refresh your space

A living room set with sectionals, coffee table, and accent chair

For the better part of the last year, you’ve probably seen more of the inside of your home than ever before. If you’re feeling a little stir-crazy (and who isn’t?), it’s probably time to freshen up your space. Even changing things up in just one room can boost your mood and make a big difference in how you feel during your time at home.

So, whether you have 10 minutes to spare or a couple days to complete a larger project, we have some great ideas that are easy to execute and easy on the budget. There’s no major down-time or painting (unless you want to), and you can get right to work with what you’ve already got. Let's get started!

Rearrange Your Furniture
Nothing makes a room look instantly refreshed like moving the furniture. By just making a few tweaks to your current layout or changing the focal point, you can breathe new life into a room in just a couple hours.

No matter which room it is, begin as you would any decorating project—by measuring your furniture and the room dimensions. Since you already have the pieces that you will be working with, you might find it helpful to use a room planning app that allows you to move your furniture virtually before you commit to moving it physically. This will also give you the opportunity to see which pieces don’t work with the new layout, saving you frustration when the heavy lifting starts.

As you start moving pieces into place, always work from the largest furniture items to the smallest. If something's not working, don’t be afraid to relocate it to another room in the house or sell/donate it. At the same time, you can “shop” your house for items to replace it, or, armed with your room measurements and floorplan, seek the help of a home furnishings expert to help you select something new that perfectly suits your space.

After the furniture is in place and you like the new arrangement, it’s time for the “three As”—accent pieces, accessories, and art. To bring more light into the room, replace heavy curtains with something a little breezier (layered if privacy is a concern) and add a large mirror to reflect light and open up the space.

Switch-up Your Sectional
One of the things that makes sectionals so appealing is that they can often be reconfigured into a different arrangement to suit a new space or just when you want to make a change. Depending on the style of your sectional, you may be able to rearrange the pieces to create a new all-in-one arrangement or split them up to use the sections as individual pieces of furniture; sofa, chaise, and chair, for example.

To make your sectional pieces work separately, unify the seating arrangement with an area rug and place tables beside one-armed pieces to make them look more intentional and balanced.

Some modular sectionals, like the Cozi above, are made up of identical pieces that can be moved and rearranged into countless configurations. This style lends itself especially well to creating unconventional layouts, like a filled-in U-shape for lounging or watching movies, or back-to-back for reading, gaming, and studying.

Breathe Life into Your Bookcase
Bookcases provide both storage and display space, but can quickly become overwhelmed and look messy, especially when books are haphazardly shoved in or collections start to get out of control. With a little bit of time and some self-control, you can get your bookcases looking fresh and organized and give your room an instant lift.

Start by taking everything—yes, everything—out and separating the books from the tchotchkes. This is a good time to cull your book collection, so grab a box and fill it with books to store, sell, donate, or pass along to friends. If your bookcase was already bursting at the seams, aim to reduce your collection by 25–50% to give your shelves some breathing room, or consider adding a second case.

As you sort your books, think about how you would like to organize them on the shelves and make your piles accordingly. Organizing books by colour is very on-trend right now, but you might choose to sort by type, subject or genre, or even size. Don't forget to sort your decorative elements, as well, keeping like items together.

While the bookcase is empty, this is your big chance to move and give it a good dusting. Before you put everything back on the shelves, it's also a great opportunity to give it a little make-over. Try painting the back wall of a closed-back bookcase in a fun, fresh shade to add a pop of colour, or cover it with wallpaper in a striking pattern or texture. Using wallpaper this way is easier than papering an entire room, plus it's renter-friendly and budget-friendly—because you'll only need one roll, it's ok to splurge on something you truly love.

With your bookcase clean and in position, replace your books according to the piles you’ve made. A good design trick is to stagger your books in such a way that they lead the eye in a zig zag from the top to the bottom. If your books fill the entire shelf, think of creating the zig-zag with your decorative objects, or by laying some of your books flat and alternating the stacks.

Once the books are in place, add your decorative objects back in, editing as you go to keep the shelves from becoming too cluttered. Remember, you don't have to use everything. Pass them on or tuck them away in storage. It helps to think of your bookshelves as a mini gallery, rotating your collections as often as you like to keep things interesting. Again, stagger the position of items as you distribute them on the shelves, and aim for odd-numbered groupings for a more pleasing look, using books to vary the height of your decorative objects, if needed.

Perk Up Your Pillows
We think sofas and beds look a little naked without throw pillows, but we’d rather see no pillows than sad, saggy pillows. To get your pillows back into shape, you can pop them in the dryer with a few dryer balls (or a tennis ball in the toe of a clean sock) and let them run on a low- or no-heat cycle for 15–20 minutes.

If your pillows have any embellishments (sequins, embroidery, pom-poms, tassels, etc.), you will want to skip the dryer and use this quick hand-fluffing technique: lay the pillow on a flat surface and smack the sides as if you were clapping your hands through the pillow, then rotate 90 degrees and repeat the clapping motion. You may need to do this several times to re-distribute the filling.

Once your pillows are looking like their old selves again, either fresh from the dryer or clapped back into shape, they can go back into place. To give them a perkier look, gently “karate chop” the top of each pillow, leaving an indentation in the top. (Warning: once you start pillow chopping, you’ll find yourself doing it every day. It’s just that satisfying.)

Pillows that stay flat or quickly deflate after fluffing can be re-stuffed, but if the fabric is looking tired or you’ve had them a while, we recommend replacing them to give your furniture—and your room—a fresh, new look. Tip: Include deeply textured fabrics, like the ones above, to add interest and personality to your pillow mix.

For more great ideas and style inspo to help you refresh your space, follow @DufresneStyle on Instagram.