Flipping through most interior design magazines can be demoralizing. It can feel like anyone without a huge budget or professional help is out of luck. But that doesn’t need to be the case. There are many simple and inexpensive ways to refresh your home’s interior design with just a little time and elbow grease. Read on to discover some of the most impactful ways to reinvigorate your home.
Less is more
Decluttering! Home organization is a whole industry in and of itself these days and for good reason. Quite often, just giving your home a little more breathing room can dramatically change the way it looks and feels – and also the way you feel.
There are many ways to approach organization, but I’d advocate first for getting rid of what you don’t need or want. If you keep only the things you truly need and that make you happy, your home will become a restful safe haven rather than another chore hanging over your head.
Whatever method you choose to use, make sure you start small so that you can quickly see progress and not feel overwhelmed. Maybe tackle one room, a closet, or a bookshelf that’s been in need of attention. As you go, consider donating or selling what you don’t want to keep items with more life out of a landfill. Goodwill, the Restore, Facebook Marketplace, or online furniture shops like Kaiyo and AptDeco are all good places to investigate.
Consider your palette
One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is not considering the color scheme of their home where, once again, less is more. While all the colors in the rainbow are beautiful, using them all at once can feel too overwhelming and chaotic for everyday living.
A simple guide to prevent a runaway train of color madness is to use the 60/30/10 rule – 60% of your room should be one color, 30% should be a complimentary color and 10% should be an accent color. Carrying these colors through the majority of rooms in your home will create a feeling of harmony like all of the rooms belong together.
If you’re not sure where to start in selecting your home’s color palette, there are a number of approaches to consider. First, think about the colors you’re already naturally gravitating toward. Does blue make you feel at peace? Maybe you’re really into green hues these days. From there, you can select other colors that you feel work well or try googling something like “home color palette ideas” to find suggestions from professionals. There are also interior designers on sites like Etsy who will sell their favorite tried and true color palette ideas, complete with paint names and numbers, for a small fee.
Add some greenery
Strategically placed plants can not only make your home feel design more complete but can be good for your health, too! Studies have shown that many houseplants have the ability to filter impurities out of the air and potentially even reduce stress. Assuming, of course, that they are real.
This leads us to the first plant recommendation, steer clear of faux. Except in the rarest of circumstances, faux plants usually do more harm than good in interior design. When in doubt, just say no to faux. If you’re concerned about your ability to keep a plant alive and looking good, opt for something like a succulent that requires very little maintenance. If you think that’s outside your capabilities, consider a nice landscape painting or still life to bring a little vibrancy to your home.
If you’re up for the challenge of plant caretaking, there are a few guidelines we suggest. First, make sure you have nice planters that fit into your design scheme. If your budget is tight, check out some thrift shops or flea markets where planters are often in abundance.
Consider one large statement plant like a fiddle leaf fig, snake plant, or monstera deliciosa or a grouping of 3 or 4 smaller plants. If you opt for a grouping, be sure to vary the green tones, plant types, and heights to create visual interest. As a note, if you have pets who like to chew greenery, make sure to research any plant you bring home. The three statement plants we mentioned can all be toxic if consumed by people or pets.
If you’re looking for good deals on plants, consider joining a local gardening group (they can often be found on Facebook). These groups frequently exchange plants or give away extras they may have. Other great sources include family and friends, garden center or hardware store sales, or even growing your own plants from seeds.
The importance of texture is something that great interior designers never miss. When you look at a professionally designed interior, you’ll often see that varying the texture and pattern in a room creates a more polished and interesting appearance.
Opting for natural materials such as wool, rattan, and wood makes it easy to find textures that work well together. Some items to look out for include a wool throw blanket, reclaimed wood shelf, or woven baskets made of natural materials. Varying the textures adds visual interest and feels high-end.
Aspire to new heights
Check those picture heights – pictures that are too high, too low, or crowded can make the whole room feel off. Professionals recommend hanging the vertical center of your pictures 57” inches off the floor. Make sure you consider the height of the picture’s hardware when you select the final nail placement. A little time spent rehanging could make a big impact in your home.
Make a few small changes
Adding an accent wall with paint or wallpaper, getting new throw pillows, or slip-covering an old chair can all make a big difference in giving your space some new life. And all of these options are a lot less expensive than buying brand-new furniture or repainting your whole house.
If you’re really feeling ambitious, consider repainting an old piece of furniture or trying your hand and updating a piece you find at a vintage shop. There are so many inspirational furniture flippers on Instagram and TicToc or, if that’s not your speed, try a quick Google search to get some ideas about how to tackle a furniture update. Using vintage furniture keeps items out of landfills and also makes your home more interesting.
If your home is in need of a little design TLC, don’t be fooled into thinking an expensive overhaul is your only option. With a little creativity and a few guidelines, you might be surprised by how much you can refresh your home.
Amy Kleppinger is the founder of The Home Green, a website devoted to helping homeowners find sustainable interior design inspiration. If this sounds like something that might be of interest to you, she hopes you’ll check it out.