Even If you just make one of these changes, your room will take on a fresh new feeling that will leave you wanting more.
I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true. There are 5 ways to make a recognizable change and update any room in your home. They are; furniture arrangement, color, windows, style and accessories. If you change all five, your room will undergo a complete redecoration. Change just a few and you will give a lovely update to the room. If you only have enough courage to change one thing, you will make that room feel fresher and more interesting. And, we all have enough guts to change at least one thing….right?
1. Furniture Arrangement
I’m going to pretend you all said yes and begin with the least expensive change of all, rearranging the furniture. Matt and I have done this hundreds of times and to date, it hasn’t cost a thing! Plus, a rearrangement of your furniture can happen in just hours and will make you feel like you’ve accomplished a true update….and you have. Putting your furniture in different locations can make a room go from crowded and cramped to spacious, from forbidding to welcoming, or from simply attractive to truly functional.
Here’s how to approach a new furniture arrangement. First, measure your room using a tape measure, marking the location of windows, doorways, and electrical outlets. Then create a scale drawing of the room. This means you transfer the dimensions of the room to paper where 1 foot in your room equals ¼” on paper. Pre-printed graph paper makes this easy. Measure your furniture and cut out “to scale” pieces to move around your floor plan.
I start by marking the traffic patterns through the room and then place the furniture so traffic can flow easily. Keep in mind the function of the room and place pieces accordingly. If you have too many pieces or a piece isn’t working, shop around the house and see if you can swap it with something else that will work even better! My recommendation is to try this when your significant other is out of town…..the reactions are priceless.
Since I’ve started by listing updates in order of expense, least to greatest, let’s continue with color. Paint comes to mind immediately because it costs about $40 a gallon and when you consider any additional materials you might need like a new roller cover or a couple drop cloths, painting any room is a real value.
The best tip I can give for painting a room has to do with your thought process before you get started. I’m referring to selecting a color, which we all know, is a nightmare. So, let’s figure out a way to get it right the first time. The answer is sample boards, made out of pieces of boxes, grocery bags, illustration board or, if you’re gutsy like me, just paint right on the wall. Put swatches of the different colors you are testing in several areas in the room and consider them in all different light situations. Check in the morning, afternoon and evening before making your decision. Then, you can go forth with confidence instead of fear and as you are painting, the room’s transition will be as exciting as it is rewarding.
Update number three is at the windows. This is needed in so many homes today because we’ve never been taught how to address windows properly. There are questions to ask other than what color. For instance, start with function. What do you want the windows to do for you? Is there a light control issue? A privacy issue? A temperature issue? Address these first to determine the layers required at your window to make them function properly first.
Light control, privacy and temperature are best handled with a blind or shade in the window first. Select a style that best fits your needs while at the same time considering the style of your room. Once this is selected, determine whether any additional coverings are needed for aesthetics. Does the window seem too harsh with just the shade? Does the style of the room require more softness or layering? Are there undesirable architectural features that could be hidden by additional fabrics? Answer these questions and you are well on your way to window satisfaction. Something so many of us are lacking!
Update number four is style. Of course the expensive way to do this is to purchase all new furniture. However, that’s not very likely in today’s world. Plus, unless you have someone to hand those discards off to…where do they go, into the waste stream? Well, here are some eco friendly ideas that will cost a lot less than starting over. Since the trend in style today is leaning more contemporary than traditional, let’s use that as an example.
Slipcover a traditional style sofa with a cool contemporary fabric. Roll up the oriental rug and buy an inexpensive solid color remnant and have the edges bound. Paint those Queen Anne occasional tables in a black or taupe lacquer. Replace the pleated lamp shades in the room with drum shades to compliment the new contemporary feel. Remove the heavy draperies (and send out to be dry cleaned) and enjoy the lighter, airier look of the blinds alone. Art and accessories can be minimized with curvier items replaced with item of modern clean lines. A change from traditional to contemporary is fun and it awakens your senses. The “less is more” feel of a contemporary room may be very freeing for some. Give it a try, if only for a short time, and stir up your world a bit.
5. Changing Accessories
Unbelievably, update number 5, changing accessories is probably one of the most expensive changes you can make to a room. I’ve been telling clients this for years. They will cost much more than you can imagine, but they have great power that can turn a lack luster house into an exciting home.
Accessories include artwork, pillows, throws, greenery or floral arrangements, pottery, baskets, boxes, vases, books, frames and the list goes on. Today’s hot accessories include vases filled with anything but flowers. Try sand and shells, smooth pebbles and green moss, water and one very large frond, rolled to fit inside. Everywhere I see fabric covered boxes meant to hide clutter and they’ve become a chic accessory. Candles will always be hot, (no pun intended) although many now are a candle “shell” if you will with a tiny battery powered light inside.
So there you have it, five different ways to update your rooms. Updates that come in many different price ranges, that vary in their level of drama, that work beautifully alone or in sync with others, but they all mean change. Try giving change a chance. It’s as easy as 1,2,3…….4,5!