First of all, let me be clear: the "before" picture was taken from the listing when we bought our house last year. THAT IS NOT OUR TASTE. Just to clarify.
|Dining area - BEFORE|
Like the rest of the house, the walls were given a new coat of paint to warm up that hideous grey. We went with Brazil Nut, a warm beachy golden beige. I am a warm colour sort of girl, and that stark grey was very cold to me.
|Dining area - AFTER|
The inexplicable extra cabinetry and counter-top (over there in the corner, where a normal person would put a buffet) were removed. I don't know what the previous owner was thinking - I mean, it matched the kitchen cabinets & counters, which makes sense since the two areas are adjoining, but it rested six inches below the counter height it butted up to, stuck three feet out into the room, and ended eight inches short of the far wall leaving a useless, obviously accidental gap. It actually doesn't look that awful in this before picture - but it really was. We replaced it with a pair of clean floating shelves from Ikea in a birch finish (which will look amazing once our new butcher-block countertop is installed in the kitchen), effectively doubling the size of the room and allowing us to put in a much bigger, family-sized table. The birch-finish look is mirrored on the opposite side of the room in our bookcase-turned-bar, also from Ikea.
And, of course, we have our own table & chairs and stuff in there now and an area rug for warmth. It's a little more contemporary, a little more cozy, a little less cluttered and a lot more practical for a large family living in a small space.
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Living room before & after
Powder room makeover