OUR SUBURBAN HOME TOUR
Here, you’ll find brief Before + After photos of each room we renovated in our Suburban Home (2017 – 2019). For updates in our current home, Our California Bungalow, subscribe here to receive alerts when we complete a new project.
You can click the links to see all sources for the decor products I’ve used in each room. You can also Shop My Instagram or See My Current Favorite Home Deals via the sidebar on my blog (updated weekly).
OUR SUBURBAN HOME
We sold this house in 2019 after a 2 year renovation. For more on why we moved, see this post: We Are Downsizing: Why My Family Is Choosing Life In A Smaller Home
OUR SUBURBAN HOME EXTERIOR – FRONT YARD
When we purchased the house, our front yard was in pretty decent shape. We did take out a couple of trees that impeded the growth of grass and flow of the walkways. We also tidied up the flower beds and installed hanging flower baskets.
During our Spring Makeover, we installed new lighting, updated the door color, installed new hardware, and gave the mailbox a refresh.
OUR SUBURBAN FOYER
Our foyer got the biggest updates. We knew we’d need to replace the carpet on the stairs, so we tackled that during our Fall 2018 One Room Challenge makeover by removing the old carpeting and replacing it with wooden stair treads. You can see the tutorial for that process here: DIY Hardwood Staircase Makeover: Replacing Carpet With Wood Treads On Pie Steps And Curved Landings
To get a high-end look on a budget, I transformed an old parson’s table into a Serena + Lily-style raffia console using wallpaper: Serena & Lily Inspired Console Table: Build It Cheaper Than You Can Buy It . Then I painted the old yellow wood stair railings white and updated the handrail with a dark gel stain for a more modern look.
OUR SUBURBAN POWDER ROOM
While we didn’t give this space a ton of coverage on the blog, this powder room makeover was actually the very first project we tackled when we moved into our suburban home in 2017.
It was a tiny room, so I knew I wanted to bring in some pattern for visual interest. I lightened the space with fresh paint and wallpaper. An interesting mirror and brand new vanity sconce really upped the glam factor in here too.
OUR SUBURBAN DINING ROOM
Giving our suburban home’s dining room a complete overhaul was quite a long process. First, we started with just repainting the space, updating the lighting, and adding new curtains and chairs.
This room was truly beautiful and if I had it all to do over again, I would’ve stopped here. But, then, you know, I got antsy.
During the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge, I chose to give this space a complete overhaul with new wallpaper, a board and batten treatment, custom curtains, and the installation of new wall sconces.
While this space definitely felt more like us than the previous space, once we made the decision to sell our suburban home, it was apparent that we’d need to refresh it a little to make it more buyer-friendly (ie, less taste-specific).
We decided to carry a little mini-makeover into this space during the 2018 Fall One Room Challenge. Our final dining room look isn’t my favorite of all time but it was perfect for staging.
OUR SUBURBAN KITCHEN
Our suburban home’s kitchen was a work in progress the entire time we lived there. Like most of the house, it was original to the 1990s build date. Nothing in this space had been updated in twenty years. So we knew it would be impactful to make a few changes.
We started small. By painting the walls a lighter color and updating the light fixtures, we already felt like we had a brand new kitchen. The space felt brighter and cheerier once we took down the old curtains and opted for opening the windows to the backyard. I also added a touch of color to the space with a few coats of navy blue paint on the kitchen island.
Eventually, the old black appliances started breaking down on us so we replaced them with a streamlined set of stainless steel ones. During this period, we also opted to carry the same paint color we used in the foyer into the kitchen.
Before we listed our suburban home to sell, we finally replaced the laminate counters with an affordable granite and used a standard 3×6” white subway tile to finish the backsplash.
OUR SUBURBAN LIVING ROOM
Minimal updates made a big impact in this space. A new sofa and lighter finishes created a fresh look without spending much money.
The room served as a neutral palette for displaying seasonal decor:
OUR SUBURBAN HOME OFFICE
Since I work from home full-time, having a dedicated workspace was extremely important to me. It was also important that this home office be chic and understated, as it serves as the backdrop for many video calls with my long-distance clients.
To give the space a revamp and some privacy, I installed French doors, painted the built-ins blue, and decorated the space to blend my upscale glam style with my wife’s modern aesthetic. Then I got back to my roots and refinished an antique desk for us to share.
The result is a space we both loved to spend time in every day.
