5 small decorating changes that make a big difference


You don’t always need a big, renovation-sized budget to get big impact changes around your house.


Although I wouldn’t say no if someone offered.


The truth is, I have some really big ideas for my house, but they all involve a degree of demolition.   And we’re not just not hard hat ready right now.  Instead, I’ve been making a lot of small changes around my house lately, and I love how they can make a really big difference in a room.


Here are a few ideas anyone can use, pulled from what I’ve been up to lately.


1.  Lose distracting items in a room

I showed you the progress I was making in my music room just a few weeks ago, but mentioned that it still didn’t feel quite right.  One of my issues was the wicker chest I was using as a coffee table in there.

music room in progress

Then I saw these glass and metal end tables and knew they would be the perfect replacement.

glass and metal end tables


End tables as coffee table

Even though it’s a small change, I’m liking the look so much better.  It’s a better proportioned, cleaner-lined style.  You won’t believe where they came from!


2.  Replace lamps and light fixtures

I also recently kicked my old kitchen chandelier lampshades to the curb.  Here’s the before:

homecrush kitchen chandelier shades


And after replacing the old shades with new drum shades:

homecrush kitchen chandelier with Ballard Designs drum shades

It’s a whole new look for a fraction of the cost of a whole new fixture.  Try replacing lamps or lampshades for a similar, inexpensive impact in a room.


3.  Change and add accessories

Accessories are my favorite thing to play with because they really add personality to a room.  So it stands to reason that changing them around can change how you feel about a room.

For example, I had been toying with the idea of painting my sun room . . .

homecrush sun room

but after running it by my family, I found out they really like the color of the room just the way it is.  And since they rarely weigh in on these things, I tried some fine tuning instead.

A new accessory or two (I’m in love with this Mexican Heather topiary!):

homecrush mexican heather topiary


A new piece of art:

homecrush sunroom


A cozy new throw for a pop of fresh color, plus a little musical chairs for some pillows I already had:

homecrush Crate & Barrel throw


And this room feels refreshed and ready for its busy season (it gets a lot of use during the cold months since this fireplace has gas logs).

homecrush sunroom update


4.  Rethink function

At five and a half years in this house, we’re close to the longest we’ve ever lived in one place.  With that, I’m finding myself rethinking how some spaces in our house are used.


I’ve added hooks to the beadboard wall in our mudroom:

homecrush mudroom beadboard


Created a baking station in my kitchen (why didn’t I think of this sooner?):

homecrush baking drawer

homecrush baking drawer


and turned our small butler’s pantry into a first floor wine and bar station.  (Because who wants to run downstairs to the basement bar every time you want need and glass of wine?)

Here it is before:

homecrush butler's pantry before

and after:

homecrush bar cabinet


home crush butler's pantry makeover


homecrush butler's pantry bar

Before, this was really just a storage area for glassware and vases and the like.  It’s so much more useful this way.


5.  Lighten up

We all know trends come and go, and right now and light and bright is definitely in the “in” column.  But even if you don’t want to dive in head first, there are small changes you can make to introduce a lighter vibe.  I’m working on that in my dining room right now.  Here it is before:

homecrush dining room

Dark paint treatment, dark drapes, dark furniture, dark artwork — it’s crying for some contrast.  But with these small changes I have planned — a coat of paint, new end chairs, and new chandelier shades (again!) — I think the room will lighten up considerably, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

I’m not done yet, but I did find the new end chairs, so here’s a preview:

home crush dining room end chair

Lighter and brighter already.  I can’t wait to make the other small changes in time for Thanksgiving.


I did buy a few new things in the making of these changes, but much of what I did involved using what I already had.  Here’s where the items I did buy came from:  metal end tables – Target; drum chandelier shades – Ballard Designs; topiary – Carmel Farmer’s Market; yellow throw – Crate & Barrel; gold polka dot decanters – Target; dining end chairs – World Market.


Enjoy your week!


Sharing at Between Naps on the Porch; Savvy Southern Style; Coastal Charm; My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia;

I want to know what you’re crushing on. I love your comments and try to reply to them all, so keep ‘em coming!

  • Moni ~ Zu Haus at Home November 16, 2013, 11:29 am

    Your home is beautiful, I love all of changes you’ve made and tips you have to tweak and improve our current homes. Love your attention to detail…

  • Jenna August 5, 2014, 7:02 am

    I was wondering where the glass square tables are from – the room looks great!