14 small decor changes that can make a big impact

By Julia Millay Walsh / Domaine

WANT to give a room in your home a fresh vibe but don’t have the time, money or other resources to spend on a full redesign? There are a number of little changes you can make throughout your home—as often as you like!—to give a space a new look that won’t cost an arm, a leg or an afternoon. Read on below for a few of our favorite easy decorating tricks.

  1. CREATE SCALE

Many of the most unforgettable rooms I’ve seen have one thing in common: scale. Sometimes it’s a cheeky oversize lamp, other times it’s a cozy sofa that appears to span the entire room, and often it’s a big, tall indoor tree that feels like another person in the room. The trick here is to work with what you’ve got: Consider placing a planter on a plant stand or raising an adjustable lamp up a few inches. The results just might be dramatic.

  1. FRAME YOUR ARTWORK OR MEMENTOS

Whether you have a drawer full of your children’s artwork you’re saving, newspaper clippings from a special day in history or a cool drawing or print you’ve been hanging onto, the time to frame the artwork and mementos you own is now. Just pop it into an inexpensive frame and hang it on an empty wall, and your home will instantly feel more “you.”

  1. REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE

The cheapest decorating trick I know is to go shopping in your own home. But that doesn’t have to mean taking things out of the attic or dusting off items that have been on a shelf: Simply rearrange what you’re already using and you’ll notice a huge impact. One of my favorite uses of furniture is a desk as a nightstand…. Do you have one that you could shuffle around?

  1. ACCESSORIZE YOUR MANTEL

Some of my friends with fireplace mantels in their homes have taken a “one and done” approach, styling the surface as soon as they move and rarely again. In my opinion, the shelf should be switched up seasonally, if not monthly, for a fresh look. Poke around your house to see what accessories might be worth displaying there, or even just shuffle your existing accessories around in a new way.

  1. ADD GREENERY

One of the simplest ways to give any room in the house a pick-me-up is to bring in greenery. It doesn’t have to be an expensive new orchid or an entire ficus tree: A couple of branches usually will do. Go ahead and breathe new life into your living space.

  1. TOSS ON A SHEEPSKIN OR THROW

Starting to feel sick of that investment chair you thought you’d love forever? Toss on a sheepskin or a simple throw to give it a fresh face and a nice and cozy textural quality. The extra layer can work wonders in a flash.

  1. SWAP DIFFERENT PHOTOS INTO YOUR FRAMES

It doesn’t cost a dime to swap different photos into your picture frames (we all own a few, don’t we?), but this one small change can make your rooms look new to you every time you walk through them. Suddenly, that console table you pass by daily without a thought will catch your eye.

  1. ADD (OR PAINT!) A POP OF COLOR

It’s amazing what a little contrast can do. If a room in your home is feeling stale, choose a color that contrasts with the color scheme you have going and find a way to bring it in. A small can of paint could do the trick.

  1. RESTYLE YOUR BOOKSHELVES

Have bookshelves or built-ins in your home? Spend 20 minutes restyling your books and accessories. Try stacking your books instead of standing them. Move your bookends around. Organize them in a new way—by category, color or alphabetically. Soon, the whole space will feel like it had a mini makeover.

  1. LOWER YOUR FURNITURE

If you’re going for a modern look, lowering your furniture—by either removing or shortening the legs—can be transformative. Your furniture will need to have a streamlined shape, with a flat base, to begin with, but if so, removing the legs can make a bed or side table seem like an entirely new piece.

  1. ZHOOSH YOUR COFFEE TABLE

I’m always styling my coffee table. In my house, it happens at least once a month. There’s never a right way or a wrong way: The trick is just to do it differently than before. Pull out a coffee-table book you haven’t looked at in a while. Fill a bowl with nuts. Stack books. Display a sculptural accent. Any zhooshing you do will make the space feel livelier and fresher.

  1. CREATE A VIGNETTE

I love a good vignette. A small decorative design, a vignette is an arrangement of accents in your home. Find a table or surface in your home that is empty or staid—the dining table is often guilty—and style some accessories there. Arrange some candlesticks, flowers, or other favorite items, and follow the rule of threes (good things come in threes). Try setting a few accents out at varying heights. Have fun and play around.

  1. FILL AN EMPTY CORNER

Ever walk into a room and just feel like something is missing? Usually it’s not the most obvious things you would use, but you just need to flush out the space a bit. Look in the corners of the room and any nooks. Is there furniture there? Or art? Move an armchair or hang a frame, and the area may not feel so blank.

  1. MOVE YOUR THROW PILLOWS AROUND

One of the best things to shop for in your home is throw pillows. Practically, every room in the house could use a throw pillow, and moving the pillows from one room into the next and vice versa can change up your color schemes with little effort. It won’t work if the colors in each room don’t already complement each other, but often they will. Think about it.

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