'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.

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Stephanie F.
    June 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

    My boyfriend and I are about to be a first time home buyers- closing on August 19th (!!!)- and our entire new home is in need of a makeover. Currently, the owner uses the living room space as a playroom for her in-home daycare. There are nicks on the wall, scuffs on the floor, and we don’t own any furniture yet so we can’t hide any of it! I am desperate to make this room cute and cozy and warm, which at the least means getting rid of the blood red paint. Please help! See a photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62682650@N02/5796685781/in/photostream

  • sarah hennessey
    June 6, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Oh dear. Look no further than my kitchen. It’s original to my 80-year-old house, and boy does its age show. http://sarah-hennesseyhouse.blogspot.com/2010/05/dreaming-of-white-eh-or-gray-kitchen.html is where you can find many pics. We have to use a crappy white garage shelf for our “pantry” and the electric blue ceiling fan desperately needs to go. I’d love to buy some island for the center of the kitchen, and have even been swooning over some DIY projects where people turn a dresser into a kitchen island. I would loooooove to get some help on this room!!!

  • Tina
    June 6, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Wow! This is so generous of you! As much as I would LOVE to keep them myself and cash them in for a Hoffman bed from Room & Board, I would give them to my parents. My mom’s been unemployed for over two years and is going out of her mind sitting in her house staring at her outdated furnishings from the late 90s. I always enter her in contests, but haven’t been lucky enough to win yet.

  • Veronica
    June 6, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I would love to make over my master bathroom –

    Think carpeting (I know…), faux marble everywhere, oh yes and there is also a fan hanging above the shower.


    Please help.

  • Whitney
    June 6, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Wow- what a dream! My first thought is my sad bedroom.. We’ve lived in our house for almost three years, and haven’t even painted in there yet (it has contractor’s primer and shows every scuff and bump)! It has good bones: high ceiling, big windows, exposed brick wall.. but I’m stuck and would LOVE the help!


  • Kelly
    June 6, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Oh, this is so exciting! I am dying to make over my sitting room. Right now it’s in a sad state of affairs with 1980’s furniture crammed in an angular space. It’s also a design dilemma because it has a formal fireplace and yet is open to the kitchen with a bar area.

    I need help!!! And Ideas! I was thinking of starting with a starburst mirror and slipcovering the furniture because reupholstering would be over $3000…

    Here is a pic.


  • Ms. Amy
    June 6, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Oh my goodness! I would love help in my new kitchen! We haven’t even moved in yet, but I have big ideas. I love to cook and spend time with my family there & right now it is just a tired, dark space.

    The evidence:

  • April
    June 6, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I want to make over my kitchen, because it is an original 50s ranch home knotty pine and yellow Formica nightmare. My husband and I have friends over on a weekly basis to cook and watch a TV show together (True Blood in the summer and usually Jeopardy or 30 Rock during the rest of the year) and I would love for them to have a bright, beautiful space to come hang out at instead of a gross eyesore. I feel like a nicer kitchen would also inspire much more fantastic cooking which is always a plus!

    You can see my kitchen (if you dare) in the first two pictures at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.642475496917.2315867.12612779&l=28f9454145

  • Steph @ BirdHouse
    June 6, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Wow – amazing giveaway, and I love that settee! Is this contest available to people living outside the US?

    • Making it Lovely
      June 6, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Sorry, US residents only.

      • Julia
        June 6, 2011 at 9:38 am

        Ah, I was just about to ask the same question.

  • Kristy A.
    June 6, 2011 at 9:27 am

    This could be an answer to our prayers. My husband and I had saved all the money that we could to redo our basement. After deciding that I should be at home with our 7 month old we are realizing our dreams of having a finished family space is slipping through our fingers. At this point any bit would help and this is incredibly generous! Our home is 50 years old, and our (sad basement) potential family room needs you to Make it Lovely!http://www.flickr.com/photos/63829834@N08/5804606944/

  • Caitlin @ TSB
    June 6, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I’m echoing Steph’s comment above – USA only or are us International folks allowed to play too?

    • Making it Lovely
      June 6, 2011 at 9:31 am

      It’s open to US residents only, sorry.

  • Jennette
    June 6, 2011 at 9:46 am

    We have a new baby, so our bedroom is set up to accommodate him, but the tiny living room in our apartment could really use some work. For one thing, it’s almost entirely furnished by Ikea. The only “nice” pieces are a reproduction Eames rocker (pretty scratched up), an antique “dry sink” from my aunt (with a cabinet door that doesnt stay closed) and an almost-useless white side table that just doesn’t fit the room. What we need is storage, and to keep the books (one whole wall is book shelves. We have a great, curved white wall (on which we project movies), but the TV stand is low and doesn’t function as enough storage. Our couch is almost 8 years old and has been completely wrecked by our cat, but we can’t find cover that fits it. This room is a reading, movie-watching, video-game-playing, knitting, record-playing, baby-rocking entertainment space AND where we eat dinner most nights, but it could use a makeover like MAN.

    Embarrassing Video here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jsphotos/5804099695/in/photostream#/photos/jsphotos/5804099695/in/set-72157626774388745/

    I’ll try to add some more photos soon.

  • Amy
    June 6, 2011 at 9:54 am

    We’re moving into our first house in two weeks, and we’re expecting our first (and second) babies in Novemeber. Yes, twins! There is a small bedroom that we need to make into a nursery, but I don’t know how to set it up for twins!

