Wear it out. Consider distressing and hand-scraping furniture before placing it in high-traffic areas in a kid-friendly home. This extra step provides character and cleverly masks future play-related imperfections.
Pick a focal point. Choose just one thing to make a big statement in each room. If everything stands out, nothing does.
Refinish old favorites. If there's a piece you love, don't be afraid to sand it down and apply bright, fresh paint to give it new life.
Rething your palette. Go with darker colors for walls in windowless rooms; the depth of hue can make a closed-in space feel cozy instead of crowded.