A Bare-Bones Living Room Gets a Vibrant Update

Decorating decisions are tough — which is why this couple avoided making any. Then HGTV Magazine jumped in! 

Photo by: JEFFMCNAMARA

JEFFMCNAMARA

Related To:

Before

1621 HGTV Magazine

1621 HGTV Magazine

Photo by: ANNIE SCHLECHTER

ANNIE SCHLECHTER

More than once, Georgina McNiff and Kurt Waples came this close to splurging on art to fill the living room walls of their 1,450-square-foot condo in Stamford, CT. And to picking out a new sofa. And to buying a cool floor lamp. “But we could never commit,” says Georgina. Paralyzed by the pressure to make absolutely perfect decorating choices for their home’s main hangout space  —  and busy planning their upcoming wedding —  the couple had barely made a move since they unpacked in July 2015.

That meant sticking with the builder-basic beige walls and carpeting, the sad-looking plastic mini blinds on the windows, the furniture haphazardly collected over time, and — Georgina’s biggest grievance — the bare walls. “The few things we did have hanging were terrible,” she says. To get this stalled space in motion, we arrived ready for a makeover, armed with buckets of paint and armloads of patterns.

After

1621 HGTV Magazine

1621 HGTV Magazine

Photo by: ANNIE SCHLECHTER

ANNIE SCHLECHTER

Bold blue paint (even on the trim) and a wall-spanning assortment of art gave this room the blast of energy it needed. To balance out the dramatic paint color, we filled the space with furniture in easy-on-the-eyes neutrals, including a slim square-arm sofa from apt2b.com, a caramel-color leather chair from West Elm and a storage-rich coffee table from Somerton Dwelling. Rather than ripping up the existing carpet (there was only subfloor below it), we layered a large-scale wool West Elm rug right on top. The Roman shades were custom-made out of zigzag fabric from Premier Prints. “Now it looks like people who know how to decorate live here,” says Georgina.

1621 HGTV Magazine

1621 HGTV Magazine

Photo by: ANNIE SCHLECHTER

ANNIE SCHLECHTER

These mid-century chairs used to have depressing plaid cushions. But their classically cool frames were keepers, so we re-covered them in wavy fabric from John Robshaw. The secret to making a supersize gallery wall not look insane? Even though the picture frames vary in size and color — and some are hung lower than eye level — all of the pieces share similar hues. We updated Georgina and Kurt’s gourd lamps with nubby twine.

Shop this room!

Art: Selected art from Michelle Armas; artfullywalls.com; The Calm Gallery; Yao Cheng; etsy.com: Bowmanism, The Clay Play, Craft Couture Studios, Designs by Ritz, The Drafting Room, Just a Bird Printables, Lauren Adams Art, Michael Ellis Studios, MOJA Graphics; minted.com: Lauren Adams, Lulaloo, Emily Magone, Rene Mijares; onekingslane.com: Jen Garrido
Chair cushion fabric: John Robshaw Sulka fabric, $29 per yard, patiolane.com
Coffee table: La Slyphide coffee table, $549, somertondwelling.com
Curtain fabric: Premier Prints Diva Italian fabric, $13 per yard, buyfabrics.com
Floor lamp: Modern Rustic Arc lamp, $165, shadesoflight.com
Frames: aifriedman.com; artfullywalls.com; onekingslane.com; pictureframes.com 
Leather chair: Niels chair, $799, westelm.com
Pillows: (on sofa, orange) European Flax pillow covers, $54 each, wisteria.com; (multicolor) Surya Kilim pillow, $48, bellacor.com
Rug: Phoenix 8' x 10' rug, $679, westelm.com
Side table: Muse table, $348, apt2b.com
Sofa: Lawson sofa, $1,388, apt2b.com  

Keep Reading

Next Up

A Bland Living Room Gets a Stylish Makeover

This fun-loving couple had nothing in common with their living room and its make-do decor. See how HGTV Magazine brought the space to life. 

A Dated Living Room Gets a Much Needed Refresh

This fuddy-duddy space isn’t part of a historic museum — it’s home to a cool mom and her two kids. So HGTV Magazine stepped in with a miracle makeover!

Contemporary Classic Living Room

A traditional yet modern makeover calms down an overly busy space.

Downsized Living Room Style

Jam-packed with bulky furniture, this living room couldn’t breathe. See how HGTV Magazine gave it some style CPR.

Living Room/Dining Room Makeover: From Gutted to Gorgeous

Candice Olson transforms an empty large main floor into a great room — in more ways than one.

Do-It-Yourself Living Room Projects

With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can take on these minor living room updates.

A Sophisticated, Baby-Friendly Living Room

Bold strokes of color and distinctive finishes and fabrics prove you can have it both ways.

New and Improved Living Room Style

HGTV Magazine 's lifestyle editor was hiding a secret: She couldn’t stand her living room! Inspired by the magazine's colorful pages, she finally updated the space.

From Victorian Tearoom to Cozy Living Room

Elegant fixtures, traditional finishes and comfortable furniture transform golfers’ gathering place.

Make Your Living Room Look 20 Years Younger

See how HGTV Magazine gave this old-fashioned-looking space a fresh start.

On TV

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Caribbean Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Island Life

10pm | 9c

Island Life

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Caribbean Life

12am | 11c

Caribbean Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Island Life

1am | 12c

Island Life

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

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