    (No pictures yet, but it’s an awkward shaped room with slanted walls in two places)

  • The Cottage Gray
    June 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

    How exciting! If I could have my way, I’d completely redo our outdoor patio and landscaping. It has the potential to be a really cool and functioning outdoor space. See pictures here: http://www.thecottagegray.com/2010/08/before-pictures.html

    We bought the house a year ago and are s-l-o-w-l-y renovating it. So, far we’ve painted the brick gray (it used to be cream with maroonish trim) and updated the out door lighting, but that’s it. It would be lovely to sit oout there, sip some pink lemonade and just enjoy life!

  • rachael
    June 6, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I’ve got a very bare bedroom that needs some love. http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4054/4306360691_612deb149a.jpg
    no idea where to start…even just some paint colors would be a good beginning

  • Mrs. Foot
    June 6, 2011 at 10:19 am

    What a sweet giveaway!

    I would really love to do something beautiful in our living room. Besides some paint recently, we haven’t done anything in here for over four years. A $20 oversized chair and $60 ripped and stained sofa off Craigslist and no cohesive color scheme really kills any good vibes the space could give off. Pictures can be seen on my blog here: http://www.theproudfeet.com/2010/01/living-room-rearrangement.html or on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41111899@N05/sets/72157626774670969/

  • The Maiden Metallurgist
    June 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

    My husband and I are buying out first house! It is an old Cape Cod fixer upper, and we have a lot of ideas, but we are on a pretty tight budget- most of which is going toward updating old, energy sucking appliances. The living room is pretty low on the priority list, so I would love the chance to make it over with points! We move in 15 days, so right now it is a blank slate- but an ugly slate and in need of some serious help! We have two dogs, two cats and a brand new baby, so we need a design that is comfortable and more importantly we need seating that we can clean when we need to. We are excited to make over our new home, and it is important to us that we embark upon this new adventure in an environmentally friendly way.


  • Amy @ Lovely Nest
    June 6, 2011 at 10:25 am

    This giveaway would be perfect to win! I’m currently working on rehabbing our backyard and this would help a lot since our budget is pretty slim for this project. Here’s my starting post on the project: http://www.lovely-nest.com/blog/2011/6/3/the-journey-begins-backyard-rehab.html

    I’d also love to maybe squeeze in a few updates to the kitchen! I’d love to upgrade our stove and maybe dishwasher and install a new overhead light. Here’s that space: http://www.lovely-nest.com/blog/2011/1/24/circle-circle-dot-dot.html

    I’m not sure how far those points would go in all of my plans, but I’m sure they would help a lot! Thanks for passing this giveaway on to all of us!

  • Liv
    June 6, 2011 at 10:31 am

    The social space that needs some attention in my house is definitely the kitchen/dining area. It’s small and not very functional. I actually entered to win a makeover earlier this year, but since that obviously didn’t pan out, you get the link here!

    The post will show my 2 feet of counter space, my less-than-functional library desk serving as storage, and my tiny little dining area. You won’t see the holes in the floor though… they’re covered by plywood! Also, we don’t have a dishwasher!!! AHHH! Having a baby, a dishwasher could save me so much time.

    Thanks for this chance to win! Check out the link for photos and more info on why I’d love to have some help with this space.

  • meryl rose
    June 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Oh my gosh this would be AMAZING!!!! Next up on our project list is our backyard. We’ve got many variations of concrete all over the place that are cracking, uneven, and just all around unfortunate looking. We’re hoping to sledge it all out and put in pavers and maybe even build a pergola in the back next to our veggie garden.

    Sadly, even though this post is over a year old, the backyard pretty much looks unchanged, although there are no more piles of dirt all over. Thank god.

    Thanks for passing along the giveaway!!!!!

  • Amber
    June 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    HELP! We’ve been in our house for 3 years and I have no idea what to do with this room! It’s our entry living room (we mostly use the family room) and I hate that this is what people see when they first enter our house. We have our old college sectional which is disemboweled, an old C&B rug that’s seen better days and that’s IT. Please help!! I am at a loss as to what furniture, rugs or curtains to buy- I need you Nicole!! It’s a blank canvas and I need your artistic vision (and those AE rewards points!) :)

    • Amber
      June 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      I made you a little video tour of our living room that desperately needs your help:


      This isn’t what I want our friends and family to see when they walk in our front door!!

    • Making it Lovely
      June 13, 2011 at 10:36 am


      (Congratulations, Amber!)

  • Laurie
    June 6, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I have a hidden space, and even the inducement of public shame has not helped it along. The entrance to the backyard, garage and basement is a small, troublesome area that needs color, a mirror, new overhead light, a rug tear out, shoe storage, hooks, a bench and overall a plan. Just looking at that picture makes me freeze with anxiety and lack of direction. I can handle rooms 5x the size, but here I’m stuck.

  • mim
    June 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Our backporch is in need of a redo. We built almost six years ago and intended for that space to be finished and decorated by now. You know, a dining area, conversation area and a hot tub in the corner. Alas it has housed a few make shift dinners as well as a sandbox. Now it’s pretty cleared out. Bring on the makeover!

