By Stephanie Anderson Witmer
If your living room is eliciting more jeers than cheers, it may be time for an update. It’s important to remember that redecorating doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Sometimes a simple swap here and a small tweak there makes an impressive difference.
Light It Up
Good lighting, especially natural light, does wonders for a drab room. Ditch heavy drapes and replace them with gauzy window treatments that let natural sunshine fill the room. Sheer Roman shades let light stream through, even when the shades are down. Airy curtains with ikat, geometric, or abstract patterns create a modern look. Alternatively, forget about shades and curtains, and instead paint the window trim a bright shade that complements or contrasts the color on the walls.
Take to the Floor
A new area rug transforms a living room in an instant. Particularly in open floor plans, a rug helps define the space. Choose the largest rug you can afford that fits the size, layout, and traffic of the room. If the living room is a favorite family gathering spot, look for a durable, natural fiber rug. To add a punch of color and a pattern, pick a woven dhurrie or kilim rug.
Fit the Pattern
Swapping throw pillows and blankets is the most simple, inexpensive way to update a room. To give a living room that coveted designed-by-a-pro look, experiment with mixing and matching patterns. Work in threes, and choose patterns in the same color groups, such as all pastels or all earth tones. The first pattern should be a bold statement pattern that is the largest of the trio. The second pattern should contain some of the same colors as the first but have a contrasting design.
If the main pattern has round elements, like circles or florals, opt for plaids, stripes, or boxy geometric designs for the second pattern. The final pattern should be a smaller version of the first or second pattern and pull in a color or two from both. Add balance by spreading the patterns throughout the room.
Something Old (or Old-Looking)
Antique and vintage (or just retro-looking) furniture add instant character, but you don’t have to convert your home into a museum to make an impact. Instead, purchase just one special piece. For example, a mid-century credenza, reclaimed-wood coffee table, antique grandfather clock, or large-scale salvaged sign can give a room a whole new feel. If you’re not into scouring antique stores to find vintage gems, plenty of retailers sell replicas that capture the look at a fraction of the cost.
CORT Furniture Clearance Centers offer high-quality, previously rented furniture at prices that are up to 70 percent lower than new retail prices. With more than 100 locations nationwide and a large rental inventory, CORT stocks the perfect pieces to help you reinvent your living room.
Stephanie is a full-time freelance writer and copy editor. She writes mostly about food, entertaining, parenting, pets, health & wellness and home & garden. Features, profiles, Q&As, FOB, blog posts. She has been teaching college-level journalism and writing courses since 2003 and is very familiar with that age group and campus/college culture.
Her work has been published in Redbook, Women’s Health, USA Today’s custom magazines, Better Homes & Gardens, Spirit, Forbes Travel Guide, and on websites such as Daily Parent, Civil Eats, Live Love Lux (Electrolux), Punchfork and CakeSpy. She has also written extensively for regional publications, including a parenting column and blog for Susquehanna Style magazine for 2 years. In 2007, her cookbooks Killer Pies and Killer Chili were published by becker&mayer!/Chronicle Books.