36 DIY Decorating Tips Worth Doing

coffee table couch cork lamp
Photo: iStock
Paint it, swap it or toss it. Try these foolproof tips from the pros to reinvent your home’s decor.
  1. Photo by David Land / The Nest

    1. Fill the Space

    A cheap trick for decorating a wall space above a couch: Add a grid of clean, white frames displaying black-and-white photos, says Sherry from Young House Love.
    2. Hang a Shelf

    Make a narrow room appear wider with a long, sleek shelf that doubles as a mantel. Still need help? Try one of these ways to decorate your mantel.
    3. Toss a Pillow

    Colorful accent pillows revamp a sofa without forcing you to spend a fortune, says interior designer Vanessa DeLeon.
    4. Add a Rug

    Use a large sisal rug to ground a space. Want glam? Top it with a second rug -- a fur rug -- says celebrity interior designer Michelle Workman.

  2. Photo by Nicole Hill Gerulat

    5. Bring in Bling

    Mirrored furniture is a clever way to reflect surrounding colors and patterns, says designer Jonathan Adler in his new book, Jonathan Adler onHappy Chic Colors.
    6. Reflect on This

    “Place several mirrors in a dark hallway to open up the space and reflect light," says Bunny Williams in her new book, Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living.
    7. Shop Wisely

    Spend money on your furnishings and fabrics, but accessorize with discount finds for a high-end look that's affordable.

    8. Be Unexpected

    Paint the interior of a closet an exciting color for a nice surprise when you hang up coats. But keep your closet clutter-free so you can see the pop of color!

  3. Photo by Courtesy of Kate Spade / The Nest

    9. Create an Accent Wall

    Spruce up your bedroom by painting bold, clean stripes on one wall. Kate Spade June Lane bedding collection, from $125, Bloomingdales.com

    10. Make This Two-Second Update

    For a breezy, whimsical look, drape a vintage scarf over your headboard, says blogger Kristen of Simply Grove.

    11. Fix Your Kitchen

    Add personality with a backsplash for a big impact at a low cost. The square-footage need is surprisingly low!

  4. Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    12. Plan for Storage

    Figure out what kind of storage you need, and then plan for 30 percent more so that it's easy to stay organized over time, advises Annie Selke, author of Fresh American Spaces (August 2011).

    13. Play With Paint

    The walls and trim set the tone of a room, so give them a fresh coat of paint. “I love painting the doors black and the trim white," says KitchenLab's Rebekah Zaveloff. “And if replacing your cabinets is not in your budget, paint 'em!"

    14. Amp Up Lighting

    Good lighting is key to making any room welcoming and functional. Upgrade your light fixtures with a mix of finishes, like oil-rubbed bronze fixtures paired with polished nickel or antique brass hardware.

  5. Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    15. Punch It Up With Pink

    It's a shockingly elegant accent. If pink's too feminine, try a rainbow of colors to punch up your home.

    16. Go for DIY Slipcovers

    “Home Depot drop cloths make great upholstery and slip covers. They look like old homespun linen, but cost a fraction of the price," explain Brooke and Steve Giannetti, coauthors of Patina Style (September 2011).

    17. Fake Architecture

    Instead of painting walls one flat hue, designer David Stark paints the bottom one shade and the top another! A chair-rail-like line emerges.

    18. Create Ambience

    Clodagh McKenna, author of Homemade, puts votives in old jam jars when dining alfresco to create a casual, romantic mood.

  6. Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    19. Go for a Bohemian Bedroom

    “Your bedroom doesn't need to be matchy-matchy. You can give it a fresh look by changing out your linens and mixing them up," says Catherine Fitzsimmons of Rikshaw Design.

    20. Add a Pop of Color
    Brighten any office space by painting a lamp a bright color.

    21. Mix Materials

    Modernize a traditional interior by introducing an acrylic table or modern side tables in chrome.

    22. Play With the Fifth Wall

    Decorative ceiling tiles can add texture and a polished look to your room.

    Armstrong decorative tiles, 12" x 12", Lowes.com

  7. Photo by Monica Buck / The Nest

    23. Define Your Focus

    "When considering a makeover, always remember that a successful room needs an object of focus," recommends interior designer Thomas Jayne. “A piece of art, something inherited like a piece of furniture, or even a found object."

    24. Create Rooms to Live In

    “Life is messy," says Annie Selke, author of Fresh American Spaces. “Choose fabrics (and slipcovers) with real life in mind so you can laugh (not cry) when red wine spills or the dog jumps on the sofa."

    25. Accessorize in Color

    Update your bathroom without major renovations using new, colorful towels, curtains and bathroom ensembles.

    26. Use This Curtain Trick

    If you would like the illusion of higher ceilings, mount your curtain bracket close to the ceiling.

  8. Photo by Antonis Achilleos

    27. Choose a True Blue

    You can never go wrong with blue and white.

    28. Get Floored

    When wood floors are not in the best condition, painting or staining them can make them come alive says, designer Lisa Hilderbrand of Welhil Interiors.

    29. Try a New Finish

    Don't think paint jobs have to be a standard solid color. Pattern and finish can make all the difference in the world, says interior designer Lisa Sternfeld.

  9. Photo by Ellen Silverman / The Nest

    30. Declutter Your Coffee Table

    Are oversize books taking over your coffee table? Stack similar-colored ones several feet high so that they become the table.

    31. Upgrade a Side Table

    Entertaining at home? Don't add more furniture to your room. Simply make your existing pieces do double duty. “Your side table can become an instant bar station! Place an ice bucket, 8 to 10 elegant glasses and some mixers on a butler tray for a quick and easy cocktail party tray," recommend Matthew Grenby and Irene Chen, co-owners of Iomoi.

    32. Make Storage Pretty
    Update and organize your home office with DIY storage boxes. Take plain white storage boxes and customize them with painted stripes, wallpaper or washi tape.

    33. Reupholster Small Pieces

    Instead of buying new pieces, reupholster an old bench or chair for an updated, inexpensive look, recommends design blogger Carlee Dodson of Deliciously Organized.

  10. Photo by Ellen Silverman / The Nest

    34. Be Bold in Small Doses

    Feature a fun new splash of color without major commitment by painting smaller items like a mailbox, an old rocking chair or even a small room you don't use often, like the guest bath or a front closet, suggests Erika Woelfel, BEHR Paints Director of Color.

    35. Don't Be Dull

    “I love to use high-gloss paint on a dining room ceiling," says architect Matthew Frederick. “It adds a wonderful dose of understated elegance and really makes a room sparkle for evening entertaining. My favorite color for this is a smooth off-white called Marshmallow from Fine Paints of Europe."

    36. Accent With Paper

    Wallpaper does not have to just be for your walls. Paper the ceiling of a room for a surprise burst of pattern or color! Get more wallpaper ideas here.