Wait until you see these dramatic before-and-afters from the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated May 13, 2019
The House that Lars Built

Every spring and fall, we wait with anticipation for the results of the One Room Challenge to roll in. In this six-week-long room makeover challenge, designers and bloggers work furiously to revamp outdated bathrooms, dingy kitchens, and lackluster laundry rooms, transforming them into stylish, modern spaces. By focusing on just one room and adding the motivation of a time constrain (is there anything more motivating than a deadline?), this biannual decorating challenge inspires the participants to complete their project in time for the reveal day.

And lucky for us, Thursday was the big day, and our Instagram feeds have been flooded with the dramatic before-and-afters. Below, we've rounded up five of our favorite transformations from the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge with media partner Better Homes & Gardens, along with the design tips to steal from each and every room.

Lesson #1: Sometimes You Have to Break Down Walls

When The House that Lars Built's business director Mary bought a new house, the outdated kitchen with wood cabinet fronts was a prime candidate for a One Room Challenge makeover. Swiping through the before and afters, one big difference (besides the beautiful new cabinets) stands out right away: the missing wall. Serving as a reminder that sometimes taking away an element in a room can be just as transformative as adding to it, the decision to open up the kitchen fills the rooms with more natural light.

Leaning towards an open layout floor plan, the kitchen feels instantly more modern, and in the blog post about the makeover, Brittany Watson Jepsen assures us, "Since it was a support wall, I thought the process would be messy, difficult, and expensive, but it wasn’t." Sure, knocking down a wall is a bigger investment than painting the cabinets, but as the results above demonstrate, the effect can be dramatic.

Lesson #2: Moulding Makes the Room

Calling all maximalists: this bedroom makeover by Jewel Marlowe of Jeweled Interiors is endlessly inspiring. On her Instagram bio, Marlowe describes her personal aesthetic as "colorful glam with soul," and this room is exactly that. The mix of patterns—from the geometric rug to the floral wall art—amp up the space's style, but it's really the new wall trim that sets the stage for a rich design. Installing moulding from Metrie and a blush pink paint from Farrow & Ball, the walls make the space look luxe even before a single decorative accent is added.

Lesson #3: Paint Is the Ultimate Affordable Update

The total cost of this teeny-tiny powder room makeover by Land of Laurel? Less than $600! How is it possible? Behold the power of paint. After installing $250 worth of bead board, Laurel gave the room a swipe of subtle pink paint (it's Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach). The new color lightens up the cramped space, while the small window and mirror positioned across from it help bounce natural light around the narrow room.

Lesson #4: Amp Up the Lighting

Swipe back and forth between almost any before-and-after of a formerly outdated room and you'll notice that the "before" is lit by a too-dim, yellow-tone light. The visual evidence: the updated laundry room above, by designer Vanessa Francis. While the before is dimly light, the stunning after has a pretty glass-and-brass light fixture.

For a quick fix in your own room, try switching your light bulbs to "soft white" bulbs. Want a bigger effect? Pair the new light bulbs with an eye-catching fixture.

Lesson #5: Design With Storage in Mind

In this small entryway space, a tiny shelving unit once held the family's shoes next to the front door, but the ineffective system resulted in a jumble of shoes on the floor. To fix the situation, interior designer Dee Murphy decided to redecorate with her family's storage needs in mind. A cushioned bench with built-in storage offers two sliding drawers for stashing shoes. Above the bench, hooks provide a place to hang backpacks or jackets.

In your own entryway, let your household's specific storage needs guide your design. If you tend to leave footwear next to the door, invest in chic shoe storage. Or is the entryway where the paper tends to pile up? Work a console with plenty of drawers for filing mail into the design of the space.