Quick Fix Home Decor-10 Luxurious, Budget-Minded Ideas

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Oh Laurel,

Please, please, please, I’m begging you to do a blog post on the topic of quick fix home decor. I’ll do anything. I’ll give you my firstborn, I’ll clean your toilet. But, I JUST found out that WE are hosting Thanksgiving this year. AND, then my daughter is bringing home her boyfriend for Christmas and his parents will be spending a night or two as well.

I’m sure that we’re not the only ones facing this sort of issue. I mean, I just took a look around, and this place is a total shitshow. I’m pretty embarrassed, but life has gotten in the way. However, it’s never too late to spiffy things up. Right?

 

Well, yes, I realize that we only have a month. And, that’s not a lot of time to get things in order.

 

Sure, if we had gobs of money, and a crew of ten, we could do a lot more. Right now, it’s my husband, one son who’s still at home and I have a couple of friends who might be able to lend a hand.

And, of course, we really can’t spend more than maybe $5,000 – tops. So, we won’t be able to purchase much in the way of furniture. But, we need to get the most bang for our bucks for every room.

 

Please do a quick fix home decor post!

 

Oh, one last thing. The upholstery on the sofa is pretty stained. I like the sofa, but, it’s pretty awful and I don’t think the stains will come out. I got a quote for $3,500 to reupholster the sofa!

Sincerely,

Donna Prokrastinator

 

*********

 

Thank you Donna who only exists in my head. haha But, is based on real people and situations. This is a great topic I think; that of quick-fix home decor. Although, please note that a good bargaining tool does not include gifting me your first-born.  How well I know that trick. I tried giving my rambunctious first born away for years. But, for some reason, every time I mentioned it the folks ran quickly in the opposite direction. ;] ;]

 

By the time he got out of college and left the nest of his own accord, I couldn’t believe that I tried to give him away. ;]

 

Now, I relish the time we get to spend together. Life is very strange, sometimes.

Just so you know, banana cream pie (BCP) makes a FAR better bribe.

However, I am not chastising or judging. But, Why are you doing this to yourself?

Well, it’s okay. I think I have the answer for this phenomenon.

 

DENIAL

 

I think that a lot of us, myself included do this. We deny how much time it takes to do things. Or, we don’t want to even think of what we need to do until we need to do it. But, by then, we’ll have a new problem which is the stress involved with getting things done, in time.

However, I have some quick fix home decor ideas which I think will go a long way towards making your home a warm, comfortable, happy place to be when you only have a few weeks to get it together.

Let’s dive in with my list of ten categories.

 

One) My first recommendation is to CLEAN and PURGE.

 

It’s really not all that different from getting your home ready to put on the market for sale. Please check out this post that shares my philosophy on how to do so.

 

Since you have some friends who are willing to help, maybe you can enlist them and husband and daughter. Of course, I would volunteer to reciprocate.

For some ideas about this, please read this post where the fabulous mother and daughter organizing team of Done and Done came by and did a much appreciated number on my place.

 

Please also follow their blog for some fabulous ideas.  That links to their own post about quick fix home decor and other ideas I hadn’t thought of. OR, if you’re in the New York metro area, you can hire them or their associates to help you out.

 

Two) Another way we all know adds freshness is with a new paint job.

 

However, if that’s just going to be too much, you can actually wash the grime off of your walls. Here’s a tutorial that looks pretty good that explains the best way to do that.

Please however, test first in an inconspicuous spot.

OR, wash walls in the main living spaces and paint only the guest room. For some great bedroom paint colors, you’re probably not using, click here.

Of course, if you can manage the painting project and, you’re struggling with your paint colors, please considering getting the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection

 

Three) The next idea is to take the sofa and actually PAINT it.

 

Yes, you can paint fabric.

I did which you can read about here. And, I didn’t even use fabric paint, however I do recommend that you do. And mine was only a color wash. To cover stains, the paint needs to be opaque.

