Don’t trade comfort or function in an effort to recreate some magazine ideal. Photo: Melissa Galt Interiors
Use a fine rug to work your color palette around. Photo: Melissa Galt Interiors
After tackling the big jobs like wall color and furniture, look to accessories and details to really make a space your own. Photo: Melissa Galt Interiors
Prepare to Shop
Before you head out to the paint or furniture store, take photos of both the exterior of your home and the interior room(s) you’re redoing. This will help consultants guide you toward the styles that are right for you, advises Brenda Be, owner of Be™ Interior Design and Project Management in Boston.
Fresh décor ideas for tired spaces.
- by Alyson McNutt English
Sometimes older spaces just need some small changes to make them pop; other times, a more intense decorating overhaul is a must. When you realize your worn but comfy couch, hand-me-down dresser and beat-up old rugs aren’t doing anything for your décor, it can be overwhelming to contemplate so much change. Here are a few easy ways to bring new life to a tired room.
Start with Wonderful Walls
The first thing to figure out when you’re redoing a room is where you want to go with color. But going to the paint store and staring at the rainbow of paint chips can be daunting. So instead of thinking of wall color first, try basing your room’s palette off a favorite decorative item, says Melissa Galt, an interior designer and owner of Melissa Galt Interiors in Atlanta. “Starting with a color is tough because there are a zillion to choose from, but springboarding off a specific piece can narrow it just enough to make it simple and not overwhelming,” she explains. She suggests using items like a fine rug or an art piece that catches your eye to work your room around.
And you don’t have to stop with paint: wallpaper isn’t just for grandma’s house anymore. “There are some fabulous, fresh wallpaper designs out there,” says Linda Merrill, owner of Chameleon Designs in Duxbury, Mass. She likes Graham & Brown's collection, and is installing one of their paintable papers in her own home.
Have Fun with Furnishings
While paint or wallpaper can give a room a whole new look, don’t stop there. “Take advantage of the fact that you’re painting your room to rethink everything,” says Brenda Be, owner of Be™ Interior Design and Project Management in Boston. She directs clients to take all their decorative items and wall décor into another room and scoot furniture into the middle of the space. “Then carefully rearrange everything as if you’ve just moved in,” she says. If something doesn’t work, you’ll realize it and know it’s time to start looking for new furniture.
For older homes, choosing furniture that fits the period can work great, though it isn’t a must. Although using the past for inspiration is very on-trend. “Vintage and mid-century-modern furniture is very popular right now,” Merrill says, noting the television show Mad Men has really popularized that time period.
Another big trend in updated furniture is going green. “Eco-friendly is big right now, like pieces crafted from certified sustainable woods and recycled materials,” Galt says.
Make it Your Own
After tackling the big jobs like wall color and furniture, look to accessories and details to really make a space your own. Merrill suggests updating light fixtures and ceiling fans with styles that fit your new look. Bring in artwork and other pieces that bring you happiness—while being careful not to create clutter, advises Be. Choose the items that are most important to you, and let them stand out rather than fade into a crowd of stuff.
Above all, don’t trade, comfort or function in an effort to recreate some magazine ideal. “A beautiful room that doesn’t function well is like a pair of shoes that look great but feel terrible to wear,” Galt says. “What matters far more is the quality of the pieces and having an arrangement that welcomes and is comfortable and functional.”