Designing Zones in a Great Room

A combined living/dining area is carved into a modern space for entertaining and relaxing.
hdivd-1103-before-greatroom

hdivd-1103-before-greatroom

Peter and Anna decided to undergo a full-scale renovation of their home to double the amount of living space. But just when they thought the end of their work was near, they ran out of steam, and ideas, while attempting to finish the last room, their great room.

They wanted the combination living/dining room to be the focal point of their house -- a hip, modern space in which they could relax, entertain and have fabulous dinner parties. The room was uninviting and bland, with walls that were still covered in primer because the couple couldn't decide on a color. So I decided to turn this merely great room into a fantastic room, with heaps of style and substance.

hdivd-1103-after-greatroom

hdivd-1103-after-greatroom

The room is open-concept in nature, so the challenge was to seamlessly connect the living and dining areas to each other and to the adjoining kitchen. I started by painting the whole room in a subtle, neutral shade and then set about creating zones that would differentiate the living and dining areas but have them work together in their shared space.

In the living area I created a stunning feature wall. On half the wall I put up rich cherry-toned wood cabinetry that discreetly incorporates a media center and matches the cabinetry in the kitchen; on the other half, I installed a streamlined gas fireplace with a modern facade of back-painted glass and a surround of river-stone tiles.

I anchored the space with a gorgeous faux-sheepskin area rug and brought in some comfortable furniture: two cotton-striped club chairs, a caramel-colored, L-shaped sectional and a variety of modern and traditional accent pieces with wood and mirror finishes.

I generally use only one feature wall per room, but this large space required more drama, so I added a second in the dining area. Along this wall I created a supersize upholstered banquette and seating bench in a dreamy shade of pool blue. Next to the banquette I placed a dark wood dining-room table with new tan and green upholstered chairs that speak to the furniture in the living room.

To create a seamless flow between the two zones, I put up a whole wall of light gauzy sheers in a soft striped pattern. They're flanked by luxurious, handcrafted cream-colored drapes.

The ceiling was already full of recessed lights, so I simply added small puck lights near the banquette and a chandelier over the dining-room table for some added pizzazz.

Next Up

Basement Renovation Transforms a Cold Space Into a Warm Family Room

See the before and after photos from another amazing Candice Olson basement makeover, and get tips on how to turn your home's lowest level into a welcoming place to gather.

A Great Room With a View

Designer Mary Bokovoy explains how she transformed a dining room, kitchen and living area into an updated, modern space with a gorgeous view.

Rustic, Modern Great Room With Kitchen and Game Nook

Bright colors, interesting architecture and unexpected textures make for a unique great room in this home. Design firm Studio V created a design plan perfect for the fun-loving family that lives here.

Stylish Great Room Redo

Designer Michael Abrams provided a much needed makeover for this outdated room.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Ideas for Outdoor Rooms

Learn about options and ideas for outdoor rooms and outdoor living spaces.

Small-Space Living Room Layouts

Use smart strategies to make your small living room feel larger.

Candice's Design Tips: Homes of the Brave

In episode five, the Design Stars make over living areas for two deserving military families. See what Candice says they did right, did wrong and how she could have done it better.

Vern's Design Tips: Homes of the Brave

In episode five, the Design Stars make over living areas for two deserving military families. See what Vern says they did right, did wrong and how she could have done it better.

Contemporary Great Room and Dining Room

Designer Jeff Tohl combines the functions of living, dining and cooking into one open great room.

A Family Room Fit for the Holidays

Luxurious fabrics, sumptuous furniture and plenty of sparkle add up to a makeover to celebrate.

On TV

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.