Designers suggest trying new lampshades on old lamps to change the look and feel of a bedroom for very little cost.Ap photo
The back-to-school, back-to-dorm season doesn’t have to get only college students excited about decorating. Perhaps you’ll get the itch to redo your own bedroom, which, as a bonus, might even be bigger than a box.
We’re normally a nation of impulse buyers, but economic worries lately have many of us thinking twice before swiping our credit cards.
But, designers say, there are plenty of inexpensive — even free — ways to change the look of a room. You just have to get creative.
Interior designers Janine Carendi, Brian Patrick Flynn and Mallory Mathison share 10 bedroom makeover ideas that can be tackled in a single weekend with little expense or expertise:
Mathison says you can dramatically change the look of a room by adding, subtracting or moving the furniture you have. Scan your bedroom, she says, removing pieces that don’t work or swapping them out with pieces from other rooms in your home.
Next, take a good look at what remains. Move the furniture around, experimenting with placements you wouldn’t normally consider. If a piece doesn’t quite work, consider lightly sanding it and spray painting it a fresh, bold color (Flynn and Carendi recommend a high-gloss red).
Painting an entire room can be expensive and labor-intensive, so these designers all recommend painting just the ceiling. Flynn loves bold color on a ceiling, especially if the walls are a soft shade. Mathison prefers serene blues, grays and greens. If you want to go super subtle, Carendi recommends mixing just a bit of your current wall color into a can of white paint and using that for the ceiling.
New draperies, Flynn says, completely change a room. He recommends buying simple cotton ones, then having a tailor add lining. Also, hang draperies from the top of the wall rather than the top of the window — it’s an old designer trick, says Flynn, to add a sense of height.
Add a homemade headboard or change the one you have: Carendi says to get a bolt of stretchy fabric (it doesn’t have to be upholstery-grade) and wrap it around your current headboard, pinning or stapling at the back.
Another variation: Flynn suggests buying a large, plain canvas at an art-supply store (the same width as your bed) and wrapping fabric around that. Or, he says, use painters’ tape to mark off an outline of a headboard on the wall in any shape you wish. Paint that space to create an illusion of a headboard.
Flynn says luxury linens change a room more than you’d expect: Invest in one great set of white, Egyptian cotton sheets. They’ll go with any duvet cover and will give you the sense of sleeping in a luxury hotel.
Add or replace the plants in your bedroom, Mathison says. Repaint your favorite plant pots or repot the plants in something totally different.
Carendi suggests painting the molding in your room a bold or contrasting color. Or use painters’ tape to mark off a few stripes and paint them a color that stands out. If you’re worried about the stripes being imperfect, she has a solution: Rather than doing colored stripes, paint a few clear, shiny stripes on the walls with polyurethane. Your walls will remain a solid color, but the look will alternate between matte and shiny.
Lose the old ceiling fan or boring ceiling fixture and add a hanging pendant light or funky, inexpensive chandelier. It will draw your eye to the bed and add a sense of warmth, which helps in rooms with high ceilings.
Also, try new lampshades (Carendi likes ones with graphic patterns) on old lamps to change the look and feel.
If your picture frames are a mix of styles, choose one style — sleek black, maybe, or shiny silver — and reframe everything with inexpensive, store-bought frames that match. Carendi suggests lining pictures straight across one wall for a dramatic look.