Smart Design With Suzette: Quick And Inexpensive Ways To Change Up A Room

Newly updated living room. Courtesy photo
Smart Design with Suzette
Quick and Inexpensive Ways to Change Up a Room

Looking around my office today, I felt the need to change it up. I painted the walls a beautiful blue two years ago, but after spending many hours in it each day, I need a visual change. I want a quick and inexpensive update. I’m sure some of you feel the same way about rooms in your home. Take heart, there are solutions – ones that won’t break the bank.

Interior designers know that a home is a constant work in process. Styles change. Tastes change. That’s why it’s important to know that homeowners should tackle big updates on a room-by-room basis, while simply freshening other rooms. 

Area Rugs

Area rugs are the unsung heroes in a room. They will completely change the look and feel of the space. Traditional, contemporary, transitional … they bring the feel of the room with their style and color. Use an area rug’s main color in accessories to make the room feel cohesive.


Granted, “paint it” is the most common suggestion you’ll hear to update a room. But it remains good advice. The most contemporary color is gray. No longer is white or cream the go-to neutral. Paint the inside of a frequently used closet or bookcase for a refreshing burst of color.

Window Dressing

Ready-to-hang window treatments are easy to install and yield dramatic results, transforming ho-hum into fun with fresh color and fabrics. While updating, change up the curtail rod to something more contemporary, usually a ‘chunky’ rod looks best.

New Lighting 

Ask any of my friends, I’m crazy about lamps. They bring personality to a space. If you’ve had your eye on a lamp or fun lampshade, why resist the urge any longer? A new lamp will make you feel you’re in a brand-new room. Then, move other lamps around the house to give other rooms a fresh feel.

Floating shelves in a kitchen. Courtesy photo  

Display Shelves

Floating shelves are very popular right now. If you have a plethora of wall cabinets in your kitchen, consider strategically removing a few cabinets and install floating shelves instead. Yes, you’ll have to dust them, but what the heck, you gotta clean anyway. You’ll give your kitchen a whole new vibe in the process.


Switch up artwork from around your house or buy new pieces. Changing the artwork can do wonders to give a room a new look.

Updated bathroom hardware. Courtesy photo
Update Hardware

New drawer and cabinet pulls will give the kitchen and bathroom an instant update. Changing doorknobs throughout can also change up the look of your home.

Move Furniture Around

This always works when I want a complete change. I’m consistently moving chairs around from the living room to the office to the master bedroom. Move lamps, end tables, and dressers from one room to another. “Shop” at home and pull pieces from one room into another for a fresh look.

Add Color

Here’s a trick for knowing how much color to spread around a room. If you’re uncertain how much color is appropriate, use the 60-30-10 formula as a foolproof guide:

According to the formula, a predominant color should cover approximately 60 percent of the room (usually the painted walls). A secondary color should cover 30 percent (window treatments, upholstery, and rugs), while accent colors account for the remaining 10 percent (artwork, accent tiles, and accessories).

Once you start freshening rooms, you may not stop. That can be a good thing. Making subtle updates to a room is fun and a satisfying form of self-expression. Involve your family in the creative process if they are interested. You may find that involving them can be fun and entertaining as well.

Feel free to contact Los Alamos Interior Designer Suzette Fox to suggest specific design topics or for help with your home. For more information, find her on Facebook at and on her website

Wallpaper accent. Courtesy photo
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