Decorating Tips

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

April 19, 2011

Does a room in your home depress you? Do you dream of decorating it only to walk in, take a look around, and immediately leave feeling overwhelmed and in need of inspiration? When I crave motivation and ideas I head over to the decor8 Interior Styling group on Flickr which now has over 3,000 members. It’s interesting to browse through the hundreds of photos submitted to see what others are currently doing in their home to add personal touches, whether it is something inexpensive and simple like fresh flowers or more elaborate and expensive, like a newly purchased sofa. I also pull magazines and books out and start flipping through them like a mad woman, marking pages and making notes. It never ceases to amaze me how often the little things make such a huge impact on our home. I thought I’d share with you some images that inspire me from the Interior Styling group today along with 8 ways to spruce up your space because these tips really do work and I’d love it if you’d give a few of them a try! No need to feel depressed about an ugly room – you can do it!

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(Nicole Hill)

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

1. Create a mood board using photos of current things (snap photos, print them out) plus a few items you’d like to buy or make yourself. Again, take photos of what you have that could work in your new room scheme vs. focusing on buying all new things. Add everything to your board and give yourself about a week or two to walk by it, edit, add, remove, etc. By the end of the second week you should start to see a cohesive look and feel. Sketch out some room plan ideas and be sure to tack up images from magazines that catch your eye – whether it be how they styled a shelf to the drapes or wall colors that caught your eye. Make note of what you like. Add ribbons, fabric swatches, flowers, things that speak to you. Pay attention to the colors you’re responding to and write down thoughts as to how you want the room to look and feel and tack these to your board as well. If you have a stylish friend with great taste, invite them over to give you some ideas as to your room scheme – a second set of eyes is always good.

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(Machteld M)

2. Empty the room! That’s right, move everything out into the hallway or an adjacent room – take down drapes, remove art, roll up throw rugs, everything that can be removed should be removed. Yes this is drastic and though it’s not something I suggest doing every month, it is something that I suggest doing when you find yourself absolutely hating your room and find that no matter what you do to it, you still hate it. Once you have it stripped down to basic walls and floors, you have a brand new canvas to begin with. Start by cleaning the room and then paint it- either the current color (just a freshened up version) or a beautiful white, or perhaps add a few colors – paint one wall in a strong color and keep the others lighter, etc. Wallpaper can also be incorporated. This is a great time to fill holes in walls and make them as good as new.

3. Examine those floors (and ceilings)! Are they in bad condition? Consider refinishing the wood floors or painting them in striking high gloss gray, white or black. If you have carpeting and hate it, consider removing it (if you can). If you can’t remove the carpet then clean it well to remove stains and dirt. Don’t worry, when you decorate you can set the focal point elsewhere so the rug is barely noticeable. Make any repairs to floors. While you’re at it, give all moldings a fresh coat of paint as freshly painted moldings can make your flooring look better. Don’t forget to look up! If your ceiling needs attention, make repairs and give it a fresh coat of paint.

4. Thorough clean the room. Get all crazy up in that room and make it sparkle, you fearless decorator, you! Clean windows, flooring, walls, ceiling, corners, all of it. Put on your favorite tunes and get your booty movin’! A clean, fresh palette is the best for decorating.

5. Move only functional pieces back into the room first. Sofa, chairs, TV, things that you actually use and need. I find that by placing the functional pieces first, I have the key pieces in place and “out of the way” so I can play around more with the remaining pieces without performance anxiety. Try to arrange the room around a focal point. If your focal point is your television and you happen to watch it regularly, consider placing it within a wall unit or on a nice cabinet or perhaps against a wall that has beautiful wallpaper or a great paint color. You can also mount the flat screens to the wall, which I think look quite nice. Some add a “TV Cozy” to their television – you can easily make a TV screen slipcover in your favorite fabric OR use plain linen and keep it simple. A black television looks great against a black wall as it will disappear into the wall. If your television is not something you use regularly, consider placing it off to the side and create a new focal point – perhaps a fireplace mantle or a large dresser with drawers with a massive mirror above it or some art or plates. As you bring pieces back into the room examine them carefully – is the upholstery clean? Legs secure? Check out everything to ensure it’s in good shape and make repairs/clean as needed. You can even paint a tired table in a fresh new color or reupholster a chair seat in a favorite fabric with often very little – a piece of fabric, some padding and a staple gun. Get creative!