  • Bee
    June 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I’m not entering the contest (I’m renting now and I’ll be spending next year in France so it’d be wasted on this temporary space if I won) but I just wanted to say that this is honestly probably the coolest giveaway I have ever seen on a blog! :)

    • Ashley sawyer
      June 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Hear hear!! So generous! I love your blog and have read it daily for three years. Furthermore, I love how your writing, photo talent, and project features have continued to blossomed! Keep up the good work Nicole! xo

  • Nicole
    June 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    My husband and I just purchased our very first home!
    We are closing next Friday, the 17th. The house has lots of potential and I can’t wait to get in there,
    paint all of the walls and make it our home!
    The previous owner used the house as a business so the entire house is covered in berber carpet {good for high traffic areas} which gives it a cold + corporate feel. We would like to pull up the carpet and re-do the hardwoods or lay some laminate. The living room also has some “office shelving” that I would like to tear down. The fireplace needs some serious lovin’ and the light fixtures need to be replaced! I have been wracking my brain over colors for the rooms….I would LOVE inspiration + help!


  • AshleyB
    June 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Wow! What a great giveaway! Thanks!

    Though pretty much every room in our house needs work (we just bought our first place a few months ago), I would have to say our formal living room. It’s right inside the front door, and it’s open to the dining room. I’m really having a hard time with this one – it has a strange nook with windows (maybe a window seat?), and I don’t really want a formal living room anyway – maybe a library with a functional work space (I teach at a university and do a lot of work from home)? In any case, I could really use your custom design plan – not to mention the 150,000 reward points (did I mention we just bought our house – “house poor” is a great poor to be, but it makes decorating hard)!

    Here’s a picture of the room:

    Thanks again!

  • Sarah Hettervik @ http://agirlintransit.blogspot.com/
    June 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I love your blog, I love your style, I’ve purchased your products and my friends love them as gifts, I’m an AMEX card holder, I’d LOVE to win this challenge!!!! Below is a small video of my living space that needs some love =)


    – Sarah

  • Danielle
    June 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Sad to say but this is our kitchen-http://www.flickr.com/photos/58304449@N05/5804749055/in/photostream

    I would love for it to be an entertaining area for so many reasons…
    -you get to the backyard, the bathroom and upstairs from it
    -we are starting to cook a lot more at home and would love for our two little ones to be able to be in the kitchen without constantly being worried about what they are getting into
    -we would like to start having our friends and family over more without having to have a kiddie gate up because the kitchen isn’t kid friendly

    We need this makeoever because…
    -we have no cabinet/storage space-even with the small pantry it’s not enough
    -our sticky floor tile floor is cracking and I can never get it clean no matter what I do
    -we’d love to stay in our house for quite awhile but don’t see how we can make this kitchen work for our family of four and don’t have the money to fix it.


  • Amanda Juetten
    June 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Wow, what an amazing contest. I have a newer home and we use every part of our downstairs for social gatherings. We have a twice monthly home group that meets at our house. It’s a group of families that come together to hang out and let our kids visit. It’s a refreshing time for parents to just get together and let the kids run! I would love to makeover my front living room/dining room. It is th hub of social activity on these meeting nights. We congrgate around the table to talk mom talk, and then relax in the living room area to unwind while the kids are playing Wii and other games in the family room. You can see pictures of the lving room here:


    (Right now there are pictures of the Living room, this evening I will add pics of the whole room)

    You can see the serious lack of color and accessories. A rug would be great in here, and slipcovers on the shabby chic sofa and loveseat. (Blessedly free, but hopelessly not my style.)This room has 19 foot ceilings and really could some good lighting. There are so many things I’d like to do, but I would start with color!

    I am so excited about this contest and look forward to seeing who wins and seeing their space made over!

  • Alisa
    June 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm


    Yes, these are also tagged for the Lonny/West Elm giveaway. As you can see, I’m desperate :)

    We’ve been in our 1960 cedar shake cape in the woods for one year. It sat vacant for 2 years before we bought it. Subsequently, all of our money has gone toward ridding it of rodents–both big and small–and armies of carpenter ants. Then we had to insulate… and replace an oil tank. Woo! And just when we thought we might actually have enough of a break that we could buy a sofa, winter came and we had icicles INSIDE the house, so we got new windows [pictured here, in part] instead. Now I have a dead 100 foot oak tree right next to the house that will cost me $2K to take down. It. Seriously. Never. Ends.

    I have 2 little ones as well. Some day I would actually like to have a den where we could all snuggle up and watch some Curious George ;) or maybe have some Mommy and Daddy time after they go to bed. I should probably start playing Lotto, but in the meantime, I’m exploring other options. LOL. Thanks for being so generous with your rewards!

  • Mary
    June 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Wow, I could use the help! I bought a house two years ago. I didn’t get to do any work on it last summer because I tore my ACL and had to have it replaced. So I’m finally getting new windows put in this summer. (Original single-pane windows are not such a great idea in Alaska!)

    I would love to use this prize to redo my kitchen. It’s the darkest part of the house, Probably due to a wood paneled ceiling. Add in old appliances and a tiled countertop that has seen better days, plus some peeling linoleum floors… Help!!

    I just got married and we are using most of our wedding presents to fix up the house. Paying for those windows and replacing just about everything in the bathroom is eating up all our money. Winning this prize would allow us to tackle the projects without the fear of draining our bank account to make the house liveable.

  • diane
    June 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I never enter contests but this one would be so helpful. I would use the points to decorate the nursery for my step-son’s first baby. He is a border patrol agent and works very hard keeping this country safe for not a lot of money. They have a very small room that needs to be turned into a nursery and really no idea how to do it. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Cait @ Henando House
    June 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I’d love to makeover my backyard and/or backporch before my parent’s 30th anniversary, as I’m planning a small party. Sadly my yard and porch looka like this right now.

