Photo by Pieter Estersohn, Interior by Amelia Handegan
House Beautiful offers a list of 101 easy home makeovers, and I think it's full of great ideas! Well, some are easier than others, but it's still a fun (and quite comprehensive) list, and a good excuse to post some pretty interiors I've been hanging onto.
1. Buy something Lucite. One piece will make any style room tastier — it's like adding salt.
2. If a room has three or more pairs of anything, put one half of a pair away. Too many pairs, too stiff.
3. If you have a modern room, make yourself buy one traditional thing, like an old ceramic bowl or brass candlesticks with beeswax candles.
4. If you have a traditional room, make yourself buy one modern thing, like a steel table. (Featured in the magazine: Platner Side Table, $662; dwr.com)
5. Paint a white paper lampshade your favorite color — the color you'll never find in the lampshade department.
6. Wallpaper the inside of your bedroom closet. (Featured in the magazine: Butterfly in Jubilant, to the trade; alphaworkshops.org)
7. Use leftover wallpaper to line the drawers of your bedside table.
8. Get rid of all the pieces of furniture you're afraid to sit on or use.
9. Find a tired old bargain brass chandelier at a thrift shop or antiques shop. Spray paint it white. Or a color — if you have courage.
10. Every room needs a little skin: Add a pillow or ottoman in an animal print. Try Eric Cohler's Dinisen for Lee Jofa. (Featured in the magazine: To the trade; leejofa.com. Faux zebra pillow (shown), $423; olystudio.com)
11. Buy a photography or botanical book, take a razor blade, and cut it up. It's not sacred. Put a dozen pages (the more, the better) in matching inexpensive frames, and hang them in a row or a block. Wow.
12. Add a little architecture: Buy wall brackets and hang them above your living room doorways, like keystones. (Featured in the magazine: Carved Wood Bracket #1853, to the trade; decorativecrafts.com)
13. Replace half your family photos with new pictures. Gather them from all around your house and group them in one place where you'll really enjoy them.
14. Buy a big pretty tray — try lacquer. Take all the things on your coffee table and arrange them on the tray for a whole new pulled-together look.
15. Pull apart a set of twin beds and bedside table. Rearrange them in an L-shape, head to head, with the bedside table in the corner.
16. Order an inexpensive big round table and skirt. Use it like your attic: hide all your junk underneath. (Try ballarddesigns.com and splurge on overnight delivery.)
17. Buy flowers for your bedside table instead of your living room. Just a few buds in a small vase. Just for you.
18. Add a long bench to the end of your bed — it will look much more finished. Put a marbled-paper box full of your old love letters on it!
19. Throw a party and see where your guests move all the chairs. They're telling you something. See if you can't leave your furniture the way they rearranged it.
20. Conquer your fear of flower arranging. Anybody can arrange one type of flower in one color, cut short. Buy twice as many as you think you should — too much of a good thing always works with flowers. Put any extra stems in small glasses.
21. Take a white garden bench and paint it the color of your favorite flower.
22. Put a real rug, not a bathroom rug, in front of your bathroom sink. It will hold up just fine. (Featured in the magazine: Siena Rose, from $54; dashandalbert.com)
23. Rearrange your living room. Instead of one big seating area in the middle of the room, break it up into two smaller, cozier seating areas.
24. Take a wallpaper you've always secretly wanted — but were afraid the pattern was overwhelming. Paper only the wall behind your bed, like a headboard. Or paper the ceiling if the room is small and the paper's light.
25. If you have a full bookcase, remove one shelf of books and treat it like a shadow box.
26. Out of season, stack your leftover wood — artfully — in your fireplace.
27. Instead of one shower curtain, buy two. You'll love the fuller look — and they will keep the floor drier.
28. Pick three or four books with the prettiest dust jackets and display them face-forward on your bookshelves. (Featured in the magazine: Peter Lindbergh: Untitled 116, $120; amazon.com)
29. Open that coffee table book! Instead of displaying the cover, open it wide to your favorite page and let it really take over your coffee table.
30. Buy a large map, poster, or print and cut it into equal parts. Frame all the sections and reassemble them on the wall.
31. Pull apart a big inexpensive mixed bouquet from the supermarket. Group similar flowers and put them in small vases. You'll have some for every room.