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(Holly Brooke Jones)
8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(Machteld M, Marimerveille Loves, Sasya, Dottie Angel)

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(gozde eker, compaicreative, Saídos da Concha, nest decorating)

6. Less is more! Edit! Organize! Make sure that you don’t move everything out of the room only to move it all back in again! No, no, no that’s just silly, right!? The goal here is to eliminate what you don’t need/like and keep only what you want and/or use and to make repairs and such. Editing is hard work, but your room will love you for it. Clever storage, such as magazine holders that are all in the same color/pattern, can look very clean and modern vs. mismatched holders or none at all. The best tip I have when it comes to organization is to have a place for everything – screws, keys, hammers, nails, tape, notepads, cables, lightbulbs, remote controls, magazines, paper clips, rubber bands, business cards, cleaning supplies – and put things back in their place after use, no excuses!

7. Consider the window treatments. Wash your drapes before you hang them up again and consider adding something to them – perhaps trim or hand embellish with sequins or hand stitch work. Add fancy tie-backs or hem your drapes if they are too long. If you know how why not try adding a blanket stitch edge to them – say in black if your drapes are white, for instance? Little details make a huge difference. If you are tired of your curtains, consider inexpensive blinds from a big box store or make your own. Sheets can double as roman blinds, curtains, you name it. If you have vinyl roller shades you can trim them in a favorite pattern or apply fabric to the shade itself to give them a custom look. There are PLENTY of books out there on how to make window treatments by hand and how to embellish blinds and curtains so have fun. You can even stitch together patches of fabric (fashion fabrics in cotton work best) or vintage scarves, the sky is the limit!

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(sweet berry me)

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(IDA Interior LifeStyle, Three Red Apples, lusummers, KristopherK)

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(jutta, sabine wittig, wood & wool stool, violeta)

8 Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

(Marvin Maximilian)

8. Style it up! After you have your furniture back in the room, it’s time to decorate! When arranging your things (accessories, art, etc.) refer to your mood board and some of the clippings you tore from magazines. Notice arrangements in those rooms and try something similar if you are stuck or feeling uninspired. Add shelving above a sofa to display favorite things. Group art on a single wall. Use a gorgeous mirror above a table as a focal point. Visit a local store that is known for gorgeous visual displays, like Anthropologie or something like it, and be inspired by their arrangements and how simple most of them are. It’s really all about looking at things in different ways and intentionally seeking out alternate uses to things in your home that you may be tired of using as is. Have fun – in fact, decorating SHOULD be fun. Your home should be the one place on this planet where you ARE being yourself, sharing your inspirations and life story, adding your personal touch, etc. Enjoy the process!

What are some of your tips for decorating that you’d like to share? What do you do to spruce up YOUR space?

(images linked to their sources above.)

You Might Also Like


  • Reply tinajo April 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Such a great post – I needed those tips right now, with a bedroom I need to transform (I just can´t seem to get started)! :-)

  • Reply Hella April 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    This is unbelievable – this post is just what I needed: I’m really unhappy with my home office and thought about changing it but I never knew how to start, so I kept ignoring the way how the room makes me feel. But now I have no excuses to change and redecorate and – really important – to unclutter it!
    Thanks, this is so inspiring!

  • Reply AlexisAnne April 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I think it must be spring in the air that is giving me the need to spruce up my space in a major way. I recently added a few floral arrangements and new throw pillows- and I’m telling you, it’s like a different room!

  • Reply Amy - pride of place April 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    These are great tips – especially for someone renting like me. The little things can make a big difference!


  • Reply meagan April 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Love this post — definitely going to be sharing it w/ my readers!
    thanks so much!
    xo meagan

  • Reply Angelia April 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I am in the middle of some of these actions right now. Cahnging the whole plan of my house, studio space. Thanks for these great ideas to help with the process.

  • Reply Glenda Childers April 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    After I eliminate the things I am tired of in a room, I always go to IKEA with just twenty dollars . . . and come home with 5 – 8 things to spruce up a tired spot in my home.


  • Reply Deirdre Fraser April 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Some great advice! I did the “clear out everything”thing with my bedroom, and it worked perfectly! It was just too cluttered to make sense of, I couldn’t see what it needed to be. By taking everything but the bed out and slowly adding back only the bare essentials I figured out what style I wanted for it: mostly white, with green plants for a touch of colour, and some south-east asian accents. Now my bedroom is a friendly and soothing environment instead of the frustrating hodgepodge I started out with!

  • Reply meenal @ maison marigold April 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Just bookmarked this page..wonderful tips, holly..very practical..thanks for sharing..have a lovely visit my blog when you have a moment! xx meenal

  • Reply Nathan Walker April 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    great post – just in time for spring too! thanks :)

  • Reply Angie April 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Love the inspiration. The use of old windows in the first image of this post makes me swoon. I love materials that feel like they have a story! Thanks for the post!

  • Reply Kelly April 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I love your ideas. Great plans and tips. I love the idea of just keeping it SIMPLE. Needs to be clutter free and welcoming. Easy as DIY…

  • Reply Lisa - An Illustrator's Life in London April 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Awesome tips! Thanks for that, it’s really inspiring!

