Drab To Fab

By Chandra Orr

June 24, 2011 5 min read

Need a quick fix for a boring room?

There's no need for a time-consuming remodel or expensive new furniture; it's all in the details. Transform that tired room and take your space from drab to fab in three quick and inexpensive steps.

*Choose a New Hue

"Painting a room is one of the cheapest ways to create an entirely new look," says interior designer Andrea Evans, owner of In the Pink Boutique, a specialty d?cor shop. "Use bright colors to make the room unique, or if color makes you nervous, try neutral colors and go for more experimental home accessories."

For the most dramatic makeover, look up. A fresh coat of crisp white paint on the ceiling will brighten the space instantly, or be adventurous and choose a darker hue to create a cozy feel.

"It is a clich?, but paint is the quickest and biggest bang for your buck, and a painted ceiling has the ability to adjust the entire vibe of a room," says interior designer Kristin Drohan. "Painting the ceiling can expand the space if ceilings are short, and it can bring them down, creating intimacy, if the ceilings are tall."

Don't forget to tackle the trim. Make that woodwork and molding pop with a contrasting color. Bright white makes a bold statement against darker-hued walls and ceilings, whereas rich browns and warm grays create contrast against lighter walls.

*Fix the Floor Plan

"One of the biggest things that you can do without spending a single dime is to rearrange that furniture," says interior designer Debra Lesinski, owner of Interior Style, a design consultation firm. "When you walk into a room with a bad floor plan, you will typically see many furniture pieces up against the walls, with a wide-open floor space in the center of the room -- and most people can feel it, that something is wrong in the space," Lesinski explains.

From a functional standpoint, shoving the sofa and chairs to the far edges of the room hinders conversation, causes distraction and creates a less-than-pleasant atmosphere.

"A great floor plan can help a space perform better," Lesinski says. "With all the furniture up against the wall, the traffic cuts right through the center of the room. That unsettles the room emotionally, but rearrange that furniture to keep kids and dogs traveling along the outside and you get instant cozy appeal."

Arrange seating areas so all the furniture pieces are directed toward one another, with a maximum of seven feet between furniture and focal points -- and play up those focal points. Whether it's a bay window, a fireplace or a great piece of artwork, let the furniture direct the eye to the room's most striking feature rather than focus all the attention on the television.

"Your objective in your redesign is to entertain the eye," Lesinski says. "Once these spaces are rearranged, people can't believe the difference in the way the room feels."

*Edit Your Accessories

New picture frames, colorful throw pillows and lamps go a long way when adding personality to a room, but don't go overboard. A few well-chosen accent pieces make a bigger statement than an overcrowded hodgepodge of accessories.

"Edit, edit, edit," Drohan says. "Take all existing accessories out of the space, and only bring back a few items or add some new ones. Add colorful new lamps or lampshades, and bring in new pillows that have a graphic pattern and a pop of color."

Be sure to update the walls with new artwork, but skip the expensive art prints. Create a designer look for less by shopping at home. Collect maps from your favorite travel destinations; photocopy a few pages from your favorite book; or have your family photos reprinted in black and white. Keep the look cohesive by painting all the picture frames the same color, and look for other wall accents in the same hue.

"My favorite way of changing a boring room quickly and inexpensively is through the addition of a large wall mirror," Evans says. "You'd be amazed at the depth and beauty that mirrors can add. They have the innate ability to intensify light, add dimension and attract attention like no other decoration. They can open up any space and maximize light in the room."

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