20 Ideas to Breathe New Life Into Your Home

Designers share their best tips and tricks for refreshing every room in your home.

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January 22, 2019

Photo By: Lauren Logan Photography

Photo By: Lauren Logan Photography

Photo By: Lauren Logan Photography

Photo By: Lauren Louise

Photo By: Robert Peterson; Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Shain Rievley

Photo By: Phoebe Chauson

Photo By: Claire Esparros

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Tessa Neustadt

Photo By: Kyle Born

Photo By: Design by Hackett Interiors; Photo by Emily Gilbert

Photo By: Jennifer Hughes; Design By: Elizabeth Lawson, Elizabeth Lawson Design

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Courtney Thomas Design

Photo By: Courtney Thomas Design

Photo By: Red Arrow Industries

Mix Patterns

"There's something about a layered room that exudes personality and makes a space feel and look 'lived-in' in all the right ways," says interior designer Maureen Stevens. "One of the ways to achieve this is by mixing patterns." Maureen offers three tips for mixing patterns effectively: First, use three to five patterns, each on different scales. "If you have three patterns, choose a large scale, a medium scale and a small scale accordingly," she advises. Second, stick with a concept and theme when choosing patterns so they collectively work toward a cohesive design concept. Lastly, add solids. "Just like a room needs negative space, patterns also need to be broken up by adding solids in between," Maureen says.

Hang a Piece of Statement Art

"Art can bring so much life in a room, but choosing at times can be oh-so tricky," Maureen says. Her best tips when you’re on the hunt for impactful art? Check out local artists, and don’t be afraid to ask about commissioned artwork. She also says grouping several small pieces together can be just as effective as selecting one large piece. With this in mind, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for small and large pieces alike.

Try a Wallpapered Accent Wall

"Wallpaper is definitely a surefire way of turning a sterile, ho-hum space into a bold and striking space," Maureen says. Luckily, you don't need to install loads of wallpaper to guarantee an impact. In fact, Maureen advises starting small, like adding wallpaper to an accent wall — but going small should also mean going bold. "Since wallpaper is used usually to enliven a space, do not go neutral unless it has a pattern that is amazing or is one you love," Maureen says.

Refresh Your Furniture

This can apply to you differently depending on your means and needs. If a new piece of furniture is in your budget, take the plunge on a classic piece that will make an impact. (A gorgeous, camel-hued Eames chair definitely fits the bill here.) If your budget doesn’t allow a splurge, simply take time to rethink your current furniture arrangement. Try placing your existing furniture in new places to bring a fresh look to your home.

Paint Your Front Door

Show-stopping curb appeal in just a few hours? Yep, this bang-for-your-buck project is all about instant gratification. Choose a color that complements your exterior, and opt for something that makes you happy. (And if that color is millennial pink, we’re totally here for it.)

Install a New Light Fixture

"A new light fixture can instantly change the feel of a space and brighten up a room," says interior designer Jenn Feldman. "Don't be afraid to swap out an old fixture for something new and totally different!" If a new light fixture isn’t in your budget, Jenn suggests trying new bulbs, instead. "Another easy trick is to experiment with different bulb shapes and light output, as well — warmer or cooler, brighter or moodier. It's amazing how lighting can change the way you feel about a room!"

Add Texture With Accessories

If you’re working with a tired space that's one-dimensional, add texture. It’s easier than you think — all it takes is a few accessories styled thoughtfully. "Grouping items together in tonal colors makes it so easy to layer different accessories and accents together in a single space without it feeling overwhelming," Jenn says. "Have fun playing with different heights, shapes and textures in the same color family so everything stays unified. And keep it odd — designers stick to odd numbers (groupings of three, five or seven) for a pulled-together look."

Style Your Kitchen

"A great way to grow a space is by adding vertical display elements," Jenn says. "Install floating shelves over a window, or add a simple rod over the stove or on an open wall to hang beautiful serving utensils and cutting boards. It's a great way to play with color and display vignettes, and the space becomes so much more visually appealing with a much easier grab-and-go function day-to-day."

Grow Your Houseplant Collection

They clean your air, enhance your design, decrease your stress and leave you feeling like a proud parent. Why wouldn’t you want more? If you’ve been known to have a black thumb, opt for a low-maintenance variety like the snake plant or pothos plant.

Add an Area Rug

Your area rug is one of the most impactful elements of your living room design. If you’re tired of looking at your plain-Jane pick circa 2010, take the plunge on a new showstopper. Bold colored rugs are ultra-popular right now, as are vintage-inspired Oriental varieties. Be mindful of your existing color palette, and choose a rug that blends well but makes a statement.