  • Reply Tanya from Dans le Townhouse April 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Great post! I always thought it was just in my mind, but thoroughly scrubbing the floors, surfaces, etc., of my home makes it look prettier to me – even if the dust wasn’t noticeable. But now I’m thinking there’s more to it than just my imagination.

  • Reply Tina April 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I have really been thinking about mood boards lately and creating them in your blogging your way course. I think I need to start making them again. So many ideas in my head they they are a great way to sort things out!

  • Reply Juan di Santo April 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks and congrats for this interesting post!

  • Reply Nicole April 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I think the pic with wall paper on the fireplace wall is genius. I have old brick that I keep painting…. food for thought. Thanks

  • Reply Lauren April 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I love this post! Great photos and very inspirational!

    When I want to spruce up a room, I like to paint a tired piece furniture or rearrange the room to give it a new focal point or a new look altogether.

  • Reply Cynthia@Beach Coast Style April 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    thanks Holly, just what I needed a post to get me inspired to change up my office.

  • Reply Stephanie April 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I love this! I actually am in process of doing this to, what is going to be, a new guest room. I had to do EVERYTHING you mentioned: re-do ceiling, floor, walls..etc. It has been a lot of work, but completely worth it. The little things really make a difference.

  • Reply Jess @ House Sweet Home April 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Yes, I do currently have a couple spaces like this! With a new (to us) home, we are still updating. Thank you for the tips- I will ensure I utilize these in revamping my spaces!

  • Reply GemnI April 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Great post! will try these tips . Thank you for posting this. :)

  • Reply Christina April 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Love this post! You are such a good motivator!

  • Reply Shop Sweet Things with Jeanne April 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I think looking at the beautiful images is enough to inspire me to spruce up my space! Love the tips in this post, Holly!

  • Reply Rhiannon April 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Love this post.

    Am in that “just moved” phase where a lot of these things will be happening. I do tend to start by removing anything that I don’t like anymore. Then I ask if there is something that I would like if only it was a different colour etc. So a coat of paint is my second thing. And then l look at painting one or more walls depending on what kind of mood I’d like.

    What a beautiful set of images – didn’t know about that Flickr group but will be adding it to my favourites.

  • Reply Tracey April 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Love, love, love this post!!
    thanks for your enthusiasm and clear instructions, you wonderful woman, you!

  • Reply Eileen April 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I love these tips. They are all so practical. I especially like to repurpose things from one room to another. Completely emptying one room and repositioning the furniture often opens up new energy flows which bring about even better changes.

  • Reply April Heather Davulcu April 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    I rearrange the main living areas of my house seasonally. I just seem to get the bug when the temp changes. Love your suggestions and ideas-especially taking everything out of the room. I do that with bookshelves too–all off! It really helps to get the creative juices going~lots of great ideas. Gotta go grab my dust cloth now….

  • Reply Laura Gaskill April 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I love how you described creating a mood board – I tend to start from scratch, adding things I love regardless of whether they fit my current look, and while the results may be pretty, it’s more a piece of flexible art than a helpful decorating tool! Now I am going to try it the Holly way, ha ha. Really though, I think that will be so helpful in solving the problem I have been having finishing my entryway. Thank you! xo Laura

  • Reply Sylvia April 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Just find your blog and love it. What a great and usefullideas.Very nice all

  • Reply Monica Lee April 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Oh, this was perfect today. We are adding a bathroom into our finished basement and it hit me last night that the entire basement area “man town” …I have boys…needs some love. This post will help me wrap my brain around it.

  • Reply Jenny April 19, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    This was a great post to read. I learned so much from it. As a newbie designer I am always open to the voice of experience. I know personally that when you clean out a room, it is like starting over. It is always nice to clean out the clutter, old decor and freshen up a room with new stuff. For a bedroom, new bedding, curtains and pillows can bring in a whole new fresh clean look.

  • Reply Sasya April 20, 2011 at 4:32 am

    ohhh no!! you’ve just shared my photo!!! i can’t believe, it was my dream!! 0_0 THANK YOU, i love you :)
    Thanks for such useful post, so many great ideas!!! We are going to move living to Japan with my husband, and I’m sure it will be helpful. The rooms in Japan are so small, so we need our room to look light and wide, and i’m going to work on it ;)))
    i have no my own tips yet but when i moved to our current apartment it was absolutely dark and ‘charmless’, and it is prohibited to change here anything (i mean i cant paint here or discard furniture) :( So i used more and more ‘beautiful white’ as you said, i bought white tableclothes&napkins etc., and i usually buy some bright flowers and different cute bowls for them.

  • Reply Kris April 20, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Wonderful ideas and inspirations!
    Thanks for featuring my fabric design “Pear Harvest”
    All the best,
    Kris :)

  • Reply fenny setiawan April 20, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Thanks for sharing this post Holly, you are always one of my inspiration sources. This idea is simple and easy to do it instantly. I love it.

