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Approachably Elegant Living Room and Dining Room

Approachably Elegant Living and Dining Room
This couple's narrow living and dining room seriously lacks style - bland colors, mismatched furniture and an ugly wrought iron stair rail. Bloggers Monica and Jess transform the room into an effortlessly elegant space with a glamorous feel for under $700.
This city row home is in desperately needs some style, and it's definitely not coming from these two homeowners! When Mike and Colleen moved in together a year ago, they combined all their furnishings they had had, which not only made their furniture mismatched but also their style!

The couple would love to have their living room and dining room have an elegant and high-end look that is open and comfortable, but are completely style deficient and have no clue to where even to begin with the combined space in their narrow townhome. Not only is the space tight, but the couple's budget of $700 is definitely going to have to be stretched in order to create the elegant look the couple desires.

The inspiration photos the couple sent in show two gorgeous spaces completely decked out with beautiful chandeliers, elegant tables and sophisticated d�cor. Colleen knows she has expensive taste, but unfortunately not the funds to support it! So Monica and Jess are going take the photos the couple sent in and use them to create their own version of an elegant space that they think will be much more fitting for the couple in their home: approachable elegance. While this idea of elegance and glamour scares Mike a little, the designers assure him they are in good hands!

The first thing that absolutely has to change is the part of the home Mike can't stand the most: the stair rails. These extremely outdated rails are not only lacking style, but completely make the space feel smaller. But ripping them out also means taking out the carpet, and Monica and Jess have no idea what's underneath.

While Mike uses a reciprocating saw to cut the railing he loathes into segments, Monica helps him rip out the heavy pieces from the stairs. By removing theses rails, the room not only becomes instantly more modern, but also open!

After they successfully remove all the rails, it's time for them to see what's hiding underneath the carpet. While removing the carpeting on the side reveals beautiful molding on the walls, what is underneath the carpet of the stairs isn't as pretty. Although it's hardwood, it's in really bad condition and an absolute mess. Refinishing these stairs is now definitely out of the question and completely replacing the stairs is something that just won't fit into their budget which leaves them with only one other option: carpet. Luckily, Monica and Jess have basic carpeting skills so they can handle the job themselves, but it may not fit within their budget. Their best bet is to find a remnant piece of carpet at a really good price and install it themselves. It's not ideal,but it's a much better option than what they started with.

Monica and Jess really like the picture they sent in of the mirrored side table which is a trend that is very popular right now and a look that exudes elegance. The only problem is this kind of furniture is simply not within the couple's budget. So Jess purchased a thrifted coffee table for only $30, and to make it look more elegant, they paint it a perfect gold color that gives the table the perfect mix of elegance and glamour without being gaudy. From there, they use a glass cutter on a mirror in order to make it fit inside the parameters of the top of the coffee table. The glass cutter allows the girls to break it cleanly and evenly. Once cut, they attach the mirror to the table with specially designed glue used for mirror installation and just like that, Colleen has a brand new table for her living room!

In the inspiration photos the couple sent in, there were beautiful and elegant chandeliers that lit up the room. To create a similar look but on a budget, Monica shows Mike a simple DIY project that will create a light fixture made out of planters! Monica shows howt the planters will become a modern orb light, by removing the basket out of two planters and connecting them with wire to create a sphere. They drill a hole in bottom which will allow the wires of an inexpensive light fixture to come through the planter. Spray painted a metallic color, it gives them a new high-end finish.

Next, they get to work painting the room. Colleen and Mike love the new light color the girls show them for their walls, but aren't so sure about the color for the accent wall. Monica and Jess have chosen a teal green that is really going to add pop to the room, but Mike is not completely convinced. Although the color looks a little bright in the can, with 3 dry coats it looks more like a dark emerald color that instantly adds elegance to any room. Mike isn't sold yet but Monica and Jess hope that once the room comes all together he will like it.

The next day Monica and Jess arrive early to work on the stairs. They first install a new low profile handrail along the wall and then bring in the remnant carpet that they will use on the stairs. Monica was able to score this piece from the carpet store for only $60 and even got the padding for free! The girls install the carpeting and the stair area now looks incredible. It's open, modern and has come a long way from what they started working with yesterday.

