Originally published in STIR®
By reshuffling a room’s contents and adding a few key accessories, designers can help homeowners reinvigorate spaces.

Nothing feels better than bolstering a tired room. Not every situation, however, calls for an extreme makeover. Sometimes homeowners have a small budget, while others just don't want to part with prized possessions. Fortunately, using what clients already own, sprinkled with a few thoughtful accessories, can enliven any space.

A simple rearrangement of a room can provide a new perspective; take a few cues from the retail world, for example. "If you go into a place like a furniture showroom, they reshuffle what they already have in lieu of buying more inventory," says Linda Elliott Smith, a Dallas-based interior designer. "They may have bought a couple new pieces, but they've put everything in a new position, which means the light source in the room is illuminating it in a different manner."

The same can be said for color and how the perception of it changes when the furniture moves around. "If you took a single sofa that has a red fabric on it, moving it to a different position in the room – maybe closer to natural light – that red is going to change colors [because of] how the light falls on it," Smith says.

Not only does rearranging furniture bring new color perspectives to the room, but it introduces an opportunity to add other sources of color. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to change a room's look, of course, is through a new coat of paint. Even a touch-up of a baseboard, crown molding or bookshelves can make a significant difference. Accessories can also have a big impact; consider these easy and inexpensive changes to enhance color in a space:

  • Rugs
  • Throw pillows
  • Decorative totes
  • New placemats on the dining room table
  • Plants or dried branches
  • Solid-color panel curtains
  • Tight-fitting slipcovers
  • Floating shelves
  • New lampshades
  • Patina mirrors
  • New hardware on cabinets, drawers and doors

Even if you use the client's existing accessories, the way you display them can also breathe new life into a room. For example, stack a couple of the items on several hardcover books to create varying heights. "Sometimes it's just a matter of shifting accessories into a new position so they become more eye-catching," Smith says.

In some instances, it's a good idea to borrow artwork or accessories from other rooms if they'll fit in well with the new design scheme. Just be sure that you aren't sacrificing the aesthetic of one space for another.

Another important consideration when reconfiguring a space is its architecture. If the room has a strong focal point, such as a fireplace or bay window, be sure to arrange furniture to complement it. Furthermore, as with any design project, remember to keep balance and function in mind. The rearrangement may look good, but is it comfortable? Is the family tripping over one another to get around the coffee table? Is there enough room to get out of bed? Do you need another lamp to brighten a forgotten corner of the room? Are the colors in harmony?

By carefully rearranging furniture, working with existing and new colors, and adding a few key accessories, designers can turn a ho-hum room into a striking space that looks like a million bucks.

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