OUR SUBURBAN BACKYARD
In the two years while we were living in our suburban home, we hosted a ton of backyard gatherings and used this space a lot. You wouldn’t have known it, though, because we basically left it looking like the hot mess it was when we bought it. In the Spring of 2019, with an impending list date, we finally kicked it into high gear and gave this backyard a total transformation on a very limited budget.
Gathering inspiration from fellow blogger friends and their outdoor living space makeovers, I refinished the deck and re-landscaped the backyard. The final result was a forest-inspired backyard that we thoroughly enjoyed until our home sold in July 2019.
When we replaced the carpeted stairs with hardwoods, we knew we’d also need to replace the upstairs hallway carpeting. It was in pretty rough shape and we knew any potential buyer would want a flooring credit. So instead of offering a discount on the sales price of the house, we paid to have hardwood flooring installed and gave the entire space a fresh look with some new paint, updated lighting, and modern door hardware!
OUR SUBURBAN MASTER BEDROOM
The master bedroom in our suburban home was really big compared to the bedrooms we’d previously lived in. We absolutely loved how much light this room got.
Over time, we talked about renovating this space a lot. First, we explored ways to bring in a more serene and neutral color palette. We opted to update the space with a lighter bed frame and headboard. During this time, we also considered painting the walls a lighter neutral to match the rest of the house.
Eventually, we made big plans to completely overhaul this space. However, we never ended up touching a thing. We added some artwork for free. Then that was it. In the end, the bedroom felt light enough that we didn’t even end up painting or adding curtains. When we moved out, it felt fresh enough for staging and our buyers commented that they really loved the calming bedroom.
This space is a true testament to the power of new decor. It really didn’t take much to make this space feel completely rejuvenated.
OUR SUBURBAN MASTER BATHROOM
OUR SUBURBAN NURSERY / SECOND GUEST ROOM
If I were to pinpoint one single space in our suburban home that served as an example of the reasons we downsized, this room would be it. This house has four bedrooms and our family has three members (not counting pets, of course). When we moved into this 3,000 square foot house, we’d always planned to have a bigger family but that just never happened.
We already had one guest room. So what do you do with a bedroom that only gets used once a year? Turn it into an office? Well, we had a dedicated home office. I could’ve made it into the crafting space of my dreams but I knew I’d still be crafting at the dining room table. So having this space just made no sense for us.
We really did try to make this an inviting and fun space for our overflow guests to spend time. I created a window treatment out of cardboard and gave the room a lift with some colorful artwork.
But, at the end of the day, the space just wasn’t necessary for us and it was really small. So when we listed the house, we used our daughter’s old nursery furniture to stage it.
OUR COLORFUL KIDS BATHROOM
Our suburban home had a total of 3 bathrooms; a master bathroom, a small powder room, and this hall bathroom. Since we had our own bathroom, this space was exclusively used by our daughter and an occasional guest. It was pretty boring and a lot of the finishes were old and gross.
So I spent eight hours and $250 giving this bathroom a colorful refresh. The result is a space our daughter loved that felt fresh and fun! Then I spent another $20 updating the storage to make room for every toiletry and bath toy we’d ever need.
OUR SUBURBAN GUEST BEDROOM
Our guest bedroom never saw much activity but I did make sure to get it some love with a fresh coat of paint and some relaxing textile patterns.
OUR KIDS BEDROOM
This is the one space in the house which never appeared on the blog and for which I have no Before photo. The reason? Our daughter asked me very early on to keep this room private. So, while we did a fair amount of work in here, we never took any pictures of the space because she wasn’t ready to share it.
I did, however, get permission to share photos of a fun project I completed in her closet. She used her walk-in closet as a playroom. For storage, I built simple shelves and stained them in all the bright rainbow colors that she loves.
OUR SUBURBAN BONUS ROOM: FAMILY MEDIA ROOM
Our Bonus Room was originally an unused space. Remember that we downsized when we moved to our current home? This room is a big reason why. We never used it so it just became a dumping ground for miscellaneous objects and overflow media (DVDs, CDs, yes we still have those because we are old).
We tackled this makeover during the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge and gave it a pretty facelift on a major budget!
Then I made a few cheap furniture upgrades to make our old sofa and TV console look more modern. I figured out how to dye our sofa cover in our front-loading washing machine and added new modern wood knobs to our Ikea Hemnes cabinet for less than $5 total!
The final update came with accessorizing. I created this kid’s art station for our daughter to store her artwork and supplies. Then I dispersed our vintage family heirlooms and favorite artwork throughout the space to give the room personality.