1. Plants add life to any room and filter out pollutants. The easiest to care for: money plants, spider plants and succulents, which all do well year-round.
2. Improve a two-color scheme with texture. Above, shiny glass, matte ceramic and velvety leaves keep green and purple looking vibrant.
3. If a room seems scattered, add a dark brown or black item, like this sleek table. It brings focus and balance by naturally attracting your eye.
4. Add energy to your living room by moving the furniture around. For example, the sofa doesn’t have to sit against a wall. Go ahead—place it in the center of the room. You can “ground” it by putting a narrow table along the back.
5. Nothing perks up the bathroom like new accessories. Mix patterned towels into the rotation to brighten things up. We love these floral designs from Amy Butler for Welspun. Bath towel, $12.99 each; BedBathandBeyond.com.
6. Don’t keep beautiful objects that you’ve bought on vacation stored away. If there’s a gorgeous piece you’ve stashed, bring it out and display it!
7. It’s true—you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The entryway is the first area people see, and it should look neat and pulled together. Place a small table near the front door and display fresh flowers, cute catchalls for keys, and a mirror for appearance checks.
8. Use a rug as your focal point. Consider one meant for outside—they’re easy to clean and have a smaller price tag than wool or cotton. Thom Filicia for Safavieh Ackerman rug, $149 for 5′ x 8′; Safavieh.com for store locations.
9. Shop for home accessories in the junior section. Items meant for kids and teens, like the ones found at PBTeen.com and UrbanOutfitters.com, look great for less money, and often come in punchy colors.
10. Instead of replacing your carpets, get them professionally cleaned. You’ll be stunned at what a difference it can make to the look of a room. If there are serious stains, layer a rug on top to conceal them.
11. Get maximum visual and sentimental effect by grouping like photographs together. Reserve a wall for a grouping of black-and-white family photos. Family members and guests will love seeing your family history.
12. Wall decals are an inexpensive way to add major personality. And the best part? They’re temporary! When you’re ready to try something new, just peel them off. Wisteria pattern, $45; WhatisBlik.com.
13. Although a well-thought-out book collection is impressive, staring at stacks of paperbacks is not. Store them away or donate them to a local library. Odds are you won’t read them again, and your bookshelf will look better with hardcover titles.
14. Add a retro-cool feel to the kitchen by displaying clear glass jars (Ikea has great ones) with grains, coffee, tea and other non-perishables on an open shelf.
15. Reinvent cabinets by simply replacing the hardware. Available in a variety of styles and colors, they add a nice finishing touch to any room. Various knobs, $8–$14; Anthropologie.com.
16. Look inside your china cabinet for items that you never use, and use them in unexpected ways. For example, a low vase can be transformed into a super-glam pencil cup. Or try a saucer from your china set as a catchall for jewelry.
17. Make your bathroom look guest-ready, even if it’s just for you. Put out fresh flowers, neatly stacked towels and soap in a pretty container.
18. The quickest way to add color to a living room: throw pillows. And so many affordable options look luxe, like this purple pillow, $17, and green pillow, $20, from HomeGoods.
19. Add an industrial-chic edge to any room by replacing a light bulb with an exposed-filament one. You won’t even need a shade.
20. No one really needs to know what’s behind closed doors. If you need extra storage for knickknacks, gift wrap, paperwork or whatever else threatens to overcrowd your space, fill up a piece of furniture. As long as it has doors or drawers that keep what’s inside hidden, it doesn’t matter what’s in there.
21. Even Oscar the Grouch would smile if he hung out in this garbage can. A bright item will breathe some life into a monochromatic kitchen—and with any luck, encourage kids to clean up. Green garbage can, $25; HomeGoods.com for stores.
22. Looking for colorful, interesting, interactive objects to place on your coffee table? Pick out a few of your favorite books in a variety of sizes and colors, then display them front-and-center.
23. If you have a variety of objects that happen to be the same color, gather them from around the house and group them together to create an eye-catching display.
24. Gorgeous ribbon adds richness to any plain piece. Try adding a length to a lampshade, or sew some along the bottom portion of curtains. Assorted ribbon, prices vary; MJTrim.com
25. Replace that old-fashioned, dusty poster or painting over the mantel with an oversize mirror. It will make a clean, modern statement and reflect light.
