Loving your home is like loving yourself- it’s a process, takes time, and you have to embrace the good and the bad! Your home is a unique reflection of you and we hope to encourage you to do what brings you joy in your home. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing your home to others or feeling like you HAVE to do the latest accent wall that everyone else is doing. Instead, view those squares on the ‘gram as what they should be: inspiration. Inspiration for how to love where you live.
First, pick a space you don’t love and sit in the room. Analyze what you don’t like about the space and be specific- flooring, paint color, layout, etc. Then take each item and determine whether there’s a creative way you can change it up so the space fits you. Also, consider what your style is and what your home’s style is. For example, the existing interior finishes in Laura’s home are more of a classic, elegant style. It’s fun to mix in more modern decor and updates, but the style doesn’t really lend itself to modern farmhouse (without a gut job!).
Here are our best tips for making small changes that can have a big impact!
1. Paint and light bulbs
When Laura moved into her current home, all of the light bulbs were old, dim incandescent bulbs. One area where this was especially noticeable was in the basement. Also, the basement had dark blue and red walls. The combination didn’t feel cozy at all. Here’s a picture from the listing:
The blue carpet is staying for now, but Laura chose a light gray color with blue undertones to minimize the impact of the carpet and provide a light, airy feel to the space. Also, she replaced all of the light bulbs with bright white LED bulbs. Usually, we would recommend soft white, but in a basement with no outside light, the soft white really brightened up the space without adding more blue like you would find in a daylight bulb. Young House Love has a great post breaking down LED light options here!
See the after here:
If there’s one piece of decor that brightens up any space, hands down it’s a plant- faux or real! There’s just something about a pop of greenery that adds life and a freshness to any room. We love a larger snake plant or fiddle leaf fig, tucked into a bold planter or natural woven basket, to fill the space in an otherwise empty corner. Throw a sprig of eucalyptus or an olive tree branch into a vase and watch it instantly refresh (and add height!) to any space. Succulents in cute pots are perfect for adding a pop of color to shelves. Loving a shot of green in bathrooms, too!
Like we mentioned, there’s no shame in faux plants either. Some of us tend to have black thumbs, so thankfully there are a ton of great faux options out there that actually look real! We have had great luck at picking up faux plants from World Market, Homegoods (the most budget friendly, in our opinion) and Target.
Check out some of our favorite spaces that have been freshened up by plants:
3. Light Fixtures
If you’ve moved into a house that was built prior to 2020, you most likely have a gaudy, gold light fixture or drab, silver sconce with frosted glass somewhere in your home. Or, that infamous ceiling mounted boob light like in Laura’s basement. We like to group dated ceiling fans (you know, the ones with faux wood blades and dangling light pulls) into this category as well!
We’ve found that replacing light fixtures and ceiling fans pack a HUGE punch and don’t always have to break the budget. Or, if the overall shape of the fixture is decent, go ahead and spray paint it! In switching out our light fixtures, we’ve both opted for sleeker, more modern or classic styles in either black or brass. As for ceiling fans, we’ve both used this this exact ceiling fan in our homes and can’t recommend it enough- such a beautiful design!
See below for a listing photo of Aubrey’s entryway prior to moving in- note the dated light fixture! She replaced it with a classic matte black and glass pendant. Even though there are still a handful of things that she’s planning on switching out in the future (flooring, handrail, door and hardware), making this ONE adjustment of a new light fixture gives the whole space a fresher, more modern feel.
4. Textures // blankets, lamps, pillow covers, art/photos
Even if you’re working with a space or furniture you don’t love, you can instantly add character (or even a distraction!) bythrowing in different textures. A chunky knit throw adds coziness to a living space or bedroom. Swap out pillows or pillow covers in bold colors or neutrals, in differing textures and styles, to instantly upgrade a couch or oversized chair. And lamps, in our opinion, add so much warmth and interest to a room light-wise, but also style-wise. We’re loving lamps with chunky, textured bases to jazz up a plain table or a floor lamp to add height and style! We’re also big believers in adding beautiful art and getting those family photos printed to add to your walls and shelves.
5. Secondhand Finds // vintage, thrifting, Facebook Marketplace
If you’re on a budget, second hand can be an extremely cost effective way to go! A lot of times there is this misconception that you can only find worn, dated pieces second hand. Not so (at least in our case)! We’ve both had a ton of success in finding amazing pieces at the local Goodwill, thrift shops and have also found Facebook Marketplace to be a trove for good finds! About 7 times out of 10, the pieces that you find thrifting WON’T be perfect– but with an eye for potential and a little love, you can really transform something! Also, how fun is it to tell someone those gorgeous refinished chairs were found at Goodwill?!
Aubrey found this vintage dresser (with castors!) for under $50 on Facebook Marketplace years ago. It was originally a band-aid pink with a grainy texture. After stripping the paint, sanding, and repainting bright white, it is absolutely perfect in her son’s bedroom as a dresser/side table.
Another one of Aubrey’s favorite secondhand finds is from a local Goodwill. It’s a mid-century style side table with hairpin legs and wood top. The wood originally had a shiny, yellow finish- it took simply a good sand to reveal the perfect natural wood underneath. Overall, this project was less than $10! It’s currently in her youngest son’s bedroom as a side table.
We hope this sparks ideas for small changes that you can make in your home. Let us know in the comments what changes you’ve incorporated in your home that have made the biggest difference!