Simple steps can brighten any room.
You completed a long-planned total room makeover in your home: New furniture, window treatments, fresh paint or wall coverings. Your planning and hard work paid off.
Congratulations! But like many proud homeowners, as much as you relish the all-new decor in the room you made over, you may encounter a bit of, well, sibling rivalry.
Yup, your all-new room is now a paragon of beauty. But other rooms may now seem a bit dull in comparison. Take heart, there are solutions here – and ones that won’t break the bank.
For most of us, replacing all of our furniture room by room in one family fiscal year isn’t feasible. That doesn’t mean you can’t make simple, easy and often inexpensive changes to other rooms in your home so each will compare well to your all-new room.
This little secret is one interior designers have long known: A home is a work in process. That bedroom your daughter loved when she was five years old won’t carry her through her teen years. And furniture styles and your own tastes will change. That’s why many homeowners tackle big updates on a room-by-room basis, while simply freshening other rooms.
15 quick and easy ways to spruce up a room.
- Give your windows something new to wear. Ready-to-hang window treatments are easy to install and yield dramatic results, transforming a ho-hum dining room or living room. Or start smaller. Maybe all it takes for a fresh look is a new curtain rod. Experiment!
- Place flowers with a flourish for an instant breath of fresh air in any room. Or, if you prefer, potted ferns, wreaths, and potpourri can also make a statement. The focal point of the display doesn’t have to be only the greenery— give thought to the vase, as well.
- A simple area rug can dramatically change the feel of a room. Dress up with an Oriental rug, or lighten up a dark room with a white or cream-colored rug.
- Warm up your family room with a fireplace. Don’t live in a cold weather climate? No problem. A faux fireplace will work just as well, adding ambiance or romance to unexpected places. You can buy a complete “fireplace unit” from specialized retailers and build your own mantle with an eye-catching array of candlesticks.
- Brighten up with new lighting. If you’ve had your eye on an antique lamp or fun lampshade, why resist the urge any longer? A new lamp will make you feel you’re in a brand-new room. You can install strip lighting above cabinets. Also consider redirecting your existing lighting to highlight particular features of your room.
- One word: Paint. Granted, “paint it” is the most common suggestion you’ll hear to update a room. But it remains good advice. Don’t feel bound to one shade of Sherwin-Williams, either — get creative and paint your walls and floors with borders, vines, even faux rugs.
- Install decorative display shelves. You’ll solve storage and decorating issues at the same time. If you collect shells, matchbooks, or family photos, don’t hide them away. Give each their own space to shine, and give your room a new vibe in the process.
- Fabricate a new look. When was the last time you let loose with new fabrics or changed up colors and textures? Pick fabrics you love, then use your new finds as tablecloths, runners, pillows or even upholstery. Fresh fabrics can unite a room and take a low-key look up a notch.
- Organize a room around a theme. This works best in rooms where you don’t have to be quite so serious, such as kids’ rooms and bathrooms. Turn your bathroom into a miniature tropical escape with bright, festive colors, or give your family’s little princess her own “castle.”
- Break out the hammer and ruler: “Deck the Halls” is a famous Christmas song and excellent decorating advice. Frame photos. Hang artwork. Transform bare walls. Keep in mind the style of frame can matter as much as what it displays, too.
- Add a striking accent piece, such as a Japanese-inspired decorative screen. Whether made of wood, paper, or bamboo, folding screens are unusual, versatile, and add a touch of Zen to any environment.
- Update your hardware. A stylish new door knob or new drawer and cabinet pulls will give a room a new feel.
- Top it all off with trim. You may not think your room is missing anything, but when you add wainscoting and crown molding, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
- Open up a room. It’s an old trick, but it works every time: hang up a large mirror, and watch a small room open up.
- Looking for that finishing touch? Change your light switch plate. Move a piece of furniture from one room to another. The difference from such small details can be dramatic.
Once you start freshening rooms, you may not stop. That can be a good thing. Making subtle updates to a room is fun and a satisfying form of self-expression and creativity. Your guests and family will enjoy your changes, as well.
As for that daughter who wants to move to a big-girl room? You may find that involving her in the new look of her room can be fun and entertaining as well. Even if you feel moved to temper some of her design enthusiasm a bit, working together to update her room with a look you both love can be a great experience that you and she will remember.
Not every room needs a total makeover. These simple, fun and often inexpensive updates can make a big difference in your home. Enjoy!
Katie McKenzie is a contributor to NewHomeSource.
In addition to her posts on NewHomeSource and the NHS blog, her work has appeared on Raleigh.com, LosAngeles.com and SanFrancisco.com. She also writes about real estate from a more local perspective as the current St. Louis Real Estate Examiner on Examiner.com.