The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Style Tips: Changing Your Style on a Budget April 9, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Style Tips — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
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Today we have a Reader’s Question:

I think the scary thing about decorating is……What happens when “all of a sudden” you realize your tastes have changed and you are sitting amongst items you’ve bought over the years that are just not doing it for you any more?

I love so many things I see on your blog, other blogs, magazines…..not so much on TV, anymore, (where did all the good decorating shows go?) …… I know I’m being influenced in a good way ……. but how do you make the switch without breaking the bank?


This reader poses a great question! Many of us find ourselves in this same spot. We have a collection of furnishings and accessories that just don’t feel like “us” any longer. Or we want to freshen up our look and we aren’t sure how. Most of us can’t start over from scratch. Creating a style you love out of what you have is oftentimes more challenging for people than being able to start over with a whole new look. Once you have lived with a certain look for a long time it is hard to visualize a way to make it look new again.

The good news is that updating your look oftentimes can be accomplished on a limited budget and with just a few simple changes. I do this all the time for clients (and I love it!), so if you need some personal help to get going, set up a consultation with me! I am now offering virtual personal style consultations at an affordable rate to help you refine and update your style. I’d love to help. More news to come on that (email me if you want details). But for now, here are a few quick tips to get you thinking or making the switch on your own:

1) Start with one room. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to makeover the whole house all at once.

2) Find an inspiration photo. It is unlikely that you can duplicate it without starting from scratch, but it can give you inspiration about what you really love. You might discover that you prefer a “spring” room rather than a “fall” room, for instance. Looking at inspiration photos can also break you out of your rut and help you to expand your style options.

3) Ask yourself what you dislike about your room’s current style. Is it too dark, too outdated, too colorful or too boring? Compare your current room with your inspiration photo for clues as to what you don’t like about your current style and contrast it with what you DO like about your inspiration photo.

4) Re-design in a day. If you really want a full makeover, you can start today! Take everything out of the room. Even your curtains if they aren’t your favorite. Yes, this will mean chaos for the rest of the house. Then add things back in one at a time, leaving most of the stuff out of the room. If you just add back a few basic items it will be easier for you to visualize and achieve a new look.

5) Do a mini-makeover.
If a full makeover scares you or you do have several things you love, try getting rid of just the things in the room that you really dislike, which usually means they are uncomfortable or ugly or beyond salvage. Definitely remove all the clutter and knickknacks so you can visual the room with a cleaner slate. De-cluttering is the key. The cleaner the slate, the easier it will be to start over with a new look.

6) Make small changes. Once you have de-cluttered your room and have just the things you are going to keep, here are some things that can be changed easily and on a budget (even over time if necessary) to give yourself a new look. Using your inspiration photo as a guide, consider updating at least some of the following items:

  • New paint (walls and furnishings).
  • Changing window treatments
  • New stylish accent pillows. Try something new and fun!
  • New fabrics/reupholstering some pieces
  • New rugs
  • Throws, even a scarf or piece of fabric can be set over the back of a chair to give it a new look.
  • New or refurbished lamps and/or lampshades
  • Inexpensive accessories. Go for less accessories but make them bigger for a fresh new look.
  • Re-matting photos, painting frames or getting new picture frames can be a quick and easy update.
  • Adding in new textures. Textures are often overlooked as a way to change your style.
  • Try pairing new combinations. Put old next to new, shiny next to rough and expensive next to bargains.
  • Use existing items in new ways and move things around to different rooms.

Sometimes you can shop in other rooms of your own home to find the new look you are after. But if not, head to your local thrift store, garage sale, resale shop, discount store or department store and pick up just a few fun new things to add to your old look. You’ll be amazed how a few simple additions can make everything look completely different.

If your furniture has seen better days, or just simply does not work with your new style, it might be time for some “new” furniture. If you need a new sofa or upholstered chair, you can find often find great deals on name brand quality furniture at upscale resale shops. I recently shopped for a client and found a nearly new Williams-Sonoma sofa complete with updated custom quality fabric that would retail at about $3500, for a REAL bargain. From there, we are building a whole new look for her room and staying within her budget. Sometimes all it takes is one new piece to get the ball rolling.

Have fun!