Paint Like a Pro 

6 Amazing Room Makeovers

These decorating projects were stopped in their tracks...until Real Simple stepped in and turned a space from incomplete to incomparable.

Shanta's living room after the makeover
Jonny Valiant

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Shanta's Living Room: After

Energize the muted space with color, and bring a happier, more intimate feel to the large seating area.

Patterned curtains with solid furniture (or vice versa) is a simple formula for making a room feel alive but not frenetic. Extended an extra foot on either side of the window, the graphic print sets a playful mood, masks plain white walls, and gives the space a clear focal point.

Mixing a TV with art is a smart solution to a standard challenge. Here, the frames are all dark to blend with the screen but slightly varied. Map your plan on the floor before hanging, using a large sheet of paper to represent the television.

Layered rugs bring dimension to the room and make it feel cozier. Inexpen-sive, solid broadloom frames a neutral pattern, which adds spice without being overwhelming. (Buy broadloom cut to length and ask to have the edges “bound to match.”)

Orange and turquoise is a youthful, beachy combo that makes a room feel spirited and fun.

Light, leggy pieces, like glass side tables, delicate lamps, and a floaty book-shelf, counter the weight of the hefty sofa and love seat, giving the room much needed buoyancy.

A dash of symmetry brings order to a space with lots of pattern. But in a casual room, the odd-ball pieces that shake up symmetry (here, the drum table and the orange stool) are just as important.

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