Brighten up the laundry room
Don’t ignore design in your laundry room just because you don’t love spending time there. “Laundry rooms are a great room to paint a fun color that you may be scared to use other places,” says Bowry. “Rugs and artwork also make the room more inviting.” She recommends parents hang their kids’ artwork there. Your little ones will feel special with their art displayed proudly, but you can keep your pricier pieces in the rooms guests see.
Refresh instead of replacing
A fresh coat of paint isn’t the only DIY you can use to liven up a drab space. Staining your kitchen cabinets will give them a whole new look and won’t set your budget back by much, says interior designer Blima Ehrentreu, CEO of The Designers Group. “We often like to two-tone our kitchen design,” she says. “It adds a unique quality to the cabinetry.”
Add interest to a bathroom
Living rooms aren’t the only rooms that can benefit from a statement wall. Creating one in the bathroom will create a big impact where guests won’t expect it. “By changing up a wall with a different color or tile, it gives the space a subtle and distinctive design element,” says Ehrentreu.
Pay attention to details
Your furniture and appliance choices might be the first things people notice, but giving details special attention makes it seem like you spent even more time and money creating your space. “Switching out small fixtures and hardware in the home for more thoughtful pieces can make the design of the home feel more intentional, which, in turn, makes it feel more expensive,” says designer Justina Blakenly, founder of Jungalow. Replace a dated flush mount light with a modern style, or swap plastic wall plates for metal, she suggests.
Create a vignette
Otherwise “dead space” can be dressed up to make the whole room look more styled. “Areas like coffee tables, consoles, empty corners of a kitchen counter … are all prime real estate for a well dressed vignette,” says Cummings.
Harmonize with color
Creating the perfect color palette is more complicated than grabbing three of your favorite colors, but taking the time to perfect your color scheme will make your home look worthy of a catalogue. “I advise my clients to focus on a color family, or to pick hues that complement each other—not contrast,” says designer Gil Walsh, author of Gil Walsh Interiors: A Case for Color. “Too many bold colors or a soft palette that lacks depth tends to fall flat.”
Show off wood floors
Replace carpeting with hardwood floors to make your space feel bigger, suggests Hairston. “Carpet tends to trap in dust and particulates and absorbs moisture which can leave an odor,” she says. “Hard surface flooring is easier to clean, is allergy-friendly, and can provide a more updated and modern look to your home.” Layered area rugs will add more visual interest than floor-to-floor carpeting.