1 Layers keep a room from being one-note. Prop framed pictures or mirrors against a wall, overlapping them slightly. Top a stack of books with a fun little something. Drape a throw over a chair arm. Now, you have depth.
2 A big mirror is one of my favorite ways to instantly change a space. It almost doubles natural light—as if you‘ve added a window. Find an interesting mirror at a thrift store and paint the frame.Jenny Komenda, littlegreennotebook. blogspot.com
3 Fresh flowers are an easy pick-me-up, but expensive. One way to get a nice look for very little money is to mass a bunch of carnations in a tight dome in a simple vase or even a soup tureen. Choose subtle, natural-looking colors, such as white, blush, or apricot (skip the dyed blooms—they look artificial). Three containers of matching carnations marched down the center of a dining room table are elegant enough for entertaining.
4 Give a bathroom the spa treatment. Add lots of white— shower curtain, towels, floor mat —and contain countertop clutter on a bamboo tray. It's a surefire way to refresh.
5 A free-standing coat rack is a simple way to fill a lonely bedroom corner while also giving robes and clothes prone to ending up on the floor a tidy home. It's especially handy in a guest bedroom. With pretty hangers placed on some of the hooks, guests have a temporary closet so you can keep the real one all to yourself!Donna Smallin, author, A to Z Storage Solutions
6 Relocate your art. We stop noticing things that have been in the same place for a while. Aubrey Smiga, designer
7 Spread a lively fabric or shawl on the back of a tired sofa. Tuck a dowel or broom handle deep between the back and seat cushions to keep the fabric from slipping when someone sits down.
8 Light kitchen countertops with inexpensive desk lamps rather than pay an electrician to install undercabinet lighting. The extra illumination is more than functional; it makes countertops shine.Jean Norman, stylist
9 Pretty much every item— from decorative accessories to such everyday things as remotes and mail —looks better and more organized on a serving tray.Meredith McBrearty, designer
10 Don't let the fireplace be a black hole. In the warm seasons, fill it with pillar or three-wick candles, a woven basket filled with silk flowers, or even a plant in a colorful pot.
11 A new table lamp works wonders for not a lot of money—as long as you size it right. A too-tall lamp can make it seem as if a spotlight is shining on you. General rule: The bottom of the shade should be at ear/cheek level when you're seated.
12 Raise a low ceiling with nothing more than paint and a roller. Paint walls and trim the same neutral color, using a satin or semigloss finish on the trim. Then have the paint store mix the wall color at "half formula" to use on the ceiling. The lightened up color allows a smooth flow from walls to ceiling, unlike a stark white ceiling that creates a jarring and ceiling-lowering visual stop. Meridy King, designer
13 Hang a few artsy tiles, trivets, or trays on the kitchen backspash. Just because you haven't splurged on sparkling tile doesn't mean you should neglect the space.
14 First impressions count, so spruce up your entry. Bring in a small dresser, table, or bench to create a focal point, then lay a rug and add some accessories. A porcelain umbrella stand or a copper boot tray can pretty up the everyday stuff you need handy. Add a mirror for great style and function.
15 Do away with the expected. A collection of interesting objects—an old pewter pitcher, a big bowl with a small crystal sphere and mounded moss, an antique mercury bottle—is so much more interesting as the dining table centerpiece than a pair of candlesticks. The more unusual the better.Aubrey Smiga, designer
16 Calm chaotic shelves by organizing books by color. Leave some upright and stack others, placing decorative objects between them. Painting the inside of a cabinet a fun color or covering it with wallpaper or wrapping paper is another simple lift. Melissa Gulley, designer
17 Let a colorful sturdy tote pull duty as a magazine holder. It adds instant personality, and the portability is a plus.
18 Swap out that serious and heavy Oriental rug for a sea grass area rug to lighten the room and your mood. Add graphic punch by layering a smaller, patterned, flat-weave rug.Liz Levin, designer
19 A fabric shower curtain is full of potential. Clip rings on and slip it onto a rod for curtains. (You can cut the shower curtain down the middle and hem the edges to get two panels.) Or use the yardage for pillows or as a throw at the foot of a bed. With a wide range of solid colors and prints—classic paisleys to animal motifs—the bath aisle has never been a better source for frugal decorators.
20 Swap out the coverlet, pillows, or throw on your bed. Any—or all—are easy enough to change and will make it seem like you have a new room every season. Janna Lufkin, stylist
21 If your art seems to float in space, move it closer to the sofa or table it's hanging above. The items should relate, not disconnect. You also can make small art seem large by butting several frames against one another so they read as one piece.
22 Wallpaper the drawer or door fronts of a painted dresser or cabinet. You'll get a custom-looking piece with lots of impact.
23 Add a new trash can or canisters in the kitchen, or a soap dish in the bathroom. They will make you see how the really small things often make the biggest difference.
24 Cut branches from trees or shrubs in your yard and put them in a vase. You'll have a bouquet that lasts longer than cut flowers. You can also buy cut greenery, such as leatherleaf or coffee plant, for about $1 a stem from a florist. Donna Talley, stylist
25 Let your walls talk. A puzzle you put together, plaster-cast handprints from elementary school, or a map showing a favorite destination can be a conversation-starting art piece that personalizes a space. While you're at it, get Grandma's old plates and platters out of the cupboard. Family treasurers are more meaningful hung on a wall than stashed away.