Design Lesson

101 ways to spruce up your space

101 ways to spruce up your space

101 ways to spruce up your space Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson

101 ways to spruce up your space

Every now and then, some of us get the sudden urge to reassess our lives, from taking better care of our bodies to purging our homes and tossing away the clutter. Whilst getting rid of unwanted items in your house is great for keeping your space neat and tidy, you may also be thinking of introducing new elements into your home. Small changes throughout the home can have a significant impact, from switching out your coffee table to hanging blackout blinds in the bedroom. And if your budget allows for it, look to invest in structural changes to your home, like installing a skylight or adding beams to vaulted ceilings.

Read on for 101 ways to spruce up your space, ranging from cost-free changes to investment-worthy projects.

Photography by Lisa Petrole

Living room
1 Add an architectural element to vaulted ceilings with reclaimed wood beams.

2 Rearrange your shelves with books, boxes and decorative objects, bringing in pieces from different rooms in the house.

3 Corral any TV or stereo remotes in a lidded box to keep them out of sight when not in use.

4 Switch up old coffee table books for new ones.

5 Put the spotlight on artwork or wall vignettes with overhead gallery lighting.

6 Move around furniture in the room to create new pathways and seating arrangements.

7 Trade in that old, dented coffee table for a plush ottoman with hidden storage.

8 Give a brick fireplace a fresh look with a coat of white paint.

9 Glam up a dated lamp by spraying it gold.

10 Add a bit of rock n’ roll to the living room by trimming an occasional chair or settee with nailheads. 

Photography by Joe Kim/TC Media

Glue a whimsical wallpaper to the inside back of a bookcase used to house dinnerware.

12 Swap out your kitchen table chairs for benches.

13 Set aside a drawer or stylish storage box for mail and loose paper that finds its way onto countertops.

14 Install an iPad stand near your food prep area to keep it fully charged and hands-free when following recipes.

15 Clear the fridge of any magnets and artwork – instead, create a designated area for them on a smaller magnetic board on the wall.

16 Repaint your cabinets in an unexpected shade, like navy or sage.

17 Grow potted herbs on the windowsill so you always have fresh dill and basil close at hand when cooking.

18 Hang a chalkboard in your kitchen with the daily menu, to-do list or to chalk up recipe measurement conversions.

19 Paint the inside walls of your pantry with a bold and exciting colour like teal or plum.

20 Update your backsplash with something bespoke, like Moroccan tile or hammered tin ceiling tiles

Photography by Tracey Ayton

Dining room
Hang a dramatic light fixture over the dining table to define the focal point as soon as you walk in the room.

22 Keep the dining table set even when you don’t have guests over – you should enjoy seeing your fine china and crystal stemware daily!

23 Paint the dining room wainscoting a deep navy, changing it up from traditional white.

24 Instead of splashing out on a large piece of artwork for the dining room, hang a vignette of your favourite vintage plates.

25 Take your dining room from simple to sophisticated by installing a chair rail along the walls.

26 Make things interesting in the dining room by changing out your matching chairs and adding in two vintage beauties at the heads of the table.

27 Ditch the traditional tablecloth and opt for a modern runner instead.

28 Wheel a bar cart to the dining room to keep you from running back and forth to the kitchen when entertaining.

29 Add a heavy hit of colour and shine with a lacquered dining table in a bold hue like navy or plum.

30 Instead of a standard rug under the table, paint the floors white or black then add your own ‘rug’ with a complementary-hued rectangle beneath the dining space.

Photography by Stacey Brandford

31 Switch up the standard hardware on your dresser and nightstands with vintage brass or coloured glass knobs and pulls.

32 Add some texture to your bed with soft throw pillows in angora, cashmere, alpaca and faux fur.

33 Arrange some fresh lavender in a vase on the bedside tables for a sound sleep.

34 Clean out that closet! Organize in style with pretty storage boxes and matching hangers, adding internal pot lights for a finishing touch.

35 For a traditional, classic look, line the ceilings with white or cream crown molding.

36 Reupholster your headboard in a fabulous new fabric or add some tufting to your old one.

37 Lay a mega-textural throw on the bottom of the bed, experimenting with patterns and colours that will pop against white linens.

38 Display your beautiful perfume bottles on top of the vanity on a vintage silver platter.

39 Invest in blackout blinds for the bedroom, with sheers hanging on the inside. Your Sunday mornings will thank you.

40 Are you a nighttime page-turner? Install wall-mounted reading lights that won’t disturb a sleeping partner.

Photography by Barry Calhoun

41 Change out the rectangular mirror over your double sink vanity and opt for two oval beauties instead.

42 Give a small powder room some personality with boldly patterned wallpaper.

43 Treat your bathroom to new faucets, changing up the look from stainless steel to brass or from farmhouse to gooseneck.

44 For ultimate relaxation, install a dimmer switch to help you unwind in the bath at the end of the day.

45 And for the ultimate luxury, purchase a towel heater to keep your terries nice and toasty.

46 If you’re short on space in the bathroom, change out that pedestal sink for a vanity. It takes up more floor space, but will give you much-needed storage for toiletries and bath linens.

47 Place dividers in your cabinet drawers to organize makeup and hair supplies, keeping the countertops clutter-free.

48 Choose a bold, decoratively tiled backsplash for the vanity for a heavy hit of character in an otherwise white space.

49 Paint the ceilings a darker colour than the walls.

50 Tear out those builder-grade countertops and upgrade to a hardwearing marble or granite.

Photography by Michael Nangreaves

Home office
Build upwards with storage space. Install a wall-to-wall shelf a couple of feet from the ceiling to hold important items that you don’t necessarily need to access every day.

