5 Inexpensive Changes for Big Impact

As much as I would love to be one of those "million dollar decorators"- you know the ones who will only work for clients with million dollar budgets-I inhabit the real world of "design on a dime" more often than not.  In fact, after writing several checks to the IRS, my personal decorating budget has been drastically shrunk. This poses a real challenge because I have grand plans which don't match my budget! So, I am left with a choice: Do I wait and do nothing until I can afford to do what I really want?  Or, do I change my plan to match what I can afford now?

Most of the time, I will opt to wait because I hate to spend money on things that will be replaced.  But experience has taught me that if something really bothers me about my environment, it is better to do something rather than do nothing.  In fact, many times I found that my temporary scaled back solution was all that I really needed. 

If you have a room that you want to refresh or makeover and you have a tight budget, here are the 5 things that will make a big impact for not a lot of money:

 1. Rearrange The Furniture

In your living room, be sure that your furniture isn't pushed up against all four walls. Start with a focal point and create a seating area oriented towards it.  Be sure that the sofa and chairs are close enough to one another to have a conversation without yelling. Consider the shape of the room when placing furniture.  If you are working with a long narrow room, float the sofa in the middle opposite the short wall and add a desk with chair behind it.  Eliminated pieces that are too large for the room. Like the giant armoire that you inherited from your great Aunt Rose who lived in a chateau. Be sure to vary the heights of the pieces in the room.  




 2. Paint Something (The walls, the ceiling, the floor, the kitchen cabinets,the furniture,the light fixtures and even the upholstery!!!!).  

There are super high gloss spray paints for a high end lacquered furniture look, there are spray metallic paints to banish the dated shiny brass light fixtures and door knobs. There are durable porch floor paints for wood floors, there are chalk paints for a cottage-y furniture look and it can even be used on the upholstery!  I am not kidding!!!! Annie Sloan chalk paint is a budget decorator's best friend.

3. Buy New Lamps

Nothing dates a room faster than bad lighting.  Teeny tiny lamps with old yellowed shades are not a good look and there is no reason to live with them. I have found great lamps at Home Goods for a fraction of the price you would normally expect to spend.  They bring new things in everyday so it takes a bit of persistence but it is definitely worth it.  You can add color with ceramic or glass based lamps or go for something classic like a solid glass base. Or if you have a nice lamp base, just buy a new shade. The lamps below all came from Homegoods!


4. Buy New Accent Pillows

I own an insane number of pillows because they are the easiest way to change color in the homes that I stage.  If you don't want to commit long term to a color, try keeping the upholstery and walls neutral and bring color in with pillows and throws and a few accessories.  It's also fun to change things up seasonally this way. Bright green and yellow in spring, blues in the summer, oranges and browns in the fall and reds and gold in the winter. Etsy is a good source for pillows as is Homegoods. 


5. Buy a New Rug

By changing your rug, you can create a completely different feel to your room.  If you want the room to feel less formal, choose something like jute or a fun colorful stripe.  There are so many fantastic options today in indoor/outdoor rugs that feel soft underfoot, that I often use them inside.  Dash and Albert have a great selection of colors and styles.  Here are a few of my favorites:


All for now.... have to get to Home Goods before all the good lamps are gone.  Maybe I will see you there?  Happy hunting!