Sometimes your space needs a bit of an instant refresh. After staring at the same four walls for days on end (especially during those long winters) every now and then it’s normal to find yourself craving a little pick-me-up for your home. As designer Sarah Wittenbraker put it, “Day after day we can grow numb to what’s around us, and it can become hard to gain fresh perspective.”
But while the decor addict is us all fuels the desire for a full-blown update, the budget-conscious part knows that’s not always realistic. Good news though: According to our favorite design experts, updating your space doesn’t have to be a big, overwhelming project. It can be simple and affordable. If you’re looking to give spruce up your space, but don’t know where to start, read on.
1. Refresh with accessories you already own.
First things first: Before going shopping for totally new decor, use what you already have. Sarah Wittenbraker, Lindye Galloway, and Joanna Hawley are big proponents of simply rearranging furniture and other accessories. “It’s free and can be achieved in an afternoon,” says Hawley. “Whether it’s switching up where the couch goes or swapping side tables for nightstands, my home is constantly evolving.”
Start off by clearing the shelves and tabletops and “re-merchandise”— as Wittenbraker says—with your own books and accessories, then add a few fresh flowers for a boost of life, and you’re set.
2. A little paint goes a long way.
The number one answer from our designers for most affordable way to update a space? Paint. Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs calls paint magic: “I can’t tell you how many incredible transformations I have achieved with a fresh paint job on walls, cabinets, and furniture.” Choosing from the trendiest paint colors and finishes can immediately give whole new life to a room.
“You can even do it yourself to save money,” point out designer Becki Owens. “In the kitchen, I recommend trying to salvage your kitchen cabinets with a new coat of paint (like this retro 1950s makeover). You can play with two-tone cabinetry to add character, or keep it all white for a open, airy look.”
New York-based designer Neffi Walker agrees. “A change of color can transform your mood and feel of the space all for only $40 per can. If you don’t like it, just choose another color!”
If color isn’t your thing at the moment, a bit of white paint is a surefire way to brighten things up. “I usually start anything in need of urgent love with a can of white paint (my go-to paint is BM Decorators White),” says Susana Simonpietri of Chango & Co. “With little effort you can make pretty much any space nice and bright. We recently bought a tiny salt-box in East Hampton and painted all floors, walls, trims and everything existing in pure white and the difference still doesn’t stop amazing me.”
3. Swap out textiles for a new look.
Never underestimate the impact your soft goods have on your overall space. “Pillows, throw blankets, curtains, and rugs are a great way to make your space pop or switch things up for the seasons without breaking the bank,” tells Ashley Burdette of Sugar & Cloth.
Designer Lauren Balkan and Shea McGee of Studio McGee also love changing out textiles like chic, affordable throw pillows for a bright new vibe that reflects your current style. You don’t even have to buy new things: Swap your sofa throw with the one on your bed and see what a difference it makes.