Watch 3 Interior Designers Transform The Same Dated 90s Living Room | Space Savers


[Narrator] These three interior designers

have been given a photograph of a dated ’90s living room.

They have free reign to design it in any way they please.

My name is Joy,

and my design style is classic, comfortable, and relaxed.

My name is Darren Jett,

and my design approach is cinematic, romantic, and sensual.

I’m Noz, and my interior design style is colorful,

eclectic, and wild.

[Narrator] No clients, no budget, just blank space.

My first impressions of this dated living room are,

my God, the rock wall is for the gym,

not for the living room.

First impressions of this sweet little living room

are that I recognize my childhood in this one.

I’m kind of living for this rose pattern sofa situation,

but she’s a little tired.

Let’s bring it up to speed, like 35 to 40 years.

It is a small space.

I do think that the small space

actually can work to our benefit.

There’s something quite nice

about having a rather intimate space in a house.

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The goals starting out for me

is to have a sense of cohesion,

give a little bit more moodiness

to the overall feel of this room.

So what I would like to do with this living room

is to really embrace the fact that it’s small.

I would love to think about enclosing this room

and making it just a bit more intimate.

Overall, my vision for this space

is that this needs to be a room

that is both wonderful for lounging

and cozying in while you’re watching TV

but also really conducive to conversation and gathering.

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The room as a whole right now is very, very cold.

The wall-to-wall carpet is going to go.

That’s a very dated sort of application.

So first of all, I’m seeing this flooring,

and I kind of wanna guess that it’s a lie.

There’s no way that the carpet is truly this white, right?

Like this is Photoshop.

I can’t handle the idea of just like dirty feet

and dirty footprints just all over the place.

I mean, the oatmeal carpet’s just not really working.

I do like the idea of having carpet in a small space.

I think it makes it feel really, really nice underfoot.

I think if we can actually do something

that is a bit dramatic, right?

Think about a very cool leopard print, perhaps?

A lot of people might assume

that leopard is a pattern that is a bit outrageous.

I actually think that in a small room,

leopard can almost act like a neutral.

I’m gonna take all of this white carpeting out,

no more wall-to-wall,

and we’re gonna replace it with oak floors.

I don’t wanna put all of this hardwood in

and then cover it completely back up.

So there’s this beautiful rug company,

Temple, Temple, Temple.

They make some amazing rugs

where there’s actually like holes in the rug

so that you have the rug down,

it’s cozy, it gives you that softness,

but you can still see the hardwood floor through it.

I’m going to bring in a wood floor

that makes it a little bit more current,

and what that’s going to immediately do

is warm the space up.

We’re going to replace this wall-to-wall boring carpet

with an area rug.

This beautiful new Doris Leslie Blau area rug

on this warm, sexy chocolate herringbone wood floor

was chosen for its graphic nature.

I really, really love graphics in spaces

because the linear effect actually adds length to the room.

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The white walls are doing nothing

for this space whatsoever.

What I really want to do

is to think about cladding all of the walls

in a beautiful, rich, saturated color.

I love the idea of doing something

like a rich lacquer on the walls.

Maybe it’s in a sort of chocolate world.

A company like Fine Paints of Europe

makes really beautiful lacquered paints.

So if we have something that has a bit of sheen to it,

whenever you have light coming in,

it’s really going to bounce all that light off the walls.

It’s going to make a small room feel bigger.

In the alcove, I really want to use more lacquer,

but instead of it being chocolate,

I want it to be a paprika color like this here.

The existing walls in this living room

are very, very boring.

I mean, they’re just as bland as, I don’t know,

an overdone pancake.

So I’m going to apply texture to the wall

that also has some warmth to it.

My approach is to have a back-painted glass on the wall

and add a metal framework to the wall,

which is a braided metal in a bronze finish

is going to create wonderful reflection in the room

as the day progresses.

I’m really excited about just keeping it light

and airy in here, but adding texture.

I don’t wanna just do paint on the walls,

even though that feels like an obvious choice.

I’m gonna do grasscloth.

So I brought this grasscloth.

