Make Your Living Room Look 20 Years Younger

See how HGTV Magazine gave this old-fashioned-looking space a fresh start.
By: Kathleen Renda, Jennifer Berno DeCleene, and Matthew Gleason
This homeowner's living room was featured in HGTV Magazine.


This homeowner's living room was featured in HGTV Magazine.

Photo by: Alison Gootee/Studio D

Alison Gootee/Studio D

Philip and Lisa Meringolo can’t pinpoint exactly when the living room of their 1950s Cape Cod house in Ridgewood, NJ, got stuck in a time warp. But after they bought the home in 2003 and brought in pieces they felt were trendproof classics—a traditional beige sofa, a replica of a Monet painting in an ornate gilt frame, an Oriental rug —the space seemed to age prematurely. More formal than kid-friendly, it wasn’t exactly the inviting living room that Lisa, a stay-at-home mom to Matthew, 12, and Nicholas, 9, had originally envisioned. To get the room in sync with this young, energetic family, the space needed upbeat colors and patterns, more adventurous furniture, and gutsy artwork. The revitalized room is “hipper and fresher—and inspiring me to go contemporary with the rest of the house,” says Lisa.


The floral slipper chair practically screams granny. Less-exciting ottomans would be tough to find. Drab green walls suck all the energy out of the room.

traditional living room

Traditional Living Room

This living room was featured in HGTV Magazine

Photo by: Alison Gootee/Studio D (styling by Karin Olsen)

Alison Gootee/Studio D (styling by Karin Olsen)


Walls + Fireplace
The new wall color (Calluna by Farrow & Ball) shifts from gray to lavender depending on the light. The Ballard Designs mirror and the Crate & Barrel hearth screen transform the fireplace into the room’s focal point.

contemporary living room

Contemporary Colorful Living Room

This living room was featured in HGTV Magazine

Photo by: Zach DeSart

Zach DeSart

Chairs + Lamp
Sleek navy chairs from are easy to rearrange whenever the family hosts their frequent get-togethers. A chunky ceramic Arhaus lamp echoes the chairs’ curves and fills a once-blah corner.

The original rug’s too-dark colors and fusty print looked dated. The slightly larger, graphic wool Safavieh rug from Lowe’s, with its gray-and-cream palette and geometric pattern, fast-forwards the space into 2015.

Nearly 9 feet long, the charcoal Room & Board sofa encourages lingering. Loosening it up: fun pillows in purple honeycombs and solid coral from Spoonflower.  Color-happy floral pillows by Caitlin Wilson Textiles pull together the room’s palette.

With no corners to maneuver around, the IKEA coffee table improves traffic flow. The copper-color side table from Wayfair brings a hit of shine, and the cobalt blue table by Home Decorators Collection shows off an oversize lamp.

Bold artwork—including three black-and-white prints over the sofa and a pair of watercolor abstracts from flanking the mantel—reinvigorate the walls and add a more with-it vibe.

clear console table with decor

Clear Console Table in Living Room

This living room was featured in HGTV Magazine

Photo by: Zach DeSart

Zach DeSart

Console + Ottomans
Reupholstered in a zippy arrow-print Spoonflower fabric, the ottomans tuck in perfectly beneath the clear acrylic CB2 console. A framed print from plays off the colors in the floor-sweeping coral curtains sewn from an ikat Spoonflower fabric. With its dramatic base, the blue Crate & Barrel porcelain lamp holds its own with the wowza drapes.

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