4 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Space Without Renovating, According to Home Stagers

published Feb 10, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

If you’re anything like, well, the average Apartment Therapy reader, then you’ve probably considered revamping your home or apartment since spending more time within its four walls when lockdowns started almost a year (!) ago. But totally renovating a space isn’t always possible. Sometimes financial constraints prevent complete overhaul, while other times it’s just not practical. Renovating the kitchen of a rental unit, for instance, isn’t usually doable. 

Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can fake a renovation in order to get that refreshed feeling. And there’s a group of people out there who do this all the time for a living: home stagers. Ahead, two home stagers offer up some ideas on how to refresh a space without tearing it down to the studs. 

Cleaning and decluttering

Since your cabinets are probably already stocked with disinfecting supplies anyway, you should go ahead and give your space a good cleaning. As an added bonus, it won’t cost you anything.

“Doing a deep clean on your home is one of the most underrated ways to instantly give your home a refresh,” says Anna Franklin, founder of Stone House in Milwaukee. “Washing out your trash cans, cleaning out the top and bottom of your cabinets, and cleaning your light fixtures are all easy ways to achieve this.”

Lindsey Tassin, lead designer at Chameleon Home Staging in New Orleans, agrees.

“A cost-free option for elevating your home is to edit and declutter,” she says. “Over time we accumulate furniture from family and gifts from friends, and this can quickly overwhelm a space. When decluttering for home staging, I usually start big and work my way down to smaller items.”

Credit: Erik Isakson/Getty Images


A fresh coat of paint could make all the difference in making your space feel fresh and new — even if it’s the same color that’s already on your walls.

“Little dings, scratches, and smudges draw more attention than you think and make the home feel dirty,” Tassin says. “A clear wall or a scratchless door makes the home feel shiny and new.”

You could also get creative with a mini paint project.

“If painting an entire room or even doing an accent wall seems too daunting, you can try smaller projects like painting your window frames or even cabinets,” Franklin suggests. 

Rearranging your furniture

“This is an easy way to dramatically transform the look and layout of your space,” Franklin says. “The proper placement of the room’s furniture goes a long way toward making the space feel welcoming, larger, and as a bonus, it gives you an opportunity to clean in those hidden places.”

If you’ve rearranged and you’re still craving something else, try moving some furniture pieces between rooms. An accent chair in the living room that isn’t getting much use might look spectacular as seating in the bedroom instead. 

Switching up your hardware

“You can shave five years off of your kitchen or bathroom by replacing dated hardware with something new and sleek,” Tassin says. “The same goes for switch plates; over time they can yellow or warp.”

The Anthropolgie hardware section is to die for, of course, but there are definitely more inexpensive options on the market. When my dresser needed a refresh, I found knobs at Home Depot for cheap. 

Tassin also suggests changing up light fixtures to create a sense of newness in your home. And why not go with something unique and fun? If you’re looking to splurge, Etsy has unique and interesting light fixtures in a variety of price ranges — and many are handmade or vintage.