Design Lite: When A Room Needs Only… Refreshing

$10K? $5K? $35K? How about just OK? As in…everything is OK.

That last one is the question my terrific interior design clients ask through squinted brows (as if they’re poised for a punch), “What will it take and how hard will it be to spruce up this room that is driving me crazy?”

Surely a full room redo in today’s interior design dollars adds up quickly. And just as certain – even a partial update in a room’s decor to replace only key upholstery, rugs and window treatments can add up into the thousands of dollars pretty fast. But, to all things there is a season. While there is a time to pull the major design moves, there’s also a time for fluffing, puffing and sprucing. This “FPS Process” is what I call Design Lite. In other words, artfully breathing new Life into a room that already has good design bones. In today’s culture and climate – as responsible world citizens and fiscally respectful folks, Design Lite can make great sense.

Here are this Bucks County interior designer’s favorites for face-lifting with Design Lite:

Paint Something

Yes. Paint something. Anything. Just not anyone (though remind me one day to tell you the story of when my Uncle Arnold was painted green head to toe by his four older sibling who evidently thought it was a good idea at the time). Paint Color remains the biggest bang for the buck change (or mistake) people can make in interiors. Design Lite trick: If I repaint a whole room, you’ll see all of your furniture transform. If I paint a feature wall,or paint a ceiling (yes, ceiling), I will create a striking pop. Or, I like to paint a piece of furniture. Even better if you aren’t so keen on that piece of furniture because, if painted correctly, you’ll watch it transform the room and turn into something with so much eye catching pop you’ll say, “Wow, that Donna Hoffman is one Savvy Interior Design Diva.” Color leads the eye. It sets the tone and ambiance and mood in all ways remarkable. I always think color first when doing Design Lite.

Edit Many Things

I will brutally edit a room to the bare bones. Then I reload the furniture accessories using often less furniture (which is a blog in itself), but also loading in fewer, but more important (larger) accessories. If there are only small items, I borrow accessories and artwork from other rooms which will remarkably inform and change the space I’m working on. Design Lite Tip: Most people have too much stuff, and worse, they seem to want it all in one room. Listen up girl. Your room will thank you.

Refresh Everything…That You Can Carry

Here are things that quickly date and thus date and tire a room: Lamps, vases, non-custom trendy pillows. Here are things that get dusty and worn looking, though we barely notice: Lamp shades, towels, throws, rugs. Let us not forget dried and silk flowers…well, let’s not even talk about these because I’m hoping by now you’ve already gotten rid of them. Design Lite Tip: We forget to notice things as they lose steam and gather dust because we get used to them. Clean the heck out of the things you can’t carry (yes…even vacuum window treatments), but for the items you can carry, I look to replace them if they are looking dated or simply dusty and old. Rugs, lamps, throws, towels, pillows.

Design Lite requires savvy design, sound strategy, know how and a good eye. But as with all things that are harder than they look, let a pro do her magic, and the rewards – both in terms of re-falling in love with your space and fiscal restraint – are great. And I don’t say this…Litely!