Want to give a room in your home a fresh vibe but don’t have the time or money to spend on a full redesign? A number of little changes throughout the home — as often as you like! — can give a space a new look that won’t cost an arm, a leg or an afternoon.
Below are our favorite easy decorating tricks.
▪ Create scale: Many of the most unforgettable rooms I’ve seen have one thing in common: scale. Sometimes it’s a cheeky oversize lamp, other times it’s a cozy sofa that appears to span the entire room, and often it’s a big, tall indoor tree that feels like another person in the room.
The trick here is to work with what you have. Consider placing a planter on a plant stand or raising an adjustable lamp up a few inches. The results just might be dramatic.
▪ Frame artwork or mementos: Whether you have a drawer full of your children’s artwork you’re saving, newspaper clippings from a special day in history or a cool drawing or print you’ve been hanging onto, the time to frame it is now. Just pop it into an inexpensive frame and hang it on an empty wall, and your home will instantly feel more “you.”
▪ Rearrange your furniture: The cheapest decorating trick I know is to go shopping in your own home. But that doesn’t have to mean taking things out of the attic or dusting off items on a shelf: Simply rearrange what you’re already using and you’ll notice a huge impact.
One of my favorite uses of furniture is a desk as a nightstand.
▪ Accessorize your mantel: Some of my friends with fireplace mantels in their homes have taken a “one and done” approach, styling the surface as soon as they move in and rarely again. In my opinion, the shelf should be switched up seasonally, if not monthly, for a fresh look. Poke around your house to see what accessories might be worth displaying there, or just shuffle existing accessories around.
▪ Add greenery: It doesn’t have to be an expensive orchid or an entire ficus tree: A couple of branches usually will do. It will breathe new life into your living space.
▪ Toss on a sheepskin or throw: Starting to feel sick of that investment chair you thought you’d love forever? Toss on a sheepskin or a simple throw to give it a fresh face and a nice and cozy textural quality. The extra layer can work wonders in a flash.
▪ Swap photos in your frames: It doesn’t cost a dime, but this one small change can make your rooms look new to you every time you walk through them. Suddenly that console table you pass by daily without a thought will catch your eye.
▪ Add (or paint) a pop of color: It’s amazing what a little contrast can do. If a room in your home is feeling stale, choose a color that contrasts with the color scheme you have going and find a way to bring it in. A small can of paint could do the trick.
▪ Restyle bookshelves: Try stacking books instead of standing them. Move bookends around. Organize them in a new way: by category, color or alphabetically. The whole space will feel like it had a mini makeover.
▪ Lower furniture: If you’re going for a modern look, lowering your furniture by removing or shortening the legs can be transformative. Your furniture will need to have a streamlined shape with a flat base to begin with, but if so, removing the legs can make a bed or side table seem like an entirely new piece.
▪ Zhoosh your coffee table: In my house, it happens at least once a month. There’s never a right way or a wrong way: The trick is just to do it differently than before.
Pull out a coffee-table book you haven’t looked at in a while. Fill a bowl with nuts. Stack books. Display a sculptural accent. Any zhooshing you do will make the space feel livelier and fresher.
▪ Create a vignette: A vignette is an arrangement of accents in your home. Find a table or surface that is empty or staid — the dining table is often guilty — and style some accessories there. Arrange candlesticks, flowers or other favorite items, and follow the rule of threes (good things come in threes). Try setting a few accents out at varying heights. Have fun and play around.
▪ Fill an empty corner: Ever walk into a room and just feel like something is missing? Look in the corners of the room and any nooks. Is there furniture there? Or art? Move an armchair or hang a frame, and the area may not feel so blank.
▪ Move throw pillows around: Practically every room in the house could use a throw pillow, and moving them from one room into the next and vice versa can change your color schemes with little effort. It won’t work if the colors in each room don’t already complement each other, but often they will. Think about it!