This Designer Turned a ‘90s Living Room into a Modern Space

Cozy mountain living room with modern lamps.

Design: Abby Hetherington; Photo: Lucy Call; 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.

“My clients are a family of four who spends the winter season at their modern Sea Ranch-style home in Montana,” interior designer Abby Hetherington says. “Their goal was to create a cozy living room where they could sit by the fire and look out the windows at the snowy outdoors.” 

Meet the Expert

Abby Hetherington is the owner of Abby Hetherington Interiors in Big Sky, Montana. She isn’t afraid of using saturated and bold colors to make a room come to life, and she loves to mix old and new to give her projects a timeless feel.

Before:

An empty mountain house living room.

Courtesy of Abby Hetherington

“This living room had good bones and wonderful lighting, but the design was straight out of the '90s with everything being oak—the floors, window trim, doors, and ceiling beams,” Hetherington shares. “A green-tiled porcelain fireplace surround with a bright copper façade dated the room even more.”

After:

Cozy and chic living room with wooden exposed beams.

Design: Abby Hetherington; Photo: Lucy Call

“We painted the walls, ceiling, trim, and doors with a fresh coat of warm, gray paint (Benjamin Moore’s Edge Comb Grey), and loaded the room with furniture and accessories that filled the space with texture and color,” Hetherington notes. “This allowed the oak beams and floor to shine in a more modern light. We then gave the fireplace a major facelift, slabbing the façade with a leather granite before updating the doors in the room to a custom planked white oak.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Deep rich greens, ochre accents, and punches of black modernize the space.
  • Green couch: A green mohair couch is filled with cozy, geometric accent pillows.
  • Leather couch and chair: The saddle color warms up the space while the soft boucle on the chair seats provides an inviting touch. 
  • Lamps: Matching cylinder-shaped ceramic table lamps display burnished brass shades and provide a warm light at night. 
  • Built-ins: White oak shelving and closed-door storage provide a place for history books and AV equipment.
  • Chairs: Swivel green velvet chairs offer up a cozy spot to rest in front of the fireplace. 
  • Coffee table: The black coffee table has a unique base and helps ground the room.
  • Wall art: Brick-shaped swatches of brown, green, white, and black tie into the room’s other tones. 
  • Rug: A broadloom taupe-colored carpet creates a soft moment over the original oak floors.
  • Table: A white oak side table works with the room’s warm golden tones.
  • Fireplace: A leather black granite slab façade helps modernize the space while an Art TV depicts a black and white western scene. 
  • Ceiling light: The tubular arms on the pendant are wrapped in black snakeskin leather. 
  • Nesting table: The black and white nesting table provides a spot for drinks. 
  • Accessories: A silver tray holds coffee table books, vintage binoculars, and a leather-wrapped vase.

Shop the Look:

Living room with green velvet sofa and large block art print on wall.

Design: Abby Hetherington; Photo: Lucy Call

Hawthorne sofa
Rejuvenation Hawthorne Sofa $2,849.00
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“This couch adds a punch to any room, and it is the perfect depth for curling up with a favorite book,” Hetherington says. 

Tom Charcoal Three-Legged Coffee Table
Crate & Barrel Tom Charcoal Three-Legged Coffee Table $1,700.00
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“A black coffee table works with pretty much every fabric and sofa style,” Hetherington notes.  

Kelly Wearstler Miramar Table Lamp
Visual Comfort Kelly Wearstler Miramar Table Lamp $1,209.00
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“This ceramic and brass lamp adds texture and dimension to any room,” Hetherington says.