 

Here is a post giving a terrific tutorial about how to do that.

And, if you’d like to see many more ideas and tutorials about upholstery painting, click here.

Also, if you’d like to learn about ways to score some cool free or nearly free furniture, click here.

 

Four) LIGHTING

 

If someone were to ask me the number one decorating issue or mistake that people do, it’s lighting.

Very recently, I was in a hotel room. There was a flush mount bright white LED ceiling light and then two BRIGHT WHITE LED sconces between two queen-sized beds.

 

The absolute worst.

 

And, there’s really no excuse. Hotels all have interior designers and that one should be shot at dawn. Okay, I’m sorry; that’s a tad harsh. I meant, shot at dawn with a blast of ultra bright LED lighting!

Seriously, it is one of the most horrible ideas ever. I feel that artificial lighting should be warm and resemble candle light. So, if doing LED lighting in a residential setting my preference is for 2700 up to 3000 kelvins and no higher. However, that’s my opinion.

 

There are two situations that I can think of that require such bright lights.

 

  • An operating room
  • An airport runway

 

So, if doing LED lighting, what should you get?

Great question. LED lighting is measured in kelvins. And, the most yellow sold for residential is probably 2200 and the highest about 6,000. But, there’s higher and lower.

LED Kelvin scaleFor residential and that would go for a hotel too, I would recommend 2700 – 3500 kelvins at the coolest.

I’ve never understood the so-called “daylight” LED bulb. I’ve never seen daylight that’s so incredibly bright white. After-all, isn’t the sun yellow?

 

But, in all of my years of experience, I’ve discovered that most folks don’t get their lighting right either.

Like a lot of things that really aren’t that great, but everyone does them anyway, are recessed down lights. AKA: “high hats.” Aside from the kitchen, and maybe a hallway, they are largely awful. In fact, you can read a post here where we discuss this.

Of course, 95% of you almost definitely have them. Me too! (but only in my tiny bathroom).

Here is what I recommend.

 

Generally, even if you have time and are not doing a major renovation, leave them and put them on a dimmer– very dim.

 

Then, supplement generously with table lamps, floor lamps and possibly sconces.

Please check out this post on inexpensive lamps

And, another favorite post about chandeliers that look more expensive than they are

There are also a lot of great looking and affordable flush mount and semi-flush mount fixtures here.

 

For more helpful posts on getting your light right click here

 

Premium Flicker Flameless wax candles from Pottery Barn can add a soft glow to your tables or mantel.

 


One of my favorite ways to add accent lighting in any space is the very skinny floor lamp from Wisteria. I’ve specified this lamp that you can tuck in anywhere. And, it is surprisingly sturdy.

In addition, Wisteria is a great place for home furnishings. And, right now, they are having a very cool buy more save more. You only have to spend $500 or more to get 25% off your order.

 

Five) Pillows and Throws

 

One of my favorite posts is this one about throw pillows. Throw pillows are an excellent way to update any room with upholstered furniture.

And, for some terrific sources for pillow covers and other home furnishings, please check out this post on the top Etsy sources  This was updated only about six weeks ago.

 

Six) Accessories, Art and Mirrors

 

These wonderful accent pieces can really wake up a tired, date room.

Another helpful post is this one all about 50 classic and timeless acessories and home furnishings

 

Seven) Beautiful bed linens and maybe a new bed or headboard if it’s in the budget.

 

Serena and Lily, right now through the 28th of October has all of their gorgeous linens AND beds on sale. Some of them are in the Hot Sales Bed & Bath page.

This post shares some of my favorite online sources for bed linens.

For more bedroom ideas, on the blog, click here

https://laurelberninteriors.com/favorite-bed-bath-sales/And, of course, please check out the bed and bath hot sales page here.

 

Eight) Luxurious bath items.

Pottery Barn Towels

Wonderful towels from Pottery Barn

And, really everything you could want for your bed and bath and at great prices right now.