What I really love about this particular material

is it’s a grasscloth that’s still quite soft.

This texture, I really think,

is going to transform the space.

I really want to bring more natural light in.

So I’m going to replace this singular window

with floor-to-ceiling glass doors

that really give you an opportunity to experience the garden

when you’re inside of this room.

If we’re able to use this room

behind this wall as a wet bar,

it would be really cool

if we could actually create an opening on this wall

where you could have access to drinks being made.

Underneath the opening where the bar is

would actually have doors,

and those doors would house extra storage.

I would actually clad those doors in a bronze mirror.

This is very ’70s, ’80s,

where there’s almost kind of a postmodern abandoning

of trim around thresholds and openings, right?

Like you just have baseboards.

So I’m gonna actually further emphasize

the opening into the space

by putting trim around this threshold.

And then, over the window,

I want there to be architectural symmetry

and continuity there.

So the same thing I do here,

I’m gonna do a wood cornice over this window

and I think that’s gonna be really successful

because the cornice will sort of shape the window.

When I say cornice,

what I mean is it is an actual decorative thing

that you put over the top of your window

so you’re not changing the window

and it’s just gonna be this,

like, beautiful little arch moment

over the window right there.

All of the arches are making me feel

like we’re stuck in the ’90s.

I think if we’re able to keep the idea of the doorway

and keep the idea of the bookcases,

just cap them off in a nice intentional, rectangular form,

it will make the room feel very intentional

and it’ll make the room feel very concise.

Getting rid of that ugly maple wood

is really important for me.

So let’s think about what we can do

in place of that maple wood.

Maybe it’s something like a beautiful stainless steel

that we actually do all along the baseboard,

and we also trim out all of the doorways and openings.

That would really break the traditional aspects of the room

and bring it up to the modern day.

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The existing ceiling is very, very flat, very boring,

and we have an opportunity

to raise the ceiling at least 18 inches

because there’s a plenum space up there

around the duct work.

So what we’re gonna do

is we’re going to create a trade ceiling,

which is an opportunity

to just sort of vault the ceiling a little bit,

angle it out at the sides.

You really are going to get a feeling

that this room has gained additional square footage.

The ceiling we’re going to treat in the same exact finish,

this beautiful chocolate lacquer.

It’s really going to bounce the light off of the room

and make the space feel even larger.

I actually wanna add crown molding back.

I think there’s something really lovely about that.

The ceiling is also going to get a grass cloth,

but we’re gonna do something that’s, like, bold, and warm,

and rich, and lovely, and it’s yellow.

When it’s up on the ceiling, it doesn’t glow onto your face

and make everything glow yellow.

It actually just makes everything kind of glow happy.

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I love a fireplace.

You can never get rid of a fireplace

if you have one in your home.

This fireplace, however,

it’s not giving anything but depression.

So I have a personal strong feeling

about keeping fireplaces if you have a fireplace.

So this one stays, it’s just too big.

The fireplace stone work

just feels like a three-year-old is going to get up there

and start climbing this thing,

and it’s gonna be a major hazard,

and lawsuits are gonna ensue.

So that’s gonna be gone.

And another thing about it

is it’s creating such depth in the room.

It really is retracting from the available square footage.

So what I’m gonna do here

is simply apply a wonderful new contemporary marble mantle.

We’re gonna lower the hearth,

and we’re just gonna clean that whole elevation up.

I don’t know that I love a wood-burning fireplace

in a room this small.

Anyone who has one knows, soot comes out,

and no matter how clean your flue is,

you just end up with, like, black dust in different parts.

So I wanna replace it with a gas insert

because then you can just hit a button

and then the fire turns on, and then I’m gonna adorn it.

I would love to source

a whole lot of mix-and-match Delft tile

from, like, the 18th century

to adorn the entire fascia of this fireplace.

I love the idea of actually having a fireplace

that is sort of part of the wall.

Let’s actually have it be something

that sort of recesses into the background a little bit.

That’s why I’m treating the walls in this case

in the same exact finish as the rest of the room.

