7 Stunning Living Room and Dining Room Makeovers From Sarah Sees Potential

Spunky and creative designer Sarah Richardson can see the potential in the even the most desolate homes. Get inspired by her unbelievable living and dining room makeovers from season one of HGTV's Sarah Sees Potential.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
April 01, 2016

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Before: Dark and Cramped Living Room

With an ugly, overbearing fireplace and squeaky, uneven floors, this dated living room was in desperate need of an update. 

After: Bright and Sunny Entertaining Space

Sarah completely transformed the space with fresh, bright wall paint, modern blue and white furniture and interesting architectural elements like a custom plate rail. The brown window frame was painted white and flanked by cheery floor-to-ceiling white and turquoise drapes to make the space feel larger. A chic fabric-covered coffee table and nautical-themed striped blue rug tie in with the room's blue decor and add warmth to the new eucalyptus flooring.

After: Chic Seating

Bright turquoise and metallic decor pops against fresh neutral paint in the room's chic sitting area.

Before: Scary Fireplace

This dark, over-bearing fireplace was an eyesore in the small space. 

After: Trendy and Inviting

The fireplace's dark brick was stripped and replaced with white mosaic tile and a custom-built mantel. Striped turquoise wallpaper draws the eyes up and brightens the space, making it a hub for entertaining.

Before: Closed-Off Dining Room

An unecessary partition wall separated the living room from the dining room. 

After: Wide Open Space

With the removal of the dividing wall, the dining room now flows seamlessly into the living space. A custom plate rail was installed around the length of the room, allowing Sarah to play with two different paint colors; green-blue above and creamy white below. 

After: Cool Blue Decor

Sarah painted these antique dining chairs a rich cobalt blue to complement a gorgeous coastal-themed gallery wall. 

Before: Dark and Dirty

The view from the living room into the dining room used to be dismal. 

After: Fresh and Clean

Fresh neutral wall paint and clean white and blue decor give this space a whole new feel. Accentuating the home's vintage charm, antique decor like a wall hanging made from repurposed doors mixes with new pieces like these chic white armchairs.  

Before: Uninviting Foyer

When guests entered this dated home, they were greeted by a cluttered and poorly-lit entryway. 

After: Bright and Beautiful Entryway

Sarah brightened up the once dark split foyer with fresh white paint, beadboard detailing and new cream-colored flooring. A vintage gold console table and umbrella stand add functional elegance to the neutral space.

After: Charming Open Plan Cottage

Two cramped and dated rooms were transformed into a gorgeous open plan kitchen, dining and living area. A functional kitchen island replaced an unnecessary dividing wall and a crumbling brick fireplace was repaired and painted a pretty neutral hue. An abundance of gorgeous natural light now highlights the charming, vintage cottage-style decor. See the full makeover of this home's gorgeous white kitchen here >>

After: Cozy Cottage-Style Dining Room

Antique-style wicker chairs, a traditional hanging chandelier and charming bird wall prints speak to the owners' love of vintage cottage decor. A gorgeous built-in sideboard adds extra storage and is a chic way to display antique finds.

After: Sunny Living Room

Varying shades of cream and white add depth to the living room's neutral decor and accentuate the abundance of natural light.

Before: A Basement Divided

With extremely dated finishes like linoleum and sheet paneling, this two-room basement was stuck in a time warp.

After: Functionality Restored

Sarah removed the dividing wall to create a basement entertainment space with lots of bright, natural light. Plenty of storage and seating allow this room to be used for movie nights, casual dinners or sleepovers for the clients' two young boys. 

Before: No View

An imposing wall blocked the view of the basement's second room.

After: Clear View

With the unecessary dividing wall gone, Sarah quickly got to work creating a single, cohesive space that catered to a growing family of four. She installed new wood paneling below the chair rail, heated Brazilian slate floors and neutral rustic-modern furnishings throughout.

After: Pizza Night Made Easy

A small dining area was added for casual weekend pizza nights or extra seating for large gatherings. 

After: Antique Detail

An antique cabinet provides chic storage for the family's wine collection. 

Before: Too Much Paneling

The home's gorgeous original stone fireplace was lost in a wall of wood paneling.

After: Fireplace Feature

Sarah removed the wood paneling and painted the walls a calming neutral blue to highlight the home's original gray stone fireplace. For easy entertaining, Sarah added extra storage, plenty of seating and mounted a large flat-screen TV above the mantel.

Before: Too Dark for Guests

Even though this basement room had a built-in bar area, it was too small and dark to entertain in. 

After: Convenient Kitchenette

To make movie night a breeze, Sarah installed a kitchenette with a built-in beverage chiller, microwave and plenty of storage. No need to walk upstairs for drinks or popcorn!

Before: Blank Slate

This neutral living/dining room had tons of potential.

After: Filled With Charm

Sarah took the space from bland to eye-catching with a fresh coat of paint, new hardwood floors and eclectic furniture and decor in chic grays and neutrals. 

After: Cozy Fireside Nook

A gray mid-century modern armchair, vintage floor lamp and bright metallic side tables create a cozy fireside sitting nook that's both beautiful and functional.

After: Eclectic Chic

Gold floor-to-ceiling curtains add instant glam to the living room's large bay windows while a fun cowhide rug adds warmth to the rich dark hardwood floors.

After: Vintage Inspiration

Accented with vintage mid-century modern accessories, like these gorgeous gold nesting side tables, the room is reminiscent of glam '50s and '60s style.

After: And There's More!

Sarah cut a large serving window out of the wall between the kitchen and living room to create continuity between the two spaces. Unable to completely remove the load bearing wall to create an open floor plan, the window was an affordable and functional alternative. Check out this home's gorgeous renovated kitchen >> 

Before: Large, Dated and Unusual

With an overabundance of brown brick accents, old carpet and an unusual floor plan, Sarah coined this large living room "the brick pizza oven."

