2 Simple Ways to Refresh a Room

Sometimes it takes more than a vase of fresh flowers to make a room feel REALLY light & bright Fresh. This month I put my final touches on our dark cave-like family room before summer ends. I always like to start September with a thorough cleaning and a quick de-clutter of all the rooms before decorating for Fall. Or as Captain would say, “Before she FILLS it again for the Holiday.” As I clean I make changes, nothing big, just those little changes that we pushed aside or neglected to do for a long while. This time at the lake cottage, I decided to choose just TWO simple tasks, and get Captain involved, so we could get it done FAST. What a difference! The rooms feel so fresh and it was so Simple – I even have a little extra cash for those pretty flowers.

Two Simple Ways to (immediately) Refresh any room:

  • Switch-out your Light Bulbs
  • New (affordable) Window Treatment

Number ONE – Lighting Switch…

No time to paint the walls that are way overdue or did you paint and the perfect color you spent hours deciding on now looks “off”? Wait! Before you pick up that paint brush, instead, change-out your light bulbs to get that same FRESH new look. Seriously, it takes a lot less time to change a few light bulbs than to paint a room, right? Yet it is amazing how much the RIGHT bulb can brighten and change the whole tone of your room. In our efforts to save electricity costs we needed to change ALL of our light bulbs  with more energy-efficient LED lights (some even were older type LEDs.) We took this opportunity to pay closer attention to the color tone the new light bulbs cast into each space. Our choices for LED light bulbs were either a warm “soft white” or a cooler (more natural) “daylight”.

We did a Buy/Try/Return/Repeat, in order to get the best bulb for each room’s use. Captain made, I think, three or four trips to the store, but it was worth it. If the light bulbs last as long as the package says, these rooms will look fresh for a very long time. Part of our learning curve – You do have to get Dimmable LED bulbs to work using dimmer switches. The kitchen has 6 canned lights on dimmable 3-way switches, ok got the dimmable bulbs, but we found that LED lights are so low voltage that they do not always turn off fully. What?? (learning curve) The dimmer switch manufacturer says that it is “normal”…enjoy that golden glow, hey, it’s a (6) free ceiling nightlight(s). Guess it will be useful for a mid-night refrigerator raid? Back to the other rooms: The dining room was better with soft white bulbs because they emit a lovely candle glow for mood, while the kitchen got the daylight so the cabinets didn’t fall to a golden color. The vanity lights in the en suite bathroom was switched to daylight LED lighting too. In the photo above, you can see how dramatic the difference between Soft White and Daylight bulbs is, in the family room. This is why the Buy & Try worked for us.

#TWO – Window Treatment Refresh…

The second way to do a Simple room refresh is to replace a window covering, I am mainly talking drapes or curtains, but certainly if you have tired old blinds, they may need a good wash or replacement, too. There was a time when “custom or semi-custom” was the way you had to go if you wanted nice window coverings.  That meant, the average family lived forEVER with the same expensive, dusty custom draperies before replacing them. Those mama’s had to forget about trends, the kids needed shoes…I’m not kidding, new drapes were Pricey! Good news, cost is no excuse any longer, now there are window coverings for every taste, style and budget. So play with some changes in style and pattern to give your room a fresh new decorator look?

My usual way to keep up with my decorating tastes, is to have window blind for privacy and replace the stationary drapery panels as my room evolves. I place the fabric panels at one or both sides of the window to soften the windows hard edges and to add color, texture or pattern to the room.

If ambitious, I will sew my own, BUT more often these days, my favorite way to do a window is to find sets of panels off-the-rack, for a good deal, at Home Goods, World Market or Marshalls. Yep, I look in that aisle almost every time I shop : )

Recently I shared a little about my New Striped Drapery for the family room. I bought  2-sets of drapes at Home Goods. I push all 4 panels to one side of the large sliding door window, where they are stationary, with a vertical blind for night privacy. Well, stationary was the problem – after a few days of opening & closing the blinds and finding the stationary panels would drag along with the blinds, I had to fix it.

I used my sewing machine, set on a long zig-zag stitch to join the 4 panel into a one-piece swath of fabric.

The panels have a side seam straight stitch which was already there, my new (hard to see) zig-zag stitch joins the 2 panels together, flat, no overlap.

No pins needed, I held two panel edges (butted) together and ran it through the machine. The zig is on one panel and the zag is on the other panel, the machine pulled the panels together as it stitched. I kept the stripes matched-up so it stayed straight and even at the top and bottom.

The weight of one-piece drapery keeps the drape stationary now, and there are no gaps of light between sections. Normally you would pay a premium for a wide one-piece drapery. This new striped drape cost $32., while the “old” one from Pottery Barn cost around $300. for the same width, the fabric difference does count for a part of the cost difference as well, just saying, size does matter ; )

To give the window that professional decorator touch I spray painted the old bronze curtain rod white, and steamed the wrinkles and the pleats so they would hang perfectly. I got my hand-held steamer at Walmart for $13. – love it – I now see a lot less ironing in my future.

What’s your End of Summer Refresh?

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!