I really think that the room

has a lot of focal points right now,

and I want to have the function of a fireplace

but not have it jump out at me.

And then flanking the fireplace,

we’re going to keep the same idea of the bookcases,

but just make them a little bit narrower

and make them just feel a bit more intentional

than what we have currently.

And now let’s talk about these built-ins.

I actually really like them,

so what I wanna do is bring them forward just a teeny bit

so that the fireplace

and the bookcases are all on the same planes.

And then we’re gonna make these prettier.

I want them to just be painted white,

and then we’ll have actually this wallpaper

on the rear of all of the bookcases.

And then I have this idea that we’re gonna put bows.

I am presently really, really, really in admiration

of the late, great, legendary designer Mario Buatta.

And I’m kind of almost thinking of this whole space

as like a tribute, like my take on Buatta.

So yeah, I wanna do bows.

We’re gonna do bows everywhere,

but we’re gonna start with wooden bows

that become a part of the adornment of the bookcases.

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So first of all,

I am pretty sure this TV has a built-in VCR player.

I mean the luxury, right?

The existing layout has this bulbous media cabinet,

which is just taking up a lot of space,

so that’s going to go.

What I’d like to do

is to have a large sofa underneath the window.

The sofa that we are creating

is actually based on the Lara sofa,

which is a 1970s Italian design,

and we would cover that in a beautiful mohair,

perhaps it’s in a sort of nude color like this.

And I think that would work really wonderfully

with the chocolate lacquered walls

and the leopard carpet that we have underfoot.

I’m replacing this massive media cabinet here

with a very slim sofa from Chai Ming,

and it’s light in color,

so it isn’t overwhelming in the space.

The seating is now against this wall

in order to enjoy the view beyond into the garden.

The tables flanking the sofa are from Restoration Hardware.

They’re just a very sculptural, almost I-beam side table,

which is a multi-purpose.

It could be a drink table, it could be a snack table.

I’m gonna do something kind of weird.

I really like conversation pits, I have forever,

but I’m not gonna remove the floor,

I’m not gonna sink the floor

’cause it’s just not realistic for a space like this.

So I have this kind of wacky idea.

The whole entire perimeter of the room

becomes one giant built-in sofa.

I absolutely love this Voutsa textile,

and I think this would be so fun

to have the entire couch be in this fabric

with like a ruffle trim on the bottom.

And then also, one little tribute to Buatta

is he always liked coral,

like coral orange with cobalt blue together.

So I found this very cute orange trim

that I wanna put around the perimeter of the ruffle,

just as a little nod.

I want there still to be storage.

And when you have a TV in the room,

you still need to have somewhere

for all of your cable boxes, and your internet box,

and your wifi repeater, and your PS4.

So by doing a ruffle along the bottom edge,

that will allow me to, like, sneak underneath the skirt

because you just have

literally under the couch sneaky storage

all the way around the room.

In addition to a sofa,

we always want to have a side chair.

In this case,

I love the idea of having an Olivier Mourgue side chair.

The Olivier Mourgue is actually going to be covered

in a sort of paprika-colored fabric.

The blue lounge chair in the room

is this great sort of modern,

very deco-framed lounge chair from Chai Ming.

The drink table next to it is from Cliff Young,

and it is just a really cool, faceted shape.

If I’m gonna fill this whole thing with a couch,

there’s not a whole lot of room for coffee tables,

so I wanna use these little bistro tables.

They’re almost like a TV table, right?

Like TV dinners. Remember those?

Maybe you don’t, ’cause maybe you’re, like, 17.

You would basically have a C-shaped table

that can tuck underneath the ruffles

so that it comes really close to you.

The coffee table

is a very contemporary marble-on-marble sculptural element

that really takes pride of place in this space,

and it’s low, and it’s sexy, and the base is absolute black.

But the top is this wonderful gold white,

black veiny Saint Laurent marble,

which is my absolute favorite.

This is definitely a hangout spot.

I really want people to enjoy themselves in it.

We’re gonna have a coffee table,

think about drinks being poured,

think about, you know, great conversation that’s going on.

