My (this is Chrissie) mom, who owned a home goods store and had a wonderful, creative style, used to come over and just start rearranging our furniture and moving things around. It always looked better when she left. Now I have Joanne, who is a designer as well as co-founder of FabList, for that. She is a DOER. On one visit she just started cleaning out my fridge as we sat talking in the kitchen. Another time it was the pantry. “It’s fun when it’s not my home!” she would say. I loved it when another time she looked at the bookcases in my living room and said she wanted to restyle them. They had become ‘background’ to me and I hadn’t altered them in years. She took what I already had out or had stored in cabinets and redid them in about an hour – taking everything out and starting anew. It was a total refresh for the room and I loved it – felt like it was a new part of my home! Now when the garage is a mess my husband asks….”So when is Jo coming for a visit…just wondering?!” 🙂
Making a little change can make a big impact. Some new curtains. A new rug. A new tray on an ottoman. Just rearranging things you already have. Have a friend over with fresh eyes to help with ideas – it’s more fun that way anyhow! Here are our Fab5 ideas if you are in need of a boost.
Jo is really the expert on this given her designer skills, but I’ll tell you a few things that make me happy when I add them to my home.
- Light. I recently noticed that there was one area of my living room that was bugging me and I finally realized it was just too dark – none of the lighting shone there. And there was a piece of artwork that was getting lost in the dark zone as well. So after researching rechargeable picture lights (as I didn’t want a cord hanging down and didn’t want to re-wire), and seeing all that were in the $300+ range I decided to try out a very affordable Amazon picture light. Good news! It works great, has a remote control, lights up the space and the artwork and was waaaaay less than $300 (I know it’s not the same quality, but it was fine for my purposes)!
- Music. Music transforms a home. Whether soft jazz, 80s favorites, or more modern options, it creates a vibe. Whether just for you or for your company – it’s all good! So if you don’t have a Sonos or similar built-in system, a portable wireless speaker that connects to your phone can work wonders. We just got this Anker one – it’s not expensive and sounds great. Sonos also makes a portable wireless one.
- Move Things Around. Swap things you may have put away with things you always have out. Redo what’s on top of the coffee table. Move a lamp to a new place. Shift the furniture around to change up a seating area. Sometimes it’s good to have a friend over (at least for me!) to lend a fresh eye and give idea. Just try it out as you can always put it back!
- Paint/Curtains/Ceiling Light. Last month I decided to update one of our kids’ (who’s launched and doesn’t live at home) rooms so that it could double as an office for my husband. I moved things around and cleaned it up so it was Zoom-appropriate – ie no lacrosse helmets or old posters in the background. The biggest change was a fresh coat of paint – wow did that make things look fresh and new! I went simple with Benjamin Moore Simply White, swapped out the rug, got rid of the ‘high school desk’, moved the furniture around got this new ceiling lamp, and it was an entirely new bedroom/office (but I left my son’s bedding/books etc so he wouldn’t feel totally displaced when home!). I haven’t done it yet, but I’m considering ordering some of these incredibly priced blackout curtains from Amazon as well. My son got them for his apartment and I was amazed at how good they look – plus there are tons of colors and lengths/widths from which to choose! A new color of curtains would make another big change to the room. Also great options at Ballard Designs. You can see all our window covering source recs here.
- Plants/Trees: Consider adding a big plant/tree to a corner to give some height to a room and bring in some color and warmth. In addition to real ones there are also great fake ones that last longer and need no upkeep. Target also has a good selection of artificial trees.
Also, if you are looking for design inspiration we have tons of Insta-spiraton to suggest – check out our list of designers to follow on Instagram here.
Oh, how I love a re-fresh! Most often, adding a layer of decor to a room can give it a much-needed boost. Also, some new or resurrected knick-knacks can add personality to a space and make it come alive. It’s amazing how putting coffee table books on a tray with something sculptural on top makes the room look more updated and finished! Here are some simple ways to spice up your space (many of the ideas listed below can be found on the Home Decor/Decorative Accessories section of our website):
- Trays. A very vital layer for any room. Add a lucite tray on a coffee table for books. I like these woven trays for oils/salts next to the stove and for containing items on my bathroom vanity. These woven items are great for paper guest towels in a powder room and I like these acrylic napkin holders for a bar area or when entertaining. Our
- Pillows. New throw pillows for the living room, family room, and bedrooms can really brighten things up! I like these for almost any room and you can buy just the covers and rotate them for summer and winter. Serena & Lily is great for that coastal chic look, and don’t forget Anthropologie for a more boho vibe.
- Bedding. Are you bored with your bedroom decor? An easy way to change things up without having to re-carpet, wallpaper, or buy new furniture is to get new bedding. My go-to’s for this are Serena & Lily, the hotel collection at Macy’s, and Ballard Designs. A new duvet or quilt, shams, and some decorative pillows can refresh any bedroom in a hurry!
- Decor. Many of my design clients don’t know where to begin when fluffing bookshelves or adding decor to any room. It’s good to look at photos on Instagram, Pinterest, etc . . . . to get ideas and I always find good basics on Ballard Designs. Try mossy balls and fake lemons in pretty bowls, These chinoiserie items grouped together create a nice visual. If you have multiples of an item, such as travel souvenirs, framed photographs, ashtrays, etc . . . group them together on a tray and make a statement with these. The more personal you make it, the more interesting it is!
- Baskets. I’m a big basket person. It’s really just a way to contain clutter but at least it makes the clutter look purposeful and adds a layer of interest. I use baskets for blankets and magazines in the living room (sometimes they tuck nicely under a coffee table), books next to my bed, reusable grocery bags in the kitchen, laundry, and mostly for the multitude of shoes we seem to collect in every room!