52 Treat yourself (and your back!) to a new desk chair, upholstered in soft white leather or a favourite pattern.

53 Hang an inspiration board by your desk, pinning fabrics, images and quotes that fuel your passions and add to the aesthetic of the space.

54 Corral computer cords with under-desk caddies and cable clips.

55 If white-boarding ideas is your thing, attach painted floorboard trim around the edges for a more stylish dry-erase board.

56 Jazz up a filing cabinet with a coat of paint and new pulls.

57 Switch out your standard office lamp with two tall table lamps to flank your desk.

58 Instead of a standard desk, look for a vintage table to add a bit more character to your home office.

59 Cover a wall with chalkboard paint for brainstorming sessions or to chalk up weekly inspirational quotes.

60 If budget allows, install a skylight over your desk space for plenty of natural light. Bright computer screens and artificial lighting damage eyes over time.

Photography by Stacey Van Berkel

61 Add archways to the architecture of long hallways with high ceilings – the lengthy space will feel cozier and more pulled together.

62 Hang an oversized mirror in the foyer to create the appearance of a larger entryway.

63 Frame black and white family photos and create a gallery wall in a long hallway for visual interest.

64 Create length in a small hallway by painting horizontal stripes on the walls.

65 Place a console table in the upstairs hallway simply to house interesting objects that you found on travels or scored from a recent antique outing.

66 Give your stairwell a showstopping chandelier or antlered light fixture.

67 If you don’t have a closet in the foyer or close by, install one. Your entryway will grow unsightly with an overflowing coatrack and salt stained flooring during the winter months.

68 Place a bench in the foyer for easy removal of shoes – it’s also easy to slide under a console when not in use.

69 For smaller homes, consider glass paneling instead of a stairwell banister to open up the main floor living space.

70 Convert a slow traffic hallway into a workspace with floating desks and stools to tuck underneath when not in use.

Photography by Barry Calhoun

Basement and laundry room
Drill a rail over your machines in the laundry room to hang delicates that require air-drying.

72 If you’re short on space in the laundry room, install a slim cabinet on the wall to house a fold-down ironing board.

73 Take the laundry room from purely functional to pretty fantastic by hanging a glam chandelier – you’ll want something sparkly to distract you when folding those dreaded fitted sheets!

74 Even if you have small windows in the basement, hang floor-to-ceiling drapes to define the space and heighten the room.

75 Bring some brightness to the basement with a vibrant feature wall in coral or navy set against neutrals.

76 Or go for that movie theatre ambiance with charcoal walls that fade to black once the lights dim and the popcorn is made.

77 Use every nook and cranny in the basement! Install a wine closet or pantry under the stairs for additional storage.

78 Install a fireplace and arrange some comfy sofas in the basement for a super cozy lounge area.

79  Make room for overnight guests without taking up precious floor space by installing a Murphy bed in the basement.

80 Basements are chilly by nature, especially underfoot. Invest in heated floors or, if your budget is a bit tighter, lay down area rugs to keep tootsies warm.

Photography by Michael Nangreaves

81 Give your front door a facelift with a new coat of paint in a vibrant hue.

82 Line your front walkway with in-ground lights – they’re not only safe, but give your home serious nighttime curb appeal.

83 Replace your standard garage door with a carriage style to give your home’s exterior a bespoke look.

84 Paint your porch. Try a charcoal or deep sage, ensuring you choose a colour that complements the front door.

85 Reseal your asphalt driveway to cover built-up oil stains and salt residue, or powerwash if you have stone.

86 Hang a wreath on the door throughout the year, changing up each season – colourful florals for spring, white blooms for summer, leaves and pinecones for fall, and holly and berries for winter.

87 Lay down a stylish weather-resistant rug on your back patio, creating a defined space for outdoor entertaining.

88 Powerwash your fence and restain, or paint in a neutral colour that pairs well with the brick of your home.

89 If you have an older home, consider leaded glass windows in the front of the house to retain its character and charm.

90 Flank the front door with miniature cedars in stone urns.

Photography by Michael Graydon

Throughout the house
Carve out a cozy reading space in an awkward nook by installing a daybed with under-bunk storage.

92 Have some fun with your hardwood, painting a herringbone pattern on the floor.

93 Give an old wooden chair a new lease on life with a fresh coat of paint.

94 Transform your child’s room from a play space to a teen hangout with new bed linens, a feature wall in trendy wallpaper and grown-up light fixtures.

95 Paint the interior door of a well-used closet with a bold hue like turquoise or Kelly green.

96 Place plush new rugs underfoot in the bedroom, living room and hallway.

97 If you have drapes, change them out for new window coverings like roman blinds, shutters or frosted glass.

98 Can’t find the perfect piece of art for a wall in your house? Buy a few yards of your favourite patterned fabric and have it framed.

99 Shop your home – pull furniture from one room into another for a fresh look and without having to reach for your wallet.

100 Some homes have incredible feature walls hidden behind drywall and plaster. Uncover a feature wall to expose brick or concrete.

101 Install sliding doors throughout your home. Whether it’s a reclaimed barn door for the bedroom or frosted glass sliders for the bathroom or even sliding French doors for the dining room, this minimalist change will have a huge impact on your space.


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Design Lesson

101 ways to spruce up your space