Knock It Off! Episodes

Hand-Me-Down Living Room Makeover

Design bloggers Monica and Jess transform a couple's formal living room from an old-fashioned space with a hodge-podge of hand-me-downs to a classic and cohesive space with plenty of ornate touches, all for less than $700.
Since first impressions are everything, homeowners Michelle and Graham would like the first room you see when you enter their house - their formal living room - to say alot about them. Right now, the room is a hodge podge of styles and contains a lot of hand-me-down furniture. Primarily used as an office and a piano room for their kids, this couple wants the room to be more inviting for guests to sit in. They want the room to be elegant, yet practical, with space both for Graham to work and the kids to play the piano. They also want to incorporate their hand-me-down pieces of furniture in a more cohesive way, all on a $600 to $700 budget.

Monica and Jess take a look at Michelle and Graham's inspiration photos which show an elegant, formal living room. Can the duo keep the handed down furniture and create a formal yet practical space, all on a budget of less than $700?

"All the pieces of furniture that you guys already have will be a great place for us to start," says Monica. "We'd like to make a really positive first impression for your guests, and right away, they know what you guys are about and things that are important to you."

Because the room will have many purposes, the designers figure out how to lay out the space, creating three separate areas - one for music, one an office and and a third for entertaining guests. Monica and Jess plan out three main projects to change the look of this room - Board and Batten wainscoting, a gilded mirror and painting the couple's piano. But painting the piano has Michelle and Graham a little worried.

"Who paints a piano?" says Michelle "I have never heard of that before."

But Monica and Jess promise that the project will work and won't affect the insturment's acoustics.

After clearing up the room, Jess and Graham begin by painting the room a bright emerald green, which Jess says will be bold but elegant with the wainscotting they plan to add. Meanwhile, outside Monica and Michelle sort through the couple's hand-me-down furniture to pick which elements would work best in the room.

"Hand-me-down furniture can be awesome, but it can be majorly challening too," says Monica. "This is where we think it's really helpful to either bring in a designer or sometimes even a friend to bring in a fresh set of eyes and show you the potential these pieces can have."

Monica explains to Michelle how the duo plans to repaint and gild a circular wooden mirror, as well as replacing Graham's office storage from an armoire that doesn't quite match the room with a repainted dresser. By taking the two bottom drawers out of the dresser on one side, the dresser will have room to store his printer as well.

Monica and Jess loved the traditional wainscoting that Graham and Michelle sent in their inspiration pictures, but that style can cost $1000 to $2000 to have installed by a carpenter, way over the couples $700 budget.

Instead, Monica wants to create a Board and Batten style wainscoting out of MDF - medium-density fiberboard, an engineerd wood product made by breaking down hardwood into wood fibers and combining them with wax and resin. At around $18 a sheet, MDF can be cut down into many smaller sized planks to create the Board and Batten look, as opposed to traditional wood planks, which often run $15 to $20 a linear foot.

After it's installed, the wainscoting will be repainted a semi-gloss white. In addition, Jess and Monica create chunky wood shelves around the fireplace, replacing the couple's glass ones, and paint them the same glossy white color.

Jess and Graham create a custom coffee table for the room, one piece that will be just Michelle and Graham's, not a hand-me-down. They took a plain black coffee table and transformed it with gold spraypaint and paisley windowfilm.

To create a formal, high-end look, Jess and Michelle create custom drapes for the room, painting plain curtain panels with bright citron stripes.Meanwhile, Monica and Graham repaint the couple's mirror with gold paint and add gold leaf to several clear glass vases purchased from a thrift store.

In the end, Michelle and Graham were really pleased by the room's new look. They marveled at how the colors came together and created a more cohesive space. They even liked their new, bright blue piano. After the transformation, Michelle and Graham now feel the hand-me-downs fit into a room that's really their own. The entire room makeover cost only $645.

"I just couldn't believe it. They were able to pull that off - this entire job - for that amount of money. That's incredible," says Graham.

Segment 1
Designers Create Plan to Pull Together Hand-Me-Down Living Room
Designers Create Plan to Pull Together Hand-Me-Down Living Room
With a budget of $600 to $700, designers and bloggers Jess and Monica need to turn this couple's hodge podge of hand-me-downs into a beautiful formal living room with an ornate, traditional feel.
Related Photos Watch Segment
Segment 2
Want the high end wainscoting for your wall, but cant afford the thousand dollar price tag? This easy DIY home decor project recreates the high-end look of board and batten wainscoting at a low price.
DIY Board and Batten Wainscoting
Want the high-end wainscoting for your wall, but can't afford the thousand dollar price tag? This easy DIY home decor project recreates the high-end look of board and batten wainscoting at a low price.
Related Photos Watch Segment
Segment 3
This piano has a beautiful sound, but the high-gloss black color doesnt match the rooms new look. Instead, it gets a new look with bright blue chalkboard paint.
DIY Painted Piano
This piano has a beautiful sound, but the high-gloss black color doesn't match the room's new look. Instead, it gets a new look with bright blue chalkboard paint.
Related Photos Watch Segment
Segment 4
Dress up your space with a high-end look by making your own striped curtains with this easy DIY home decorating project.
DIY Painted Striped Curtains
Dress up your space with a high-end look by making your own striped curtains with this easy DIY home decorating project.
Related Photos Watch Segment
Photo Gallery
Photos: Project Guide For Living Room
Get step-by-step directions and see detailed photos of the DIY projects from the living room makeover.
See Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery
Before and After Photos: Living Room
See how Monica and Jess transformed this living room from cluttered to a classic space.
See Photo Gallery

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