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7 Ways to Spruce Up Your Home Without Buying Anything

All that time spent at home has made many of us reconsider our decor. Sonoma County designers share some tips and tricks for making your space more zen and interesting.

More time spent at home means more time staring at the walls. For many of us, that easily evolves (or devolves) into contemplating the state of our of furniture, counters and bookshelves and the overall look and function of our living spaces.

Nine weeks into sheltering in place, many have “met the (home design) moment” while scrambling to improvise a home office and creating a noise-free area for all things Zoom. If you want to take your redecorating efforts a step further — without spending a lot of time and money — we asked a few local designers for tips and advice.

Reveal your best pieces by removing clutter

Interior designer and Olive and Rose proprietress Chelsea Miller knows how to create a sumptuous yet disciplined aesthetic. She encourages anyone who wants to upgrade a living space to identify the gems in their homes. She uses an ingenious technique for removing less-loved pieces:

“Remove all of your accessories from the space you are redesigning and place them all in one place together. Now “shop” your accessories as if you were purchasing them from a store and place them back in the space in a new and creative way. Only allow things back into the space that you truly love or would purchase again if they were in a shop.”

Once you’ve picked out your favorite pieces, Miller advises that you give away the things that didn’t make the cut. Even in a well-designed space, clutter has a tendency to accumulate over time and destroy the look.

Focus on pieces that give a sense of calm

Jewelry artisan, home stylist and boutique owner Robindira Unsworth has a signature style that is natural and subdued yet sparkles. She recommends figuring out what you love in your home and then replicating that where possible. She likes to focus on pieces that give a sense of calm.

“It can be as simple as cutting roses from your garden or a few sprigs of jasmine from your blooming vine and draping them over a small vessel next to your bed or on your kitchen counter,” she says.

Create a room outside

Utilizing outdoor space can expand square footage. Unsworth moves furniture around to create an outdoor living room. “I am looking at our garden as our summer vacation and plan the layout based on that idea,” she says.

She makes things cozy with pillows and adds pretty Turkish towels to protect surfaces from the sun and birds. “Turkish towels are chic and machine washable, my favorite combination.”

Switch around artwork and bedding

Unsworth says now is a great time to examine your artwork and move pieces and pictures around. Individual spaces can be redefined with a new or newly arranged focal point.

Unsworth also loves to change bedding and moves throw pillows and blankets around her home with the seasons. Now that we’re spending much more time at home, she recommends changing things up each month to keep spaces fresh and inspiring.

Throw around your throw pillows 

Tastemaker and Boho Bungalow-owner Faith Parker, known for the sunny spaces she designs, has these tips for arranging pillows:

Mix sizes. Small and large pillows offer visual interest and comfort.

Mix shapes. “Oftentimes, people will pick all square pillows and then the vignette just falls flat. For visual interest, youʼve got to have — at the very least — a square and a rectangle. Toss in a round one and you’re golden!”

Mix patterns. It’s important to mix different scales of patterns — small, medium and large. “This ensures that the patterns will complement each other instead of competing,” she says.

Use a color palette. Pick one and stay within it.

Add texture. “Toss in some chunky texture next to something smooth like velvet — it makes the design come alive,” she says.

Use odd numbers. Parkers says odd numbers of pillows are more visually stimulating than even.

Move furniture around and away from the wall

Moving furniture around can give a space a brand new feel.

In addition to changing the layout, Parker recommends moving your pieces away from the wall. Our tendency to have furniture pushed up against the wall is probably due to our desire to create more room. Parker recommends working against that inclination when possible.

Be hopeful about your ability to impact your space

With a little time, attention and creativity, we can take what we already own and use it to decorate our home and maximize comfort.

As Unsworth puts it, “There is so much one can do with a little inspiration and desire.”

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