12 Easy Home Upgrades

Fall in love with your home again with these 12 easy and affordable upgrades.

LEFT: White Dove (Benjamin Moore) RIGHT: Snowbound (Sherwin-Williams)

1 – Lighten up

Whether you need a few touchups or a whole new scheme, a coat of paint will do wonders. Get a fresh look with go-to whites such as White Dove (Benjamin Moore) or Snowbound (Sherwin-Williams). Always remember to consider undertones. Some skew warm, some cold. Take advantage of sample cans, and test them in various rooms, being mindful about light shift.

2 – Paint it all

Designer Laurie Fulkerson swathed the walls, trim, and ceiling of this dining room in Farrow & Ball De Nimes. “I love the depth it brings into the space and the undertones of just enough blue, gray, and green for a very sophisticated look,” she says.

3 – Wallpaper

From classic chinoiserie to oversize botanicals to graphic metallics, wallpaper makes a big punch. Intimidated about the thought of covering an entire room? Try using it in a small connector space such as a foyer or powder bath like this one by Doug Davis. Be sure to cue colors from adjacent spaces.

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4 – Reframe and rehang artwork

Shop your home and reorganize and rehang some of your favorite pieces and finds to create a stunning salon wall. Designer Fran Keenan is a pro at creating gallery walls. Her advice? Vary scale, and use prints and artful objects of all sizes and shapes.

5 – Take it up a notch

8-foot ceilings? Raise drapery to ceiling height to elongate the view. Seeking a custom look? Edge store-bought drapes in designer trims.

6 – Introduce a rug

Antique rugs bring in flair, color, and interest. If you can’t afford that 11 X 14 you’ve been eyeing, layer a smaller one on top of a natural woven rug. Birmingham natives Liz Strong and Page Mullins’s affordable rugs come in traditional sizes but with the benefit of customization. Order extra squares to go bigger, or cut them down to suit your size. Shoprushhouse.com

7 – Restyle your bookshelves

Go ahead and take everything down— everything. It’s time to dust anyway. Reorganize by color and shape using only the things you truly enjoy looking at.

8 – Set your table

Your china is way too pretty to keep in the cabinet – especially if you own this Haviland pattern (Syracuse Green Dinnerware) from Table Matters. Make every day feel like a special occasion. We won’t tell anyone you aren’t entertaining.

9 – Upgrade lighting

Save energy and get tech savvy by changing to LED bulbs, smart light bulbs, timers, motion sensors, and dimmers on overheads and lamps. Mayer Lighting is a pro at helping you select stylish fixtures and a lighting plan to suit your style.

10 – Replace dated hardware

Oversized pulls are in. They make a bold statement, and their streamlined look helps to add a sense of spaciousness to any room. We’re partial to these handles from the new Ashley Norton collection available at Brandino Brass.

11 – Get organized

Whether it’s your closet, your garage, or a junk drawer, these essential spaces are oft used but regularly neglected. It’s time to enjoy the daily tasks. Need some tips? Call Space Cadets or Closets by Design.

12 – Reupholster

Give new life to an antique chair with a fun, funky pattern. It’s the ultimate way to bridge old and new, and it will likely become the statement piece you’ve been looking for. Here, designer Alison Smith reinvented dining chairs with two fabrics. (Top: Kravet; Seat: Brunschwig & Fils)

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