    I would love to get some globe string lights, outdoor chairs & table and finish up our reclaimed brick patio that I’ve been planning on the cheap.

  • Tanya
    June 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you for an awesome makeover contest!
    We bought our ranch house 2 years ago. And we are slowly renovating it, room by room. I’d like to redo the kitchen and adjacent family room. The dark cabinetry and so 70s wood paneling are an eyesore :-). Either room would really benefit from sprucing it up and feel more inviting for family and friends get together!

  • Kim
    June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I want so badly to redo my bedroom. It was the first room we tackled when we bought our house over 2 years ago and it’s the only one I really haven’t changed. And now it needs to be updated. This room is huge and has a TON of windows so I haven’t been able to really settle on anything yet. I do have new white curtains for the big window but nothing else for the french doors or other 4 windows. I want to get rid of the brown and go with a soft blue. Add a comfy chair in the corner but otherwise I think the furniture can stay. Oh and I want a new headboard!!! Here are some pics! Thanks this is an awesome opportunity!

  • Circa1972vs1906
    June 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I have been working on my glass studio space for quite a while now and just haven’t had enough money to complete the project! I need to get a move on and get back to work, so I would be truly grateful for the assistance! I’ve done all the basic business, the repainting and I rewired some fixtures and outlets. Though I’ve gotten that chunk out of the way, there are so many projects that need bigger fixes than I can currently afford. I am looking to replace the current sink fixture with a more practical industrial sink, upgrade the wiring to accomodate a kiln, install some really useful shelving and stylish storage and rid myself of IKEA-land! Help!!
    Here’s a shot of the rewiring project: http://circa1972vs1906.tumblr.com/day/2011/05/29

    Here’s an initial moodboard, before I decided to go with the purple walls! http://circa1972vs1906.tumblr.com/post/3456552806/glass-studio-moodboard

  • Andrea Jay
    June 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Generous indeed. My new to me kitchen could really use some updating, thanks for the chance to win!

  • Helena
    June 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Oh wow – I may have to enter!

  • Renee
    June 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Whenever I have friends over we always end up eating in my living room as my formal dining room is not available for dining. It has my desk, the cat tree and a foosball table I got for free a few years ago. I think the foosball table is kind of funny but since I’m over 40 now perhaps it is time to actually have a space for dinner parties. I’ve often considered changing the space but can never commit to any ideas. The help of a designer would be just as awesome as help with the furnishings. The room photo is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/45734482@N05/5647826074/in/photostream

  • Jessica
    June 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Our home is a 1920’s colonial and the living room layout has me stumped. Currently we have a lot of wasted space. Family is important to us, and everyone tends to gather here but they have no where to sit! We end up pulling the dining room chairs in or people sit on the stairs (not the most cozy). I love Nicole’s style, and how she mixes the modern and vintage.


    There are a few pics from different angles to get an idea of the odd shape to the room on the flickr page.

  • Caitlin
    June 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Nicole, this is such a generous offer! Thank you for allowing your readers to participate, that’s very thoughtful of you :)

    Anyways, the room I’d LOVE your help with is my living room, seen here on my blog: http://desertdomicile.blogspot.com/2011/05/living-room-tour.html

    It’s black and white and blah all over! I’d love a new living room rug and a smaller couch that I can face towards the fireplace to create a cozier seating area and some giant art piece above the entertainment center would be great. I’d also love to bring in some more colorful accents that would make the space feel more lively since it’s the most used room in my place :)

  • Kate
    June 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    We are a family of six people and five indoor/outdoor animals living in a small 1300 square foot house. While the house is small, it has an open floor plan making it easy to all be together in the kitchen/living room/dining room are. When we have company, the adults congregate in the dining room while the kids play outside or take over the living room. We desperately need help in the dining room. We only have four chairs (and four kids!) and every piece of furniture has taken a beating. My mom recently gave me her formal china and I love to use it but have no place to store it. We need a hip, child-friendly room that people can hang out in when we entertain.


  • nanne
    June 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    oh, my basement…my basement that has lovely bones–hardwood floors, real walls, fireplace, custom cabinets–but it is the final resting place for ugly, unwanted furniture. kind of like the island of misfit toys in rudolph the red nose reindeer.

    the basement (where the teenager & college student take their friends to hang out, act silly & spill lots of sticky stuff) SO VERY much needs an l-shaped sectional sofa with a pull out bed (covered in nuclear proof fabric)…it needs other things, but it’s not greedy, it just wants to feel pretty…

    nanne in indiana by way of alabama

  • Laundry Room Before | For The Love Of Skinny
    June 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    […] These photo are for a contest on Making It Lovely for a Room Makeover. […]

  • Morgan Melim
    June 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    We are living in a rental, but have plans to be here for at least 5 years. When we moved in the house was really run down. We did a lot of work, but one room we haven’t touched is our laundry room. Id LOVE to have it painted with new floors and get new washer dryers (ours are wood-paneled and dont work well) As well as storage and paint!

    You can see two video that show a little bit of the laundry room. The first is the BEFORE and also the AFTER PAINT video.


    And here is pictures of the laundry room:

  • Kat
    June 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    We would love to be able to refresh our living room. We spend more time in it than any space and it is the least compatible with our style. We put in new floors last year but we still have a huge clunky couch, a wall of black furniture and a large space that we don’t know what to do with, not to mention an exposed stairway and railing to contend with… overall its just one big green and black room.Thank you so much for the opportunity to not only enter this contest but to feel like we aren’t the only ones who have some not so perfect spaces in need of love. Good Luck to everyone and Thank you!!!