In addition to that,

we’re gonna have an ashtray in this room.

It’s gonna be a cool object to have,

and that’s what this is over here,

the sort of red goat skin ashtray by Aldo Tura.

The dressers flanking of the fireplace

are from the Bruno Effect.

They’re a very contemporary piece with wood,

with marble tops.

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So now let’s talk lighting.

We’re creating an intimate environment

where lighting is absolutely critical.

The sconces flanking the sofa are from 1stDibs.

They’re a vintage marble and Murano glass sconce.

There are generous in size,

but they give off a lovely, lovely glow

behind that back-painted glass and that braided metal.

Ooh, it just makes the wall sing.

The two pendants hanging directly above the chest

flanking the fireplace are from Studio Van den Akker,

and they are hand-blown glass.

Directly above it is this very sort of, hmm, art decoey,

almost industrial pendant fixture

from Hans Jakobsson.

It’s an antique.

I don’t want a lot of overhead lighting.

What I wanna do is put sconces all the way around.

There’s this amazing sconce from Urban Electric,

which is so cute and, like, adorable,

and it has this, like, swoopy shape.

There’s a ruffled lampshade.

I love the idea of having those

at key moments around the room.

Behind the sofa adjacent to the window,

I would pair two beautiful sconces by Dimorestudio.

Additionally, we are going to have lighting in the ceiling.

I think every room benefits from a ceiling light.

We’re also going to have lighting in the bookcases as well.

Up at the top, we’re going to have little pin lights,

very, very small, maybe an inch in diameter.

They just shine down on our objects below.

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So now the decor is where we go really wild.

One of the things I absolutely love

about Mario Buatta’s work

is this one room that has soft yellow walls

and these giant dramatic blue silk ribbons

that held up all of these paintings

of dogs all over the walls.

I love this idea, right?

So instead of big silk ribbons,

there are these cute little metal hooks.

These are like $10 from like Crate & Kids or something.

And instead of silk ribbon,

you could totally just use, like, furniture tape.

This one is iconic.

I love this pop of orange.

We’re doing like this all the way down,

and I’m gonna hang gold-gilded frame portraits

of, like, dogs and birds

that are all, like, painted by friends of mine.

So it’s really personal.

And then I’m gonna put them in front of the bookcase too,

and it’s just on a nail,

so you can take it off very easily

when you need to get the books behind it.

It’s not impractical,

it’s just another way for you to be able to decorate,

especially if you don’t have tons of walls to put artwork.

On the window, instead of doing a proper curtain,

what I really wanted to do

was to have more of a bamboo shade.

But, you know, I have to have drapery in every project.

I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.

So in the threshold here,

I want to have an integrated curtain in that doorway

that you can sort of pull open and pull closed.

Of course, in every room,

you have to have at least one piece of art,

sort of one focal point.

I think in a space like this

where it’s sort of leaning in a more modern direction,

it’d be very cool to break that with some tension.

So let’s have a little Roman statue,

perhaps on that countertop at the wet bar.

The mirror over the fireplace is fabulous.

This is a piece by Claude Lalanne.

It’s a brass piece.

Every room also benefits from a plant,

especially when you’re designing a room

that is meant to feel lush, and sexy, and cool.

Add a plant.

I love a kentia palm tree.

A kentia palm will absolutely survive

in a space that has minimal light,

and that’s what we’re gonna have here.

And that’s also going to provide a little bit of mystery

as you’re walking around it

and sort of seeing things from different perspectives.

The art on the walls flanking the fireplace

directly placed above the chest is from Michael Dawkins.

It’s this very moody black and white,

and they’re sort of mysterious,

and I kind of like them for that.

On the coffee table is a almost kinetic candle holder

from Eye Swoon.

Also, the vase on one of the Restoration side tables.

And I really like that palette of very sort of neutral,

sort of crafted pieces.

So now over the fireplace,

I’d like to do a mirror just to bounce some light around,

give the fireplace wall a little bit of lightness,

a little bit of luminosity.

I wanna revisit Rogan Gregory.

I really love his work.

