How One Designer Turned a Lackluster Living Room Into a Sleek, Modern Space

Modern organic living room with large graphic art.

Design: Brittany Hakimfar; Photo: Sean Litchfield; Graphic: MyDomaine

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 is the focal point of the home, visible throughout the entire first floor. It needed to look and feel special—a place for friends to sit and enjoy a glass of wine by the fire, while also answering the needs of a young family with two toddlers,” interior designer Brittany Hakimfar says. “I wanted everything to feel light, bright and open, yet still warm and liveable. In the end, it was a delicate mix of modern and organic, including found objects and the client’s colorful art collection.”

Meet the Expert

Brittany Hakimfar, an interior designer and founder of Far Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, likes to create timeless interiors by blending a West Coast aesthetic with an East Coast sensibility and by integrating natural textures and patterns.


Bland gray living room with mantel.

Courtesy of Brittany Hakimfar

“The home had red-stained oak floors and light blue painted walls,” Hakimfar notes. “The furniture wasn’t awful, but the room felt cookie-cutter and staged. There just was no ‘wow’ factor.”


Beautiful modern living room with black accents and gray daybed.

Design: Brittany Hakimfar; Photo: Sean Litchfield

“I broke the room into two designated spaces by adding a custom bar,” Hakimfar shares. “Then, I stripped the floors down to their natural finish and painted the walls, ceiling, and beams a bright white (Benjamin Moore Decorators White) to better display the client’s extensive art collection. As for the furniture and accessories, I used a lot of natural and organic materials—cane, oak, line, boucle, and reclaimed wood—to contrast the simplistic finishes.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme:  White, gray, and black set a muted backdrop for the pops of color in the artwork. 
  • Daybed: With its rounded oak legs and a gray linen tufted cushion, the daybed is the perfect spot for sitting or relaxing.
  • Coffee table: A vintage sawhorse coffee table has an oversized glass top and reclaimed wooden legs.
  • Fireplace: A simple black honed granite surround keeps the fireplace look classic; a collection of ceramics and artwork are displayed on the mantle.  
  • Bar: Designed with V groove panels that conceal a wine and drink fridge, the bar has floating shelves for glasses and bottles.
  • Wall art: Abstract art by Thrush Holmes provides pops of color and graphics, giving the white walls a design boost.  
  • Wood stool: A walnut stool, in the style of Charlotte Perriand, provides a seat by the fireplace while books are displayed on an African Senufo stool. 
  • Sofa: The white linen slipcover sofa ties into all the neutral tones in the room. 
  • Cane chairs: Jeanneret-style cane and teak wood chairs are both stylish and comfortable.  
  • Vase: A deep charcoal ceramic vase becomes a piece of art resting on a pedestal.  
  • Rug: A textured ivory flat weave rug grounds the busy space. 
  • White chair: A white Roly Poly lounge chair has a comfy bowl-like seat.
  • Basket: A woven sisal basket adds texture to the space while holding blankets for cooler nights.

Shop the Look:

Living room corner with large word art and sculptures.

Design: Brittany Hakimfar; Photo: Sean Litchfield

SW Daybed
OEO Studio for Stellar Works SW Daybed $2,660.00

“A daybed allows a room to feel open while still providing great seating,” Hakimfar says.

Jeanneret Lounge Chair
France & Son Jeanneret Lounge Chair $999.00

“The natural materials and woven textures of these cane and teak chairs mean they can go casual or dressy,” Hakimfar notes.

Tall Pedestal Table
CB2 Tall Pedestal Table $249.00

“A high gloss white lacquer pedestal is a great way to display an oversized vase,” Hakimfar says.