  • Gina
    June 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    We desperately need to makeover our patio. We just celebrated our one year anniversary in our new construction home and we have done virtually nothing to our patio!! We love to grill with family and friends, but no one ever wants to hang out on the patio while we cook or to eat since it is so barren.

    We did throw down some cheap indoor/outdoor carpet to cover the dusty carpet, but I’m not in love with the look. You can also tell from the photos that we are in serious need of something that will give us a bit more privacy from our street and neighbors…and the hand-me-down table and chairs is the same color as the walls and carpet… blah beige!

    Here is a link to a few pictures. It’s a small space, but I think it has huge potential to be made lovely!!


  • Mary Fran
    June 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    My husband and I desperately need to update our tiny kitchen! Our cozy rowhouse is only 18 feet wide overall, and the kitchen is less than 7×15 feet. Pictures (it’s tough to get a good shot of such a tiny space!) are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elephantwedding/sets/72157626290685608/with/5536369374/

    The lowdown on the kitchen: I love the functionality of all our cabinets (especially how deep they are), but we don’t have enough storage–appliances and pantry items are all over the countertops. We installed shelving to hold some appliances, but since i’m only 5’3″ i have to stand on a stool to reach the toaster oven. The mis-matched countertops (both green, but not identical) have got to go. I HATE the weird floral pattern on the floor tiles. The whole thing is too much of a hodgepodge.

    The bottom line is, I’d love to have a kitchen with a cohesive design. I get overwhelmed by all the possibilities, but I dream of a kitchen that is light, bright, airy, open *and* a little bit vintage/funky. If we could cram in more (or perhaps more clever) storage so that we don’t have to store lots of stuff on the countertops, I’d be in heaven.

  • Julia
    June 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    What a great giveaway! I’m very excited to see who wins. We live in sad little rental that has some great features. I can’t decide between a living room or the master bedroom… I kind of want to go with the master – I’d never get rid of anything I got! Master’s are always the last to get decorated for me, but my husband and I would love a nice bedroom.

  • Jane
    June 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Wow- what a generous contest! We are trying to work on our living room but have not been very good at it. I know I like my furniture but I am not used to decorating anything other than a tiny Brooklyn apartment. When we moved to Houston, we had some more space and some great architectural details but it’s lacking any sort of character. We host a lot of groups- friends, family, etc. but I wish my living room was more welcoming to reflect our desire to welcome people into our home. I’ve added a few photos to flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55168519@N06/sets/72157626777854825/

  • michelle@decorandthedog
    June 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    My basement/family room needs a make-over! It looks like a bachelor’s room…not a room for a happy couple. It’s too embarassing to place on my “house tour” tab on my blog.


  • Eva
    June 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity to enter. I have three separate entries to make because my house is 1970s inside. The living room, the kitchen and the patio are all in desperate need of updates. Out of the three spaces, I would love to do the living room over because that’s where people like to hang out and it is just not inviting. Pictures are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63742890@N05/?saved=1

  • Christine B
    June 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    My master bathroom! Its tiny and has a werid configuration. The hubs and I hope to one day change the layout and turn out bath/shower into a glass shower. Heres the only BAD picture I have on my blog:

  • Kellie
    June 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Please help me Nicole! We have a really great backyard, at least it could be great. I have been wanting to spiff it up but need some assistance. We have lived in our house for 5 years and we still don’t have any outdoor furniture and the patio just pretty much looks… blah. Basically, I just want help with the patio area to make it a space we can actually use. As of yet, we’ve never used the area and I love to entertain but we pretty much only entertain indoors. I have posted a blog about our space here: http://www.dykast.us/2011/05/26/the-backyard/

    Thank you!!

  • Jessica
    June 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Help! My hubby and I have lived in 3 different apartments in 2 different states since we got married 2.5 years ago and FINALLY bought a house. For the first time ever, we have a kitchen that is all our own…unfortunately that kitchen is also lacking appliances and light fixtures. It does, however, have a surplus of wall paper border, unattractive accent walls, mica countertops, outdated cabinets, and linoleum flooring. We have big plans to update on the cheap (I woke up from an intense dream about painting cabinets last night–is that strange??) but we sure would appreciate a little help!
    Check out out lifeless kitchen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63760761@N05/sets/72157626902875182/

  • casey
    June 6, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    What a fantastic giveaway!! How generous of you to share this with a reader!! I honestly need a house makeover…so to choose just one room I think I will go with the one I would put off for the rest of my life unless I won something like this…our master bedroom. It is in DIRE need of a makeover. NEeds a color burst, needs pattern, texture, furniture, decor, curtains…the list is endless!!!
    Here are two pics of our blah room on flickr

  • Brandy
    June 6, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I would love to upgrade my new living room. We just bought a home and there are so many things to do. We have a rectangle-shaped living room and I have no clue what to do with it! Any help would be appreciated!


