Before & After: A Dynamic Den Do-Over, part 2

Colorful patterns, a fireplace update, and a new energy-efficient patio door turned a dismal den into a comfy spot for entertaining family and friends.


197s den before dramatic make over in all carpet and dark wood

There were some good traditional bones in the den, but the room was plagued by dark woods, a faulty fireplace, and a door so inefficient that it iced over on the inside during cold winter months. Not ideal for cozy gatherings.


den overall

Paint treatments and character-rich furnishings play their part (see what we did here), but the addition of bright-hued patterns and updated amenities really brought this room to life.


den detail of world map on the wall above couch, tripod lamp, coffee table and armed chair

Mixed patterns pop when placed next to neutral blocks of color: a sage green wall, a khaki sofa, and a stylized riot of florals in the area rug boasting a chocolate-malt background and pattern in tones of beige, brown, and green.


fancy textured rug with botanical imagery
Although primarily neutral in a mix of browns, beiges and greens, the area rug’s bold pattern adds visual interest at ground level.


couch and coffee table and armed chair in the family room

The scale of the patterns goes hand-in-hand with the size of the objects that wear them. Largest-scale pattern? The area rug. The recliner wears a medium-scale stripe. Decorative throw pillows sport smaller prints.


armed chair next to hexagon side table

If you’ve got a piece of furniture that’s well made, simply designed, and comfortable, don’t give up on it when the colors or fabric don’t work with your refresh. Instead, make it an enduring part of your decor with an upholstery update. This recliner is on its third covering and still the favorite seat in the room. The bold stripes create a geometric foil for the equally vivid floral curtains on the patio door.


couch with pillows and blanket with coffee table

A trio of pillows share an affinity for coral, which helps them happily co-mingle on the IKEA Ektorp sofa with its khaki slipcover—the latter an absolute necessity in a den where guys eat meals and snacks while watching TV.


three pillows on the couch

Decorative throw pillows share hues found in the overall color palette. They come from Target, Z Gallerie, and custom-made pieces from Duralee fabrics. Behind these pillows is a mud cloth from Mali that adds a global touch to the mix.


wicker chair next to side table and lamp in front of the patio door

Perfect for reading or comfy TV-watching, a hand-woven abaca-fiber wing chair from Pier 1 sits directly in front of the patio door to take advantage of natural light. The side table next to it wears an ikat topper that matches one of the sofa pillows.


old wooden sewing machine with potted vine on top and basket full of crochet blankets below

On its own, a vintage treadle sewing machine’s dark wood case and iron frame could become just a silhouette against the wall. But when paired with a hand-crocheted throw in a striped basket and topped with a variegated houseplant, it becomes decorative art.


two chairs with pillows around a pedestaled fern

In a corner by the patio door, two matching salon chairs sport renewed frames in glossy green and upholstery in a dainty flower and butterfly weave.


family room overall looking towards fireplace and bookshelves

Do you lack confidence when it comes to mixing patterns? Follow these tips to partner different prints without overpowering a room.

Start with an inspiration fabric or textile such as a rug. Select a pattern you love that brings together all the hues in your color palette. Use that piece as the foundation for all other choices.

Vary the scales in your pattern mix. Choose large-, medium-, and small-scale prints to make a room design look effortlessly stylish. Use at least three patterns: one large-scale, one small-scale, and a third that is somewhere in between. Or try the 60-30-10 rule: your favorite pattern comprises 60 percent of the mix; a secondary pattern gets 30 percent; and an accent pattern grabs the remaining 10 percent.

Mix up your motifs. Bring together a assortment of florals, stripes, checks and plaids, geometrics (like the mudcloth), and figural prints (such as a pastoral toile or chinoiserie) as long as the chosen patterns share a color. Although you can choose similar looks (all florals in different scales, for example), you’ll get more appealing results if you mix contrasting patterns such as florals, stripes, and ikats.

Give it a break. Intersperse solids and neutral textures to give your eye somewhere to rest. Sculpted beige carpeting, a charcoal-gray sofa, or a sisal rug can all keep your pattern mix from becoming too busy. Distribute the solids and patterns throughout the room.


prespective of entire redone family room

A stained brick and shiny brass fireplace with a faulty gas appliance always gave off a peculiar odor when operating so it was seldom used. Making the den look good wasn’t enough—a new fireplace finish and insert was high on the list of priorities.


potted faux plants in clay pot sitting on fireplace footer

The fireplace received a granite overlay from Granite Transformations. Only a quarter of an inch thick, the overlay was premeasured and templated one day and two weeks later, the finished veneer of flecked green, black, and terracotta stone was professionally applied and fitted right over the existing brick.


fireplace with tile surround

Now equipped with a remote-control start, the new Victory direct-vent gas fireplace insert from Vermont Castings took only an afternoon to install. Instant warmth and good looks.


finished den decor make over with fire burning in fireplace

Combined, the new granite surround and the fireplace insert turned an eyesore into a focal point. And a cozy one, too.


old patio door in situ inside looking out

The last piece of the puzzle was a new patio door that would bring good looks and energy efficiency to the den. The old aluminum 1970s model just didn’t provide either. In fact, it screeched when opened, iced over in the winter, and had no security features.


new patio door in its wrapper waiting for its new home

Jeld-Wen’s Builder’s Wood Sliding Patio Door with energy-efficient glass and prairie grille with simulated divided lites was just what we were looking for.


taking off the trim from the old patio door

We got Steve and Steve from Scott’s Creative Home to install the door.


taking out the old door from its frame

Professionals like these guys remove the old door (and dispose of it, too, yay!).


sanding the wood boards below door threshold

Then, they make the necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect and weatherproof fit.


two men carrying patio door into place

The new door goes in smoothly.


patio door hardware metal pull

Security hardware is installed.


men installing patio door trim

The guys install new trim inside and out.


new patio door from the outside looking in

The final touch is a new and lockable sliding screen. All told, it took the Steves three hours to remove, replace, and trim the door.


new patio door full of light flanked by warm curtains

Framed by lined cotton drapes custom-made with fabric from Duralee, the new patio door offers improved energy efficiency for the den and the promise of cozier winter gatherings.

What do you think? Have makeovers of your own? We’d like to see them!


Thanks to our sponsors: Jeld-Wen, Granite Transformations, Vermont Castings, Duralee, and Shades of Light


© Caruth Studio

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  1. Looks tremendous! Good job. I love the new door and I love what you did in the corner where cabinet used to be, so nice and bright.

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