After so many months at home, thanks to the pandemic, many of you are getting tired of looking at your same four walls and are ready to make some changes. Of course, you could knock down walls, or remodel your kitchen, or plan that ADU in your backyard. But I’m guessing that for most of you, just a few small changes will be enough (at least for now!) So in this column, I’ll offer suggestions for how to improve the look and feel of your rooms without spending a fortune.
Entry: Let’s begin at the front door. Even though we can’t welcome guests into our homes right now, you and those in your “bubble” deserve to walk into an attractive space. Tackle clutter first. Can you clear out some items from the coat closet and put in a shoe rack to contain all those shoes left at the door? Or perhaps a nice bench with a shoe shelf below it will do the trick. If your entry is too small for a table, hang a crown-molding ledge with a mirror above it to create a space for dropping keys and mail. An entry is a great place to try a bold color or wallpaper pattern, since it is a self-contained, small space. Wallpaper or paint the largest wall, or go for it and do the whole entry.
Living room: One of my favorite ways to change the look and feel of a room is also free! Rearrange the furniture, trading pieces from other rooms. Trade lamps and artwork from other rooms; move your sofa to the opposite wall. Again, tame the clutter: remove excess items from the bookcases and tabletops and rearrange what’s left.Then, treat yourself to some new throw pillows or a new end table. And bring some of the new paint or wallpaper you put in the entry into the living room as well— how about painting the wall behind the sofa? Or better yet, the whole room.
Dining room: Most people have matching dining chairs, which is expected and certainly reasonable. But for a little more pizzazz try one of these ideas: Replace your head chairs with fully upholstered wing chairs or parson’s chairs. Choose a fabric and color that blends with your living room, so the chairs can be brought in for extra seating. Or reupholster your existing chairs in two different fabrics—one fabric for the side chairs and another for the head chairs. Is it time to refresh the chandelier? Online there are myriad options in all styles and price ranges. What size should you buy? Here are some guidelines: Chandeliers above your dining room tables should have a diameter of 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table. For example, if your table is 36” wide, the new chandelier should be 18”- 24” in diameter. Hang it so the bottom of the chandelier is approximately 36” above your table. Have someone hold it there for you, and, depending on your ceiling height, adjust up or down a few inches as makes sense for your space.
Bathrooms: Perk up a plain bathroom with large, colorful artwork. Pull a color from the artwork and paint the walls or even the ceiling with it. Pull a second bold color from the artwork and buy some towels and accessories.
Bedrooms: Make yours a peaceful sanctuary by emulating your favorite hotel rooms. Clear off surfaces like dressers and night stands of all but the most necessary of items. Treat yourself to new table lamps (The ones with the built-in USB ports are particularly handy.) I love colorful throw pillows on my bed, but I also love the minimalistic, uncluttered look of hotel beds, with just one beautiful large bolster pillow and high-quality sheets and a duvet. And how about a new motorized window shade? With a press of a button, or an Alexa command, you can raise and lower the shade without having to leave your nice warm bed. Which, let’s face it, on some of these pandemic days, staying in bed is all some of us feel like doing. But, if you’re like me, you are most grateful for the four walls you call home.