Top 10 Easy Décor Upgrades

Sometimes small changes can make a big impact when it comes to updating rooms that have grown a little stale. Careful planning and imagination are key, but don’t have to stand in the way of spontaneous personal touches. A few local designers offered their favorite tips for quick décor refreshes.

1. Welcome Guests With a New Foyer
Yes, there’s room for a foyer, even if it doesn’t seem so. Offsetting a space just inside a home’s entrance with architectural molding, a simple side table with a vase of flowers and a classic mirror can make it happen. Port Washington-based designer Keith Baltimore of Baltimore Design Group suggested painting the wall in a pattern containing other colors used throughout the house. “Good interior design seeks to integrate a broad color palette,” he said.

2. Open a Home Office
Computers don’t encourage a good night’s sleep when they’re taking up space in the bedroom, and file folders and mail don’t have to clutter the dining room table. It’s easy to convert a closet into an office by removing the door and hinges and outfitting the space with shelving. Install the lower shelf at desk height. Upper shelves can hold file boxes, paper and other supplies. There should be room for a laptop, a compact printer and even a chair.

3. Refresh Dated Furniture With a Bright New Finish
Built-ins that are looking a little drab can benefit from a simple paint job. Jennifer Fox of Port Washington’s Fox + Chenko suggested using “a fresh coat of high-gloss paint and new hardware for a completely new look.” Farrow & Ball has a color palette with choices that will fit any taste. Flea market finds that have been sitting in the basement can benefit from the same treatment as well.

image: jan lee's light light fixture

image: jan lee’s light light fixture

4. Swap Out Old Light Fixtures
Lighting makes a statement—it attracts the eye, illuminates the room and creates a mood. Go beyond the utilitarian and look for table lamps, chandeliers and pendant lighting made from unusual items. East Hampton designer Jan Lee’s lamps incorporate antique Indian spice boxes, Chinese baskets and other objects that are beautifully artistic and collectible.

5. Create a Bright and Cheery Playroom
Making a separate space for kids can be as simple as using a can of paint. Baltimore suggested “fun, primary colors and easy-to-clean surfaces.” A cabinet with shelving and storage bins for toys, a table for art projects and a comfy rug for playing on the floor can make any room special for the little ones.


6. Be a Drama Queen
Have a ho-hum dining room that could use a facelift? “An accent wall not only adds drama,” said Angela Enrico of A. Sofia Interiors in Oceanside, “but it can also give the illusion of making a room seem larger or smaller. It can be painted or wallpapered, but it needs to be darker than the rest of the walls.” Warm colors will make a room cozier and greens, blues or purples can make a small room seem grand. Of course, wallpapers come in such a variety of patterns and colors they make an instant statement.

7. Make Any Bathroom Feel Like a Spa
Even a small bathroom can become a restful oasis when “calming neutral and natural colors are illuminated by candlelight,” said Baltimore. Choose a warm paint color in a shade of green, cream or beige and use Asian-influenced lighting and art for “a Zen-like ambience.” A soaking tub will certainly enhance the mood, to take it up a notch add soothing stone tile walls or counter tops. Finish with plenty of big candles.

8. Pull Up a Glamorous Seat
Worn cushions and faded colors can drag a room down. “Freshening up your seating can give a room a whole new look and a chance to rethink accessories like curtains, pillows and other items,” said Lori Miller of Lori Girl Creations in Huntington Station. Chairs from a dining room set or stools at a kitchen island don’t need much yardage, often a remnant will do. Different patterns in coordinating colors can even be mixed and matched for an eclectic look.

9. Mix It Up In The Living Room
A large coffee table in front of the couch is classic, but Fox said to “customize your seating arrangement with a cluster of several smaller tables.” An interesting mix of materials, textures and fabrics within a space creates a very upscale look. Fox suggested “a plush sofa, smooth leather chairs, silky ponyhide pillows, textured wool rugs, petrified wood tables and sheer window treatments.”

10. Bring Some Excitement Into The Bedroom
It’s quick and easy to redecorate a bedroom with just a few items and not break the bank. Buying a new comforter and pillow shams, a coordinated throw and an area rug can give the room a whole new look. Think seasonal colors and designs and add a few new accessories like bedside lamps, baskets for storage and new artwork.

annette rose-shapiro

annette rose-shapiro

Annette Rose-Shapiro writes about decor, interior design, art and architecture. She is currently working on a short documentary about the creative process.