 

And, not just fluffy towels, but wonderful soaps, bath salts, hair products, q-tips, cotton balls, a couple of extra toot brushes and tooth paste.

Do you know this brand, Elemis? Well, let me tell you that everything I’ve tried of theirs is first rate. This lime and ginger is the most divine salt scrub. Please trust me. The smell is very subtle and addictive.

 

For more addictive, I recommend Moroccan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.

 

Moroccan oil hydrating shampoo and conditionerYou can get it here.

Their hydrating shampoo and conditioner is sublime. And the smell, IMO, is out of this world!

clear plastic travel bottlesAnd, how about this idea. Get a set of travel-size containers and make your own hotel-sized versions of your favorite toiletries. Label them and make a sheet explaining what each item is.

 

mirrored-dresser-top-trays-pottery barn

Put it on a small mirrored tray and be sure to let them know that the entire thing is a gift they can take back with them. Love these trays, above from Pottery Barn and on sale right now.

 

Eight) Fresh flowers

 

Terrain blooming houseplants

Or maybe beautiful blooming plants. Hands down my favorite source for stylish cut flowers and blooming plants is Terrain. Above is only a small sampling of what they sell.

 

Nine) Beautiful Table Top

 

Table Top holiday ideas - One Kings LaneLovely holiday table top with items available at One Kings Lane. And, most at 20% off with code: OKL20CARD

 

Some of you may recall that I was hosting Thanksgiving two years ago. It was just my son and his girlfriend, but I really needed some new dishes and silverware. So, I headed over to Pottery Barn.

I got the salad and dinner plates from this set and love them to bits. I use the dishes every day and not one has chipped or broken. Of course, there are other dishes at Pottery Barn and they happen to be 25% off right now.

adele-beaded-flatware-pottery barn

And, I also got the Adele beaded flatware which I also use every day and enjoy a lot. That’s also on sale right now.

If you want to see my table for Thanksgiving two years ago, click here.

 

Ten) Stylish Holiday Decor

 

Very soon, we will be updating the holiday shop to make it up-to-date. Some items will still be current. But, in the meantime, some great sources to look at if you wish to get a leg up are

 

One Kings Lane Christmas Decor

One Kings Lane – please remember that your promo code: OKL20CARD will get you 20% off on many items

 

Decor and Lights on sale right now at Pottery Barn

 

Well, I hope that gave y’all some good ideas for quick-fix home decor. And, some gift ideas too for your holiday guests.

By the way, what time are you expecting me? ;]

Please check out much more on the hot sales pages.

xo,

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Janet - November 4, 2019 - 1:25 PM

    Great information about the LED bulbs Laurel. I’ve come to notice too that the right lamp shade has an effect on the light output from lamps. I bought a few different style shades and they have really transformed my rooms.ReplyCancel

  • Pat P. - October 30, 2019 - 5:46 PM

    Laurel, I found your wonderful blog when I was looking for advice on wainscoting. Your blog has since been my “happy place” – a place of solace, beauty, and escape when real life just gets a girl down. Thank you for sharing your sense of style and sense of humor! p.s. I love you for showing us how to use orange – my favorite bright color (I think it’s hugely underrated) but until your blog post, never in my life I’d imagine being able to use it to decorate.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara kemp - October 29, 2019 - 10:23 AM

    Laurel,

    before the incandescent bulbs were no more, i purchased a boat load. they are so much more pleasing to me than LED. now that i know about the LED, i won’t panic when my incandescents are gone. thanks once again.ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - October 28, 2019 - 2:15 PM

    Thank you, Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • PATRICIA DORF - October 28, 2019 - 1:16 PM

    Could you please connect me with Donna Prokrastinator? I am sure she is my long lost cousin.
    When hell froze over I was cleaning my oven and must have burned her address.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - October 28, 2019 - 11:25 AM

    I’ll try writing it out! This really is a beautiful post. So many pretty things!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - October 27, 2019 - 11:08 PM

