Before and After -With Styling Tips To Dramatically Change Your Space

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It doesn't always require a complete overhaul to achieve a new look in your space. Today, using a recent online design project as an example, I'd like to share a few tips on how you can change your look dramatically by adding/eliminating a few key elements. I recently had the privilege of creating an online design plan for Jennifer's Living Room. Jennifer had some great pieces in the space already and wanted to keep them. She asked me to keep most of her existing furniture pieces, flooring, stonework and woodworking. She wanted suggestions to refresh the space and give it a stylish, cozy, inviting, and cohesive new look while keeping most of the largest design elements. 

Here are some tips...

Neutralize The Space

To start a refresh, I suggest removing decorative accents, lamps, rugs, pillows and accessories from the space. That way, you will be starting with a clean slate and you can add things back in as you go. Doing this allows you to see your room in a new light and really helps you to decide which elements you love and which you may want to eliminate or replace.

For example, during our consultation we determined Jennifer's chair was no longer working for her from a style standpoint or comfort standpoint. It was dating the space, and replacing it made a big impact on the overall look of the room. You can see how we went with a piece with a light colored slipcover to contrast with the woodwork. This is one of the first areas you see when you enter the room, and now it looks cozy and fresh.



Add a New Rug, Pillows and Throws 

One of the first suggestions I made in Jennifer's Living Room Design Plan was to replace her current area rug with a larger rug to ground the furniture arrangement and add a big dose of color and pattern to the space. Then, I pulled colors from the rug when I made my selections for new toss pillows and throws. These items can be inexpensive and can have a big impact on the look of your room. I went with a bold trendy pattern on her pillows to give her space a fun, current, look. Take a look...



You can see how adding a more vibrant rug to contrast with the floors instantly livened up the look of the room. While the previous rug was pretty, it was so similar in tone to the floor that it blended in and almost disappeared. Now, the new rug rug packs a big design punch. And the new toss pillows give her sofa a fresh new look.

Make A Big Deal Out of Your Focal Point

Instead of changing everything in your space, which can feel overwhelming and lead to analysis paralysis, I suggest changing up just the main focal point. To do this, first decide which area of the room is the focal point. Then re-evaluate the way you have it decorated. Does it make a statement? Does it grab your attention? Does the eye want to rest there? If the answer to any of these is no, then make some adjustments. 

In Jennifer's Living Room, the natural focal point is the fireplace wall. She had lovely wood tone bookcases and stonework featured here that she did not want to change. This woodwork and stone is used in other areas of her home and she wanted to maintain the flow. I was able to give her focal wall a new look without changing either of these main elements. 
Take a look...



Navy grass cloth wall paper added to the wall gave this focal point a dramatic new look. It provided contrast with to the wood tones and stonework. Having this rich, dark, color also made the items I chose to style her bookcase stand out. Speaking of styling the bookcases...

Accessorize Intentionally 

 In the images above, you can see how styling Jennifer's Bookcases and filling the empty spaces with just a few well chosen items dramatically effects the overall look of the room. I didn't put a lot of things in the bookcases, I just placed things that were the proper scale to keep it looking full, but neat. I placed baskets on the bottom under the cabinets to provide additional storage and to add texture. Family photos on the first shelf of each side personalize her room and balance the focal wall visually. Symmetry in bookcase arrangements creates an eye pleasing base for styling. The top shelves were all different sizes so I selected items based on the dimensions of each individual area and I made sure the color of these items would pop against the new navy wallpaper. Contrast is another secret weapon to make your space exciting. 



I gave Jennifer new lamps and a simple coffee table centerpiece. I kept a piece of her existing wall art in the room, but moved it to another wall. I selected candle wall sconces to flank it for dimension and to fill the large wall space. An over-scaled mirror was brought in to hang over the sofa. It bounces light around the space and provides a reflection of her lovely new room...

Add Loved Ones

The last tip I'd like to share today, is to add a few elements to your space that beckon your loved ones to use it. Adding small items that make your friends and family feel welcome and comfortable in your home will always enhance the overall look and feel. I think it's important to make our homes look beautiful, but not to take it so serious that we end up with a room that looks great, but no one wants to use it. Place a cute set of coasters on your coffee table to let folks know they are welcome to sit down with their coffee. A basket of toys, books or puzzles next to a large floor pillow lets kids know they can come in and stay awhile. Another example, adding a throw blanket over the arm of your sofa or chair not only looks welcoming and cozy, it provides a layer of protection from everyday use (think kids, fur babies, etc.). 

In Jennifer's Living Room, Rockstar and Zoe are feeling cozy on the new chair and loving all the changes. 

Thank you, to my E Design Client, Jennifer, for submitting these before and after pics. I really enjoyed working with you Jennifer and you did an amazing job bringing your Online Design Plan to life! Enjoy your "new" room!

Thanks for stopping by today!

My Online Design Service is an affordable way to achieve a professional, custom, unique and cohesive design that suits your style preferences and budget. Please email me at if you have any questions, or make your reservation here. 

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