Rejuvenate Your Built-Ins

Interior designer Becky Shea suggests refreshing your built-in bookshelf display seasonally. "We believe in collecting a few transitional pieces that will give your home a seasonal refresher without having to re-imagine an entire space," she says. "It's always nice to see something new every few months. Refreshing season after season allows you to organize your thoughts and objects in conjunction with the time of year."

She offers practical advice for built-in bookshelf styling: "Pick an object for each shelf that you feel has sentimental value or can make an impactful difference. These are the key items that you'll want to work around. A decorative box or tray, picture frames, potted plants, vases and objects should all do the trick. It's important to be selective and organize your objects by shape and size, and always leave enough space so that each item stands on its own."

Hang a Mirror

Large mirrors bring light and life to large spaces. This living room is completely transformed by the oversized mirror above the sofa. "We wanted something grand to grab your attention but not compete with the other pieces in the room," says interior designer Jesse DeSanti . "A large mirror does that because it tends to reflect the other pieces in the space, especially light. It allows you to see the adjacent elements and windows," she explains.

Brighten Your Bedding

Want to rejuvenate your bedroom but not sure how? It may be as easy as swapping out your bed linens. Going from darker-toned bedding to a softer, lighter pick will instantly brighten your room. Try white for a crisp, fresh feel or a subdued neutral for a soft, calming feel.

Accent With Vibrant Color

Maybe you’re drawn to neutrals, and your home is a whole lot of greige. Neutrals are calming, pretty and perfectly acceptable, but they can’t always energize a space the way bold, vibrant color can. Don't worry — you don’t need to paint your walls neon yellow. Simply add in a few colorful accessories here and there. That way, when you tire of the color, you can return to your beige besties in a snap.

Invest in New Window Treatments

"Selecting window treatments is the first step we take when refreshing a room because the fabric and style dictate the overall tone of the space," say designers Meghan Hackett-Cassidy and Erin Hackett of Hackett Interiors. It’s important to think strategically when choosing the treatments, though. "We pay close attention to color and pattern to ensure the fabric complements both existing and new pieces while still flowing with the rest of the home. Your room may need color and pattern to pull all of its pieces together, or it may need a soft neutral to simplify the space. Be sure to take those needs into consideration when selecting your window treatments so that your room isn’t over or underwhelmed," they say.

Install New Cabinet Hardware

When your kitchen feels a bit bland and a renovation isn’t in the budget, look to your cabinet hardware for a quick fix. It seems like a miniscule change, but it makes a world of difference. Opt for something that’s functional and on-trend, like the linear brass pulls in this kitchen.

Swap a Gallery Wall for Picture Ledges

Rejuvenate your favorite space by transforming an old, tired gallery wall into a couple of sleek, fresh picture ledges. Photo ledges are totally on-trend and offer a nail-free way to display your favorite photos and artwork. The best part? You can make your own to fit your space (and budget) perfectly. Check out our easy, step-by-step tutorial.

Refresh Your Kitchen Backsplash

"Changing out a backsplash is a relatively painless change you can make to your kitchen that has huge impact!" says interior designer Courtney Thomas. She offers four helpful tips for taking the plunge. First, consider handmade glazed tile for a dose of color, and opt for local tile to save money and time. Second, balance the pizzazz. "If your counters are full of movement, consider something calmer or more muted for the tile. The reverse would also be true: If the counters are solid, consider something playful on the backsplash, as we did in this home," she says. Third, consider your surroundings. "If the rooms adjacent to the kitchen are of a certain style, play to it. When you follow the style of the house, I think the room is less prone to feeling trendy," she explains. Last, keep the size, scale and pattern of the tile in mind. "Too many grout lines and contrast colors can be dizzying and tiresome after a short while," she cautions.

Lay Fun Tile in a Small Space

Courtney loves using bold tile in small spaces, but she tends to stick to the one-bold-pattern-per-small-space rule. She explains her reasoning: "If I add it, I want it to stand on its own. I won’t compete with it by adding many more patterns." Her practical advice for following this rule? "If you have tile wainscoting full of movement, consider something calmer or more muted for the floor. The reverse would also be true. If you want to go bold on your floors, consider leaving the main walls bare so your floors can pop."

Conquer Clutter

If you avoid it and let it run rampant, clutter can and will make you feel stressed (speaking from personal experience here, friends). Give your home a fresh start by traveling from room to room, conquering clutter in each space. Use boxes, bins, baskets and containers to help organize your things.

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