32. Instead of buying complete matched sets of towels (something's always missing at the store), buy different shades of one color and mix it up. (Featured in the magazine: Company Cotton Towels, from $5 each; thecompanystore.com)
33. Go on ebay.com and create an instant collection. There are 604 white pitchers for sale at this very moment.
34. Gather all your accessories that are the same color from every room in your house. Don't worry how they relate or what you bought to go with what. Now...group all of them together on a tabletop.
35. Buy a big modern shallow bowl, fill it with photos, and put it on your coffee table. An instant conversation starter.
36. Hang longish pictures in the dead spaces over doors. Pick strong images you can see from far away.
37. Split up the pair of lamps on either side of your sofa. Buy a floor lamp for your sofa, and use the pair in different corners of your room. (Featured in the magazine: Amazon Lamp, $129; Cresswell Lighting: 800-688-2579)
38. Paint the inside of your kitchen cabinets a color that sets off your dishes and glasses. Everything will look cleaner and more finished.
39. Take your jewelry out of the box. Put all your bracelets together in a big bowl and drape all your necklaces together over a bust. It worked for Coco Chanel.
40. Tired of the same-old-same-old matte-finish walls? Roll on a topcoat of Ralph Lauren's Candlelight paint and they'll have a soft new glow. (Featured in the magazine: Candlelight topcoat, $40 per gallon; RalphLaurenHome.com)
41. Use your best silver and glasses every day. What are you saving them for?(Featured in the magazine: Audubon sterling silver 4-piece place setting, $640; tiffany.com)
42. Put a table next to your tub. You wouldn't have a sofa or chair without a table, would you?
43. Change your house numbers. (Featured in the magazine: Classic House Number, $9.99 each; dwr.com)
44. Change every light switch in your house to a dimmer. Including the bathrooms. Now add a dimmer to every lamp.
45. Remove three things from every room in your house. You'll feel liberated.
46. Invest in a set of matched wooden hangers for your closet. You will feel like the most organized person in the world. (Featured in the magazine: Premium walnut hardwood hangers, from $13 each; containerstore.com)
47. Paint just the front edges (the "piping") of your bookshelves. Or tack on a fabric trim.
48. Hang small pictures at the corners where bookshelves meet.
49. Remove all the pictures scattered around one room and rehang them on one wall, together — "salon style."
50. Tack nailheads on a plain, inexpensive ottoman.
51. Create your own lantern: Fill a bamboo or wood birdcage with LED pillar candles of different heights.
52. Install battery-powered lights in all your closets. You don't need an electrician or a carpenter!
53. If you always buy white candles, next time buy black.
54. If your kitchen is cramped, remove your upper cabinets and install open shelving. Just as much storage space, but without the bulk.
55. Hang two large mirrors on opposite walls. You won't recognize the space. (Featured in the magazine: Large Lily mirror in white, $1725; olystudio.com)
56. Make a slipcover for your headboard, even if it's wood. Ever consider shocking pink?
57. Love the frame but hate the picture? Dump the picture and have a piece of new "antique" mirror cut to fit it.
58. Paint the ceiling of a white room a pale, pale blue or gray. It will feel as if there's no ceiling at all.
59. If you have a room with a low ceiling, put up striped wallpaper or curtains — it will feel a foot taller. (Featured in the magazine: St. Charles Stripe wallpaper in blue on white, $49 per roll; thibautdesign.com)
60. Iron your bed linens with scented water.
61. For your entry hall, paint an aluminum flower container and fill it with lots of umbrellas, all the same color.
62. Decorate under a console table. Dress up all that empty space with big inexpensive objects in dramatic shapes. Or put an ottoman there; who ever has enough seating?
63. Add a deep-colored silk lampshade to your living room. Red, turquoise — it's like buying jewelry. (Featured in the magazine: Empire Shade in Rose, $153; justshadesny.com)
64. Replace your ten-ton coffee table with two ceramic Chinese garden seats. Or a big ottoman with room for everything and your feet, too. (Featured in the magazine: Garden Stool, $395; plantationla.com)
65. Change your heavy curtains for sheers. Your room will still look soft, but much more modern.
66. Cover the books in your bookcase with white or brown kraft paper, and write the titles on the jackets with a fountain pen in a really personal handwriting.