Next, Monica shows Colleen how to create sophisticated curtains for the living room.They start with two plain white curtains that she purchased for $20. First, Monica and Colleen stencil the top quarter of the panels in a modern and elegant geometric pattern. The finishing touch is adding grommets to the top of the curtains.

While one of the big walls in the room got painted with a pop of color, the other big blank wall where the TV used to be is crying out for some style! To fix this void, Jess and Mike paint an antique mantle that Jess picked up that will act as a faux fireplace. Before they attach it to the wall, they paint the opening of the fireplace the same jewel-tone color of the accent wall which will unify both sides of the room.

While Monica and Jess add the finishing touches to the room, Mike is getting nervous especially over that green wall color. But when the girls reveal the finished room to the couple, any fears they had are completely out the window! They can't believe how incredible the space looks and how much it has transformed in such a short period of time. They are amazed at how everything in the room came together so perfectly and transformed into exactly what they wanted.

The space is so open and feels inviting and warm while also looking elegant. Taking out the banister and installing new carpets played a huge part in opening up the space. It was something Mike has desperately wanted to do for years and with a little DIY magic, only cost $110! Although Mike loves the new stairs, he reveals to Monica and Jess that much to their surprise, it isn't his favorite new part of the room: it's the color of the wall! The girls cannot believe their ears when he reveals that he loves how much it brings to the elegance of the new space.

Another elegant element added was the framed fabric artwork that was hung above the couch of the living room. The best part about this gorgeous piece is that it was made with a thrifted frame and fabric that all together only cost $50.

Even though the table that was previously in their dining room space was not a bad table or very large, the fact that it was bar height really made it appear like it took up a lot of space. Therefore, they decided to get something else that would work better in the space. They purchased a second-hand table and chair set and simply added slip covers to the chairs to make them look more elegant. All in all, this only cost them $125.

The modern orb light fixture looks awesome in the living room and is reminiscent of something you would see in a high-end d�cor magazine. Something like that could easily run $500, but Monica and Jess DIY'd it using planters only costing them $42.

The mirrored coffee table adds an extremely elegant touch to the living room. This could have easily cost them hundreds of dollars, but with some creativity this replica was made for only $45. The DIY stenciled curtain panels also added a ton of style to the space and was made with simple materials for only $52.

The new faux fireplace in the room helps fill up so much more space on the one side of the wall but is not in your face at all when walking in through the front door. It was a simple project that completely transformed the area, all for only $54.

All of the other accessories and d�cor Monica and Jess used to decorate and add an approachable elegance to the rooms totaled to $215. Decorating a combined room like this at retail could have easily set back Mike and Colleen thousands of dollars. But with some creativity, DIY projects and some faith in Monica and Jess, this entire elegant and approachable living room dining room combo only cost $693! With such a beautiful design all created under the couple's budget, it's safe to say Mike will never doubt Monica and Jess again!
Segment 1
Plan for Living and Dining Room
Plan for Living and Dining Room
Mike and Colleen want an elegant, modern space in their living room and dining room, but with a budget of $700 their high-end decor dreams are out of reach. Monica and Jess create a plan to transform the space into an approachably elegant and comfortable room.
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Segment 2
DIY Elegant Mirrored Coffee Table
DIY Elegant Mirrored Coffee Table
Mirrored tables and furniture are super trendy right now, but they can cost a pretty penny. Here's a perfect project to replicate the look with a simple mirror, a thrift store coffee table and some spray paint, all for under $45.
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Segment 3
How to Stencil Curtain Panels
How to Stencil Curtain Panels
These modern and elegant curtains look expensive, but you can make them on the cheap with plain curtain panels, a cool stencil, paint and grommets. Here's a DIY tutorial for these stenciled curtain panels.
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Segment 4
DIY Faux Fireplace
DIY Faux Fireplace
If you want to add instant character, charm and warmth to your space, this easy fake fireplace project is for you. It's a great way to fill a blank wall and take the focus off of a big TV!
Related Photos Watch Segment
Photo Gallery
Before and After Photos: Approachably Elegant Living Room and Dining Room
See how Monica and Jess transformed this living and dining room into an effortlessly elegant space with tons of style.
See Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery
Project Guide for Modern Elegant Living Room and Dining Room
Get step-by-step directions and see detailed photos for projects from the approachably elegant living and dining room makeover.
See Photo Gallery

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