The 10 Best Home Makeovers of 2016

2016 may very well be remembered as the year of dramatic reveals. As it winds down, let’s take a moment to admire the most eye-popping before-and-after decorating moments of the past 12 months. Each one of these astounding room makeovers offers plenty of tips, encouragement, and inspiration for those of us hoping to refresh our spaces in 2017.

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  1. Before: Unloved Living Room


    This cozy living room wasn’t at all awful, but it was seldom used. Though a rug thrown over the shag carpeting helped define the space, and woodsy tones tied it all together, it didn't see much actual life.

  2. After: Inspiration Station


    Sometimes a makeover completely transforms the function of a room. That’s certainly the case here, where a little-used living room became an airy, inspiring work space. Neutrals and wood tones are swapped for bright whites, and the rigid seating area gives way to a clean-lined desk. The birch-tree artwork and that shag carpeting are just about the only holdovers from the original room.

    Related: 10 Space-Smart Ways to Squeeze In a Home Office

  3. Before: Blank Slate


    While this empty living room offered tons of space and light, it was certainly in need of warmth and imagination. Homeowner and blogger Amy of 11 Magnolia Lane was ready for the challenge.

    Related: The 7 Room Layout Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

  4. After: Fresh Family Room


    White furnishings and cream walls form a clean canvas for throw pillows and other accessories that Amy likes to switch up each season. Her summer look, seen here, features navy and pale blue accents, wicker, and weathered wood.

  5. Before: Cottage-Style Dining Room


    Charming though it is, this contemporary take on cottage style comes off as a little bit dated. After the homeowners completed a sparkling white renovation of the adjoining kitchen, the bold colors in the dining room suddenly looked slightly out of sync.

    Related: 11 Big Ideas for a Small Dining Room

  6. After: Going Coastal


    This dining room makeover was accomplished with fresh colors and new decor. Dark gray walls were repainted a serene green, and the cottage-style chairs and table were supplanted by sea-grass chairs and a painted wood table. The driftwood and sea-glass tones, enhanced by gently weathered wood accessories, conjure up the ambience of a picnic by the shore.

    Related: Why 7 Families Ditched the Dining Room

  7. Before: Limitless Potential


    Blogger Emma of A Beautiful Mess found this room a bit dark, with its deep brown floors and murky, drab walls. The bank of windows, however, held out a ray of hope.

    Related: 9 Smarter Spots for the TV

  8. After: High-Style Screening Room


    Emma transformed the space into a welcoming spot for lounging in front of the TV. To prevent the prominently placed screen from diminishing the beauty of the room, she painted a black stripe to camouflage the TV when it's not in use. This bold move is intensified by bright white walls, a statement light fixture, and pops of yellow. Cowhide rugs add texture and pattern while complementing the original wood floors.

  9. Before: Outdated Den


    In another room makeover from A Beautiful Mess, a dated room screamed out for attention. While the wood beams, fireplace, and built-ins were lovely details, they were in dire need of a refresh.

    Related: The Biggest Home Trends from the Decade You Were Born

  10. After: White and Bright


    As demonstrated here, a coat of white paint works wonders. Whitewashing the brick fireplace and opting for a glossy black firebox gives the space energy and contemporary flair.

  11. Before: Clean But Plain


    The garage is rarely a glamorous place, but this one was particularly grim. On the plus side, though, it was clean and spacious.

  12. After: Garage Gone Gorgeous


    This fearless homeowner decided to dress up the garage and turn it into a lovely and livable space. After applying painter’s tape in a spiffy geometric pattern, she painted the floor white (a daring choice for a garage), then removed the tape to reveal the gray concrete below. The finished space serves as a home gym, home office, and storage area—and she can still park her car in there too.

    Related: 12 Ideas to Steal from the Most Organized Garages

  13. Before: Underwhelming Design


    This undercooked room was the central hangout in this first home of a pair of happy newlyweds who, like many young nesters, were a bit short on furniture and cash. The spare interior and uncovered concrete floors made the space feel cold and a bit bereft.

  14. After: Woodsy Wall Treatment


    Introducing an expanse of rustic wood is a clever and low-cost decorating trick to warm up a space. Here, a wall covering of planks lends texture but can be taken down easily when the homeowners want something new. To complete the room makeover, pretty but inexpensive accent chairs, a sizable plant, and a neutral rug all play a role in defining this sitting area and making it much more welcoming.

    Related: 10 Decorating Mistakes That Make Your House Look Smaller

  15. Before: Forlorn and Forgettable


    Dingy white walls and dinged-up cabinets made for a pretty depressing bathroom. The blah, windowless space cried out for some personality.

  16. After: Black-Accented Bath


    Black paint conceals the cabinet's imperfections and offers a sophisticated contrast to warm blush-pink walls. With soft touches like the subtle palette of the shower curtain, vintage-style mirror, and wood accessories on the white vanity, the room is both calming and dramatic at the same time—no easy feat.

    Related: 9 Top Tips for a Bathroom That Cleans Itself

  17. Before: Banged-Up Breakfast Spot


    Hand-me-down furniture and a mishmash of timid paint possibilities gave this dining space a provisional look. The white tile floor was in decent shape but needed an injection of bold color to save it from being hopelessly bland.

  18. After: Like-New Nook


    A deep navy blue, paired with white trim and the white floors, makes a powerful statement. With navy-and-white geometric-patterned curtains and a plain white tablecloth, the dining nook takes on a crisp, clean attitude that's accentuated by the swooping light fixture—a stylish finishing touch.

    Related: Your Eat-In Kitchen: 10 Space-Smart Design Ideas

  19. Before: Cold, Contemporary Style


    This dining area had light and space to spare, but with dowdy light fixtures and plain beige walls, it was crying out for a dining room makeover. The homeowner enlisted the aid of a friend who helped her make some smart choices for the space.

  20. After: Faux-Aged Dining Room


    Aiming for a “Spanish European look,” the homeowner hired a faux-finish specialist to give the walls the appearance of aged, peeling stucco. Industrial-style chairs and light fixtures add an unexpected oomph to the old-world decor, while a buffet under the windows grounds the space and adds functionality.

    Related: The 7 Room Layout Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

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