A 1980's Makeover for a 1990's Living Room


I love a good before and after! This was a refurnishing/decorating project we recently tackled out on the West Michigan lakeshore. The goal for this space was to better utilize the footprint of the space and to capture an artistic 1980's style with LOTS of color. Our client has both a passion for collecting art and for creating art himself. Many of the paintings you'll see in the photos are actually pieces by our client, and the various other pieces have been collected throughout his travels, so we wanted to highlight as much of the artwork as possible throughout the space.

Before we started, almost half the space was being taken up by an old baby grand piano. The piano was hardly being used, so we captured back a good chunk of the space by finding the piano a new home where it would be more loved. Pianos are wonderful if you use them, but if not, they are major space suckers!

We wanted a clean, contemporary atmosphere, so we removed the chair rail---which has a more traditional feeling to it---and went with a soft grey on the walls. I knew this client loved color, so I wanted a base color that would allow us to get funky with the furniture and accessories. We also removed the chunky, somewhat invasive window treatments, which made the room feel SO much bigger and brighter.

For the sofa, we went with a bright teal sectional chaise, pulled slightly out from the corner to allow for a bit of a walkway behind the sofa. This also allowed us to center up the entire seating arrangement so that the two white chairs could be centered with the bay window. When you have beautiful architecture like that, you definitely want to accent it!

// BEFORE //

//AFTER//

The TV had originally been mounted just to the right of the entry door, which made sense when the main sofa was facing that direction, but it made the whole area feel squished and cobbled together. In our final design, we moved the TV to the far wall, making it (and the AMAZING mirrored console it sits on) a focal point of the room, and in it's place, we found a beautiful mirrored bar cabinet that would tactfully hide any needed bar items, while also reflecting all the bright colors of the space.

// BEFORE //

//AFTER//

Prior to getting our hands on the space, there was no coffee table to be found, but luckily, our client and his son had hand crafted the pictured coffee table base (based on the famous Noguchi coffee table) as a school project, so we had a glass top made to fit it, which went perfectly with the overall style.

We also brought in a slightly larger charcoal area rug with lots of texture in a fun graphic pattern. This created a nice contrast between both the carpet and the sofa but didn't fight with the many bright colors in the space.

You'll also notice that we utilized a ton of chrome and mirrored accents: the legs of the sofa, the table bases, the console, the bar cabinet, the small pink chair. These little accents tied the room together and gave it that contemporary feel we were going for.

//BEFORE//

//AFTER//

//BEFORE//

//AFTER//

We'll admit, this project was a little out of our comfort zone. We typically live in that calming tone-on-tone color palette with lots of wood and natural colors. This was a fun project because we had to get a little FUNKY and play with lots of COLOR! I had to channel my inner 80's child, and you know what, it was FUN!

We'd love to know what you think of this out-of-character (for us) space, so leave your comments below!

Here's a handful of shots of the completed space: