Replace accent furniture Locked into the matching three-piece end-and-coffee-tables scenario? Rethink size, style, placement and purpose of these pieces. One alternative: We wrapped low shelves around the back of a sofa. Also try exchanging a small accent table for a skirted tall piece offering concealed storage underneath. Or let two ottomans, with tops that flip to cushions or trays, stand in for the standard coffee table, providing easy mobility and double function.
Add a rug An area rug anchors our newly arranged seating group. It also injects lively pattern into the room, enhancing the plain furniture.
Continue to slide 2 to see what our room looked like before the makeover; slides 3 to 8 show more ideas for weekend facelifts ranging from about $300 to free. Slide 9 has product resources.
Here's what our room looked like before. You can re-create a room with a new color scheme. But don't start from scratch. Choose a dominant shade from what you want to keep (here it was our sectional), then add fresh secondary hues for a totally different look.
Paint wood trim Oak bookcases, baseboards and window trim rejuvenated with crisp white paint visually enlarge this room and give it a fresh, clean look.
Bring in art The fireplace focal piece led to our new color scheme.
Revitalize lighting Update a ceiling fixture. Replace floor and table lamps (or revamp lamps with updated shades).
Change the wall color We chose a soft taupe-gray to highlight the tones in the slate fireplace surround.
Refurbish seating Choose a fashionable fabric and re-cover loose cushions on a chair or sofa for a new look.
Layer on color Repeat a secondary hue (here it's aqua) throughout the room by adding small boxes, vases, art and pillows in that color.
Reframe photos Grouping family photos in the same style and/or finish of frames and mats brings cohesiveness to a mismatched mix. Our dark brown wood frames also echo the tones of the wood furniture.
Rearrange the furniture No need to replace large pieces. Reconsider their placement and usage. We broke up a sectional, positioning the long section for easier TV viewing. The end piece--grouped with ottoman, floor lamp and laptop table--is a great place to go online or cozy up with a book.
Declutter bookshelves Keep a light look by limiting books to half a shelf or putting them in baskets. Group just a few select accents, which will give the shelves room to breathe.
Reinvent accessories A mirror relocated from the bedroom adds style and reflects light here. Art pieces from the wall look brand new when layered in tabletop vignettes instead.
Art (Over fireplace) 597-981 Marrakech I. Crate and Barrel (800/967-6696; crateandbarrel.com).
Bookshelf tables 15-2212405 bookshelf side tables (3), color: Chocolate. West Elm (866/937-8356; westelm.com).
Cabinet paint Cabinet Transformations. Rust-Oleum (888/577-8459; rustoleumtransformations.com).
Ceiling light fixture 19566 20-1/2-inch Forecast Embarcadero Collection. Lamps Plus (800/782-1967; lampsplus.com).
Fabric on chair cushions FF016 Malabar Gray (by the yard). Ballard Designs (800/367-2775; ballarddesigns.com).
Laptop table 05-1443795 framed side table. West Elm (see Bookshelf tables).
Photo frames Michaels Stores (800/642-4235; michaels.com).
Pillows 15-1598713 (18 x18 inch) and #15-1598614 (24x24 inch) faux suede/linen, color: Horseradish (Gold). West Elm (see Bookshelf tables).
Ottomans 0142700400 Cooper ottoman (2), color: Light Cream. Home Decorators Collection (877/537-8539; homedecorators.com).
Rug XH8005 Soho dhurri (8x11 feet), color: 0811YE yellow. Shades of Light (877/288-5029; shadesoflight.com).
Skirted table 3829 all-purpose shelf table, W3831 beveled-glass top and W3830 table skirt. Wisteria (800/320-9757; wisteria.com).
Wall paint AF-100 Pashmina. Benjamin Moore (benjaminmoore.com).