Before & After: A 7-Hour Makeover We Can All Feel Good About — Style by Emily Henderson

The holidays are a season of giving, and since today is Christmas, we wanted to highlight a Before & After that perfectly captures the spirit of the season. In just a few hours, Emily Henderson and her team transformed the living and dining room of a deserving family, treating them to a brand-new space as a holiday surprise.

Last month, Emily put out a call on her website for readers to nominate someone they felt really deserved a free makeover. Reader Amanda nominated her friend Liz, a hairdresser, single mom to four, and, in Amanda’s words, “the hardest working person I know.”

Emily wanted the makeover to be a surprise, so, a few weeks before the big day, Velinda from the design team (with the help of Liz’s friend Amanda) snuck into the house to measure, take ‘before’ photos, and get a feel for the space. The big, essential pieces like the sofa, bookcases, and dining table were already in place: the space just needed a little sprucing up.

On the day of the makeover, Emily and her team arrived at the house with a vanload of furniture and accessories. They surprised Liz, who was coming home after dropping her kids off at school, and gave them carte blanche to do whatever they liked to transform the space. Her one request was that they keep the painting of the old sailor, a family heirloom.

The first order of business was replacing the old carpet. The family had an elderly dog who had recently passed away, and the carpet was soiled in multiple spots. The team replaced the old, stained carpet with a low-pile carpet in a light neutral, which instantly brightened up the space. (For the sake of practicality, they also included a darker navy rug for the living room, which didn’t make it into the pictures.)

The team kept the existing couch and bookcases, while adding a new TV console and accent tables. Roman shades replaced to the old white curtains, for a more streamlined, modern look. Emily added new lamps and pillows and framed family photos in a bright white that matches the bookcases. Liz’s work area is now much neater and brighter, thanks to a new desk with drawers and a full-height cabinet that provides plenty of storage with minimal visual impact.

In the dining room the team kept the dining table, and replaced the existing chairs (which had seen better days) with a combination of four side chairs and two armchairs, which are upholstered and provide a little extra comfort while doing homework at the table. A new rug adds a splash of color, and the old sailor keeps watch in the corner, proudly surveying the landscape from his new spot.

We love the idea of giving a free makeover to someone who might not necessarily have the time or resources to do it on their own — and we love what Emily’s team has done (in just a few hours and on a tight budget!) in Liz’s space. Head on over to Emily’s site to see more photos of the finished space, and to see the sweet video of Liz and her kids seeing their new space for the first time. Also, the more engagement the post gets, the more resources Emily and co can dedicate to future makeovers — and that’s something we can all get behind.

Liz and her kids, together with Emily’s team.

(Image credit: Emily Henderson)



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