Before & After [Great Room Reveal!]

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Hallelujah! I’ve finally done it! If you recall, awhile back I told you about how, although I’m an Interior Decorator, I had a sad entertaining space that was oh so embarrassing.  I told you that even though I had access to all the resources, connections and design expertise, I was still reluctant to do anything with my main living space for various reasons (my frugal nature, my practical husband, my young kids, etc.)  Well, my friend, I’ve finally done it! And yesterday I just received the pics back from the photographer to share with you.

As an Interior Decorator, I think it’s a little risky sharing these before shots with you, but I’m banking on the fact that you’re cool, down-to-earth and realize that I’m a “real” person workin’ her day job just trying to make her dreams come true.  I want that for you too. :)

Before I unveil these ghastly photos, I should tell you that these furnishings and décor were the result of the consolidation of the belongings from my husband’s first home and my first home…..I’m talkin’ hand-me-down stuff and items that were purchased just after college.  Ok, you’ve been warned….here goes….. 


great room before shot

Eeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!  Are you okay?  I hope I didn’t blind you!!!  Ha!  No, but seriously, all kidding aside, I’m sure you can agree this room needed a huge makeover.  Not sure if you remember me telling you before, but here is the ottoman that has attacked all of us (except my son) and here is the sharp broken pleather that is capable of tearing skin.  I paint a pretty picture don’t I?   Oh and here is the foam that was showing through the cushions. Yikes! It was bad.

great room before shots

I tell you this, not to discredit myself, but to let you know that if your home isn’t exactly how you want it right now, you are not alone.  I know first-hand how embarrassing it can be to invite people into a home that you feel unsatisfied with or ashamed of.  As an Interior Decorator, it was mortifying to me to show people this space because I was sure they would conclude that I obviously didn’t know what I was doing.  But, I do know what I’m doing and I’m ready to show you what I created on a realistic budget for our growing family. 


great room after

 Design By: Orangetree Interiors | Photo Credit: Simply Curate Co.


What do you think?  I’m so pleased with it.  It turned out….well….GREAT!  LOL.  It’s a mix of coastal, farmhouse and a hint of contemporary. When creating a space I always keep the personalities and lifestyle of people it’s being created for in mind so that the design feels familiar and comfortable.  So for us, I needed to create a space that was casual, cozy and unpretentious. We are loungey people that like socializing with friends and family. The coastal design style was a great place for me to start because it’s a laid back style that’s super comfortable. Our family LOVES summer and being at the beach/in the water so the style fit great with our personalities as well.  However, we live in a fairly traditional home that backs onto farmland (for now) in a four-season climate so it felt weird to go full-on coastal.  My husband and I both love the warmth and character that rustic/reclaimed wood can add to a space and I’m obsessed with texture so farmhouse felt like a good style to incorporate into the design as well. Lastly, my husband is an extreme minimalist and also doesn’t like anything too feminine.  If it were up to him, I’m sure we’d have mostly contemporary furniture and there wouldn’t be a piece of décor anywhere.  The less clutter the better!  I personally find extreme minimalism a bit uninviting so I added some décor to make the space more friendly and used furniture with clean lines to create a balance between masculine and feminine. He is really happy with how everything turned out. 


If you want to learn how to transform your space like I did, check out my DIY Interior Design Course.

Learn more about DIY Interior Design

In terms of fabrics and finishes, I chose durable fabrics that are stain resistant and wood furniture that wouldn’t show imperfections easily since my kids are still young.  Although leather would have been the best choice for a young family, I personally don’t find it as warm and inviting and that’s the vibe I wanted to create so I’m risking it with fabric.  So far, so good. J  I also chose to do a centre arrangement on for my coffee table styling because it keeps the décor further out of reach from the kids (our coffee table is 42” x 42”).  Another option would have been to use kid-friendly décor, but my kiddies know what they’re allowed and not allowed to touch so I felt comfortable using a couple ceramic pieces mixed with some metal and wood décor.

coffee table styling

 Design By: Orangetree Interiors | Photo Credit: Simply Curate Co.

As you can see, there’s a lot of thought that goes into decorating your home.  I’ll be sharing more later, but for now, I just wanted to let you all know that I’m finally enjoying my new space!  If you’re having trouble nailing down your design style, take this quiz.  It will help you hone in on your style and give you suggestions on how to create it. 

Take the interior design style Quiz

Oh and one more thing….I hinted at this last time….I’ve been working on a creating a course for design savvy DIYers and it’s finally released!  The course covers over 20 topics, have 12 instructional interior design related videos and includes a Home Design Planner + bonus material that will help you master your interior decorating skills!

Learn more about DIY Interior Design

I hope I see you on the inside.  And as always, if you'd like more interior design tips or you'd like to get immediate access to my FREE interior design guides, checklists and cheat sheets, Join My Design Tribe. 


Join the Interior Design Tribe

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Ta-ta for now!


Online Interior Designer | Val Malnar
Val Malnar
Principal Designer | Orangetree Interiors

Unless stated, I do not own any of the images posted on this blog. If you see your work on my site and I have not given you proper credit or you would like it to be removed, please contact me.  Some of my posts include affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information.  


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  • VAL This looks AMAZING!!!

    sheryl gatzke on
  • Hi Val! This is a fantastic transformation! I love everything you’ve done in the space. It looks so put together but also very comfortable and maintainable in real life. Congratulations!

    Meredith on

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