The living room: It's the room we showcase for visitors, the room that reflects our changing tastes and our changing lifestyles. It's also the room that so often gets stuck and can easily feel dated and cluttered. While swapping out a couch is not something most of us can do regularly, here are seven smaller updates that can help freshen up the look and feel of your living room.Declutter/Pare Down Knick Knacks and Furniture: Have a shelf filled with movies/books/cd's you're no longer interested in? How about that coffee table that takes up half your floor space? That cute tea cup collection that never collects tea and always collects dust? Do a serious inventory of everything in your living room and ask yourself the following: Is this something I truly love? Does this truly work in my space? Is this something I truly use? If the answer is "no" to any or all, donate it! Creating more breathing space is often the best change we can make to a room.
Change Up Accent Pillows: Couches and chairs are big, expensive items. They are also a big reason why living rooms can appear dated pretty quickly. However, something as simple as changing up your accent pillows can make a big difference, from the color scheme to the overall look of your couch and chairs. For example, you can move from orange/reds to blue/grays, from floral to mod. And I'll bet at least one person will say "Did you get a new couch?"
Change Up a Lampshade: Unless you've got wildly ornate, Palace of Versailles style lamp bases (in which case I salute you because that is bold), lampshades are highly versatile and can be mixed and matched quite easily with different bases. Switching out a tired, drab lampshade for a more modern, boldly colored or patterned shade can instantly update the look of your living room.
Improve Lighting: For most of us, the living room is the place we go to relax, which = no harsh lighting. Daytime lighting should be as natural as possible, so look for ways to increase natural light by removing obstacles that may be blocking light (heavy window treatments, furniture in front of windows). In the evenings, the lighting should be soft and warm. Stark lighting = doctor's waiting room vibe. Soft lighting = cozy in your pj's vibe, drinking some wine vibe. Lighting can be improved by changing the placement of your lamps, using lower watt bulbs, or by installing a dimmer switch.
Custom Mat Pictures: Custom framing can be very expensive, and it's worth it, but the next best thing (and much less expensive) is custom matting. You can play around with different colored mats and border sizing to help showcase your art and photographs in a way that reflects your personal style.
Add Something Living: In the form of indoor plants, herb pots, terrariums, or flowering pots. Greenery will instantly freshen up your space and is nice for the health of your space as well.
Add an Accent Wall: Maybe you're happy with the basic color choice of your living room walls but it's starting to feel tired. Consider adding one accent wall. This is a great chance to use a bold color choice or wallpaper pattern that you may not want for an entire room but that would look great in a small dose. For a few dollars and a few hours of work, you can completely change the look of your living room.
(Image: Betsy Brown via Mix and Chic via Five Lovely Living Rooms)