'F' for Freebies

Social Space Makeover Contest

I’ve been able to work with some amazing sponsors here on Making it Lovely. Last year, I partnered with American Express and used their Membership Rewards points program to redo our bedroom. This summer, I was offered the chance to redo another space with 150,000 points, but I’ve been very fortunate lately, and I thought that you might like the opportunity instead. So I’m working with them to give it away!

(That’s enough to win that settee above and then some!)

You could redeem points for gift cards to stores like Pottery Barn, west elm, or Crate & Barrel (I love using my points that way, though I’ve been eying the camera equipment lately.) Or go for something fun like a Wii or a barbecue. There are a million things from which to choose.

Winning 150,000 American Express Membership Rewards points would go pretty far in redoing a room. Given a shopping spree like that, what would you get? I’ll tell you what you should get. Wait, that sounds like I should be shaking my fist at you. What I mean is that the winner will also receive a custom design plan from me with advice and suggestions for the makeover!

A little before & after inspiration…

Brandon and I did this backyard patio makeover on our own (manual labor and all), but every post about makeovers should include a little inspiration! The contest winner will receive a custom design plan like the one I created for our patio to help guide them (though you’d be free to use the points however you wish).

So, how do you enter?

American Express and I want to help you makeover your social space. It could be the living room where everyone hangs out and chats, your kitchen (everyone always ends up in the kitchen at parties, right?), or maybe a it’s a patio or back deck. Where do you spend time with family and friends? We want to help you spruce it up!

Leave a comment with the following to enter:

  • Tell me what space you want to make over, and why. Be brief (a few sentences is fine). I’ll be including your words in the voting round if you’re a finalist!
  • I need photo(s) and/or video of the space. This will also help determine the finalists, and your images are part of what people will be voting on, so make ’em good! You can host your photos and videos on free sites like flickr or YouTube, or you could post them to your blog if you have one. Please don’t post photos or video here — simply include a link to them in your comment.
  • You can enter as many separate spaces as you’d like, but only one entry per person will be selected in the finals.
  • Make sure you enter a valid email address when leaving your comment. It won’t be published publicly, but I’ll need it to contact you if you’re a finalist.

Entries will be accepted through Saturday, June 11, at 11:59 PM CST, and only US residents are eligible. I’ll select the top ten finalists and post them on Monday, the 13th. The winner of the 150,000 Membership Rewards points and custom design plan will then be chosen by readers of Making it Lovely! The runner-up will also receive a prize: a $100 gift card to The Home Depot. Good luck to all of you!

* June 12: Comments are now closed. The ten finalists will be announced Monday, June 13.

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  • Mindy
    June 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    There’s really only two words necessary to describe why I’d like a makeover for my Living Room: VERTICAL BLINDS!!! There are 71 of them in fact, with an additional 27 in the adjoining dining room. The only thing competing with the blinds is the number of shades of brown, beige and taupe! We’ve been here two years and I’d love the opportunity for help in creating a fun, comfortable space for my family and friends. I want people to walk in the door and think “wow, a happy family lives here.” Thanks!

    link to pictures on Flickr

  • Nick Klaus
    June 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I’m respectfully submitting my space. I’m a recent college grad, and I just moved into my first apartment: a studio in Los Angeles. I have a maybe 250 square foot living space that needs to serve as a sleeping, eating and workspace. (though not necessarily all at the same time). My needs are pretty simple, but I don’t really have a lot to start with.

    What I’m looking for is someplace that I can come back to after work and relax in. I’d like to be able to invite friends over and have them be able to sit down someplace. It doesn’t look like much now, but I don’t think it’ll take too much work to get it up and looking great.

    Here’s the link to my entry into the Social Space Makeover Contest.

  • erin godbey
    June 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Oh goodness, please pick me! I’m in desperate need of a backyard makeover, specifically a patio. We’re going to re-seed the lawn and put in a new fence, which leaves no room in the budget for any landscaping or a patio… I’d love to have a patio so much, it would be just perfect for entertaining and relaxing. And of course I’d love to see what you would recommend for outdoor furniture and decor! You can see a couple photos and a short video of the sad space here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eringodbey/sets/72157626815526055/with/5823249066/

    Thanks so much for the generous giveaway, so kind of you! (and Amex too!)

  • Erin R.
    June 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    What an exciting opportunity. We bought our house 1 1/2 years ago and have spent a lot of time working on the inside. We love to entertain, but don’t have an especially large house. We do, however, have a large backyard and love to entertain outside and we live right across the street from an amazing botanical gardens which has a fantastic summer concert series, which makes for wonderful entertainment from some big names in music. We haven’t yet had the resources to create a wonderful space in our yard, but we do have the ability to do the work ourselves. We also have two young children and would like to make this a great space for them as well. We have a large blank canvas and would be thrilled to have the opportunity to create a space for some incredible outdoor entertaining.


  • Nicole
    June 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Nicole!

    So excited about this contest! Thanks for giving us the opportunity.

    The social space I would like to spruce up is our dining room. It’s the first room you see when you enter our home, and people naturally gravitate in there. We’ve been working to get the house ready to enjoy as newlyweds this coming September. We consider ourselves to be creative people but for some reason we’re just stuck on which direction we should take with this particular space, thus this room has looked like this since we’ve moved in.


    Thanks for considering us!

  • Intisar
    June 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Ok, here is our other room we use if a tv isn’t needed. We haven’t done anything beside paint and redo the floors. I’m not set on the color and the couches are from the old house, and the curtain are pretty much place holders until we make more important design decisions.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/63972558@N06/5823261490/in/photostream (before)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/63972558@N06/5823276600/in/photostream/ (current)

  • Jolene
    June 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    The social space I would love to transform is my living room. I just moved into a 1920’s apartment after moving back to st. Louis from Kentucky for 8.5 years. My furniture was mostly broken and cheap pieces left by roommates as they moved on. None of it was worth the expense of moving back and so now I have a dining chair and a card table in my living room and at the moment not much if a means to change that. I would love a space for relaxing and playing with my dog, or using as a guest room when the double French doors are closed. My camera didn’t survive the move sforguve the cell pgone photos.


