant with casual and style with comfort, this once-purple playroom scored the perfect sports-inspired makeover. (SHNS photo courtesy HGTV)

After seeing this basement before, you’ll know that not only is Candice a talented designer, she’s also a miracle worker. 

10 Basement Before and Afters

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Before: Unfinished Basement

Rising NHL star Alex Steen and his wife Sofie recently moved into a big home in the suburbs with their infant son and two dogs. They managed to get things organized upstairs but have a huge basement in desperate need of attention.

After: Multifunctional Space

By combining rustic materials and elements with modern furnishings and fixtures, this once uninspired room was transformed into an all-star basement that is stylish, comfortable. Candice designs a multifunctional room with three distinct areas: a lounge zone, a TV and media zone and a workout zone. Since the space only has two small windows, she creates the illusion of space with floor-to-ceiling drapes in contemporary floral and light silk.

Before: Purple Playroom

Sean and Cara's new house is starting to feel like home, but it has one big space that needs some major work: a boring, outdated and decidedly purple basement their daughters use as a playroom. They want to move the kids' toys elsewhere and turn this eyesore of a basement into a contemporary lounge stylish enough for entertaining guests.

After: Sporty Hangout

Candice paints the walls a cool cream and divides the room into two zones: a bar area and a sports area. The bar area has a funky fridge, a slim-line electric fireplace and a gorgeous vanilla quartz bar with accompanying stools for lounging. In the sports area, Candice use dark wood and glass cabinets to house all of the couple's sporting memorabilia.

Before: Dark and Dated

Teri and Kevin recently moved into a funky 1960's house. However, their home had one very big problem: a gigantic basement that was dark, dingy and probably hadn't seen a hint of redesign in 40 years.

After: Chalet Chic

Candice uses wood cladding and stone veneer to update the space and add natural elements that would typically appear in a ski lodge. The walls are painted an eggplant shade that adds an earthy feeling, while tactile fabrics, like chenilles and velvets, are combined with warm colors of rust, wheat and brown to create a cozy atmosphere.

Before: Toy Overload

Debbie, Paul and their three sons live in a beautiful house steps away from a great stretch of beach, where they love to spend as much time as possible. However, when the weather is poor, the family is at a loss for things to do. To make matters worse, their main entertainment space at home was a dark, toy-filled basement that was not conducive to any kind of rest or relaxation.

After: Beach-Inspired Getaway

To create a beach-like space inspired by sand, sea and sky, Candice paints the walls a light sea-green paint and chooses a color palette to match in natural grass, warm coral, breezy sand and dreamy sky-blue. She designs a multifunctional floor plan in order to accommodate the family's many needs, including a playroom, entertainment area, guest retreat, bar/snack area and an office.

Before: Flashback Basement

Warren's basement is a great space that faces the family pool and the adjacent golf course. However, it's one of the rooms in his mostly renovated 1960s house that is still in its original state. He wants the space to be more welcoming for his guests and a hangout for the family.

After: Modern Retreat

By modernizing the dated features, lightening and brightening the space, and adding new fixtures and finishes, Candice creates the perfect family refuge. Candice updates the paneling with wood battens placed in a grid-like pattern over the paneling and then paints it a light putty color with a tinge of green, while the ceiling is painted a neutral color with a hint of blue. The space has to be multifunctional, so she divides it up into three major areas: a relaxation/entertainment area, a bar area and an office area. Distressed hardwood flooring and comfortable seating complete this cozy family hangout.

Before: No Laughing Matter

Comedian Gerry's basement is dark, underutilized, outdated and painted a shocking shade of green, thanks to his lone design attempt. He wants the room to be warm, comfortable and contemporary, a space in which his family can relax while he is on the road, and where he can entertain friends when he is at home.

After: Sleek Modern Hangout

Candice lightens the space with a neutral-colored paint and divides the room up into two main zones: a lounge area and a TV/media area. The lounge area is reminiscent of an old English pub, where the focal point is a new fireplace elevation that features gorgeous earth-toned glass tiles and is flanked with horizontal strips of dark wood rustic flooring. In the media area, a luscious plum-colored sectional with an abundance of pillows in the room's various colors, a creamy leather ottoman and a beautiful area rug create an inviting space for watching TV.

Before: Cluttered Chaos

Philip and Linda were desperate for a bit of storage, structure and style in their chaotic basement. With an overload of sports gear, art supplies and homework, the family rec room is cluttered and completely disorganized.

After: Artistic Inspiration

By adding lots of color, plenty of organization and some personal touches, the formerly chaotic basement is transformed into a colorful and playful family room. Using Linda's artwork for inspiration, Candice decides on a color palette of golden wheat, russet red and soothing sage. The artwork also becomes the new fireplace surround by transferring it onto vinyl wallpaper and hanging on top of the brick. To meet the family's needs, she divides the space into three areas: a storage zone for the kids, an art gallery for mom and a lounge area for dad.

Before: Empty Basement

Toby and her family live in a newly renovated house that is a designer's dream. The home has a French decorating style, chosen because the family adores France and travels there at every opportunity. However, there was one area in the home that was sadly out of place: the basement, which was mostly used as a storage area.

After: French Fabulous

For the perfect blend of colors and fabrics, Candice uses conventional black and white checks, stripes and toiles and mixes them up with candy apple red fabrics and bold geometrics. Three of the walls are painted a softer shade of cream to match the terra-cotta floor tiles, while the focal wall with cabinetry and display shelving features faux red leather wallpaper.

Before: Outdated and Bland

Tina and Kulbir need their cramped and dated basement to work as an efficient home office, a rehearsal space for budding musician Kulbir and his band mates, sleeping quarters for overnight guests and as a TV and lounge area for the whole family.

