A Clean Slate: How to Make a Room Feel Like New

Colorful pillows

After you’ve lived in the same apartment for a few years, those pieces of furniture you once considered so stylish might start to lose their luster. That hue you have on the wall could start to look a bit outdated. The knickknacks on your mantel and vases on your windowsills may seem substantially less trendy than they did when you put them there. Don’t fret. You don’t need a complete home makeover to remedy these problems. In fact, you can make an entire room look brand new with just a few quick, simple projects:

  • Paint. Painting is the quickest way to completely transform a room without doing much heavy lifting. If your living room or bedroom are starting to look stale, consider a change in shade. It should only take about a day to repaint, and you can spice up or tone down any room as you like. The advent of temporary adhesive wallpaper means you have another option, either to dress your wall completely in the cute, patterned paper or just use some of it as a trim.
  • Reupholster throw pillows. Throw pillows serve as the most prevalent accent in many rooms, particularly the living room, and they’re easy to embellish. All you need is a fun new fabric, a thread and needle (or even better, a sewing machine), and a tiny bit of sewing know-how. This step-by-step tutorial by Instructables should make it easy for even a novice to gussy up a pillow with a new “envelope.”
  • Buy flowers. No explanation needed here. Fresh flowers add both color and a sweet scent to any room. Just make sure you don’t let them linger beyond their natural expiration date, as a sour aroma and wilting blossoms will detract from your space.
  • Display fruit. Most people keep their oranges, lemons, and limes in the kitchen. These people are missing out on a design opportunity. Buy large glass display vases and stow your colorful fruits in them on the mantel or windowsill. The accent piece is both fun and functional—just eat and repeat.
  • Declutter. You won’t have to add anything new to a room to follow this tip. In fact, you might have to subtract. Even orderly rooms can look disorganized if they’re simply too stuffed. If you have an uncomfortable chair where no one ever sits or an end table that never sees the underside of a coaster, consider tossing them. If you don’t, then just make sure you keep any junk mail or knickknacks in check.
  • Rearrange. Again, this step doesn’t involve a trip to the store. You can make your existing pieces into a brand new room by simply changing their position in the room. Try moving the sofa to the other side of the room; slant the TV stand diagonally in the corner; reimagine the layout of your floor lamps. These simple switches could bring a whole new flow to your space, and you won’t have to spend so much as a penny.

No-Money Decorating for Every Room [Better Homes and Gardens]
14 Ways to Spruce Up the Bedroom Without Buying Anything New! [Apartment Therapy]
13 no-money makeover ideas [MSN.com]