In January, many people get the itch to clear out a bookcase, pick up a paintbrush, knock down a wall. If the new year finds you off to a good start, keep it up. If you’re looking for a few simple home decor updates, read on.
Let’s start with paint. It’s an obvious update, but there are many ways to get creative – and even take some shortcuts to spruce up a room.
One idea found in a recent email from the Martha Stewart at the Home Depot brand of paint: If the prospect of painting an entire room is too daunting, rethink the color of your woodwork.
“You can paint the woodwork or just the doors, and it can create a whole new feeling in the room,” said Kevin Sharkey, executive editorial director at Martha Stewart Living, in the release.
Think of a child’s room with a bright red door, for example, or a fresh coat of white paint on the trim in the bathroom.
“Or paint the ceiling. If you want to make a room feel sunny, choose a yellow on the lightest end of the spectrum, and your room will always feel sunny,” he added.
Another idea: Paint a pattern. This is where painter’s tape comes into play for do-it-yourselfers. With input from HGTV designer Taniya Nayak, makers of FrogTape brand painter’s tape highlighted these five pattern trends. Consider them for a kitchen, a bedroom or another wall: chevron (a V-shaped pattern), ikat (tribal, tie-dye), ombré (subtle color gradation), Moroccan (culturally inspired) and geometric (graphic, colorful). A zig-zag Chevron pattern or even simple stripes may be a good place to start if you’re new at this.
Another idea with great results: Update your lampshades – especially on good lamps.
“There’s no sense in getting rid of a really good quality lamp just because it has an old, tired shade on it. Just update it with a brand new shape, color and style, and it will look like a brand new lamp,” said Laurie Koerner, owner of Shades Unlimited, 3035 Genesee St.
Shade prices vary depending on size, shape and fabric, of course, but the important thing to remember is to always bring your lamp with you when picking out a new shade.
On a roll? You might also add shades to your kitchen or dining room chandelier for a new look. These start at $7 at Shades Unlimited and also are available at other specialty stores and in lighting departments.
One trend you’ll notice in magazines and some stores are patterned shades. Target has several in its spring collection. Pottery Barn offers one in an ikat print.
Or have your own fabric fashioned onto a shade to coordinate with, say, the bedding or curtains.
Again, cost depends on such factors as whether the fabric is glued or hand-sewn to the shell, the shape of the shade and the type of fabric. At Shades Unlimited, the cost of adding your fabric to a shade ranges from $20 to $130, Koerner said.
Replacing picture frames and even matting on your existing artwork or photographs is another way to refresh a wall – especially on relatively expensive or sentimental pieces.
“Review the framing and make sure there are cotton-fiber mats on the pieces. You know that yellow burn you get on old mats? That’s caused by wood pulp. The new cotton matting has no wood in it and preserves your artwork. It will protect older or fragile pieces against future damage. And you may not even have to change the frame, just the matting,” said Nancy Grannis, owner of Norberg’s Art & Frame Shop, 37 S. Grove St., East Aurora.
Other suggestions: Hang framed artwork in an unexpected place, such as on the front of a bookshelf rather than inside of it. Or frame a favorite piece of your child’s artwork and hang it in the dining or living room.
“Treat it like a little masterpiece,” Grannis said.
A few other ideas:
• Think layering in the cold-weather months. Top carpeting with an area rug (experiment with angling it in the room). Add coziness with textured throws and pillows, including a couple for the floor.
• Add a bright new accessory to the kitchen. An emerald green teakettle. A cobalt bowl filled with fruit. Mixing bowls in a mood-lifting array of bright colors.
• Have an old sofa that is the right style and size for a room but just looks too heavy or outdated? The February issue of Better Homes and Gardens gave an old brown leather sofa a makeover by replacing the three existing leather cushions with a new single cushion in a lighter, coordinating fabric. The upholstered frame remained the same, but the living room got an update.
• Add a piece of art – even a poster – that makes you smile, and hang it where you will see it every day.
• Replace knobs or drawer pulls. You’re probably thinking “kitchen,” but bathrooms and bedrooms also can benefit from a change in cabinet hardware.
• Invest in a sharp-looking faucet. It will give your kitchen or bathroom sink a whole new look – and probably work better than the old one, too. In fact, upgrading any sink accessories – from soap dispensers to dish towels – is an easy way to update.
• Rearrange your furniture. You can even try moving a piece to another room.
• Finally, add hooks where you really can use them. In the back hall. In the kitchen. In the kids’ bedrooms.
Maybe, just maybe, fewer clothes will end up on the floor – a fresher look anytime.