After: Colorful and Inspiring

By combining modern finishes and fixtures, exotic colors and fabrics, and functional cabinetry and furniture, this room is now ready for work, play, sleep and endless music rehearsals. The walls get two different treatments: some areas are painted a peppery, reddish-orange color, while the rest are papered in a heavy, textured grass cloth. For the floors, Candice uses a hard-wearing vinyl that looks like hardwood, but is more durable and perfect for basements.

Before: Unused Basement

Pamela has a large room in the basement that routinely serves as a dumping ground for unsightly clutter, so her three daughters convince her to turn it into a space where they can kick back, watch movies and dance.

After: Multipurpose Space

To create a feeling of cozy intimacy with a touch of drama, Candice paints the walls and ceiling a sultry charcoal gray and uses a similar shade for the carpeting. The lighting, which is an absolute necessity for dark-colored rooms, is layered throughout the entire space with ceiling halogen lights and lower in-wall fixtures to light the floor during a movie.

Window Seats



If all I ever did was lie around in this window seat, reading and napping, I might actually be okay with that. Is it possible to make a window seat too cozy?

Candice's Cozy Window Seat Ideas

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An already lush bedroom gets an extra dose of luxury from a chocolate-colored window seat.

Simple seating and exotic pillows give this retreat a warm, inviting feel.

In this art studio (once a closet), Candice adds an alcove for creative contemplation.

This easy-breezy window seat is perfect for lazy days.

Candice annexes an old porch and adds a sectional for a nap-perfect nook.

Fireplace Designs



I LOVE this room. The rug, the ottoman, the fireplace: everything is tied together so beautifully that it's almost more like a dream than a room. Too much? No.

9 Enchanting Fireplace Designs

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Natural Beauty

A soaring stone fireplace is an impressive and rustic focal point in this living room. To reduce the scale of the stone and add interest, a long mirror is placed above the mantel. Candice also uses the fireplace as a jumping off point for the room's palette, by selecting the hues of sage, stone, taupe and caramel from the fireplace stones.

Raise It Up

A sleek stainless steel gas fireplace is installed at the perfect height to enjoy from anywhere in the space. Surrounded by a beautiful stone facade, the fireplace is the perfect combination of contemporary and natural.

Illusion of Grandeur

Paint the wall over the mantel the same color as the surround to give a fireplace more presence in a room. When a fireplace is flush with the floor, place a beautiful screen in front to provide ambience and safety.

Striking Focal Point

Floor-to-ceiling glass and marble mosaic tiles in brown, gold, cream and grey tones are a spectacular setting for an elevated gas fireplace. The contemporary focal point adds both visual and physical warmth to the room.

Classic Centerpiece

Sophisticated moldings are combined with a marble-tiled surround for a traditional fireplace. To allow the space to be a conversational area as well as a space to watch television, Candice hides a television behind a piece of remote-controlled artwork so it's out of sight when not in use.

Pure Luxury

A simply elegant fireplace surround is painted cream to offset the dark wallpaper in the dining room. Raised off the floor, the visual warmth of the fireplace can be enjoyed from each seat around the table. The fireplace is also flanked with mirrored panels that add depth and dimension, as well as reflect light into the room.

Contemporary and Streamlined

The show-stopping feature wall is a modern arrangement that boasts a long, linear gas fireplace and a massive surround of grey and white marble mosaic tiles. Not only is it eye-catching, but it brings much-needed warmth into the space. The fireplace is flanked with a custom-built cabinetry unit that holds a big-screen television, media equipment, books and some display items.

Crowning Jewel

A true glam centerpiece of the room — the fireplace surround is covered with silver dollar-sized stainless steel tiles and above the mantel is a glittering ebony quartz.

Cozy Gathering Spot

The fireplace, which features a wood mantel and is clad in a beautiful circular glass tiles, anchors the room. Traditional beadboard panels above the fireplace add texture.




For this exquisite dining room, a pair of Riley chandeliers in antique silver adds just the right amount of lighting for an elegant dinner.

Illuminating Lighting by Candice

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Make a Statement

Create instant wow factor with an eye-catching chandelier. A black crystal chandelier plays against the theatrical backdrop of the banquette in this dining room. Recessed lighting brightens the rest of the space without taking away from the chandelier's grandeur.

Create a Focal Point

The eye is drawn directly to a gorgeous light fixture, like the brilliant, crystal ball chandelier in this room. The giant globe not only gives off light, but picks up on the sparkle, shimmer and shine of everything else in its vicinity.

Complement the Style

Enhance a room's design style. For this living room, Candice chooses classic gold sconces, a crystal chandelier and recessed lighting to reflect the traditional surroundings.

Think About a Room's Purpose

This space needed to triple as a home office, art studio and lounge area, so Candice includes moveable track and under-mounted cabinet lighting to provide plenty of task lighting. In the lounge area, a funky helix-shaped fixture in teal and purple crystals adds ambience.

Bring in the Sun

Make the most of natural light. Retracting translucent stacking blinds open to reveal a full view of the beautiful garden and allow in tons of sunshine, but when closed, they still bathe the room in a soft, diffused light. Rice-paper and cherry-wood lantern-style fixtures complement the Japanese design of the room.

Balance Lighting and Furniture

The dining table is the most dominant piece of furniture in this room so the lighting above has to be just as grand. A pair of classic Riley chandeliers in antique silver creates just the right presence.

Mix It Up

Use a variety of lighting types. In addition to a ceiling full of recessed lights, a conventional chandelier with a contemporary twist helps define the dining room. A table lamp and Moroccan-inspired lanterns also provide a soft ambient glow.

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