How to refresh your home

If only we could all hire Joanna Gaines to come redo our houses, they would be magazine worthy. But who has the budget for that?

The reality is that your home can be freshened up with a few easy changes that can make a big impact—while not breaking the bank. So we turned to a few Chicago area experts, Home Ec. and Dana Rae Design Company, to help you make your house feel more like your home with a few simple fixes.

Give those walls some love

According to Kim Daunis of Home Ec. in Oak Park, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Don’t be afraid of adding some color; it’s just paint! Also don’t neglect the fifth wall—your ceiling. Painting a ceiling is an easy way to introduce a new trend into your home. Plus, wallpaper is trending right now. With so many fantastic options out there (whether you are into floral, geometrics or just want to add some texture), wallpaper is a cheap and easy way to instantly add color and pattern into your space.

Rearrange and restyle

“One of the easiest and free ways to freshen a home is by rearranging furniture,” says Rae Ann Mattson of Dana Rae Design in Naperville. Trying out new layouts with your current furniture can give a room a whole new life and perspective. Also try to restyle your shelving or bookshelves. Less is always more, so think fewer large items. Another cheap refresh is to print off new family pictures and update your frames.

Green it up

House plants instantly add warmth and freshness into your home, according to Natalie Papier of Home Ec. You don’t even need a green thumb to care for succulents. Snake plants are also very low-maintenance, but can add that pop of green your room craves.

Pillows please

“It’s amazing what a few new pillows can do to an old couch,” says Papier. “Play with different patterns and textures to liven up a neutral couch for a low-cost but highly effective way to add some fresh design trends. Think fuzzy faux fur! Boho kilim! Mix it up!”

Shop around and read reviews

There are so many budget-friendly shopping options out there, Mattson says. Dana Rae Design Company loves Target (especially the new Hearth & Hand line from Joanna Gaines), IKEA, World Market and West Elm for rugs, Rejuvenation for lighting and McGee and Co. for accessories. Also try Wayfair, but make sure to read online reviews.

Mix up your wall art

According to Daunis, updating or just rearranging your wall art is a highly effective way to add interest to your walls. Wall art doesn’t have to be just “art” either. Unconventional art, such as wall baskets, add in another texture and are visually interesting as well as totally on trend.”

Skip the all-new, look for the old

The designers at Home Ec. like reusing things clients already own and combining those with vintage and modern touches. “Don’t be afraid to hit up estate sales, antique stores, consignment stores, even thrift stores,” Papier says. Second-hand items allow you to create a unique look with quality pieces at great prices. Splurge on a few pieces, then mix in other low-cost items.

Play around on Pinterest

Both Home Ec. and Dana Rae Design recommend Pinterest as a great place to start to decipher the style you want for your home. Browse room styles and furniture types and pin everything you are drawn to. Then you can see patterns of your preferred style. Start with a room color that inspires you or a piece of furniture to build a room around.

Take baby steps

At Home Ec., we encourage our clients to step outside the traditional decorating box in baby steps because we want your home to feel like YOU,” says Daunis. If you find yourself drawn to a bold color but are nervous about incorporating it into your home design, start small with some throw pillows or a décor piece in that color. 

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