Before- Staged to sell with a very large, modern, alcohol burning candle where (I think) a traditional fireplace should be.
After- Lighter and brighter. Best bang for our buck was the fireplace. Stu and I installed the fireplace which we got for free from the apartment across the hall. We painted it grey, had a mirror cut, created the slate surround and drove 1 hour to buy the cast iron, art nouveau fireplace insert (which we found on Kijiji). Total project cost around $200... totally worth the effort for such a great focal point!
The seating area is cozy and great for conversation and the arrangement takes the focus off the television and onto the fireplace (where it should be).
The most practical project in the room was the landing strip we created behind the sofa. Stu made the hooks and shelf himself and we had a carpet runner bound to the size that fit perfectly in the long space. There is a long bench made from barn board and plumbing that I made behind the sofa with show storage underneath. By doing this we turned a negative (i.e., having no front closet or proper entryway) and turned it into a positive.
I will miss those floors!