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Cold To Warm, And A Fireplace Too

Taking full advantage of the open floor plan and walls of windows, this den goes from 80's minimalist to a warm, inviting space. Moving the fireplace wasn't the only major change!

When first seeing my last home - before I bought it - I had to decide whether it was possible to overcome a living space that felt cold, even while staying on a tight renovation budget. Despite the builder grade finishes, 80's era vertical blinds and lots of beige, I knew three walls of windows were just too rare to pass up. I jumped at the chance to make it my own. Here's a before photo to show where the space started:

The first thing I knew had to happen was ripping up the carpet in the den area. Extending the laminate flooring would make the most of the open floor plan. Next, we opened up the wall between the kitchen and dining room, while also removing the fireplace. The hearth was awkwardly placed, tucked away behind the dining table. My goal was to create a focal point by moving the fireplace to the opposite end of the room, between the two windows. After some crown moldings and new paint, the contractor stuff was done. Then I was able to get to work bringing the room together with furniture and decor.

Sometimes in an open floor plan, it can be hard to create designated yet cohesive areas. To make the space feel as open as possible, I used crisp white trim against different shades of gray on the walls - with the colors progressing darker further into the space. This helped to offset the low ceilings, creating almost an optical illusion by drawing the eye and making the space feel bigger. To bring in warmth, I layered in texture and neutral tones that contrasted against the gray walls.

Here are my favorite before and after photos that show the transformation of the room:

One of the easiest and high impact changes came on the closet in the left corner of the den. Originally, the closet had bi-fold doors that never stayed in the track. We removed the center hinges and the tracks to change from bi-fold to pull open doors. Black hinges and handles upgraded and finished this corner of the room.

I'm proud to say, I was able to keep to the budget, finding bargains for most of the furniture. The caramel leather couch and deconstructed wing chair are from Homegoods, the console table and ottoman came from Overstock and I found the cabinet to the right of the sliders on Craigslist for $30.

Even though I lived there myself, it's hard to believe these pictures show the same space!

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