26. Give an old piece of furniture new life by painting it a bright, fun color, like cobalt blue. And use a high-gloss finish. In addition to adding a bold shock of color to any room, a glossy finish is durable and can be cleaned easily.
27. Even without flowers, these vases make a statement. Create a group that shares a similar trait—here, all single-colored glass— and place in any dark corner to add sparkle. Yellow Vase, $3, and Red Vase, $5; IKEA.com.Purple Glass, Roost, $19.50; Sweet Charity.
28. Save money on drapes and buy stylish shower curtains instead. There are so many beautiful options out there— no one will have a clue that you spent half the price.
29. Wicker is not just for patios. The timeless material brings warmth to the living room, and its durable texture stands up to years of spills.
30. Breathe life into a dull bedroom with sharp lines and a pop of bright red. Harvey Nightstand, $99.95; CB2.com.
31. Make inexpensive shelves look more luxe by painting the wall behind them. In the room at left, a tonal red stripe echoes the rest of the room.
32. Has your couch seen better days? Instead of running out to buy a new one, extend the life of your old one with a slipcover.
33. Brighten up the kitchen and bathroom with a little greenery. Take small cuttings from plants around the house, place them in a simple cup or vase, and display in the sink area.
34. Get rid of dull mismatched knives and replace them with this unusual set, which will be sure to add a punch of color to any kitchen. Just make sure to keep them far away from the little ones. Pure Komachi 2 Set, $89.95; Amazon.com.
35. “Hang a collection of your favorite framed artwork in different sizes and frames to create a dynamic focal point in the room,” says Antonio Ballatore, host of HGTV’s The Antonio Treatment. “To retain a sense of balance, keep the rest of the walls plain.”
36. Give the illusion of a larger room without doing any construction. Paint walls a light color for an airy feel. To make a low ceiling seem higher, paint it a cool color, like dove gray—it will appear to recede away.
37. Remember to pay attention to details. Replace a drab switch plate with a festive one that incorporates other colors in the room. Switch plate, $32; Anthropologie.com.
38. Place candles or vases of various heights in a nonworking fireplace for another added area of interest.
39. Antonio Ballatore suggests installing dimmers to change the atmosphere of your room. “Dimmers are easy to install, and they’re cheaper than replacing the whole lighting scheme,” he says.
40. Wish your windows looked taller? Try this simple fix: Raise the curtain rod.
41. Add a colorful quilt to the foot of the bed for some brightness on dreary winter nights. DwellStudio for Target reversible quilts (avail. Feb. 21), $70 each; Target.com
42. Benches aren’t just for entryways. Place one at the foot of the bed to store extra things and create additional seating.
43. A surprising item, like the bright-yellow phone, adds whimsy to the bedroom. What do you have stored in your basement?
44. A modern lamp helps freshen up a super-traditional room. Dane Table Lamp, $99.95; CB2.com.
45. If you love a trendy color but are afraid to commit, try it out in small doses, says Erika Woelfel, color director at Behr paint. Paint an accent wall, door or inside the closet with a trendy color to avoid having it take over.
46. Rearrange your bed. Lots of people make the mistake of placing the bed in a corner to maximize space. The room will look much larger and balanced if the bed is centered against the wall, with room on either side.
47. Curate your own gallery by placing photos in same-color frames. Mismatched frames? No problem—it’s spray paint to the rescue!
48. Hanging your own wallpaper is now easy, inexpensive and beautiful. Try out different patterns in any room of the house with removable, readjustable wallpaper. Lolliprops Temporary Wallpaper in Gio, $74.95/ roll; Edie, $84.95/roll; TempaperDesigns.com.
49. A lacquered wall reflects light and adds a chic edge but can be pricey. For the same effect, use paint like Behr’s Premium Plus Ultra in a high-gloss finish; it combines primer and paint to save you time.
50. Edit, edit, edit! Does the living room feel cluttered? Take a good, honest look and think about what you really need. Then discard, donate or store.
***Decorating ideas made simple and found it at http://www.womansday.com. Enjoy!!!