  • Robin Denning
    June 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Oh how I NEED this! We are doing over our kitchen. We have picked appliances, ceramic tile flooring and Silestone countertops. But I will really need help with a new color scheme. The current colors were chosen to minimize the awful “almond” colored appliances. We are keeping the cabinets (adding black hardware to replace brass)

  • Brandi
    June 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I would love help with redoing my dining-computer-music-art-studying-place where I spend all my time-entertaining room! I need a quirky calm space (sorry leopard you gotta go!) for all of the above activities, but especially for having friends and family over for dinner and games. http://www.flickr.com/photos/14421042@N08/

  • Jessica
    June 6, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Great contest, thanks for hosting! There are so many rooms I’d love to redo (all of them, in fact), but right now the project at the top of my list is my yard. I’m working on it and getting things done slowly but surely, but having extra money (or points) to throw at it would be a huge help. I wrote a post about it here. http://mustaddfabricsoftener.blogspot.com/2011/05/our-not-so-great-outdoors.html

  • Sarah
    June 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Which room to pick? I’d love to rework our living room with a new couch and new furniture arrangement as well as some more cohesive design elements. Or our front porch and landscaping need a ton of work. For some reason we started on the back yard instead of the front.

  • Heather
    June 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Oh good golly, how do I choose?
    Which room is in need of a total redo?

    After a quick tour from the front to the back
    I stop to realize just what the backyard lacks

    A comfy spot to watch my boys run
    Maybe some plants to take in the sun

    It could only get better if given the chance
    Here are some photos, please have a glance


  • Darcy
    June 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    We just bought a new house and the backyard is a disaster. It was a short sale and on the market for over a year until we got it. The grass/weeds have grown so tall we can’t even see what the backyard really looks like. The previous owners laid down astroturf over a concrete slab and threw up some fake bamboo surrounding the area right off the back of the house. TERRIBLE! This picture was taken before the previous owner moved everything out. Currently all that is left is the astroturf and bamboo. Thanks!


  • megan marie
    June 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Ah! Excellent contest.

    I have the interesting problem of having a living room and dining room that are connected by a large opening. The rooms must flow together to look great, and, well, they don’t yet. They need some major love and care, and I don’t even know where to start! My husband and I are still living with hand me downs and college furniture (which is fitting since I am still in school, but still!) but we are desperate to make these interconnected rooms a more amazing place to hang out with our three kitties, one pup, and many friends and family members!

    Here is a flickr set of the space, which shows what it looked like when we first moved in, and what it looks like now:


  • Lizzie
    June 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Wow, Nicole you are super RADTASTIC!!

    Our master *technically speaking* bedroom is in a sad state. The room is a mere 11 x 10 so we had to cram our queen size bed against a wall. There are tons of lovely windows to bring in light but the window treatments are blah-boring. I am so ready to add some *WOW* design in our bedroom even though our 1 year old daughter occasionally sleeps with us.




  • samantha jo campen
    June 6, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I would love to make over our backyard patio. We rent and have lived here a year and a half and this is the first summer the backyard is useable (as explained in the video). It could be such a great space for famliy time and entertaining. We just need some help getting there :-)


    samanthajocampen at gmail dot com

  • rachael
    June 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    jealous! i wish i had my own space to enter. oh well. this is an awesome thing you are offering though.

    love your kiddo’s names,

  • Leah
    June 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Oh wow, I need this!! We moved from a tiny townhouse (I called it my doll house) to a decent sized house – and none of my worn out furniture looks right! I’ve got white, white, white painted wood paneling, white ceilings, a white built in entertainment center and white woodwork. HELP!! Please!! https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=105027711493999978871&target=ALBUM&id=5615302040406733873&authkey=Gv1sRgCP2SlrDv7qSJEg&invite=CIPfrKQH&feat=email

  • Lizzie
    June 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Okay, I totally didn’t see SOCIAL SPACE *Boo!*

    I would definitely like our kitchen/breakfast nook re-designed. The last 5 years in our house we have been avoiding having friends hang out in our outdated kitchen. We have a dining table set that only seats 2 *lame* and a laundry nook that leaves little to the imagination. Nicole, I need your help!! Are you up for this challenge? We would love to host our daughter’s first tea party playdate in our new fab kitchen!!


  • Lisa
    June 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks for hosting such a great contest, Nicole!

    We could really use your help with the totally outdated LR in our new (old) apartment (just closed last week!). It’s a great space — will be the perfect LR/DR space for our growing family (2yo daughter + twins on the way!). But we have absolutely no mojo (or resources) left to design it to the fullest potential. We’d LOVE to have this major to-do off the list + host a proper housewarming/baby shower there later this summer.


  • Alicia
    June 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I’d like to update my living room. I have a set of photos on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/34351218@N02/sets/72157626779563429/with/5806610819/

    I feel like this room is not living up to its potential. We spend most of our time here. I’d just like it to feel more comfortable and I’d like to make a better use of the space.

  • Julia
    June 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    We need help in our kitchen. Its not only stuck in the wrong decade but the lack of countertop space is so frustrating. I couldn’t find room to cut strawberries tonight!

    This is a link of 4 videos. The last 2 are specifically of our kitchen.

  • jessica
    June 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Oh Nicole! This is so amazing, really. You’re too generous. While I’d leap for my master bedroom, it’s not exactly a social space, so the family room in the basement it is. It has good bones, but I haven’t the slightest idea what to do with it. It boasts two ugly (and uncomfortable) sofas and a broken coffee table.



  • Brooke
    June 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Take a look at this Bland living room!! My husband and I have lived in this, our first home, for about one year and aside from a couch and a TV the living room looks about the same. We would love to have our families over for game night or movies, but feel kind of embarrassed by our living room.It looks like someone was inspired by plain oatmeal when choosing paint and carpet!! I would love to add a cozy sectional and hardwood flooring and of course, COLOR!!!

