Small Changes, Big Difference

Give your home a mini face-lift with these 10 tricks.

Create a mood with paint

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Create a mood with paint

Change the overall look and feel of a room with a simple, budget-friendly paint job. Choose cooler hues, such as sea-foam green and sky blue, to convey a sense of calm and serenity, or rich, warm tones to achieve a cozy, comfortable feel. For an expansive, airy effect, paint the ceiling a few shades lighter than the walls. You can also accent one wall with a bold shade or sand texture.

Cover it up for a change

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Cover it up for a change

Shake up a tired room in a snap by covering pieces with slipcovers. A loose-fitting style lends a relaxed, breezy feel, while a tailored cover provides a more sophisticated silhouette. For low-maintenance, family-friendly lounging, choose cotton fabric that can be tossed into the wash as often as you like. Best of all, if you get tired of the look, simply remove the slipcovers—no reupholstery required.

Revive with rugs

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
 

Revive with rugs

A great area rug can put a new look underfoot without the hassle or high cost of new flooring. For versatility, keep two styles on hand so you can swap them according to season. Opt for floor coverings in natural materials such as jute or sisal for spring and summer, and a plush material in a warm hue when days turn chilly. Can't find the perfect size for your room? Have your carpet, sea-grass, or sisal choice custom-bound, or have two or three rugs sewn together.

Get the green effect

Jean Allsopp

Get the green effect

Bring new life to a room with indoor plants. These green-leaf specimens are sure to create a fresh look. Houseplants help clean the air by absorbing toxins and releasing oxygen. If you're all thumbs (and none of them green) when it comes to gardening, opt for forgiving foliage, such as Chinese ferns, bromeliads, kalanchoe, or peace lilies.

Enhance with accents

Lauren Rubinstein

Enhance with accents

Add flair to a room with a few well-placed accessories. Surround a window with shell tiebacks or drapery rods featuring sea stars or sand-dollar finials for instant beach chic. Stick with accessories in colors reminiscent of the shore (think sandy browns, aqua blues, or sunset-inspired golds and reds) and natural materials such as rattan or seashells to give your interiors year-round coastal appeal.

Upgrade your hardware

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Upgrade your hardware

For an unexpected twist, replace doorknobs with antique ones, or add new cabinet and drawer pulls in your kitchen. To up the style quotient of a plain bathroom, swap out standard polished chrome fixtures for more dramatic styles in brushed brass, copper, or nickel.
 

Let the light shine in

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Let the light shine in

Poor lighting makes even the most beautiful room seem bland, so plan carefully. The best rooms have layers of light: overhead fixtures as well as a few floor and table lamps scattered around the room. A dimmer switch offers an energy-efficient way to add ambience, allowing you to adjust the amount of light you need according to the time of day or mood. Don't fret: Installation is not as tricky as you might think.

Paint outdoor spaces

Richard Leo Johnson

Paint outdoor spaces

A small burst of color can give your home's exterior a big style boost. Apply a fresh coat of paint to the shutters, trim, or front door, and don't be afraid be bold. Bright indigo-blue shutters or a vibrant red porch floor may be just the thing to take your house from so-so to smashing.

Make your home inviting

Jean Allsopp

Make your home inviting

Accessorizing is just as important outdoors as it is in. Up your home's friendly factor with a welcome mat, or hang swings or a hammock to invite guests to lounge in comfort. Placing a collection of potted or hanging plants in an entryway or installing awnings over windows adds instant curb appeal.

Shutter it up

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Shutter it up

Shutters add a stylish and functional element to your home's facade. Throw them open to usher in ocean breezes, or close them to protect against the elements. Consider shutters made from fiberglass or steel for extra defense against a storm, or vinyl versions to keep maintenance to a minimum.

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