    What I normally do when I really bored and need to quick make over is just buy a fresh flower and arrange it at vintage vase, bottle or any object that can be a sweet container for my flowers. I also like to re arrange my furniture or just bought different cushion pillow cover to spice up my room.

  • Reply Heather- Gathering Spriggs April 20, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Thanks Holly! Another stellar gift of yourself to us wrapped in beautiful packaging. As many others have stated, this came to me at a perfect time. I just started Spring cleaning today and have had several projects Im dreaming up in several rooms around here. This post fueled my fire and is becoming my guide book along with Decorate of course! You rock!

  • Reply machteld April 20, 2011 at 9:42 am

    It always works for me to empty and clean a room :-) And thanks for including my pictures!!

  • Reply dekorasyon April 20, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for the idea of ??post 8 of 8 items.

  • Reply Cristina April 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    many useful suggestions here! :-)


  • Reply Penny Patten April 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Great tips, like the frames and flowers.

  • Reply Kara April 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Great post – thanks for sharing! I like the fact that you put in there the bit about cleaning before redecorating. Makes a big difference on the other side to know that everything sparkles underneath the freshly decorated room.

    I also like to take a walk around my house and move things from one room to the next, trying to figure out new ways to use my things. It is amazing how placing an object in a different space makes it have a completely different feel.

    Thanks, Holly for inspiring me – again!

  • Reply Shari April 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    We are doing spring cleaning, AND redecorating this week… what perfect timing to read your post!! Yay!! I’m super excited!!

  • Reply Nicole April 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    ohhh Holly!!! oodles of thank yous from me to you for featuring my photo! i nearly fell out :) i adore your blog of course, who doesn’t? and this monster post is especially fantastical! so many helpful tips and beautiful photos that will continue to inspire me for months to come. it’s a beautiful thing that you do here, inviting us into creative homes that we might otherwise never see. i’m returning the favor by bringing your book home today, fingers crossed that i can find it this time out.
    cheers! oxo Nicole

  • Reply hena tayeb April 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    great tips.. nice picks.

  • Reply nathalie April 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Holly, i loved reading through your post, it is so inspiring and with such beautiful ideas … and the choice of photos too ! i like to change fabrics (the cushions, the table cloth, the throw on the sofa, etc.) it can be an efficient and cheap way to change the feeling and overall look of a room, moving objects around, changing photos, creating different little stories in a same room …

  • Reply David H April 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I always like lots of colorful girls panties placed throughout the house to create that desirable mood.

  • Reply Shell April 22, 2011 at 2:33 am

    I’m jumping down with tip #2. This is so true. I had a carpet in my room for years that I loathed. Then two summers ago, I had it. I ripped up the carpet then laid down the tiles all by myself. It took me a week. My bedroom felt better, cleaner and sparkled with great energy.

  • Reply Izabella April 22, 2011 at 3:35 am

    I love this!! Great tips! I totally agree with Nathalie; I am all about rotating pillows, getting some new fresh fabrics and reupholstering or mixing it up! New colors and textures can do a world of good!

  • Reply Jana @ the Summer House April 23, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Inspiring….I love your idea about moving everything out!

  • Reply Suzanne Williams April 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I stumbled upon this blog and really enjoyed it. I will be visiting often. Great ideas!
    Suzanne Williams

  • Reply Amelia@TrulyWindChimes April 24, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Thanks for the nice post! A great read indeed.

    I’ve done many things in my living room and bedroom to make them more spacious. In my living room, I replaced my chandelier with 2 small wooden wind chimes. I also ditched my large sofa, furniture set, and my 3-foot speakers.

  • Reply liz April 25, 2011 at 3:13 am

    cute designs and crafts

  • Reply stef et sa belette May 16, 2011 at 9:46 am

    so wonderful !
    I love it !

  • Reply sylvie May 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    every things are beautiful !!!!

    bravo tout est magnifique, je découvre ce blog grace à Marimerveille et tout est sublime!

  • Reply Happy lou May 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Little détails and sweet touches very inspiring ! Thank you. Lili

  • Reply HELEN WILES June 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I have just stumbled on your blog and love it. My husband and I love the NEW England look and are recreating it slowly in Shropshire England. Thanks for a great blog, we have struggled to find good interior ideas but are now just having fitted plantation shutters from a company in England we are also having some furniture shipped over from the states and will send you pictures when we have them.

  • Reply Rick August 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Very valuable tips. I’m pretty sure this will be a big hit for a lot of people out there. Cheers!

  • Reply Lisa December 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Great tips for decorating the house. I have just finished decorating my home and the end result is refreshing.

  • Leave a Reply

    Facebook Comments