  • Gabi Grannis
    June 7, 2011 at 12:51 am

    What a great idea, and how generous of you to extend this to your readers! I’m expecting Baby #3 in August, and we have three bedrooms, one of which my two boys share. The third is our office space and soon-to-be baby’s room. Herein lies the challenge: both baby and office will have to share. What’s a mother to do? Prepare to be uninspired:

  • Jennifer
    June 7, 2011 at 5:45 am

    A very generous giveaway–thank you! I bought my first house on my own almost four years ago. It had a fully finished basement at the time, and the owners signed off on the papers stating it had never flooded. Two weeks later, during big August rains, the entire basement flooded, and I had to tear out everything. It’s flooded six more times since then. I’ve finally saved enough money to fix the flooding problem forever, but it’s so expensive that I have little left over to restore this space and entertain down there for the first time!

  • Meagan
    June 7, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I want to make over our livingroom. We live in a tiny 740 square feet house and have for 10 years now. We have a 16 month old with maybe baby number 2 on the way and in our super small 2 bedroom house..our livinging room needs to be a lot more functional than it is, since it serves us as play room, dining room and computer room on top of being a living room.

  • Carrie
    June 7, 2011 at 6:54 am

    I’d be making over my backyard! We are having a baby and my dog just had puppies. The patio pavers are just sitting out there and we need to make it a little more livable! Help a girl out!

  • Sarah
    June 7, 2011 at 7:25 am

    The room I am hoping to redo sooner rather than later is my kitchen.

    I bought the house one year ago but haven’t touched the kitchen! I just have no idea where to start!! The listed said “Quaint kitchen has original painted cabinetry”. In this case “quaint” means 9’x9′ and “original” is over 70 years old. HELP!!

    Here’s is the beauty!

  • Jessica
    June 7, 2011 at 7:55 am

    We are moving into our first house in about two weeks and are in desperate need of some family room help! It is a big room (about 16 feet long) which we LOVE, but we currently own only a hand-me-down love seat. Not much seating for socializing! We would love some help in making our first house a home!!


  • Carole
    June 7, 2011 at 7:58 am

    We have two young teens, and we’d love for our house to be the place they want to hang out with their friends. This space would be perfect for a new paver patio, but it’s not in the budget right now. It would be a fun project to work on with the kids once they’re out of school and we’d love to share our progress with everyone.


  • Amanda Joy
    June 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

    This opportunity is so amazing! And my tiny living room could use it BADLY! It’s such a small space, which makes it so difficult to add decor and style. Keeping some function while adding form/style — only a professional can help me!


  • ashley
    June 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

    we just bought our first place and i’m overwhelmed with all we need to do! this is the first room you’ll see when you walk in and i so want it to be as adorable as i imagine it in my mind.


    that’s the previous owner’s furnishings, which aren’t my taste…however i have NOTHING that even reflects my taste right now to fill the space. so who am i to judge?

    i know the competition is fierce so i’ll just end by saying, PLEEEEEEEASE PRETTY PLEASE WITH LOTS OF MAGIC CALORIE FREE-YET DELICIOUS SUGAR ON TOP!

    and also you have great style. :) a compliment never hurt, right?

  • Emily
    June 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Hi Nicole – This is so awesome.

    My backyard needs help. I live in a small house (~900 square feet) and depend on my outdoor spaces as additional living and social space. My backyard needs the most help. There’s a lot of potential and character there (I think), just not sure how to conquer the obstacles (like an A/C unit… which I’ve named the “party pooper”) or design the layout.

    Here’s a photo tour of my backyard in all its glory:


  • Lacey
    June 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

    We are in desperate need of some yard crashing! Please help us with our small backyard and patio space!

    We love to entertain and we would really like to use our backyard as a place to throw outdoor get togethers or just relax with the two of us and our bulldog! We purchased our home on auction last May and we have spent the past year trying to update and decorate on a budget. We think your backyard patio looks awesome and would love to see a similar space for our home.

    You can find the before and after pictures of our home here (the awful backyard pictures are at the end!):


  • Cassie
    June 7, 2011 at 10:31 am

    You’d think two architects could handle this but we desperately need help with our living/dining room. We live in the South Loop and the combination of an annoying curved wall, a big concrete column, very high ceilings and baby stuff galore in our condo has us stymied. You seem to have living stylishly with kids down pat. We have tried a million different arrangements but we can’t get it right! Please help!!


  • Mary Sue
    June 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

    My name is Mary Sue & my original 50’s kitchen needs help! It has some really cool features like the original stove with a pullout range, and porcelain & chrome counters. My family of three spends lots of time in this tiny room cooking and dancing. It lacks some features (i.e- a dishwasher!)… We would love your help making it modern!


  • Kelsey
    June 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    “Our Family Room,” a haiku by Kelsey:


    Check out my plea via video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtW0YwGN1Zk
    The stills are on my blog, here: http://adventuremamablog.wordpress.com/l-r/

    Thanks, Nicole!

  • Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma
    June 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    My “fronch” room {Chicago-speak for frontroom} is in dire need of a makeover. The space functions as a playroom for my boys, and is also retreat for me to decompress at the end of a long day. I hope that the space could scream “kid-friendly chic”.

    Here’s a hilarious vlog of our space, mess and all- Momnivore’s Dilemma-Help this Chicago mama out!

