So instead of simmering in dissatisfaction, I think it makes sense to look for small ways to creatively – and quickly – upgrade my aesthetics without making a big investment in doing so (or waiting for the Queer Eye guys to shows up and does it all for me, fairy godfather style).
If you’re in a similar boat, keep reading for 10 tips that can transform your space without requiring you to scrap everything and start over. Find out how to revitalize your home below.
1. Set up some temporary wallpaper
Temporary wallpaper is low risk as it can be easily removed or replaced at any time and the financial investment involved is minimal; however, this upgrade can easily transform your entrance hall, bathroom, built-in, living room, etc. (Flamingo sling, anyone?) In a large room, try to line only one accent wall, and do not forget that the ceiling counts. You can also use temporary wallpaper to add a personality to basic pieces such as utilitarian desks or simple bedside tables.
Incidentally, these potential wallpaper locations are also ideal places to add a painted accent instead. A simple coat added to the inside of your front door in a fun or striking shade can really add dimension to your entrance as well.
2. Accessories your sofa
It’s always something of a skirt when you hate your sofa, but the situation is not hopeless, even if a new purchase is not possible. Throw pillows can go miles in the direction of reviving a tired sofa. Try playing with color, pattern, texture and shape, with the idea of going in the opposite direction of your sofa’s design. For example, if your sofa is neutral, look for patterned or sharp colors and vice versa. To add more depth to this approach, try to find pieces that have a story to them. Throw pillows from The Citizenry, for example, are made by artisans in different parts of the world, a treat you can share when the dinner party smalltalk stalls.
To further enhance your not-so-exciting couch, you may want to upgrade what is happening around it to take away focus. Adding a small stylish side table topped with something vibrant and eye-catching – like these geometric planters – will make your sofa look lively again.
Borrow from Vegas (and Instagram) with a neon sign
Light up a dull room, literally, with a specially designed neon sign from Name Glo that boasts your favorite quote, proverb, word, etc. It’s like an inspiring coffee cup! I think “BDE” would be great in the office, right?
4. Upgrade your “meh” bath blanket
One of the most cost-effective ways to enhance the mood of the guest-frequented bathroom is to replace your neutral bath mat with one that is tall enough to serve as the centerpiece of the room. You can also deviate from traditional bathroom-centric offerings – believe it or not, regular rugs can look and feel comfortable in your bathtub and you can make them utilitarian by adding a non-slip rug underneath.
5. Go full-on plant lady
Not to be dramatic, but my home life changed completely after following former creative director of the Reformation Brianna Lance on Instagram. In her stories, Lance often showcases her completely relatable (read: small), sparse apartment in New York City, which she has made extraordinary by simply adding lots and lots of plants. (The Jungalow is also a great place to start for inspiration, you h.) Remember when embracing the plant-lady trend that you can go beyond your floor space and furniture surfaces to embrace hanging plants that Lance uses with great effect in his bedroom.
6. Go brave with your bedspread
Similarly, the easiest thing you can do to bring your bedroom to life is to add a printed duvet to your bed; however, this tactic works best in rooms with otherwise sparse and subdued decor. Anything other than cartoon characters (well, to each their own, but …) goes – dots, stripes, flowers, etc. Here you can be as discreet or bold as you want.
7. Bring your lighting to life
If you rent an apartment, you may have inherited boring light fixtures that add absolutely nothing to the ambiance of your place. Replacing these with more exciting styles – from lanterns to chandeliers – can give “jazz hands” treatment to any room. You can also find options in a number of different price ranges.
Similarly, you might want to replace some of your standard (read: boring and probably cheap) lampshades with something a little more exotic or statement-creating. Chairish generally has a wide selection of fun vintage and antique options, though your local flea market might do you just as well for a fraction of the price.
Take advantage of edible decor
A large bowl of oranges placed in the center of an otherwise sparse kitchen can do wonders for the space. (As an added bonus, this makes them easier to grab than what’s hiding in your pantry when it’s time for a snack.) If you like this citrus vibe but want something that takes up a little more space, then consider adding a small Meyer lemon tree to your kitchen, dining area or patio instead.
9. Reframe your TV
I just want to say it – TVs look ugly, especially when hanging in the middle of your living room with crystal and candles amirit? To blend your in the background, try building a gallery wall around it. The art you use does not have to be expensive – I love using pages torn from coffee table books, for example – but cool frames can be expensive. One hack is to search flea markets for art framed in interesting ways and then replace the actual art with your own.
10. Roll out a bar cart
I’m not sure exactly why this works, but it does; a simple bar cart can make an otherwise unsophisticated room suddenly look like. If you are not one to keep booze at home, try replacing the typical bar cart deals with your favorite wellness-centered equipment – candles, crystals, dirt sticks, etc. Or get more literal by creating a kind of tonic bar that replaces vodka with tea and mixers with adaptogens.
Next step? Take your old furniture and make it new again. Then restore your outdoor space – whether large or small – with these simple pro tips. And finally, hold a party to show it all off.