How This Designer Gave a Living Room Stuck in the '80s a New Look

Silver and white living room with a luxurious feel.

Design: Nancy Charbonneau; Photo: French Blue Photography

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“This living room hadn’t been updated in over thirty years and felt extremely dated with ornate and dark wooden features,” interior designer Nancy Charbonneau says. “With the kids grown and out of the house, it was time for my clients to usher in a new era.” 

Meet the Expert

Nancy Charbonneau is the founder of Charbonneau Interiors in Houston, Texas. She believes that great interior design should connect who you are to how you live—with intention, purpose, and beauty.

Before:

Before shot of large, dark living room.

Courtesy of Nancy Charbonneau

“This is the first room you see when you enter the house,” Charbonneau notes. “Our makeover plan included replacing the old carpet with engineered hardwood flooring, giving everything a fresh coat of white paint, building a new and more modern fireplace, and knocking out an old closet to create built-in cabinetry.”

After:

White, clean traditional living room with luxe details.

Design: Nancy Charbonneau; Photo: French Blue Photography

“It’s hard to believe this is the same room," Charbonneau says. “I wanted the space to be open, light-filled, and peaceful. Brightening up the millwork and changing out the flooring immediately created new energy. The room is now ready for its next chapter.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Soft and approachable neutrals like gray, white, and beige add a modern hue to the space. 
  • Walls: Painted in a soft white—Sherwin-Williams Aesthetic White—the walls absorb every ounce of natural light and reflect it back into the room.
  • Floor: A gray rug with a hexagonal pattern draws attention to the luxury vinyl flooring.
  • Fireplace: The mantel is made of reclaimed wood while white shiplap surrounds the marble inset. 
  • Built-ins: Porcelain countertops provide a base for the oversized mirrors. 
  • Sofa: The custom gray and white pillows on the cream sofa play off the gray in the floor and rug.
  • Coffee tables: Burlap upholstered ottomans are multi-functional, serving as both a footrest and a place for drinks.  
  • Wingback chairs: Nail head trim adds detail to the dark gray polyester fabric. 
  • Chair: A swivel chair is positioned next to a graphite and gold accent table and an art deco floor lamp, making it the perfect spot to read or sip a cup of coffee. 
  • Ceiling fan: The fan adds a modern and minimal element to the space. 
  • Table lamp: The mercury glass globe lamp provides additional lighting. 
  • Fur benches: The faux fur benches, with their hand-forged iron base, add a pop of white and texture to the space.
  • Accessories: Brushed aluminum candles on the fireplace mantel provide ambience while tying into the room’s other silver accents.

Shop the Look:

Sitting area with black and white battered chair and silver lamp.

Design: Nancy Charbonneau; Photo: French Blue Photography

Farran Silver 24-Inch Small Bench
Uttermost Farran Silver 24-Inch Small Bench $297
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“The two 24” benches add extra seating and texture to the space," Charbonneau says.

Drops of Heaven Pillow
Charbonneau Studio Drops of Heaven Pillow $179
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“These neutral-colored pillows project the perfect amount of print against the cream sofa,” Charbonneau says.

Frazer Stone Gray Mirror
Uttermost Frazer Stone Gray Mirror $453
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"Mirrors are great in an open space because they reflect all the natural light that comes into the room,” Charbonneau says.

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