It would be wonderful if every so often, you could pick out new furnishings to spruce up your home. But even if that’s more dream than reality, it shouldn’t preclude you from revitalizing your place. Instead of shelling out dollars for shiny new things, take a look at what’s already there.
1. Rearrange the furniture
It’s like a game of musical chairs except you’re moving around the entire contents of a room. Putting the sofa where the armchairs used to be or moving the bed to the opposite wall could give the space a whole new vibe. Keep moving and rethinking until you land on an arrangement that looks good.
2. Declutter every room
“Removing accumulated mishmash will immediately lighten the look of any space and help it breathe,” says Sam Jernigan, an interior designer and owner of Renaissance Design Consultations. “Do a purge of nonessentials, including stacks of old magazines and newspapers.” But it’s not just small items that contribute to the mess: Jernigan says an overload of furniture like side tables and bookcases will make a room appear cramped, too.
3. Switch the dining room with the living room
It’s a more extreme version of rearranging the furniture within a room – moving the contents out of one room and putting it all into another, and vice versa. Sounds crazy but it’s another way to create a fresh look. If that’s too over the top for you, just move around smaller items such as rugs, lamps and artwork from room to room.
4. Shop in your closet
Reach way, way back in closets and cabinets for items that you never use or forgot about. You’ll be surprised how many vases, framed photos, even lamps you’ll find hiding there. Switch out your current crew for these “new” finds – it’s like going on a shopping spree for free.
5. Decorate with nature
Your tulips and hydrangea look beautiful in your garden – why not bring some of that gorgeousness inside? Put them in one of your newfound vases and suddenly the room will seem cheerier and brighter. Also, says Jernigan, “Scour the outdoors for interesting foliage you can scavenge and place in an oversized pot or urn.”
6. Group artwork on a large empty wall
There’s power and beauty in numbers, but there’s a trick to grouping artwork. Choose a unifying element, such as all black-and-white photos or all gold frames, something that will pull it all together and create a cohesive look when the pieces aren’t all the same size.
7. Paint a wall or two
When you were decluttering the basement, did you find any half-filled cans of paint that are still good? Don’t throw them out. (Or buy a new can if you have no leftovers.) “Nothing beats the transformative power of color,” Jernigan says. “One of your best values is in a gallon of paint, whether painting a ceiling, focal wall, or an entire room. You can create any mood you want.” Rolling over any architectural eyesores or dated elements with unbroken color also helps problem areas visually disappear, she says. “It’s camouflage in a can!”
8. Hang large mirrors
When strategically placed, a mirror can instantly make a room look larger thanks to optical illusion. Since they reflect natural and artificial light, rooms will appear brighter; to make a space seem taller, install a floor-length mirror. If you’ve got any stored in the attic, pull them out and put them to good use.