    Laurel, I’m wondering what you think about people “cutting” a paint color by 50%. I think they mean that they add white at the paint store. Does this result in a quality color (if you like a color but think it will be too dark as is)? Or is this a big mistake? I’ve read several blogs that mention doing this and wonder about it (I especially wonder if Quiet Moments could be made lighter and still work its magic). Thanks for your time!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 28, 2019 - 1:41 PM

      eyes rolling. That’s your answer regarding “cutting” the paint color. It’s a different color and it might be what you are looking for. You can certainly try cutting quiet moments. Also look at the color above it Healing Aloe. It is lighter and lovely. I’ve used that one too. You can see it here.ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - October 27, 2019 - 9:40 PM

    Funny! I love the names “Terror Cleaning” and “Panic Freshening” and will use them from now on. And I NEVER would have had the courage and stamina to host as you did. Good for you!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - October 27, 2019 - 7:30 PM

    Check out Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I’ve seen it used to paint both fabric and leather. A google search revealed several tutorials.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - October 27, 2019 - 7:28 PM

    Goodness, yes, but I cannot take credit. I found the piece already professionally refurbished. I’m handy, but I wouldn’t dream of tackling a sofa.ReplyCancel

  • margaret - October 27, 2019 - 3:43 PM

    Thanks! I want that pillow…or one like it as it may not be for sale…ReplyCancel

  • Mary - October 27, 2019 - 1:26 PM

    Absolutely love your blog. Wish I had found it earlier. I just ordered one of the orange rugs from a previous blog. Now I need new sheets and prefer heavy, very heavy crisp sheets. Any suggestions? The ones I used to get are no longer available. I do believe they were 2 ply thus creating the weight. Thanks so much. MaryReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2019 - 1:41 PM

      Hi Mary,

      Not really sure about that. Maybe google “best source for heavy crisp sheets”ReplyCancel

  • Gail - October 27, 2019 - 12:57 PM

    Thanks for this timely post Laurel. After nearly 5 years of DIY construction, final painting is happening in the living and dining rooms. I’m hosting a family birthday/Snowbird Christmas gathering November 9th. Haha. Things won’t be perfect but they’ll be furniture to sit on, food to eat and love all around.
    PS. I found a 1908 sofa locally built and completely refurbished and upholstered in a lovely cream brocade with the matching chair, footstool, two fabulous end tables and a half Moon table for 500 bucks! Score.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2019 - 1:09 PM

      Score indeed! And, I have so much admiration for folks who can do their own upholstery/slip covers, etc.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - October 27, 2019 - 12:30 PM

    Does Lorrie have a link to those?ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - October 27, 2019 - 12:28 PM

    Good morning, Laurel.

    Thank you so much for including information on the LED lighting. Going from incandescent to LED–which I have not yet done because I am hoarding 150-watt and 100 watt bulbs–is very confusing to those new to conversions, like me. I tend to give up and just find more incandescents to hoard. LOL.

    Would you consider doing a post just on lighting, the bulbs, I mean. You seem to be the only one who has any ability to explain it in clear, simple, understandable terms.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2019 - 12:55 PM

      Hi Lauren,

      Yes, I should really bite the bullet and do it.ReplyCancel

  • patricia blaettler - October 27, 2019 - 12:14 PM

    My tip: Hire a professional cleaning company.
    It’s like giving yourself a present.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - October 27, 2019 - 11:02 AM

    Thanks for this post, Laurel! I just found out last night I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house. No one grocery shops or cooks or cleans or decorates but me. My husband and son will help, but they are really clueless non self starters. HELP ME!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2019 - 11:37 AM

      hahahaha!!! Oh Lisa, I feel your pain. I really do. Perhaps try writing out their tasks in great detail including when they need to be finished by. I’ve never done that, but writing it out makes it concrete and they can’t come back with “you never told me to…”ReplyCancel

