Outdated Family Room

Carter Oosterhouse uses bamboo plywood to build an entertainment center and a mantel cover.


The family spends most of their time in this room, but the space doesn't feel comfortable. Even though they brought their old furniture with them, the room still feels like it belongs to the previous owners.

Related To:

  1. Living Rooms
  2. Modern
  3. Styles

Before: Doesn't Feel Like Home

Jill and Frank Roberson and their two children recently relocated to Denver from Atlanta –– leaving behind a beautiful home they had painstakingly renovated to reflect their modern style. Their new house is anything but beautiful and they’re embarrassed to show guests the dated family room. Carter can turn this dreary, outdated, brown room into a colorful, contemporary place to hang out and entertain.

After: Comfy and Retro



The dated wall paneling is brightened up with sunny yellow paint.

The dark-brick fireplace is given new life with a couple coats of white paint. To give the fireplace a contemporary look with balance, the hearth is resurfaced in stained cement and the mantel is covered in bamboo. Leftover bamboo from the mantel project is used to make geometric shelves for the big wall. The shelves add visual interest to the expansive wall and give the homeowners a place to display artwork. The large industrial light box is replaced with a custom-made ceiling fixture. Crafted from stainless-steel bowls and LED lights, the new fixture reflects light off the ceiling and walls to give the room a warm glow. Finally, modern furniture and accessories give the room a fun and fresh retro look.

Product information for items used in this makeover:
bamboo plywood: Plyboo
hybridized Portland cement: SkimStone - Minoan Red and Yellowstone
grass stalks: Target - 065050237
vases on art shelves: Wal-Mart - 8 ½" square (003885813204), 9" square (003885813212), 4x4x4 square (003885813189), summer vase (008018505499) and glass bowl (074270231932)
rug, coffee table, green chairs and sofa: Scandinavian Designs - Werner rug (S36 G-85/5x8), Williams table black (CT5078/BK) lime velvet chairs (GRITT-1/HE03-23) and three-piece sectional - Elan Sandstone (2587R-S/2017)
paint: Benjamin Moore - Lemon Drops, Windham HC-6 and Raspberry Pudding 2004-30
glass mosaic tiles: Tile For Less - red, yellow, green, orange
painting above mantel and fortune cookie centerpiece: Cost Plus World Market - "Summer Meadow" (380692) and Asian passage (23426498)
light fixture in kitchen, window curtains and striped drapery panels: Urban Outfitters - Spectrum Chandelier (12653796), Folk Stripe (123907872019-50) and panels - 90x108 bedspreads (AM-126, 2390787)
orange beaded lamp: American Furniture Warehouse (107-2650)
throw pillows: custom-made by designer Polly Blair

Before: 1970s Style



The kitchen is connected to the family room and is also filled with dated style.

The backsplash tile looks like a relic from the 1970s. The cabinets are dark and dreary, and the large florescent light box is just obnoxious.

After: Contemporary Style



The accent wall between the kitchen and family room is painted a vibrant apple red.

In the kitchen, the dated backsplash is replaced with new glass tile. Laid in a funky geometrical pattern, the mosaic tiles unify both rooms because they carry color from both spaces. The large light box is torn down and two colorful, retro-style chandeliers are hung in its place. As a special surprise, Carter and his crew replaced all the cabinets doors and drawers with new bamboo ones.

Green Solution: Bamboo Plywood



Carter built the entertainment center and the mantel cover using eco-friendly bamboo plywood.

Laminated bamboo plywood is a great alternative to standard wood materials. It's made from 100 percent bamboo, which grows rapidly and reaches maturity in just four years. Harvesting is done by hand in closely-managed forests, minimizing any harmful impact on the environment. The bamboo is laminated together using a low-VOC (volatile organic compound) adhesive and is adaptable to many different climates.

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