  • janet
    June 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I added pictures to my empty flickr account just for this! Yay Making it Lovely!
    My son and I moved into our home two years ago. It has been chaotic adjusting to some major life changes, however now things are FINALLY settling down.
    So, on to the home improvements. First room, the kitchen. The only thing I have done so far to this room is add new lighting and clean the mounds of dog hair left by the previous owner. Would love to paint, change out hardware, paint, replace countertops & horrible, horrible flooring, add new appliances (not black) & paint.
    Thanks for the great contest. Here’s to good fortune! And here is the link to my NEWLY ADDED pictures on flickr.

  • Sasha
    June 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Wow, Nicole! This is SO nice of you!
    We bought our 1940’s house in August 2006. Five years later, we are still working on it. We’ve had major issues…rewiring the entire house, plumbing, re-joisting the roof and repairing termite damage…meaning what little money we have had has gone to this. Decor has taken a backseat to function. Although as you’ll see in our Kitchen, it’s still not functional. Having a stove would be completly awesome. Wining this would be such a blessing (for either room)!. Thanks again!
    ~ Sasha


  • Gigi
    June 11, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Flickr newbie here! I tried to put some type of order to the pictures.

    I would love to makeover my deck. I’m currently in the process of redecorating my living room. I have always wanted to have a party and open the doors to the deck and just let the party flow out there. I’ve been living here for 4 years, and all I have so far is a grill and a lounger, whose cushion desperately needs to be replaced. You’ll see it’s missing in the pic. Would love to move the lounger under the deck and do something totally different on the deck.


    Good luck everyone! Nicole, I do not envy you in having to pic the finalists!

  • mary
    June 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Our backyard needs help! Sadly, because it is so hideous, we’ve been too embarrassed to use it as a social space. We have an old concrete area that I would love to use as a patio, and it’s defitely in need of some landscaping. We’ve been overwhelmed by where or how to start… so it would be unbelievable if we had could finally host a party here. Thank you!


  • Allyson H
    June 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    We purchased our first place (Phoenix condo) a month ago. After moving across the country a couple times we didn’t have any furniture, and so far our furniture has been from Craigslist or from the curb. We love our new place, but certainly have some challenges to overcome, such as: vertical blinds (which we can’t get rid of now unless we want to cook eggs on our floor), dated tile around our fireplace, and the general challenges of not having an older house with character, as we would like.


  • Nicole S.
    June 11, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    My back yard is embarrassing. We bought a foreclosure/abandoned Chicago bungalow in October and have been working hard to make it lovely. The one mega-eyesore that remains is our back yard. We’re working towards improvement, but it would be great to get some suggestions from Nicole, as we are first time gardeners. Check out my latest blog post for the full story:


  • Amber Wallace
    June 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    After 8 years of marriage, 3 kids and many many small apartments we finally moved into our first house earlier this year. So thankful and happy! Moving from 650 square feet to 2200 is a big jump. Currently all our extra money is going to sprinklers and grass for our yard. Inside we have a large loft that everyone ends up. It needs to work for kids and adults. It’s also where our only tv is. We pretty much have two big pieces of furniture and…nothing! We have lots of company come and I want it to reach it’s full potential. I think it could be amazing and know it would be great in your hands. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Kathy
    June 12, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Hello Nicole
    We just moved from 1920s bungalow in IL to a Mid-Century modern near Seattle. We could really use some help w/ our basement. The basement is a large family room that walks out to the backyard and has a great view of downtown Seattle. Right now it is just a mess http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathyz65/sets/72157626940663786/

  • Gillian
    June 12, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Can’t seem to get my comment to show here- guess i’ll email you the link :) thanks!

  • Gillian
    June 12, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Ok- now the post is showing :) heehee- oh well we emailed you already earlier anyway with the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx5vZpPDdDs

  • casacaudill
    June 12, 2011 at 1:27 am

    I’d love to get a chance to redeem the 150,000 American Express points to makeover our bedroom. Why? Because we’re in our mid-30s and we still have Ikea furniture and zip ties holding together a $30 sconce that broke six months ago. We’re successful professionals but from the looks of our bedroom you’d never know it. I’d love to be able to ditch the curtains of various lengths, get some real art for the walls, and find a headboard that says “we are adults” instead of “we are just out of college.” They say the master bedroom should be your sanctuary – for us it’s the place we crash and walk through on the way to the bathroom. Nothing more, nothing less.



    The saddest part about our very sad bedroom? The rest of our house is lovely.

  • OurSoundHome
    June 12, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Wow, what a fun and generous giveaway!

    My husband and I purchased our first home this past fall. It’s in an amazing location on the water of the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest – we are truly blessed! That being said, we definitely purchased a “fixer-upper!” We’ve had a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work, too. It was built in 1934, and no one lived in the home for the past 3 years (it was an older couple who owned the home, and they moved across the country to be closer to their kids). So, we’ve had a lot of general cleaning up in the yard to do – pulling out blackberry bushes and pruning the heck out of the roses and other shrubs. It’s starting to look more green and has a bit more life, but we really need some design ideas for our patio! I think it could be a really fun space, and we want to spend more time out there to enjoy our view this summer. Right now, all we’ve got is the concrete and a couple plastic adirondack chairs (love them, but real wood would be awesome). Anyway, take a peek!! Thanks!


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