Update: The Mint.com Home Economics Sweepstakes Winner Shares Her TV Room Makeover


Back in July, MintLife hosted its Home Economics sweepstakes. As the lucky winner, I received a $400 gift card to West Elm and 1-hour phone consultation with designer Tracy Hutson. I was beyond excited to win and couldn’t wait to start decorating!

My husband and I decided to update our “back room.” Our house was built in the 50s and a family room was later added to the back of the house. It’s connected to the kitchen and is the entryway used most in our house.

We already had some of the major pieces (paint, leather sofa, and TV) so we wanted to focus on pulling everything together and making the room work better.

These were some of our design questions for Tracy:

  • Help corralling shoes, bags, purses, etc. We already had a vintage coat tree, so we were looking for a table or bench to drop items.
  • Help with the floor plan. There’s a large nook on the side of the room that wasn’t being used.
  • We knew that our current TV unit was a little underwhelming for the space, so we asked Tracy for her suggestions about how to liven up the current unit or if there was a better option.
  • Accessorizing the room (side tables and artwork).

First, Tracy agreed that we needed an entry table to drop off keys, cell phones, wallets, etc. We also needed a proper place to kick off our shoes. I picked up a slim computer table from IKEA as our new entry table. Though I made the piece our own by replacing the glass top with wood.



As for the floor plan, Tracy recommended pulling the couch slightly off the window and towards the center of the room. We moved the couch immediately after the call and it’s hard to believe that such a small change could make the room seem cozier.

Tracy agreed that the current entertainment unit was a little small for the room. So the search was on for something new to be the focal point of the room. We found several incredible vintage credenzas on Craigslist, which would be perfect for our 1950’s home. Though we ultimately picked up a TV unit and shelves from IKEA and spray painted them a glossy yellow.



In addition to suggesting a low console or credenza for the TV, Tracy suggested leaning some larger artwork against the wall behind the TV. Tracy also suggested adding a floor lamp off to the side of the TV. In the end, we purchased a new TV that we mounted on the wall. We’re still on the hunt for the perfect artwork to hang as well.

In regards to our table situation, Tracy suggested putting a console behind the couch, adding side tables, or adding a coffee table/ottoman. After some consideration, we thought that a coffee table would be the best option.

As for the nook on the side of the room near the bathroom, Tracy recommended making a little seating area or adding a low bookshelf that can also work as seating. We went with the low bookshelf/seating option.



In addition to Tracy’s decorating advice, we learned a lot about what it takes to redesign a room on a budget. Tune in next week and I’ll share my top 4 tips and tricks to making a DIY home makeover a success.

Cathy Derus is a Chicago CPA and lover of cupcakes, craft beer, running, nesting, and her hubs. She can be found writing about all of these things and personal finance at Fiscally Chic. 


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