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Before & After: A Drab Living/Dining Space Gets Redone with Easy and Stylish DIYs

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If you needed proof that the right color and paint job can transform a space, here it is. This living room-meets-dining space, part of Ane Irisarri’s (@lacasadelcaos) 1900s home. Ane’s house is a Fachwerkhaus (you know, those timber-framed German homes you see in the movies), and it came with some extra space next to the guest bedroom that Ane wanted to turn into a lounge space for her friends and family when they visit.

“We decided to use this room, connected to the guest bedroom, as a guest lounge, where they could have coffee and watch TV quietly in case they needed some privacy during their visit,” Ane says.

While the room was already pretty nice to begin with — and the terracotta color was actually pretty on-trend — the paint was used in such a way that made the space feel smaller, Ane says. “I remember thinking that the terracotta tone was very nice and warm, but the way they had used it, like patches, gave a very strange look to the room,” she says. “Since the color didn’t reach the ceiling, it gave the impression of the ceiling being lower than it really was.”

Ane wanted to make the area feel more spacious and more personality-filled, so that her guests could truly feel comfortable.

To start, Ane painted over the terracotta, choosing a light blue for the TV wall and white for the rest of the space (though there is a charming arch on the opposite wall that helps highlight a bookshelf). To help the dining area feel a little separated, she covered it in a black and white rainforest wallpaper.

As far as the furnishings go, Ane went with mostly secondhand and vintage finds, which she gave a new life through DIY. For example, the dining set: “I had some chairs that I had thrifted many years ago, very comfortable, but quite damaged, so I restored them using self-adhesive wallpaper to cover the wooden parts, and gold leaf to line the legs,” she says.

Ane also made her own “neon” sign by bending strips of LED lights into shape — way more affordable than a classic neon sign. Overhead, she hung two statement pendant lights, one in the dining space and one over the couch area.

The rest of the furniture has a mid-century vibe that makes the space feel both fresh and inviting. Now, the once-boring space feels like a relaxing lounge in a boutique hotel. “There I had in front of me, the guest lounge I had dreamed of so much,” Ane says of the finished space. “I had done it by myself, upcycling, reusing, thrifting, and buying from small businesses. I had created a unique environment, with a lot of style and elegance, in which to receive my family and friends with open arms.”

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