Experts' Tips: Fast Decorating Facelifts

What's the quickest, easiest way to spark up a room? We asked designers around the country for their best tips.

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Everything In This Slideshow

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    Cover Furniture

    Slipcovers are the best and easiest way to make furniture look new. Consider reversible ones -- a wintry color on one side and summery white linen on the other. If you're looking for someone to sew a slipcover, check the bulletin boards in fabric stores or ask the clerks.

    -- Designer Steven Ellis, Chicago

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    Fast Bedroom Updates

    Watch and see no-fail ways to give your bedroom a quick update.

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    Add a Pop of Color

    "You can't go wrong with a fun yellow throw pillow in any room." A few accents in citrus hues add a level of interest to any color scheme.

    -- Designer Elaine Griffin, New York

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    Give New Life

    "You don't always have to buy everything brand new. Look at some of the good pieces you already have and see if they deserve a new lease on life by being repurposed into another room." A new stain or coat of paint usually changes an existing piece of furniture enough to give it a whole new life.

    -- Designer Stephen Saint-Onge, New York

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    Change with the Seasons

    Rotate accessories with the seasons to keep your rooms looking fresh. Seasonally rotating favorite items that you already own is a smart budget saver because it saves you from buying new accents every few months.

    -- Designer Tim Clarke, Santa Monica, California

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    Fastest Decorating Ever

    Have 10 minutes? Then you can do these fabulous updates.

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    Change the Wall Color

    Painting is the cheapest way to redesign a room. A new color can change the tone of a room, and you can easily do-it-yourself.

    -- Lee Snijders, host of HGTV's Design on a Dime

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    Try New Lampshades

    Take a few lamps to a lighting store, plan to spend $25 to $50 per lamp, and challenge yourself to pick new shades in colors you wouldn't normally choose to bring a little more color into the room. If the shade is dark, especially one for a bedroom, make sure it's opaque so the light will be directed up or down.

    -- Designer Jeffrey Bilhuber, author of Jeffrey Bilhuber's Design Basics, New York City

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    Try a New Color

    A powder room is a great starting point. The room doesn't get a lot of use, so you can experiment with color and go for drama.

    -- Designer Abbey Koplovitz, Boston

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    Add an Area Rug

    A rug anchors a furniture grouping, promotes an orderly feeling, and defines a space. Use painter's tape to outline various sizes on the floor to get an idea of how a rug could work in the room. In dining areas, the rug should be large enough to contain the chair legs when someone pushes back from the table. If you're hard-pressed for space, the rug needs to at least contain the legs when the chairs are pushed up to the table.

    -- Designer Karen Oenick, Atlanta

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    Reorganize a Bookcase

    This brings an instant sense of order. Place books so the spines are at the very front of the shelf. Don't randomly intermingle objects with books; set aside one shelf for displaying your accessories.

    -- Designer Jeffrey Bilhuber, author of Jeffrey Bilhuber's Design Basics, New York City

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    Change the Mat on Artwork

    I often find it's the color of the mat, not the frame, that dates a picture. Change the look of the piece by swapping out a light-color mat for a dark one or vice versa. Or choose a new color of mat and use the art in a different room.

    -- Designer Steven Ellis, Chicago

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    Change Accent Pillows

    When done each season, it's a way to be trendy without making everything in your house a trend.

    -- Designer Jane Hirsch, Atlanta

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    Look for Bare Areas

    Ask yourself what simple items could add interest. A change may be as easy as rearranging furniture or putting an oversize potted plant in a corner.

    -- Designer Abbey Koplovitz, Boston

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    Tidy Up Your Entry

    It's a visitor's first impression, so don't let it become a dumping ground. Designate a place for mail and keys, like a small decorative tray or bowl. Add a basket for shoes at the bottom of the stairs so you can grab the basket on your next trip upstairs and put things away all at once.

    -- Designer Steven Ellis, Chicago

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    Rearrange Art and Accessories

    Put something in a different place (such as rearranging a shelf display) and all of a sudden a room feels fresh. When hanging art, be sure not to go too high. A good average eye-level height is to have the center of a painting 5 to 5 1/2 feet from the floor.

    -- Designer Jane Hirsch, Atlanta

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    Throw Out, Recycle, or Donate

    If there's a chair no one ever sits in or a table that just collects junk, get rid of it. Same with old TVs, cell phones, and computers. You'll feel lighter -- and your home will be more comfortable.

    -- Designer Abbey Koplovitz, Boston

  • Next Slideshow Stylish Solutions for Awkward Spaces

    Stylish Solutions for Awkward Spaces

    In case you haven't heard, awkward is the new cool. Embrace that small corner, uneven nook, or shallow mantel with these stylish tricks that will make you wish you thought of them sooner.
    Begin Slideshow »

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