Bold Before and Afters
Whether your pet peeve with your present digs is a lack of light, wasted space, or a regrettable wall treatment, you can choose to live with (and lament) it, or you can creatively reimagine it to achieve your dream home. Resourceful DIYers around the country did just that in 2019, seizing the opportunity to transform their outdated or ordinary dwellings into residences that reflect their unique tastes. Click through for our picks of the most awe-inspiring before and afters of the year, and then roll up your sleeves and get started on your own.
Before: Dark and Dingy
An underutilized carport from A Beautiful Mess had “good bones” that made it promising for use as an entertaining space, but its dated red brick walls, a grease-streaked concrete floor, and dim, awkwardly positioned ceiling lights made the space distasteful to the homeowners, let alone guests.
After: Pretty in Pink
White wall paint, a cheery pink on the door, and a thorough power-washing of the floor immediately pepped up the space. But it was the addition of a slinky sectional, a picnic table with pink chairs, a geometric trellis, summery ceiling fans, and string lights that clinched the reborn carport's status as party central.
Before: Faded Glory
After: French Twist
While Ursula retained the original hexagonal mirror and floral-detailed vanity sink, she ditched the old red wallpaper in favor of a half-size Peony wallpaper mural. The wallpaper was a bit of a splurge, but by papering just the top half and installing chair-rail molding and wainscoting below, she was able to minimize wallpaper costs and maximize the visual variety of the room. Luxury laminate floor tiles and smoky gray paint covering the old vanity complete the Parisian-inspired retreat.
Before: Yesteryear Yawns
After: Rustic Meets Modern
Instead of completely hiding the older elements, the duo opted for a balanced modern farmhouse design by exposing and refinishing the original wooden floors, painting the walls white, and giving the cabinets and countertops a face-lift. A textured tile backsplash, a star-shaped ceiling light, and floating shelves lined with potted plants, wicker baskets, and dinnerware add dimension that makes the space pop.
Before: Ravages of Fire and Time
Following a fire on the rooftop, Todd and Dianna’s 1910 co-op emerged mostly unscathed, but there was just enough incidental damage to walls and floors to inspire them to finally tackle the renovations they had wanted to do since they had moved in three years earlier. Their targets for improvement included the worn floating staircase, the outdated appliances and tired cabinets in the kitchen, and a bathroom with insufficient storage and a pitted tub.
After: Contemporary Chic
Sanding and staining the floors throughout and giving the floating staircase a coat of matte black paint went a long way toward taking care of the fire damage. In the kitchen, sleek new appliances, clean white paint on the cabinets, and a terra-cotta tile backsplash transformed their kitchen into an appetizing arena for cooking and entertaining. With the addition of a glass-walled shower in the bathroom, the century-old space rocketed straight into the 21st century.
Before: Dire Straits
After: Open and Connected
Slim new appliances and clean-lined cabinets create a wider walkway and ease the passage to the dining room. By moving the refrigerator further into the kitchen, the couple were able to extend an oak countertop into the dining room, connecting the two spaces and achieving an open-concept look. White paint, a subtle gray tile backsplash, and a white Corian countertop better reflect light, making the kitchen look more luminous and airy.
Before: Monochromatic Mehs
After: Clean and Whimsical
For less than $500, the budget-conscious homeowner applied white board-and-batten wainscoting to the lower half of the wall and whimsical gray-and-white cloud-inspired wallpaper to the upper half to boost the brightness and make the ceiling seem lower. The vertical pieces of the wainscoting had to be strategically placed to lend symmetry to the space and frame key elements of the bathroom, such as the toilet, sink, gold-trimmed oval mirror, and towel rack.
Related: 25 Tiny Bathrooms We Love
Before: Split Personality
After: Cool and Cohesive
The reimagined fireplace now sports a more cohesive look. The white-painted wooden lattice surround makes the room look brighter and larger, and marble subway tile on the hearth and in the surround adds texture and complements the gray walls.
Before: Yellow Fever
After: Beguiling Tile
White subway tiles and white and gray paint on the walls open up the space, while diamond-inspired floor tiles put a little oomph into laundry day. By swapping out the top-loading appliances for compact front-loading models that sit beneath a new countertop, the bloggers opened up enough space near the door for a wide sink for hand-washing or everyday cleanup.
Before: One of the Same Kind
After: Statement-Making Colors
With the goal of re-creating the home’s exterior as it appeared in a 1939 tax photo, the couple enlisted contractors to put in dramatic black shingles and shutters, sage green siding, black-framed windows, brown-red gables, and a radiant burgundy door to turn heads in the neighborhood.
Before: Down to Basics
After: Storage Smart
Swapping out the two old machines for elegant gray high-efficiency units and then tucking them beneath luxe quartz countertops created a work surface for stashing or sorting clothes. Shaker-style cabinets above the countertop make use of the wasted wall space and provide storage for cleaning supplies, while a chrome shelving unit along the opposite wall holds folded linens.
Before: Cold and Uninviting
After: Fresh and Fun
Starved for color, the DIYer sanded and primed the fridge, then covered it with a pastel teal latex paint in a satin sheen to invigorate the kitchen. Gold spray paint on the fridge handles and vent cover add a touch of glam, while a potted plant and a display of fruit turn the kitchen into a tropical-inspired retreat.
Before: Lonely Loft
Working in this characterless attic with sloped ceilings and wasted floor space forced the Four Generations One Roof blogger to hunker down at a stark desk in the single bright spot of the room. Adding to the general lack of charm, insufficient storage led to clutter on the floor.
After: Artful Angles
By embracing the angles of the space, the DIYer was able to add a closet with French doors, instantly curing the floor clutter. A low-profile sectional defines the loft's play zone, which also features a chocolate brown console table and TV, a coffee table, and a side table. Lighting was added to brighten the cheerful space.
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