Location, location, location
Mathison says you can dramatically change the look of a room by adding, subtracting or moving the furniture you’ve got. Scan your bedroom, she says, removing pieces that don’t work or swapping them out with pieces from other rooms in your home. Eliminate clutter (even if it means piling things in the hallway until your bedroom makeover is done). Next, take a good look at what remains. Move the furniture around, experimenting with placements you wouldn’t normally consider. If a piece doesn’t quite work, consider lightly sanding it and spray painting it a fresh, bold color (Flynn and Carendi recommend a high-gloss red).
Other people’s stuff
Check out estate sales and flea markets, Flynn says. You may find affordable treasures or pieces you can repurpose, or just get inspiration for ways you can refurbish or group pieces you already have. Carendi loves flea-market finds like old fireplace mantels: “Take it home, repaint it and put it on the wall” as an architectural accent, she says.
Inspiration from above
Painting an entire room can be expensive and labor-intensive, so these designers all recommend painting just the ceiling. Flynn loves bold color on a ceiling, especially if the walls are a soft shade. Mathison prefers serene blues, grays and greens. If you want to go super subtle, Carendi recommends mixing just a bit of your current wall color into a can of white paint and using that for the ceiling.
New draperies, Flynn says, completely change a room. He recommends buying simple cotton ones, then having a tailor add lining. Also, hang draperies from the top of the wall rather than the top of the window — it’s an old designer trick, says Flynn, to add a sense of height.
Even just changing curtain rods, which are inexpensive at hardware stores or Home Depot, can update your windows.
Head of the class
Add a homemade headboard or change the one you’ve got: Carendi says to get a bolt of stretchy fabric (it doesn’t have to be upholstery-grade) and wrap it around your current headboard, pinning or stapling at the back. Another variation: Flynn suggests buying a large, plain canvas at an art supply store (the same width as your bed) and wrapping fabric around that. Or, he says, use painters’ tape to mark off an outline of a headboard on the wall in any shape you wish. Paint that space to create an illusion of a headboard. Another option, says Mathison, is removing your headboard and adding extra pillows in its place. (She also recommends bed risers to change the look of the bed and create extra storage space.)
Flynn says luxury linens change a room more than you’d expect: Invest in one great set of white, Egyptian cotton sheets. They’ll go with any duvet cover and will give you the sense of sleeping in a luxury hotel.
Add or replace the plants in your bedroom, Mathison says. Repaint your favorite plant pots or re-pot the plants in something totally different.
Accent the walls
Carendi suggests painting the molding in your room a bold or contrasting color. Or use painters’ tape to mark off a few stripes and paint them a color that stands out. If you’re worried about the stripes being imperfect, she has a solution: Rather than doing colored stripes, paint a few clear, shiny stripes on the walls with polyurethane. Your walls will remain a solid color, but the look will alternate between matte and shiny.
Light the way
Lose the old ceiling fan or boring ceiling fixture and add a hanging pendant light or funky, inexpensive chandelier. You can easily find beautiful ones for less than $100, Flynn says. It will draw your eye to the bed and add a sense of warmth, which helps in rooms with high ceilings. Also, try new lampshades (Carendi likes ones with graphic patterns) on old lamps to change the look and feel.
If your picture frames are a mix of styles, choose one style — sleek black, maybe, or shiny silver — and reframe everything with inexpensive, store-bought frames that match. Carendi suggests lining pictures straight across one wall for a dramatic look. You can also add an inexpensive burst of color by framing a large piece of fabric, perhaps one that echoes the bed linens. Stretch it over a canvas and staple it along the back for instant art.
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