You spend time poring over the gorgeous interiors on Houzz, but then life gets in the way of your making your own place look perfect. Sound familiar? Lack of money, energy and time can mean you never quite get around to your spruce-up paint job, that new flooring gets put on hold and you’re still lounging on that unloved old sofa. However, while you wait, there are small things you can do to cheer up your space, things that don’t require entire weekends spent constructing flat-packed furniture or prowling the DIY store.
Reboot your coffee table
Much of the art of creating a stylish home is about stopping to consider what you already have and how best to display it. So don’t leave your most beautiful books tucked away on high shelves. A pile of arty hardcover books on a coffee table might feel something of a cliché, but it can be a rather effective way of adding personality to a living space.
Here, the owners have created mini-book towers on the main table, on a side table, and on the floor. The interesting ceramics add another point of interest. This trick takes just minutes, and the items can be changed whenever you fancy a new selection of books to peruse.
Try the power of three
Three objects arranged in a small cluster are instantly interpreted by the eye as a carefully edited group display, rather than a random concoction be they on a mantelpiece or a table. These two ceramic containers teamed with a simple glass bottle vase are a case in point. Try objects of subtly different lengths or widths for maximum effect.
Tip: A bunch of white blooms in a glass vase is another instant update that works pretty much anywhere.
Space out your shelf display
It may be tempting to stuff your shelves full of books so you utilize every storage inch. But by reserving part of a shelf to display interesting objects, you not only create a sense of space in a room; you also turn what could have been a workaday piece of furniture into an eclectic style statement.
This brilliant blue unit is used for books as well as a variety of objects, including a teapot, a retro radio, and jewel-like wineglasses. Try restyling your shelves for a similar effect; the impact on a room can be astounding. These owners have also loosely color-coded the spines of the books to further tidy up the look.
Frame your kids’ drawings
If you have a wall that’s looking dull or bare and you have young children, there’s really no need to spend a fortune on limited editions. Kids’ drawings are colorful and characterful and can look lovely displayed en masse, as this gallery wall proves.
Mix tacked-up sketches with a few of your children’s favorite compositions in simple white frames. You’ll cherish them for years to come.
Declutter your study
Is your home office a mess of torn envelopes, half-forgotten bills, and old coupons? Take a few minutes to tidy, clean and polish your desk. If you don’t have a system, create one, assigning different drawers and trays for urgent and nonurgent paperwork. Gather stray pens together in an old can or a favorite mug if nothing else is at hand.
Finally, if you have more time, you could use hang clipboards on a wall for a low-cost, utilitarian display, then use different clips for different to-do lists. The result: a clearer desk, clearer mind.
Rearrange your pillows
Few things change the look of a living room as easily as a variety of interesting pillows. A tired sofa can be revived, a neglected armchair brought back into use or a plain bed has given the hotel treatment.
Take a look at the pillows you already own: Could they be combined in a more interesting arrangement, as seen here? Experiment with them on different chairs in different rooms, to see whether they’d work better elsewhere. If you don’t have pillows you love, treat yourself to some new ones; many stores sell great designs for reasonable prices.
Display a bright tea towel
Tea towels have become the pillows of the kitchen because they’re easily changed out. A bright design can instantly lift a plain white room and, put on display, as here, cheer you up on gloomy mornings.
Build a collection of pretty designs so that when one is in the wash, you have another on standby. Hang one over the back of a cupboard door or on an oven handle to lift a run of boring units. And if you find one you really love, why not frame it?
Style your coatrack
If your hallway coat pegs are a monstrous tangle of hats, scarves, coats and tatty cloth bags, take 10 minutes to strip them back to the basics. Pack away (or give away) anything that’s out of season or out of fashion, leaving just a few lovely things on display. The result will vastly improve the look of your hallway.
If you want to go further, treat yourself to a stylish coatrack, such as the design classic Eames Hang-It-All (seen here) or another quirky, cool design.
Mix up your ceramics
Lovely things are meant to be enjoyed and can distract the eye from an otherwise unspectacular space. If you have a collection of colorful ceramics, don’t hide them. Instead, create an eclectic display on an open shelf in a kitchen or on a sideboard. Here jars, cups and coffee sets have been lined up in groups. The colorful, interesting collection successfully lifts the eye from the plain white cabinets and tiles.
Lay your table
Nothing says home like a dining table laid out for a meal. So clear away the toast crumbs and the pile of junk mail and use what you have at hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy a plain white tablecloth, that rustic breadboard you use every day, your much-loved battered Italian coffeepot. Finish with some flowers in a vase. Doesn’t that look better?
Whether it’s a messy desk or a grubby hall, take 10 minutes out to subtly improve them and you’ll feel much better 🙂 🙂