1. Rearrange some furniture. If your living room is feeling a little stale and cramped, try swapping some of the furniture around (this is particularly helpful with seating). Or maybe relocate a chair from your office that is barely used and bring it into the den for a new splash of color.
2. Hang some new art. We keep spare frames and art in storage (photos are in a file, frames are in a closet) so that if we feel the need to change it up, it's always easy. You'd be surprised how a new framed photo or painting can bring your attention to a corner that was being overlooked. Or try hitting up a framing store or craft store for a shadowbox and be creative with "art" you already have, like little souvenirs from your honeymoon to Europe, movie stubs, collected rocks or driftwood (ahem, that would be me!)
3. Paint something. If the weather is nice, I can often be found out on the back deck with some spray paint and a mask. I love painting frames especially, but any small piece of furniture works too, like that single dining chair you scored at the thrift shop last month. Wouldn't it look fabulous in a bright coral? Or a glossy black? A can of paint is cheap (and you can find amazing assortments of colors now!)
4. Tablescape. I love rearranging books, vases, and candles on our console tables in the house, always looking for a new mix. You can easy liven up your standard arrangement with objects around the house like a picture frame or lamp (no one needs to know that it's not plugged in!). Stacks of books are my real weapon though - pay attention to the color of the spines for a totally different look!
5. Bring in some nature. Sure, you can go buy some flowers at the market, but you could also bring in a branch, flowers, or rocks from outside to bring a little nature indoors. I love finding driftwood at the beach, but if you're on dry land you might have a blossoming tree branch to bring in and put in a tall hurricane vase. Rocks (cleaned up a little) would make a pretty addition to a table runner, and a posy of wildflowers would look sweet in the bathroom.
6. Mix it up. Instead of using your bedding in the sets they came in, why not mix them up? A floral fitted sheet, a striped top sheet, and solid monogrammed pillowcases, for instance. Don't have sets that mix and match very well? I see affordable sheet sets at discount stores like TJ Maxx all the time!
7. Add some new color. While you're at TJ Maxx, pick up a pillow or two for the living room in a brand-new (but complimentary) shade to your room. Is your room mostly neutrals with touches of blue? Why not add some red throw pillows? Is it soft blues and greens like ours? I'd add fuchsia. Adding a bright color will immediately make the room feel more like spring. For this season, skip adding heavy autumnal shades (like brown or deep orange) unless it's in a graphic and fun print with some white to keep it lively.
8. Clean everything. I know, this one doesn't sound fun. But you know that satisfied feeling you have when the house is FINALLY clean? I usually have that right before we have people over and suddenly it's messy again when they leave. Do yourself a favor and clean so that you can enjoy a clean house (with a glass of wine, your favorite blogs open on the laptop...)
9. Take down the drapes. Or put some up. If your windows are feeling dark and heavy, or the drapes you have seem to be dominating the room, try taking them down and replacing them with light, airy, white sheers (try Ikea). Bamboo shades will provide privacy, and lightening up will have a dramatic effect. If you haven't hung drapes and just have vinyl blinds (shudder), pick some up this weekend! Target has amazing prices. Even for renters I figure that hanging curtains isn't any worse than putting a hole in the wall for art. If you can't remove the vinyl blinds, camouflage them with beautiful fabric!.
10. Add a mirror. What's the easiest way to make a room feel bigger and brighter? A mirror. Find a cheapo at the thrift store and spray paint the frame (the paint residue on the glass will come off with windex, and any tough spots you can get with a razorblade). Or swing by Cost Plus World Market for a great deal (our mirror in the dining room is World Market). Before you hang, consider what the mirror will reflect. A cluttery desk or bookcase? Not the look you want to double. A window with green leaves outside? That's more like it.
Hope you have some decorating time this weekend! I'll be clocking some hours on our entry - nothing huge, just a spruce, but gearing up to pull out the sewing machine.
Photo from Lonny.