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Take it from Minnesota native Jill Vegas, author of Speed Decorating: You can get a whole new look for a room (or even your entire home) with a few simple changes. Three of her lessons in quick decorating are pictured here.
Make instant furniture. Stack hardback books on the floor or on a low stool or dining chair. Top the pile with a lamp, vase or bowl to create a quick side table or nightstand. Place it where it won't get bumped, such as close to a wall.
Switch out art. Perk up walls by putting new artwork in frames you already own. "You can change your room so quickly with art," Jill says. "Go on an adventure and find some local artists that you like." For low-cost art, use the old standbys: pages from photography books or arty wall calendars. Even pro designers do it.
Refresh seats. A vibrant textile quickly transforms a worn sofa or chair. No sewing required! Tuck fabric between the chair and cushion, Jill says, and bring in coordinating pillows.
Want more ideas from Jill and other designers? Click ahead.
Add a touch of the latest look
Jumping on a home decor trend doesn't mean you have to redo the whole room. Incorporate small pieces that reflect the latest color, motif or fabric trend. For instance, crewel accessories are hot right now. The age-old embroidery technique, which uses worsted wool yarn, is showing up in oversize motifs on lamps, rugs, curtains and more.
Crewel designs "are often a bit ethnic and add a touch of whimsy and panache to enhance the fun, carefree feeling of summertime," says Minnesota interior designer Shelly Riehl David. Just remember: A little crewel goes a long way; one or two accents will spice up a room.
Start with a statement
Welcome guests into your entry with a statement piece that reflects the home's character or style. "A statement piece could be an amazing piece of art, a mirror, a fabulous pendant light or a splash of vibrant color," Jill says. In this Chicago home, photos of local landmarks above other distinctive accessories climb the stairs.
Style your coffee table
Make the most out of your coffee table by removing the clutter and displaying just a couple of items, Jill says. Put out one nice coffee-table book, for instance, or stack two or three books of similar size and color. Then find (or buy) a decorative bowl or vase to add height to the scene.
Create a unique picture display
Show off your photos in an eye-catching arrangement of frames. Mix frames of different sizes, shapes and weights, and add unexpected elements (such as our hand mirrors and crafts letter) for personality. Paint frames one hue, such as the high-gloss white enamel spray paint we used.
To get the look you want, measure wall space to determine the size of your composition; then, experiment by arranging frames on the floor. The display should appear random yet balanced. Leave about 10 inches above your sofa and 10 inches below the ceiling (our arrangement is 48 inches high).
Make your own bookends
Stand books in style with creative bookends that play off your decor. Keep the project wallet-friendly by repurposing items or hitting up a crafts store for inexpensive supplies.
For this display, fill glass vases with colored floral decor sand to match your color scheme or layer with aquarium gravel or beach glass. Weight vases with enough material so they won't tip. Finish with preserved greens.
Get the right lights
Choose light fixtures that are the proper size and style to fit your rooms. Here, an arching lamp with a fabric shade coordinates with the soft neutral colors of the room and helps create a subdued, sophisticated tone.
Showcase collections -- sparingly
Collect pottery, glass figurines or something else you love? If you have a large collection, pick just your favorites to display. Group a few pieces on a side table, window ledge or mantel to command attention.
Put the other items in storage, but take photos so you'll remember what you have.
Rearrange bookshelf contents
Consider bookshelves part of the art in your room. Add decorative accessories, such as sculptures, small prints or glass bottles, along with books for a more interesting display.