Banish Boring Now: Quick and Easy Decorating Tricks for a Fresh Look

Living room with blue couch and colorful artwork and pillows
Photo: Annie Schlechter

Who says decorating needs to be a major production? With a few small changes, your decor can look like new—you just have to know where to target your efforts. These quick and easy decorating ideas will give you a fresh look in no time.

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Entryway Spruce-Up

Entryway with wooden shelf and striped rug
David A Land

Your entryway is the first thing people see when they enter your home, so make it memorable. Create a vignette with a console table, rug, and a few accessories. Don't forget to add wall art or a decorative mirror for last-minute glances before running out the door.

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Layer Your Sofa

Living room with blue couch and colorful artwork and pillows
Annie Schlechter

Be generous with pillows and blankets on your sofa. The layered look is inviting and adds an extra decorator's polish to the room. If you don't want your pillows to end up on the floor, buy an oversize basket to house them when the sofa is needed for lounging.

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String Party Lights

Porch with dining area, colorful décor
Brie Williams

Set a casual party tone by stringing up party lights in your dining room or breakfast nook. Stick with sets that are seasonless and coordinate with your existing decor. This look works well for all occasions, including kids' birthday parties and book club dinner parties.

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Display the Utilitarian

Kitchen with white shelves with décor
Adam Albright

Select a few pretty items with a purpose to pull out of your cabinets and put on display on open shelves. Servingware, copper pots and pans, colorful mugs, and even cookbooks are worthy of a moment in the spotlight. Place most-used items on the lowest shelf so you can easily grab as needed.

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Just Add Flowers

Living room with wooden coffee table and white furniture
David Land

Bringing in fresh flowers or greenery instantly enlivens any room. If you have a green thumb, snip a sample of whatever is in season in your garden. Or treat yourself once a week to fresh blooms from the grocery store. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a colorful boost.

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Frame the Tube

Sitting area with tv and framed artwork on wall
Helen Norman

Oh TVs—the big, black hole in an otherwise pretty room. Minimize the effect of a large screen by framing the wall behind it with colorful pieces of art. Place chairs nearby that can easily be tucked away during viewing times and pulled out when conversing with friends.

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Mantel Update

Living room with fireplace, coffee table, and chair
Stacey Brandford

Take a good look at your mantel. If it is looking a little bare, or maybe just a little dull, give it a simple update with a few new accessories. If it's crowded, edit out your less-than-favorite pieces and incorporate something new. Anything metallic or colorful will be extra impactful.

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Mixed Medium

blue living room

Yes, new pillows can give your sofa a boost, but if they look the same as all your other pillows, the impact is lost. Mix up materials, shapes, and sizes as well as colors for standout results. If you don't know where to start, pick one patterned pillow and select a couple of solid pillows in complementary colors to create a pleasing combo.

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Better Lampshades

Living room with colorful pillows and large wall art
John Bessler

Most lamps come with a basic shade in a solid color. But you don't need to accept this out-of-the-box setup. Swap out a dull shade for something with more color or personality. Aim for a shade that's the same size and proportion as the existing shade.

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Put a Runner on It

Dining room with red and white table runner and artwork
Edmund Barr

A bare table can look infinitely better with a runner. Make your own from leftover fabric; bonus points for completing the look with a quick and easy centerpiece. Showcasing a shallow bowl or tray with fruit is colorful and convenient.

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Add Footstools

Living room with fireplace filled with decorative wood
Anthony Masterson

Footstools or poufs are small but mighty additions to a living room or family room. Look for a style that coordinates with your decor, but don't be afraid to throw in something a little unexpected. For major impact, go for something colorful or with great texture or shape.

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Use Rugs to Define Space

Living room with clear coffee table and geometric chairs
Annie Schlechter

An open floor plan usually tops the wish list of most house hunters, but wide-open spaces don't always feel very cozy. Make your home more inviting with well-placed rugs. Here, a large sisal rug defines the sitting area and creates a natural separation from the adjacent dining room.

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Decorate Behind a Sofa

White desk in living room with wicker baskets
Greg Scheidemann

Make the backside of furnishings in an open floor plan stylish and functional with a narrow console table. Top with small decorative items that are easy to swap out seasonally. Add a lamp for task lighting and baskets below to quickly corral living room clutter.

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Mix and Match Chairs

Dining room with blue table runner and chairs
Ann VanderWiel Wilde

There's no rule that says every chair in the dining room must be the same. In fact, it's much more interesting to switch up seating. Throw a couple of modern chairs next to a traditional dining table for a fresh take. For an eclectic farmhouse look, search for vintage wooden chairs that each have their own personality. Families with small kids might want to skip chairs altogether in favor of benches.

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Create a Makeshift Mudroom

Entryway with small couch and striped rug
Jason Donnelly

Recreate the functionality of a mudroom on the wall near your home's back door. Hang a couple of hooks for jackets. Add a bench to give yourself a space to sit and slip on shoes. A small mirror makes for simple last-minute touchups.

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Create Drama with Draperies

Sitting area with coffee table, seating, and green cabinets
Annie Schlechter

Make a small space feel grander with drapes that reach toward the ceiling and extend all the way to the floor. Raising the curtain rod high above a window visually expands a small space. Incorporate draperies in a tone similar to your wall to further the visual trick.

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Unexpected Art Gallery

Stairway with artwork, guitar, and record player
Kim Cornelison

Find unexpected places to display art, such as between windows or along a staircase. It will give a unique twist to an otherwise overlooked area. Incorporate favorite mementos for a mood-boosting display.

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Slipcovers

blue and white fabric cover bar stools

Soften dining room or kitchen island seating by slipcovering the chairs. The most time-consuming part of this makeover? Giving the slipcovers a good ironing before dressing your chairs.

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Corral in Style

bathroom

Organize and decorate at the same time by corralling bathroom or kitchen necessities into pretty vessels. Use a variety of containers in different colors or sizes for an extra fun display. Gather essential items on a floating shelf to create a station for getting ready each morning.

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Fireplace Display

Decorating Gallery

Nonworking fireplaces tend to get overlooked, but this has-been features deserve a second chance. Turn a nonworking fireplace into a focal point by displaying something special in the firebox. Here, potted plants and a framed photograph do the trick.

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