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Do It Yourself: Using Accents And Accessories

Completely redoing a room can be a lot of fun but it can also require a lot of money. Using accents and accessories, though, can give your room, or even your whole house, a breath of fresh air without breaking the bank. When you have the time and desire but not the money to make over a room, use these tips to give your room a new look.

Replacing the Furniture
Buying all new furniture is an easy way to give your room a new look, but it's far from cheap. However, rearranging the furniture in your living room or bedroom may be enough to make you feel as though you have a brand new room. If it's not, then give your furniture the appearance of being new by painting it and putting on new hardware. This is a great way to perk up an old dresser, shelf or even cabinets that have been looking rather drab lately. For those items that you can't paint, like the sofa, then consider buying a slipcover or reupholstering the item in question.

Maybe it's not the furniture itself, but the location of the furniture that's not working for you. Sometimes, an item that is just 'okay' in one room can be absolutely perfect in another. Perhaps your desk is serving its purpose in your office. But with a fresh coat of paint, that so-so desk becomes a fantastic vanity table in your bedroom.

Dressing the Room
When the placement of the furniture is just fine but the color of the furniture is rather bland, add some oomph with a few great accessories:

  • Buy some bright sofa pillows and a matching throw blanket for an armchair or love seat
  • For an instant pop of color and to perk up any room, buy or pick some flowers and put them in a decorative vase in a prominent spot.
  • One of the easiest, quickest and cheapest ways to change the appearance of a room is to change your lampshades. Whether you actually buy some or just add a new trim to your existing lampshades, you'll be surprised at how much your room transforms.
  • Install new lighting fixtures that will cast a different glow over the room.
  • Use house plants to flank a fireplace or window. Large, green, leafy plants or ferns are a good choice. Place one or two smaller plants such as impatiens or pansies on a mantle.
  • Find one unique, dramatic or bold item, like a decorative bowl, sculpture or painting, and use it as the focus of your room. Coordinate your accessories (i.e. pillows, rugs) to match the color of this item.
  • If you've put out a decorative bowl but feel that it still doesn't have enough pop, then fill it with some fresh fruit, pinecones or potpourri.
  • Help banish clutter by buying some decorative storage bins to hide away all your videos, DVDs, CDs or any other items that may be taking up a lot of unsightly space.
  • Candles not only add color to a room, they can also create a warm, intimate feel when they are lit. For a sophisticated touch, place a bunch of candles in different colors and sizes in an unused fireplace.

Don't Forget the Walls
Of course, no room will be complete without the walls receiving some attention. One of the more inexpensive ways to give your room an instant makeover is by putting on a fresh coat of paint. However, painting a whole room may be more work than you're willing to do. Depending on the type of paint you use, it could also be out of your budget. If you're really set on painting, then consider painting just one or two walls a different color, which will give the room a very dramatic change.

Maybe you have some photos that you've been meaning to put up for months but have never had time to do. Well, now's your chance! Picture frames come in all sorts of different styles and price ranges so there's sure to be something within your budget. Alternatively, you can buy some inexpensive frames and then decorate them with dried flowers, buttons, ribbons or anything else you can think of to glue on.

If you have a favorite picture, then you may want to blow it up and/or transfer it to a black and white image. You can even photocopy the image using a high quality copier. As long as the photo is framed, no one will know the difference. Using a blown up image is a great way to add a point of focus to your room. A painting can also make a lovely focal point.

Perfect Placement
Now that you have all the accessories you want to use in the room, don't just throw them in. Where you put items can make all the difference when you're trying to create a put together room.

  • To make the space appear more interesting and give it more dimension, use objects of different sizes, shapes and textures.
  • If you are going for a more casual atmosphere, like in a family room, then distribute items throughout the room asymmetrically. Keeping everything in perfect symmetry lends a room a more formal feel.
  • When placing a number of items together, consider elevating the one object that is most important to you. This will help make the item more noticeable.
  • Use a table runner, placemats or brightly colored fabric underneath an item, like a decorative bowl or some knick knacks, to help set it off.
  • Avoid placing all the books on your bookshelf upright, side-by-side. Instead, stack some on top of each other, while leaving others upright. Break up the appearance of all the books by placing a vase or a sculpture on a few shelves.
  • If you have a lot of small knick knacks or sculptures, place them together on a mantle or table. Displaying them around the room on their own will cause them to get lost and overwhelmed.