Currently, I live in a home that does not look at all the way I would like it to, AKA Mandy Moore’s dream abode; however, my financial resources are committed to a million other things (like, you know, health care) and I can’t afford a total makeover at present. (Too relatable, right? Reading all the money advice.)
So, rather than stew in discontent, I figure it makes sense to look for small ways to creatively—and quickly—upgrade my aesthetics without making a huge investment in doing so (or waiting for the Queer Eye guys to show up and do it all for me, fairy godfather-style).
If you’re in a similar boat, keep reading for 10 tips that can transform your space without requiring you to scrap everything and start over. Find out how to revitalize your home below.
1. Tack up some temporary wallpaper
Temporary wallpaper is low risk, as it can be easily removed or replaced at any time, and the financial investment involved is minimal; however, this no-big-deal upgrade can totally transform your entryway, bathroom, built-ins, living room, etc. (Flamingo fling, anyone?) In a large room, try papering just one accent wall, and don’t forget that the ceiling counts. You can also use temporary wallpaper to add a pop of personality to basic pieces such as utilitarian desks or no-frills nightstands.
These potential wallpaper locations, by the way, are also ideal spots for adding a painted accent instead. A simple coat added to the inside of your front door in a fun or striking hue can really add dimension to your entryway, too.
2. Accessorize your couch
It’s always kind of a bummer when you hate your couch, but the situation isn’t hopeless even if a new purchase isn’t possible. Throw pillows can go miles toward revitalizing a tired sofa. Try playing with color, pattern, texture, and shape, with the idea being to go in the opposite direction of your couch’s design. For example, if your couch is neutral, look for patterned or brightly-hued throws, and vice versa. To add more depth to this approach, try finding pieces that have a story to them. Throw pillows from The Citizenry, for example, are made by artisans in various parts of the world, a tidbit you can share when dinner party small talk stalls.
To further enhance your not-so-exciting couch, you may want to upgrade what’s happening around it in order to draw focus away. Adding a small stylish side table topped with something vibrant and eye-catching—like these geometric planters—will make your had-it-since-college couch look lively again.
3. Borrow from Vegas (and Instagram) with a neon sign
Light up a dull room, literally, with a custom neon sign from Name Glo boasting your favorite quote, saying, word, etc. It’s like an inspirational coffee cup on blast! I’m thinking “BDE” would be great in the office, no?
4. Upgrade your “meh” bath rug
One of the most cost-effective ways to enhance the vibe of the guest-frequented bathroom is to trade out your neutral bath mat for one which is loud enough to serve as the room’s centerpiece. You can stray from traditional bathroom-centric offerings, too—believe it or not, regular rugs can look and feel great cozied up to your tub, and you can make them utilitarian by adding a no-slip rug beneath.
5. Go full-on plant lady
Not to be dramatic, but my home life totally changed after following former Reformation creative director Brianna Lance on Instagram. In her stories, Lance often showcases her totally-relatable (read: tiny), sparse New York City apartment, which she’s made extraordinary simply by adding lots and lots of plants. (The Jungalow is also a good place to start for inspiration, duh.) Remember when embracing the plant-lady trend that you can go beyond your floor space and furniture surfaces to embrace hanging plants, which Lance uses to great effect in her bedroom.
6. Go bold with your bedspread
Similarly, the easiest thing you can do to liven up your bedroom is to add a printed comforter to your bed; however, this tactic works best in rooms with otherwise sparse and muted decor. Anything short of cartoon characters (well, to each their own, but…) goes—dots, stripes, florals, etc. You can be as understated or as bold here as you’d like.
7. Liven up your lighting
If you’re renting an apartment, you may have inherited dull lighting fixtures which add absolutely nothing to the vibe of your place. Replacing these with more exciting styles—from lanterns to chandeliers—can give the “jazz hands” treatment to any room. You can find options at a variety of price points, too.
On a similar note, you may want to replace some of your standard (read: boring, and probably cheap) lampshades with something a bit more exotic or statement-making. Chairish generally has a wide selection of fun vintage and antique options, though your local flea market might do you just as well for a fraction of the price.
8. Utilize edible decor
A large bowl of oranges placed center stage in an otherwise sparse kitchen can do wonders for the space. (As an added bonus, this makes them easier to grab than whatever is hiding in your pantry when it comes time for a snack.) If you like this citrus vibe but want something that takes up a little more space, consider adding a small Meyer lemon tree to your kitchen, dining area, or patio instead.
9. Reframe your TV
I’m just going to say it—TVs look gross, especially when hanging in the midst of your crystal-and-candle adorned living room amirite? To blend yours into the background, try building a gallery wall around it. The art you use doesn’t have to be expensive—I love utilizing pages torn from coffee table books, for example—but cool frames can get pricey. One hack is to scour flea markets for art that’s framed in interesting ways and then replace the actual art with your own.
10. Roll out a bar cart
I’m not sure exactly why this works, but it does; a simple bar cart can make an otherwise unsophisticated room look suddenly on point. If you’re not one for keeping booze in the home, try replacing the typical bar cart offerings with your favorite wellness-centric accoutrements—candles, crystals, smudge-sticks, etc. Or, get more literal by creating a tonic bar of sorts, replacing vodka with tea and mixers with adaptogens.
Jazz hands for your home
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