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  • Writer's pictureHeather Holcombe

Design Changes to Transform a Room

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

You don't need a major renovation to transform a room or even an entire house. There are some simple design changes you can make which can have a significant impact - and these changes don't have to cost a fortune.


When is the last time you rearranged your living room? For a relatively easy transformation, change the placement of your furniture for a whole new look.  This concept can be as simple as moving the sofa a few feet or to the other side of the room. Or, it can mean rearranging all of the living room or bedroom!


Start by assessing the room. Imagine your furniture placed differently. For example, how would your sofa look on the opposite side of the room? What if you swapped the placement of the sofa and armchairs? You might find it opens the room up and, at a minimum, gives the room a whole new look!

TIP #1:

If you're not a visual person, it can help to move the more prominent pieces out of the room or up against the walls. Without the clutter of the furniture,  it can be easier to envision the space.  Another helpful idea is to sketch things out before you move anything. I also recommend measuring your bigger pieces before moving them to ensure they'll fit in where you think they will fit.

TIP #2:

As you move furniture around, remember to maintain about 18" - 20" between your coffee table and nearby furniture such as sofa and armchairs to allow for the flow of foot traffic. While those dimensions might sound bit narrow, placing the sofa too far from your coffee table isn't practical and doesn't look good. Someone sitting on the sofa should be able to reach the coffee table without needing to get up.


A room’s accessories are what give it character and depth. Replace (or even rearrange) a room's accessories for a new look. It's an inexpensive change which can yield significant results. Also, don't throw out those accessories you replace (unless they're outdated or you don't have anywhere to store them) because the next time you're ready for a change, you can shop your stored accessories!


Replace throw-pillows and/or rugs for a new color, design and/or texture. Remember the rule of threes: cluster knick-knacks in groups of threes or odd numbers. Always group smaller items for more impact. 

Get out a spray can and repaint items such as side or coffee tables. Swap out lamps, curtains, or decorative items. Change out coffee table books. Place a tray with a few knick-knacks on the coffee table.  

Add new plants, preferably real, but fake will do, or just change the plants' pots to coordinate with the colors of the new accessories.

Lastly, for a bigger wow-effect, change a light fixture, lamps, or wall art.


You don't have to spend a fortune on new accessories. Shop at discount retailers like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Target, or Marshalls, and look for sales at places like West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel. Try consignment stores, thrift shops, and flea markets and antique shops. Online, you can check-out Etsy and  


We've mentioned this before, but for a bolder transformation, repaint! You can re-do an entire room or just one wall. Where warmer colors like red, mustard, and orange were once popular, cooler, neutral colors are now popular - and have been for several years. Switch out your red dining room for blue, gray, or greige (combination of gray and beige; Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter is a good example of greige.) White walls are also trending!


If you're up for the job, do it yourself, otherwise, hire a professional. It shouldn't break the bank to paint an average-sized room. Add trim moldings for interest and elegance. Whether you want a modern or traditional look, trim can completely transform a room. Wallpapering a room is usually left to the professionals, unless you have a lot of experience doing it. If you’re just doing a small area, you can try using pre-pasted wallpaper. 


Add wallpaper for big impact and a new look. There are some terrific removable papers available today (check Target and Etsy), so if you move often or live in a rental, it's a good solution.


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