67. Turn a tabletop into a drinks table. Choose liquor bottles for their shapes and labels, then buy lots of glasses and an ice bucket. Do everything in one color: Picture blue bottles and glasses on a blue tray.
68. Pile all your rugs in one place. Now start all over and put them someplace new: Move the bedroom rug to the living room, and vice versa.
69. Buy handfuls of jewellike beads at a craft store. Put them in a big glass apothecary jar or footed vase.
70. Tired of your red coral? Spray it black!
71. Have a long leopard runner made for your hallway. Or get one ready-made: Leopard runner, $595; gumps.com)
72. Buy a sweet (or sexy) folding screen, put your sofa in front of it, and hang pictures from the screen — pretend it's a wall.
73. Instead of centering one big piece of art over your bed, hang one really small piece of art. It will have even more impact.
74. Bring your favorite piece of outdoor furniture indoors. (Featured in the magazine: Café table, $780; marston-and-langinger.com)
75. Put a hint of color in your trim. Instead of white, paint it the wall color cut in half with white.
76. Upgrade your desk: Buy two dozen of one color pencil and fill your pencil cup. (Featured in the magazine: Faux Shagreen Pencil Set in Orange, $30; dransfieldandross.biz)
77. Trim your window frames with grosgrain ribbon. A glue gun will do it.
78. Buy all the inexpensive mirrors you find at yard sales, paint all the frames one color, and hang them together.
79. Paint your front door a new color: How about Farrow & Ball Minster Green or Pitch Blue? 33 per .75 liter (exterior eggshell finish); farrow-ball.com)
80. Mix fresh herbs into your flower arrangement, instead of florist filler.
81. Buy a pair of sconces that take candles. No need to hire an electrician, and the prettiest light you'll ever have in a room. (Featured in the magazine: Sconce, $275 each or $550 per pair; roomsandgardens.com)
82. Have mirrors cut to fit inside your window frames. Your room will sparkle.
83. Arrange your flowers in anything but a vase: Go through your pantry and find a pitcher, a tureen, a mug, a teacup.
84. Take the doors off a closet, tuck a dresser into it, and frame it with curtain panels.
85. Gather up your family photos. Group your black and white ones only with other black and white ones. The same for your color ones. They look sloppy when they mingle.
86. Move your sofa and coffee table away from the fireplace. Try two club chairs with a big ottoman between them. Much cozier.
87. Change just two knobs on a chest of drawers for a look that's really special and personal. (Featured in the magazine: Rose quartz knob, from $26; doorjewels.com)
88. Hang a mirror in your outdoor room.
89. Buy some inexpensive bamboo side chairs, spray them a yummy color, scatter them around your living room. Cheaper than cashmere throws, and much more useful.
90. Create "wainscoting" by painting the bottom third of your wall a different, slightly darker color.
91. Buy a shocking pink or acid green throw. They're neutrals. You'll see.
92. Love your table but tired of cleaning (and cleaning) the clear glass top? Change it to milk glass or mirror. Or paint the underside.
93. Does your big round table just not look right? It needs something tall in the middle, or it will always look restless.
94. Rearrange your fireplace mantel. Instead of one candlestick at each end, mass lots of them on one side. Remember: Odd numbers make the best arrangements.
95. Hang a picture on a mirror.
96. Get your sofa off the wall. Pull it into the center of the room with a long table or desk behind it, a lamp, books. Accessorize!
97. Find a really charming child's chair and tuck it next to your fireplace.
98. Get rid of your ancient, clumsy stereo equipment. Buy an iPod and a dock. It's all the sound you need. (Featured in the magazine: Bose SoundDock Portable Digital Music System, $399; bose.com)
99. Find a wallpaper with flowers or big paisley teardrops, cut them out, and paste them on your walls your own way.
100. Rearrange your bedroom: Center your bed in front of a big window, framing the headboard. Now the sun won't wake you up any more.
101. And when all else fails: Buy something purple. Anything! A pillow, a throw, a bunch of flowers. Nothing wakes up a room like a little purple.
Sincere apologies for falling off the face of the earth last week! I was in a wedding over the weekend, and got in a little over my head trying to tie up some loose ends -- both at home and at work -- before leaving town. But I'm back now, so thanks for sticking around!