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Great Room Makeover

An unused and outdated formal living room and dining room is transformed into one large family room, suitable for entertaining guests and children.

Host Joan Steffend and designer Susie Burke transform an unused and outdated formal living room and dining room into one large family room, suitable for entertaining guests and children.

After, living room

  • The walls in both rooms are painted a rich barn red. The built-in bookshelves are painted a soft maize hue.
  • The spindles between the two rooms are removed and columns made out of 1x8 pine boards and molding take their place. Burke adds a wider shelf to accommodate the width of the new columns.
  • The spindles are reused as small curtain rods with the addition of store-bought screw-on finials. The curtains are placed on the outside of the bay window in the living room and also on the outside of the dining room's picture window.

Before, dining room/playroom

  • A salvage-store desk unit is placed inside the alcove in the dining room.The chair is a garage-sale find that's been updated with paint and decoupaged wallpaper cutouts for color.
  • The homeowners' cream-colored leather furniture is brought up from the downstairs family room and arranged in the new living space.
  • The homeowners' hutch is repurposed into an entertainment center for the children's area. Wallpaper taped to the back of the glass door inserts hides the TV.

  • After, playroom

  • The old coffee table is turned into a bench seat with an upholstered cushion. The fabric skirt creates storage space underneath.
  • A button-covered chandelier is added in the dining room for a whimsical look.
  • A craft table suitable for children is created out of a card table, plywood and a paper tablecloth.
  • A throw is made out of fabric and fringe to coordinate with new pillow covers.

  • Turn a common card table into a child's craft center.

    How-to: Portable Child-Size Craft Table


    1. Cut down the legs on a card table to a height appropriate for your child (cover the rough edges with rubber leg caps). Stitch fabric tubes to hide the metal legs.
    2. Attach a piece of plywood cut to size and decoupage a paper tablecloth to the top. Seal with three coats of polyurethane.
    3. Cut wood pieces to frame the table (use a jig saw to create a curvy shape if desired) and attach, leaving a lip that'll prevent art supplies from rolling off the table.

    Itemized Design Elements

    $81 - paint (Hirshfield's: Heavy-duty Wash & Wear II - #8215D, #88909310)
    $18 - shelves
    $34 - columns
    $65 - window treatment
    $64 - curtains
    $65 - desk unit (re-use it center)
    $6 - chair (garage sale)
    $21 - craft table (The Home Depot: rubber leg caps - #39003091265)
    $18 - stools (garage sale)
    $28 - bench (fabric: outlet)
    $20 - button-covered ceiling fixture (Michaels: buttons - #16318904022, #78117210071; wire earring hoops - #1631839581)
    $33 - prints
    $16 - floral arrangement (Michaels)
    $6 - pillow covers
    $20 - throw

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