  • Mary Sue
    June 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    My name is Mary Sue & my family room needs help! My vision of a retro modern living space is missing the mark, weighed down by heavy furniture and dark colors! I would like my friends & family to be greeted by a clean, modern, and welcoming space when entering my house & a fun place for my daughter to play…hope you can give us a hand!


  • Kristen
    June 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’m a PhD student so funds are pretty tight right now but I’m moving into a new apartment in July and I’d love to redo the livingroom. My current furniture has done a great job but is showing its age and doesn’t reflect the aesthetic that I’m trying to achieve. I’d love to be able to entertain my friends in a grown-up yet modern and fun space.
    Photos are from the new place with the former tenant’s furniture.

  • Lindsay C.
    June 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    In the 3 years that we’ve owned our house, we’ve completely changed every room with flooring, paint, furniture & accessories and constant editing…EXCEPT for the kitchen/laundry room. We did paint the kitchen cabinets and walls, but I hate the colors and hardware I chose and I want to start over. We have big plans for this space (on a small budget) so I’m dying to fix it.

    Here’s a little photo tour of our house and its transformation…I really love every room now (it’s not completely updated with photos, but the kitchen and laundry room are the same, and we’re even really excited about our backyard transformation we’re working on right now), but the kitchen and laundry room are so sad that we’ve had to wait.


    Thanks for this opportunity and I hope you can help me change my sad, sad kitchen!

  • Bonnie
    June 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    We need to make over our guest room! It’s embarassing to have people visit, it’s the only room in the house where we haven’t been able to decorate it and it’s become the catch-all for all our decorations. I’d like it to be able to do double duty as a lounging/reading room and a guest room so people can hang out in here and talk intimately instead of being in our large living room.
    Pictures are here:


  • Melanie
    June 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I am so excited for this contest! Our poor sunroom, which was one of the major selling points for our house, has been depressingly underused since we moved in over two years ago. Although we have big dreams of making it into a lounge/entertainment area joining our dining room and back yard, we have gotten totally stuck on how to make that happen. My husband and I have our first baby due in eight weeks, so I am envisioning a lot of get-togethers with friends and family in the upcoming months. A sunroom makeover would make all the difference in getting this prime entertainment area out of storage room territory and ready for guests. Hope you’ll consider us!


  • Jo
    June 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    This is a very exciting offer. I’d love you to design our outdoor social space. We have lots of get-togethers both indoors and out. Our yard, porch and terrace have lots of charm but no style. Everything outdoors is lovely but sort of haphazard. Thanks for offering this extravagant prize. Jo
    Here are photos of our terrace and porch both at the back of the house.

    Finally here’s a post from my blog, “Let’s Face the Music”, designating the layout of the place.

  • Joanna
    June 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Our patio is in need of more than just some help…


    its needs an overhaul! Right now we have a very small concrete patio with just enough room for our table and chairs. We’ve been working like crazy on the landscaping around the house, our new vegetable garden, and indoor projects… but now that its finally nice outside we would love to be able to tackle the patio space, too!

    I’m envisioning a larger space, with a rustic pergola covered area, a fire pit, and a new seating area with cushions to lounge, too! I’m new to the blogging world, I’m a reader of many, many blogs that have used rewards points to re-do outdoor and indoor spaces and would love the opportunity to share one of my own transformations!

  • dawn simon
    June 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    How exciting is this contest?

    The space I would love to makeover and get personal design ideas from you for is my backyard. We just bought our first house a little over 2 months ago and I would love to be able to spend a ton of time out there this summer. Here is a blog post I made with pictures and a little video.


  • Heather Joly
    June 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Hi! I would love to makeover our backyard/patio area. We had a tree cut down because it was dropping limbs on our house and we had one come through the roof into our den…so sadly, it was done for our safety. However, when they cut down the tree there was a TON of collateral damage and our yard was ruined :(

    That is our story and I would love to be able to have a nice space with some order restored.

    Here is the link to my blog with the pictures.


  • Ashley Hagerman
    June 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Nicole! This is an amazing contest–and very generous of you to share! I am entering my bedroom. We had a fire last October and were displaced for about 4 months while things were put back together again. Our bedroom received the worst of the damage, but somehow has fallen to the very bottom of our to-do list as we work to fix up the rest of the house. It has a new window/drywall, new carpet and a fresh coat of paint (Morning Fog–Martha Stewart for Home Depot). It needs just about everything….a bed, dresser, curtains, wall decor, etc……My husband, baby girl and I would love to win this contest and the chance to fix up the space with your input. Thanks for considering!!!

    Here is the flickr link:


  • Snowlet
    June 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    My husband is a Major in the US Army and we’ve weathered a long distance marriage. After a few deployments, he’s now in California while I’m in Massachusetts (due to my job)– I’m not complaining, I’d much rather him in sunny California than Afghanistan! However, with a baby on the way, he’s looking for opportunities to serve on the East Coast. I’ve had run of the house–so I’d really like to for him to have a family room/man cave in our (scarrrrry!) basement. We have a few plans in terms of finishing the floors and walls, but have no idea of what to do in terms of furnishings and lighting in this multifunctional space. In this room, I’m looking forward to family movie night, poker night for the boys, a place for overflow guests, and and place for all of The Husband’s hobbies (anything Apple!).

    Links to photos of our basement– as you can see, we really need help!

    And just so you don’t all think that the rest of the house is as bad, here’s the nursery that’s currently in progress.

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