Boring, boxy rooms with zero personality: Raise your hand if you've got one. Better Homes and Gardens decorating editor Amy Panos did. Take a peek at how she and BHG remodeling coach Meredith Ladik turned a 1970s suburban room into something special.
Creating a Peaceful Space
To dress up the space and create unity between the dining room and living room, Amy and Meredith chose to add instant character with classic-looking wainscot. Amy chose to wrap the room in urethane trim because, compared to wood, it comes in more styles, is lighter in weight, and is easier to install.
Editor's Tip: It's perfectly OK to place furniture in the middle of a room. Just keep the visual footprint light (a pair of chairs works better than a sofa) and pick pieces that look good from all sides.
Vinyl replacement windows with Energy Star-rated glass are more efficient than the 1970s originals, and the trim never has to be painted. Plus they can be ordered to the size of the existing opening, which saves on installation costs.
On the Ledge
Three styles of molding were stacked to create a chunky ledge atop the wainscot. The result: a built-in spot for displaying art at eye level.
Amy took the corner of the room and created a little office that is perfect for paying bills.
Editor's Tip: Picking paint colors is a challenge, but landing on the right blue proved extra tricky. If you want a gray-blue, like Amy did, you have to go much grayer than you ever imagined. We must have tried a dozen different shades. Thank goodness for $4 sample paint pots.
To connect the dining and living room, Amy continued the color scheme and wainscot around the room. Adding more storage in the dining room was a must. Replacing a pair of rickety bookcases with glass-front cabinets gives the dining room structure and storage capacity. The cabinets are semi-custom, meaning you can choose the door style, finish, size, and extra trim for the top and bottom to give them a built-in look.
Handy Hostess Station
Pairing 12-inch-deep upper cabinets with deeper lower cabinets allowed the units to tuck neatly under the existing soffit while still offering plenty of storage. It also left space for a small countertop -- handy for setting dishes or food to serve.
Tucked below the window seat, large drawers are the perfect place to hide extra china and crystal but keep them handy if needed.