He’s so brilliant,

and he makes these amazing blobbo, weirdo gypsum mirrors,

and they’re sort of an homage to Wendell Castle,

who’s also a mutual inspiration for me.

I think that would be such a spectacular decor moment

over the fireplace.

Speaking of the fireplace, I love fireplace screens.

I recently discovered Philip Nimmo,

and he has these hilarious,

like, pop art-inspired fire screens

and there’s one that says hot,

and he literally makes it in blue.

So I was like, This is meant to be.

So it could be like a Paris Hilton,

like that’s hot kind of homage,

but it also is so ridiculous and literal

because the fireplace is hot.

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My approach for the placement

of the television within this room

is to bury it in this wall.

It’s a pivot that spins out.

It’s totally invisible

because the gridwork of the metal conceals it.

Everybody doesn’t wanna look at a television all day.

I think it’s much more important to look at nature,

and you’re able to sit here

and look at the outdoor gardens

without having the sofa at the back of the wall here

and craning your neck to say, Hello roses, hello roses.

We also have a challenge

where there’s currently a TV in the space,

and we don’t really want to eliminate that television.

The original room is basically a TV room.

The TV is the focus of the room.

In a modern lifestyle where rooms have to do double duty,

you don’t want to have the TV be the center of attention.

What I would like to do

is to maintain the idea of having a TV,

but having the option to have it completely disappear.

A very easy solution is to have a projector on the wall

where the TV would normally go.

What I would like to do

is to actually integrate that projector into the ceiling,

and at the push of a button,

the projector screen could come down

and it would cover the wet bar here,

and you could watch TV from the sofa that’s across from it.

So now let’s talk about TVs.

Back in the ’90s, it pretty much took over your whole room.

So this is where we started.

We had a big TV living in a giant case,

and underneath it was probably a bunch of components.

So I’m actually gonna put the TV

exactly where it is right now.

But thanks to the advent of flat screens,

and also thank you, Samsung, not an ad.

Samsung Frame TVs are actually one of my favorite things

to do for clients,

and I am going to utilize this whole ribbon idea of,

like, this is how the paintings are hung on the wall

to disguise the TV as a painting.

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I think I was able to achieve the goals here

of creating a much more livable, relaxing environment

that really paid homage to nature

by having the sofa facing the great outdoors,

instead of it being slapped up to the window

with your window view behind you.

I think that we are able to turn this drab room

into something that’s more of a fab room.

It’s totally fine to have a space that’s a bit small

and maybe a little bit dark.

I think sometimes it’s really good

to actually lean into some of the challenges that we have

because it can create an outcome that’s really special.

It makes it feel very intimate,

and it’s like a hug, you know?

It’s like a very sexy hug.

I love this room so much.

I don’t know that it’s for everyone,

and that’s the point of design.

But for me and for the folks who are really into,

like, 1980s chintz revival, like blue and white,

light but bold, and, like, overall kind of light and airy,

but still there’s a lot going on,

I think this was a successful design.

[upbeat music] [graphic scratching]

Oh my God.

How different. Look at this.


We’re so different. Wow.

Wow, wow. So different.

[Darren] Did you keep the TV anywhere?

I did. Where is it?

It’s hiding.

It’s a Samsung Frame TV

and there’s a Cavalier King Charles spaniel photo on it.

Oh, a little Mario Buatta reference.

Thank you. Oh yeah, definitely.

This whole thing is a tribute.

Most definitely. Thank you for noticing.

And I love your hit of that red. What’s that red?

I’m a lover of red,

so that nice afterglow there is really kind of hot.

Yeah, so I made this little vestibule here,

like a really beautiful, kind of orangy red.


And I think it’s kind of glowing out in the space.

Love. Love.

Yeah, a little pop of color, I think,

was kind of important for the room to sing.

Yes, I did a few.

Yeah. Yeah, you do.

Mine is a little bit more subtle and serene.

[Noz] No, I love. It’s so chic.

Sort of dark decoish, but…

No, I love that. I love the deco.

Like my personality, dark and deco. Yeah.

Oh. [Darren laughs]

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