One of the first tips I learnt at the interior design class I took is: that you can change the look and feel of a room with the small furnishings that you put in it. This was a lightbulb moment for me!
We don’t always have a whole lot of cash to splash when we feel like having a room makeover, but really, we don’t necessarily need to. A rug or different coloured cushions or even new sheets can give a room a bit of a spruce without having to spend thousands on furniture. Which is great, especially if you haven’t really decided what more permanent look and feel you want for the room.
I think it could be a great first step if you’re saving for a fancy couch or a new bed to start thinking about the colours and the feel you want in that room and slowly start to add (and subtract) until it looks the way you want it to. I don’t know what your budget is like, but a couch is probably going to need to be able to have a long (15+ year) life in my home, so it might take a while to save for that perfect one.
I grew up in a home where the fancy furniture that was bought before I was born is still in use today. Because in reality, life happens and if it’s still functioning it often gets put to the bottom of the ‘nice things to have’ list which comes well below the ‘this is going to break soon and needs replacing now’ list.
It’s more than okay, I think, to have nice things that have a long life that you saved for, rather than having to change every couple of years. This takes time and thought, and maybe your don’t want a super ‘on trend’ colour that your love for may dwindle (hello mint!), and you choose instead, a colour that you’ve loved forever, or a grey that will look great with any future colour schemes. The class taught me that it really is worth stopping and thinking about the whys and the hows of designing a great room.
Maybe some new cushion covers and a matching throw blanket will be enough for now make your living room feel comfy and welcoming again and give you a chance to see if that colour really does work in your home or if the neon pink looked oh-so-inviting in the shops but not so much now you’ve got it home. (Is it only me that happens to?!)
Starting small gives you a chance to test things out. It’s the same with fabrics too. I can’t stand scratchy fabrics near my skin, so no matter how pretty they look in a display or on a website, they just wouldn’t work in my space. Think about what kinds of fabrics you like, and let them help you to make a decision.
If you can, go on a window shopping mission to touch and feel the homewares you think you like. If you find a piece you like the feel of, read the label (as it has to tell you what material it’s made from) and make a note that it’s a fabric that you’d like to have. This will also help if you decide to shop online later on.
Sometimes shops will have something you love but they are not in your colours this season or in that particular store. Remember not to buy something you don’t really love, you’re the one who has to live with it after all. (Only me again?! Oops!) Starting small lets you take your time and test what works best in your home.
If you’re not rushing because of a photo shoot, you can really take your time to define what colours and fabrics make a happy home for you. It doesn’t matter, to me, whether you’re renting or you own, you can still make it feel like a happy welcoming place with things you love.
If you’re short on cash or just don’t see anything you like in the shops, look around your home and see if switching cushions, or artwork, or a even piece of furniture from one room to the other makes things feel different and more refreshed. You could be like me and have extra cushions packed in an unused suitcase and you can rotate them with the ones on display. (People used to give me cushions for birthdays and Christmas, and there are only so many mismatched cushions that will fit in a room.)
I changed up my bedroom just by changing the doona (duvet) cover. It doesn’t seem like much, but it really changed the look and feel of the room. It’s much more inviting in my favourite shade of green than a blue hand-me-down I didn’t really love.
Do you start small when you’re looking to give a room a fresh look? Do you think you’d try it? I’d love to know.