Hang It Up
A freestanding coatrack provides a space to hang robes and clothes that are prone to ending up on the floor. It’s an especially handy addition to a guest bedroom. With pretty hangers placed on a few of the hooks, guests can have a temporary closet so you can keep the real one to yourself.
Layer It On
Layers keep a room from being one-note. Prop framed pictures or mirrors against a wall, overlapping them slightly. Top a stack of books with a fun little accessory. Drape a throw blanket over an arm chair. And voila, you have depth.
A new table lamp works wonders for very little money -- as long as you size it right. A too-tall lamp can make it seem as if a spotlight is shining on you. A general rule of thumb is that the bottom of the shade should be at ear or cheek level when you’re seated.
Calm chaotic bookshelves by organizing books by color. Leave some upright and stack others, placing decorative objects between them. Painting the inside of the cabinet a fun color or covering it with wallpaper or wrapping paper is another easy lift.
Don’t let the fireplace be a black hole in the off-season. Fill it with pillar or three-wick candles, a woven basket filled with silk flowers, or a plant in a colorful pot.
Beautify Your Bath
Give your bathroom the spa treatment. Add lots of white -- towels, a shower curtain, floor mats -- and contain countertop clutter with a bamboo tray. It’s a surefire way to refresh your space.
A New View
Relocate your art. People often stop noticing things that have been in the same place for a while.
Every room needs some pattern, but using it can be a little scary. Conquer the fear with a graphic pillow cover. Just slip it over an existing pillow when you want a change-up. It’s amazing how much oomph one little fabric square delivers.
Cutting the Clutter
On open shelving or in an armoire, match storage bins, baskets, or boxes to make a room look more pulled together and less cluttered. Toss in DVDs, phone books, and other small items. Stick with solid-color neutral containers for flexibility in moving them to other spots when your needs change.
Spread a lively fabric or shawl on the back of a tired sofa. Tuck a dowel or broom handle deep between the back and seat cushions to keep the fabric from slipping when someone sits down.
A big mirror is a great way to instantly transform a space. It can act like another window, practically doubling natural light. Find an interesting mirror at a thrift store, and paint the frame.
Lights on Display
Light kitchen countertops with inexpensive desk lamps rather than paying an electrician to install undercabinet lighting. The extra illumination is more than functional -- it also makes countertops shine.
Such Great Heights
Raise a low ceiling with nothing more than paint and a roller. Paint walls and trim the same neutral color, using a satin or semigloss finish on the trim. Then have the paint store mix a 50/50 mixture between the wall color and white to use on the ceiling. The lighter color allows a smooth flow from walls to ceiling, unlike a stark white ceiling that creates a jarring visual stop.
Hang a few artsy tiles, trivets, or trays on the kitchen backsplash. Just because you haven’t splurged on sparkling tile doesn’t mean you should neglect the space completely.
Fooling the Eye
Hang curtains near the ceiling rather than just above the window trim. It gives the illusion of height -- great for a small room or a low ceiling.
Swap out the coverlet, pillows, or throw on your bed. Any, or all, are easy enough to change and will make it seem like you have a new room every season.
If your art seems to float in space, move it closer to the sofa or table it’s hanging above. The items should relate, not disconnect. You can also make small art seem large by butting several frames against one another so they read as one piece.
Wallpaper the drawer or door fronts of a painted dresser or cabinet. You’ll get a custom-looking piece with loads of impact.
Bringing the Outside In
Cut branches from trees or shrubs in your yard and put them in a vase. You’ll have a bouquet that lasts about a month -- way longer than fresh-cut flowers. You can also buy cut greenery, such as leatherleaf or coffee plant, for about $1 a stem from a florist and arrange it in a vase.
If Walls Could Talk
A puzzle you put together, plaster-cast handprints from elementary school, or a map showing a favorite destination can be a conversation-starting art piece that personalizes a space. While you’re at it, get Grandma’s old plates and platters out of the cupboard. Family treasures are more meaningful hung on a wall than stashed away.
Splash of Color
Paint the rear wall of an upstairs landing a color that you only discover upon ascending the stairs. What a fun surprise!
Organization or Decoration?
A decorative basket at the bottom of the stairs is so much easier on the eye than the stacks of stuff that tend to accumulate there. Drop things in it, then disperse items in one swoop when you’re already making a trip upstairs.