Everyone wants to redecorate at one time or another. But time and budget constraints often have us putting redecorating on the bottom of our to-do list. If you can't wait another minute to add new life to your home, check out our 10 quick fixes that you can put into action right now.
Toss, toss, toss
Nothing revives a space more than digging it out from under a pile of junk. "Donate old books and magazines to a hospital, send clothing you haven't worn to a charity or a women's shelter, have a garage sale and toss things that are broken," says Carole Cohn, a Montreal-based designer and home fluffer.
Bring in new life
Plant life, that is. "We don't use plants as much as we used to and it's a shame. They really bring a room to life," says Carol Thomas, owner of Carriage Way Interiors in Lake Echo, NS. Collect plants from other rooms in your house and group them together in varying heights - one on a chest, one on side table and one on the floor, for example. Add unlit candles or beautiful blue and white china between them to add interest.
Colour your world
Strip old wallpaper, then go all out with a new colour scheme. Cohn likes metallic paints and suggests applying them with contrasting colours for walls, doors and moldings; for example, a silver door with black molding and lime or aqua walls if you like to experiment with colour; or a copper door with taupe molding and ivory walls. "Once you're going to change it, get a little crazy - it's only paint," she says.
Out with the old
If you have remnants of fabric lying around, put them to good use: cover cushions (just fold and tuck, no need to sew) or drape them over a sofa arm. You can also use fabric to embellish cabinets or bookcases, says Thomas. Cut fabric to size, wrap and staple around a thin piece of board, then place it at the back of the cabinet. Add a small lamp to spotlight the fabric's colour and sheen.
Bedeck the bathroom
Update your bathroom by removing the medicine cabinet and replacing it with a large mirror in a gilt picture frame, suggests Cohn. Add matching towel bars and even new taps for your sink. Drape fluffy towels in wonderful colour combinations like aqua and chocolate. Most importantly, if you don't have an exhaust fan, get one. It will eliminate the possibility of mold and mildew.
Warm up the room
Place an ottoman by the fireplace and top it with a short stack of books or magazines, an English teapot and a teacup, says Thomas. "It looks like you were just cozying up by the fire."
New lighting not only modernizes a space but also helps items in a room sparkle and shine. "For kids' rooms, there are great new chrome and glass fixtures that look like trains, planes or helicopters," says Cohn. "It could also be fun to hang a sparkly chandelier in the bathroom." If your lighting fixtures are keepers, make sure you're using the proper bulbs and wattage - most people don't, notes Cohn.
If you don't want to change the whole kitchen, put in new countertops or change cupboard doors and handles, suggests Cohn. "A chocolate-coloured door with long, narrow brushed aluminum handles is really quite attractive."
Use your food
When flowers are scarce in the wintertime, go to your refrigerator and pull out colourful fruit or vegetables and place them in a beautiful clear glass bowl. If you're having people over, group breads of different textures, like pumpernickel and raisin, on a nice serving plate and place it with a few pretty dishes and cutlery in the middle of a dining table or on a sideboard. "It gives the feeling that you're welcome into my home."
Create a whole new feeling by moving around significant pieces. "Try angling a sofa instead of placing it straight on a wall, or make a conversation area if it doesn't exist - put sofas facing each other, or a couple of chairs facing a sofa," suggests Cohn. She also suggests turning the dining table the other way if the space allows. Or in the bedroom, try moving the bed into the centre of a room or under a window.