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BLOG: Fresh Look for the New Year

A few quick, easy and inexpensive ways to freshen up your home for 2012.

At the beginning of the year, when the chaos of the holidays is postponed for another season and it is much too soon to get out and garden, I find myself inspired to make changes around my home. Adding bright colors and patterns to your rooms can ease winter’s gloom, and can be accomplished with just a little bit of time and money.  Keeping that in mind, here are a few quick, easy, and inexpensive ways to freshen up your home for 2012.  

 A good place to start is with your throw pillows; a great pillow will give any room a punch of color instantly. If your furniture is upholstered in a print, look for solid pillows that brings out the less dominant colors in your fabric.  If your upholstery is a solid, then patterned pillows are the answer.   You can choose some of the latest trends, such as trellis patterns or suzani prints to add interest to your rooms. When those trends fade, as they all do,  you'll be glad you didn't spend lots to get the look!

Your bedroom can be transformed by changing your duvet cover or comforter.  If you have a neutral shade on your walls, almost any print or color can work.  And if your walls provide the color in the room, select a beautiful neutral accented with that color.  Always choose something that you love.  Your bedroom should be your oasis and the decor should make you want to spend time there.  If you splurge for some coordinating throw pillows you might even think you are staying at the Ritz.

One of the fastest ways to refresh a space is to paint. A small room can be painted in an afternoon, particularly if you use just one color.  If choosing a color is daunting, take some time to get inspiration from design magazines, or design websites like Houzz.com.  And when you think paint, don't limit yourself to the walls.  A stroke of color can transform furniture, and a piece of painted furniture will add pizazz to any room. If you want to create a dramatic accent piece use a bold color like Tangerine Tango, the Pantone Color Instituteʼs selection for the 2012 Color of the Year.  You could also look for a case piece with an interesting drawer arrangement.   If you paint the drawers a light color and use a darker shade on everything else, the result will be a spectacular entry piece.

Changing the light fixture in an entry hall or alcove can completely change the look of the space.  If you have high ceilings, consider changing a flush mount fixture to a chandelier or hanging fixture.  In order to determine the correct size, add the length and width of your room together in feet and then convert that measurement to inches.  This number is the diameter of the fixture appropriately sized for your space. 

Along those same lines, take time to evaluate the lighting in your rooms.   Never depend on one overhead light to illuminate the space. Use a mix that includes floor lamps, table lamps and overhead lighting.  You also want to make sure that you have good reading light in your nooks, and that your room has a nice pleasing glow. 

If your furniture hasn’t moved since you moved in, now is a good time to consider re-arranging. Find the dominant feature in the room, like a fireplace or a window framing a terrific view and use this as your focal point.   Moving the television or switching a big sofa for two smaller but comfortable chairs and ottomans, can give your room a fresh feel with immediate impact.  Also, think about repurposing some of what you already own.  

Once you have made all your changes, the final step is to give the rooms a good straightening.  Clear the top of dressers and tables, display your favorite things and store (or pitch) the rest.  You'll have a new look for the New Year and feel organized too.  For more inspiration, visit my website at millbrookcircle.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Taylor February 01, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Thanks for the great tips, now as soon as I finish putting the halloween stuff away... :)
Tyler Waldman February 01, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Thanks for blogging, Liz! I could probably use some tips myself. And thanks to Kristin Strong, too, who's also joined our blogging rolls this week: http://towson.patch.com/blog_posts/to-blog-or-not-to-blog-d77d22c8
Liz Dickson February 01, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Glad you liked the tips, looking forward to blogging again soon.

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