Even the most well-designed rooms can use an update. No matter how well put together your place is, a small change can make a big impact. Whether you’ve just moved in, or you’ve lived in the same space for years, a few small changes are all you need to make you feel like you’ve updated your home without the expense of a remodel.

If you’re unsure of what to do to get a fresh look this year, take a deep breath and dive into these easy do-it-yourself updates. Start with the small things for a big visual payoff. Thinking about new ways of using color, texture and light can all make a room feel completely different.

Concentrate on updating these three elements of your home for the biggest impact . . .


We’ve all heard that painting a room a new color can be one of the least expensive ways to give a room a lift, and that’s true. But there are lots of other ways to add color to a room. Introducing bright accent pillows, linens or new upholstery can bring new and unexpected splashes of color into a room. Some home decorators regularly change their soft furnishing accents to stay in tune with the seasons using deeper, richer colors in the colder months and switching to lighter and brighter accents in spring and summer. When the foundations of a room are neutral, making these seasonal changes can be a fairly uncomplicated process.


A subdued style doesn’t have to be boring. Sometimes, instead of an emphasis on color, a room’s palette can stay fairly neutral. Make surfaces feel luxurious and inviting by creating contrast between different textures. A new area rug with a deep pile or layered rugs, instead of just one, can make a room feel warmer and cozier. At the same time, replacing just one feature, like heavy drapes or window treatments with lighter, layered, sheers can create a more minimalist, romantic atmosphere.


For most people, lighting placement is one of the most under-valued and underappreciated aspects of decorating. If there’s one thing you can do today to create an inviting room, it’s introducing side lighting. While overhead lighting can be convenient, it’s often harsh. Adding a few table lamps and other side lighting elements can create a softer and warmer feel in a room. Some decorators advise placing at least three forms of side lighting at regular intervals around a room in the shape of a triangle. Together these light sources combine to create a pleasing glow that reverberates in any space.