One of the most asked questions here at StoneGable is, ” how do I update my out-of-date rooms”? I hear you! I think we all want to keep our homes comfortable and attractive and updated. I’ve been on a soft rant lately about the importance of keeping our homes as up-to-date as we are! Today let’s talk about how to update a room.
Going from a wee bit tired or even frumpy to fabulous does not mean gutting everything in a room or your home but it does mean being aware of the “state of our homes” and keeping on top of any changes that need to be done. So, today I’m sharing simple ways to update a room to make it the best it can be.
Change is hard and often time the changes we need to make in a room to give it a fresh and updated look can seem overwhelming. Most of us can’t and don’t want to tackle changes all at once so let’s just agree that decorating is a process!
And it is often a bit of a slow process. So be patient with your room and yourself and be happy with each little improvement!
Here’s what to do when you feel a room could be updated a bit… or a lot!
UPDATE A ROOM WITH PAINT IT
I am a huge fan of paint! Your paintbrush is a magical tool to update so many things in your home! Give your walls a fresh coat of paint and update the color! This is my number ONE tip! You won’t believe the difference!
Here at the Tanglewood house, we went with a soft white, Benjamin Moore Simply White, throughout the house. The open concept style of Tanglewood almost dictated using one color.
And I’m absolutely in love with white walls especially because our home is so open.
At our StoneGable home, our color palette was quite similar but the style of our home moved us to a soft beige, Benjamin Moore Sonnet, and white trim.
UPCYCLE WHAT YOU HAVE
The clock in the great room is an example of updating something with the magic of paint!
I’m forever extolling the virtues of paint! If you don’t like a tired mirror, paint it! A chipped chair, paint it. A clear vase, paint it! A little paint and a paintbrush are like a magic wand and pixie dust!
I get tons of comments asking me where I got the clock and I’m so thrilled I did not get rid of it but painted it instead.
Here an old, old post with a tutorial about HOW TO UPSCALE AND UPDATE WITH PAINT. You can see the “before” pictures of the clock too! What a difference!
Learning how to paint things in your home will go a long way to give it a fresh, right-now look! And painting anything in your home is fun!
I am the master of furniture disguise! It’s truly transformational to slipcover furniture or reupholsters it! I’ve slipcovered two sofas and two chairs and I am thrilled with their new look!
And I’ve reupholstered countless other chairs, a couple benches, and yet a third sofa! sofa. Talk about a big update!!!! If any of your soft furnishings are dating your home I say cover them!!!!
Find a local seamstress in your area who knows how to slipcover or and a person who reupholsters. Make friends with them!!!! I found my fabulous slipcover lady by googling… “slipcoverers in Lancaster Pa”. She is amazing!
Just a word of caution…
Reupholstering a sofa can sometimes be a lot more $$$ than buying a new one.
When it comes to covering a sofa go the slipcover route! And lucky us, slipcovers are a classic now!
Okay, let’s talk about fabric for a slipcovered sofa. Stay away from florals, little prints, plaids, and stripes. Any pattern really! They will make your sofa or chair look dated!
Go for a solid, neutral sofa that will be in style for years!
Also, think about having cushions made for furnishings like wooden chairs and benches. One pretty cushion can add lots of new life to a room.
I almost put this bench down in the basement and replaced it with a table until I thought about adding a cushion to it. The cost of a cushion was far less than a table! And the pattern adds lots of interest to the foyer!
UPDATE A ROOM WITH A HIGH/LOW LOOK
One of my favorite looks is what I call high/low. It’s all about mixing higher-end furnishings or high-end-looking designs with less expensive items.
This is such a friendly, pretty and reasonably priced way to decorate! Think of the word juxtaposition. It’s the idea of two things being placed together that create a contrast. And as a decorator, we want the juxtaposition to be very pleasing or interesting to the eye!
The image above is the perfect example of the high/low mix.
The spindle chair was an investment piece almost a decade ago. Because of its classic lines and neutral color, it still looks fresh and updated.
The other splurge in this room was the rug. In a neutral room texture and pattern create interest and when I saw the rug I knew it would work perfectly in my transitional style living room.
The pillows, baskets, lamp, candlesticks, vases, and clock were reasonably priced and some were downright cheap!
It’s all about that high/low balance. It’s about beautiful pricey pieces sitting side by side with things I find at Goodwill or on super sale or have had for years and years. And when styled right they look amazing together! This is decorating gold!
Also, work on developing an eye for beautiful things and try finding similar things at bargain prices. This is one of my decorating superpowers and it can be yours too with a little practice.
GET RID OF OUTDATED DECOR
Now, for a little bit of tough love!
Please understand that updating a room is a p-r-o-c-e-s-s and should not be done overnight! If you have something that is making your whole room look frumpy there may not be a way to cover, paint or upcycle it! It might be time to get rid of it!
You may need time to make this decision. Go ahead and think it through. But don’t get “stuck”. So many home decor enthusiasts don’t update because they get stuck!!
Sometimes you just need to move ahead and move on!
If you are someone that tends to get bogged down in the decorating decision process or (horrors of all horrors) gets stuck, please read WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK WITH YOUR DECOR. And its companion read HOW TO LIVE WITH DECOR YOU DON’T LIKE.
Okay, I know some of you love to collect things. And they are very sentimental to you. This is a little hard for me to fully understand as I am not a collector at all.
So here is a little gentle tough love, my friend…
There is a point that collections turn into clutter. Sad, but true.
And most collections make our homes look very outdated. Instead of showing off your whole collection why not group 3 or 5 collectibles together and rotate them in and out of a room. Doing this one thing will update a room immediately!
BE BRAVE! Give it a try. You will see I’m right (sorry ?)
A cousin of too many collectibles is just too much stuff in a room.
We tend to collect furnishings and accent decor and just keep adding it layer upon layer. What would be better in most rooms is beautifully curated furnishing and well-chosen accent pieces.
And this is such an easy fix! Get rid of the things you have accumulated in a room! This will instantly make a room look fresher and more updated.
THE OVER DECORATING DILEMMA is a must read!
BRING ONE NEW THING INTO A ROOM
I am a huge believer in repurposing furnishings. Give furniture or accessories a second life. Think about bringing decor from one part of your home and putting it in a different room.
Even the smallest new or (or new to that room) can make such a big difference in updating the whole look of a room.
I found these pretty moody neutral, brown, and green pillows on Etsy and ordered them for the living room. I needed a bit of color in this room. Adding green to the living room is really a cheater color. I have lots of real and faux plants in here so adding a bit more green works with the plants and does not distract from the room’s overall neutral look.
Make sure to give this tip a try today!
ADD UPDATED ACCENTS TO YOUR ROOM
Updated accessories will raise the trendy cred of a room. Accessories like pillows, trays, accent rugs, plants, architectural pieces, candles, lanters, and more can add a personal touch of pizzaz to a room!
Like the simple long tray on the coffee table. It is so versatile and really updates this old piece!
Most of the time I keep my big-ticket furniture items very classic but I go a bit more on-trend with accessories.
Accessories that update a room will change every few years, so remember to follow these three rules…
- use what you love
- buy inexpensive
- make it yourself
And one other tip that can update a room. Do not let your accent decor sit in the same place for long! Move things around.
Come up with new ideas and ways to use accents in your home!
Recently I moved the purple verbena from the table to the kitchen and took the flowers on the buffet in the living room and put them in a glass jar on the dining room table. Just moving around accessories gives a room a bit of a fresh look!
Can you think of one room in your home you would like to update? Just choose one! Then let’s get busy changing that room. Give it an updated look with these tips.