Beyond Recognition: 10 Rooms Totally Transformed

DIY bloggers are a talented bunch. Skilled in carpentry, styling, and social media, they constantly challenge themselves with home makeover projects that last anywhere from a weekend to weeks—or even a year. From choosing paint colors to laying tile, adding wainscoting to breaking down walls, these DIY pros struggle and learn, tutoring and inspiring action within a vast, tight-knit online community. Whether small or large, cosmetic or structural, these DIY projects usually result in budget-friendly transformations that offer fresh style, greater functionality, and personal satisfaction. We've collected 10 dramatic before-and-after images from some very creative DIY bloggers.

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  1. Before: Hardly Working Wall


    Kristine Franklin of The Painted Hive needed a central family workstation and was able to create one by claiming some dead space just off the kitchen. After calculating the dimensions that she'd need to accommodate books, a computer, and miscellaneous tech equipment, she designed a wall unit that could function as a small home office while fitting in well with her homey style.

  2. After: Hard-Working Wall


    Tall, slender double-deep bookcases provide copious and movable storage, while base cabinets hide the “ugly technological thingamabobs” such as the printer and tower. Eclectic artwork gives the space a quirky lift, and a refinished bamboo Chippendale chair lends a bit of vintage glamour.

  3. Before: Oak Aversion


    Jen Jones at I Heart Organizing had a kitchen update on her mind almost from the moment she moved into the house she and her husband built in 2001. At the time, working within a tight budget, they outfitted their kitchen with oak cabinetry and laminate countertops. It wasn’t until she could not bear looking at the oak one more day that she forged a greater plan.

  4. After: Cabinet Conversion


    Painting the cabinets white and the walls rich brown made the room feel warmer. Jones gave the built-ins a custom look by adding wainscoting along cabinet sides and crown molding up top. Although she still hankers after a different countertop and a few other changes, the improved and refreshed mood of the space far outweighs the investment in time and money.

  5. Before: Bedroom Blahs


    Designer and blogger Liz Marie Galvan believes that the bedroom should be an inspiring end-of-day retreat. “You spend so much time in there, sleeping, unwinding from the day, spending time as a couple,” explains Galvan, who came up with a master bedroom redesign that infused a lackluster space with an eclectic cottage vibe.

  6. After: Bedroom Hoorahs


    The floor-to-ceiling wood-plank headboard, both earthy and romantic, is the room’s most important new feature. Galvan’s husband built the DIY pallet headboard by randomly varying the board measurements before attaching each board to the wall. Paint and a new layout also played big roles in this cozy sanctuary makeover.

  7. Before: Outgrown Room


    When it was time for her 4-year-old daughter to graduate from the nursery to a big girl room, Cassie Freeman at Hi Sugarplum! was on it. With an ongoing mission to “kick the '80s out of our home,” Freeman came up with a sophisticated yet playful redesign that relied on energizing traditional elements with bold color.

  8. After: Room to Grow


    In a series of 39 blog posts, Freeman meticulously detailed the aesthetic transformation of her daughter's room. Some of the many projects that delivered a lot of bang for the buck were the formal yet fun cherry monogrammed pelmet and the classic faux molding made from foam trim.

  9. Before: Half Done


    In Cristina Garay’s Maryland home, the kitchen and family room are at opposite ends of one long, open space. After making over her kitchen to feature a black, white, and stainless palette, the Remodelando la Casa blogger felt compelled to address the balance issues on the other side of the room.

  10. After: Balancing Act


    The floor-to-ceiling overmantel, constructed of half-inch MDF, complements the classic kitchen cabinetry just yards away and creates a focal point. The entertainment area anchors the length of the room, but its chocolate tone keeps it from dominating.

  11. Before: Distressed Launderette


    When she and her family moved to their current house, Kim Wilson, mom, realtor, and Sand and Sisal blogger, was grateful for a real laundry room. Having washed and dried for years in an unheated garage, she viewed her spacious in-house laundry area as a luxury, despite the dull decor—and she vowed to make the new space beautiful.

  12. After: Impressed Launderette


    Color brightened up the laundry room’s ambience as did the pristine beadboard ceiling, seeded glass pendant, and floating shelves. To keep the natural palette intact, Wilson eliminated noisy packaging, opting instead to keep detergents and dryer sheets in attractive storage jars and baskets.

    Related: Laundry Rooms We Love

  13. Before: Boring Bath


    Gaby Burger of The Vault Files had already reworked much of her apartment before embarking on a guest bath transformation. Some elements of the existing space, such as the large sink, were perfectly fine, but others—for example, the dark floor and blank walls—were a visual bummer.

    Related: 20 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Big

  14. After: Alluring Bath


    Burger’s remodel did not require demolition but rather relied on fresh paint, added bling, and a curiously curated art wall, a feature not typically found in a bathroom. The striking contrast between dark walls and white lacquer-like cabinetry is decidedly dramatic. Sparkling brass hardware looks luxe, and the area rug and mini art gallery distract attention from the floor.

  15. Before: Pantry Needed


    When Roeshel Summerville of the DIY Showoff completed her kitchen makeover, she realized that having removed a closet in the process had robbed her of vital storage. In an effort to re-create a pantry, she turned her sights on a frequently visited but largely under-used hallway, with six doors, no lighting, and no charm.

  16. After: Pantry Succeeded


    Although a fresh paint job brightens the new pantry area, the crowning glory is the labor-of-love pipe shelf. The floor-to-ceiling unit takes advantage of the room's height but does not overwhelm the space. Open shelving allows Summerville to constantly tweak the arrangement of baskets and foodstuffs.

    Related: 11 Reasons Metal Shelving Isn't Just for Your Garage

  17. Before: Brown Downer


    Traci and her husband, Cy, and their four boys are on their fourth house. Budget-conscious DIYer and avid blogger at Beneath My Heart, Traci started off her latest kitchen renovation as a simple white-paint-over-oak project, but then one amendment led to another and soon enough the paint job had practically snowballed into a gut job.

  18. After: White Delight


    Although at times extremely trying, the can-of-worms kitchen renovation turned out to be one of Traci and Cy’s favorites. Demolition involved ripping out soffits, removing a closed pantry, and taking down cabinets. Renovation included adding butcher-block countertops, open shelving galore, dark wood floors, and of course, lots of white paint.

  19. Before: Neglected Farmhouse


    Abbey Hendrickson at Aesthetic Outburst moved with her family to an 1800s farmhouse in upstate New York in 2011. Room by room, she and husband Phillip have removed the old, unusable, and ugly to set a warm yet contemporary mood with a quirky Arts and Crafts style. The dining room, which is open to the kitchen, was begging for assistance.

  20. After: Respected Farmhouse


    With the window treatments gone, the wide-plank floors newly stained and sealed, and the muddy green paint covered by a fresh white paint job, the multipurpose dining room is ready for its last touches of decor. This inviting setup, marked by a reflective vintage orb, looks clean, modern, and eclectic.

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