  • susie - October 27, 2019 - 10:16 AM

    My Christmas decor this year is going to revolve around the family vintage glass ornaments, handpainted ornaments that highlight the colors of pink and blue. In my condo I now have three tabletop trees (two artificial green trees and one tinsel tree)instead of a full-size tree. I’m sure I have more ornaments than I have tree space, so I plan to put some ornaments in bowls, urns etc. I love to decorate for Christmas!!ReplyCancel

  • HardlyFatal - October 27, 2019 - 9:45 AM

    Hi, Laurel! The reason daylight is considered cool has to do with the direct, almost perpendicular angle at which light from the sun enters the earth’s atmosphere – by the time it filters through, it appears blueish-white. That’s why the sky appears blue, also.

    The reason light appears golden in the afternoon is because of the sharper angle at which the sun’s light is entering the atmosphere at that time – more yellow reaches us through the atmosphere. Same for sunset and sunrise: at those extreme angles, we get peach and lavender and pink in the sky.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2019 - 11:33 AM

      Thank you HardlyFatal. However, I am already well-aware of all of this. Not that you should know, but I have a borderline obsessive fascination with the sun in relation to the earth and the variations in light and amount of daylight, nighttime and twilight hours depending on the location and time of year. Sorry, still not buying the “cool daylight color.” I do not ever perceive daylight as bright cool white no matter the angle, time of day or year. The closest would be a cloudy day, perhaps.

      But, most of us do not live outside. I still love the soft glow of candle light at night. Always have and always will. Of course, artificial lighting doesn’t need to be quite that yellow, but bright, cool white feels abnormal and strangely cold to me.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - October 27, 2019 - 9:43 AM

    Please, may I have the link to the Etsy shop that created that beautiful pillow with the zipper & tassel from last week’s cover post? Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - October 27, 2019 - 8:52 AM

    Can you paint leather?ReplyCancel

  • Susan - October 27, 2019 - 8:45 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I love Moroccan oil too!
    And if you just feel like having that scent all over…
    Jean Paul Gaultier cologne Le Male smells just like to me, I get the men’s version, I LOVE it 🥰ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2019 - 11:20 AM

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for the tip. I need to check that one out. I love men’s cologne too! Most women’s smells like bug spray to me. lolReplyCancel

  • Celeste - October 27, 2019 - 8:00 AM

    Always timely. Phew you are not kidding about everything taking longer. We repainted the dining room for a meeting here in the first week of September, we finished everything but the baseboard in ..mid October. We did tone on tone Mountain Peak White and Cotton Balls. It was scary to paint over the accent trim when people usually highlight but we did it and it looks incredible. Just like I wanted, the trim became more subtle and the whole room is gorgeous and serene,

    I’m feeling good about the 45 people we have coming in November because I already did my Terror Cleaning and Panic Freshening. I held a Meet The Candidate. Talk about fear? Invite 140 strangers who may or may not be coming for friendly reasons and give them run of your home.

    I have anxiety just remembering my anxiety. 😀

    It was lovely and I said I’d do it again. Praise God not for at least a year.

    Anyway that was a new kind of How Does My House Look pressure for sure.

    I hope you enjoy the ramp up to the holiday season and thank you as always for helping make our house a home.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - October 27, 2019 - 7:31 AM

    We recently lived (rented) a rustic house with a lot of wood and some drywall. That house had more lighting than I’ve ever seen in my life, and half the bulbs needed to be replaced.

    I wanted to do LED bulbs because many of the light fixtures were so high, I didn’t want to replace bulbs again any time soon. At first, I just got a few Soft White LEDs. Then I discovered Soft White Full-Spectrum LEDs and WOW what a difference they made.

    Everything, including all that wood looked so much better. The regular Soft White LEDs made the wood look flat and yellow. The Soft White Full-Spectrum LEDs made the wood look more vibrant. It’s Full-Spectrum from now on for me!ReplyCancel

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