After: Stunning, Multi-Purpose Space

Sarah combined minimalistic industrial decor with warm, mid-century modern elements to create this gorgeous eclectic living, dining and bar area. She replaced the dark wood banister with sleek glass and filled the space with clean white and warm wood furnishings. An updated wet bar and elevated dining area make the room ideal for entertaining. 

After: Cozy Corner

Situated in front of the fireplace, these cozy oversized armchairs are perfect for after-dinner lounging or curling up with a good book.

After: Elevated Dining

Sarah transformed the room's awkward elevated area into a chic, functional dining space. A simple mirror gallery wall, rustic wood dining table and glass orb chandelier continue the room's minimalistic, modern design while adding interest to this hard-to-decorate space.

Before: Boring Bar

A dark corner housed a wet bar with outdated tile and more of that brown brick. 

After: A Bartender's Dream

The bar is now a chic focal point with extra seating and lots of storage. Sarah replaced the old tile siding with sleek neutral wood and freshened up the existing brick face with a coat of white paint. A limestone countertop finishes off the contemporary look and matches the limestone fireplace a few feet away.

Before: Ill-Fitting Fireplace

The exposed fireplace was underwhelming in this large space. 

After: Ultra-Modern Focal Point

A floor-to-ceiling limestone tile surround houses a brand new contemporary fireplace, making a bold statement in the large living room. 

Before: Too Dark

Beautiful skylights were barely noticeable in this dark room. 

After: Let the Sun Shine In

The stunning skylights now shine bright in this neutral space. The red brick wall was freshened up with a coat of white paint and old carpet replaced with warm, sand-colored wood flooring. 

After: The Full View

The finished space now features a dining room, reading nook, T.V. lounge, fireplace, bar and gorgeous outdoor views.

Before: Be Our Guest?

An awkward half wall overlooking a saucy red dining room was the first thing guests saw when entering this suburban home.

After: Vintage Fix

Sarah remedied the entryway's awkward layout by enclosing the unecessary half wall with antique leaded glass windows she salvaged from an old library cabinet.

After: Bright, Chic and Glamorous

Sarah stained the original hardwood floors a rich, dark brown, smoothed out the popcorn ceilings, added new trim and wallpaper and filled the space with a mix of modern and vintage decor. 

After: Luxury in Every Corner

In the room's far corner, a chic antique gray sideboard is accented by a small gallery wall of black and white vintage photographs. A custom chair rail adds interest and allowed Sarah to play with two complementary neutral wallpaper patterns — a bold, linear design below and a natural, whimsical print above.

Before: Unoriginal Design

Dated wood furniture and decor made this red dining room feel dark and uninspiring.  

After: Authenticity in the Suburbs

Antique dining chairs, custom crown molding and a glamorous wrought iron chandelier add authenticity and character to this "cookie cutter" home.

After: Whole New Personality

Dark wood accents in the table, floor and mirror balance the room's primary light, airy color and lend a "steakhouse" feel.

After: Chic Details

White tableware with vintage-style detailing adds to the room's old world charm.

Before: Not Pretty in Pink

Although unique, the pink paneling and tortoise shell floors in this entryway didn't suit the tastes of the home's new owners.

After: Easy Update

A few simple updates transformed this once outdated entryway into a welcoming, vintage-chic foyer. The front doors were painted a cheery yellow, the pink paneling covered in a fresh, modern gray hue and old brown floor tile replaced with matching gray stone.

After: A Huge Step Up

Sarah brightened the foyer's small stairway with a coat of white paint, added a new metal banister and topped the stairs with hardwood to match the newly-renovated living room beyond. 

Before: Hodgepodge Design

The home's large living and dining space had no identity.

After: Streamlined Design

Sarah transformed the large, awkward room into a cozy and contemporary retreat with a touch of vintage flair. She painted the dark pink walls a fresh white and covered a large accent wall in bright grasscloth wallpaper. 

After: Mid-Century Style

Vintage-style decor like this live-edge wood side table, fisheye mirrors and glass and gold lamp now fill the mid-century home.

Before: Off-Centered Fireplace

The outdated stone fireplace, situated in the corner of the large living room, was far from functional.

After: Rekindled

Sarah gave new life to the outdated fireplace by centering it on the wall, replacing the brick surround with chic white marble and topping it with a solid mahogany floating ledge. A contemporary gold sunburst pops against the grasscloth wallpaper and is a bright contrast to the darker-hued mid-century modern furnishings.

Before: Less Was Not More

With very little decor and furniture, this family room was bland and uninviting.

After: Filled With Charm

To satisfy her clients' differing design tastes, Sarah incorporated vintage metallic decorative pieces with streamlined modern furniture. Floor-to-ceiling curtains in a cheery yellow were hung to enhance the room's picture windows and add bold visual interest to a large, white wall. A gray and white patterned rug ties everything together and adds warmth to the new hardwood floors.

Before: Understated Dining

Pink walls and mismatched furniture made this dining room seem cramped and dark. 

After: Ready for a Crowd

To make the space appear larger and brighter, Sarah hung floor-to-ceiling yellow curtains along the length of the window wall and painted the wall and ceiling a fresh shade of white. Neutral grasscloth wallpaper lines the other two walls and complements the soft yellow hue of the vintage dining chairs.

After: Integrated Design

The updated dining room now flows seamlessly into the living room. A chrome and glass dining table, antique wall mirror and custom orb light fixture complement the home's vintage-modern design aesthetic.

After: Finishing Touches

Simple white and yellow table accessories put the finishing touches on the dining room's mid-century modern design.

Shop This Look