When you realize your home is looking a little stale, there's not always time to completely rearrange and redecorate. Cleaning and polishing goes a long way, but it's not always enough. Sometimes you need a new look fast. Try these 15 minute makeovers before your last-minute guests arrive, or when your decor just needs a quick pick-me-up.
Update your kitchen cabinets or a piece of flea market furniture by replacing the knobs and pulls. In most cases, all you need is a screwdriver and a few minutes of time. With pulls, make sure you measure the space between the screws before you shop for the new ones; it varies. You can use new or vintage hardware, as you prefer. Just make sure the hardware style complements the piece.
If your piece has damaged casters, be sure to replace those too.
Reupholster with Duct Tape
Add a new fabric to your sofa or chair cushions -- seat or back -- without sewing. Choose inexpensive fabric from a remnant bolt or recycle a pair of vintage drapery panels. Just wrap the new fabric around the cushions and pull it tight. Then, secure the fabric to the backs of the cushions with duct tape. It's not a permanent fix, but your new look should last until you find a longer-term solution.
You can also use this method to perk up tired throw pillows -- as long as your guests aren't pillow huggers.
Add a New Shade
Give a tired table lamp a fast update by replacing the shade. Both retro and contemporary lamps typically work well with barrel shades, where the top and bottom have the same diameter. Dressier table lamp styles -- including antique and vintage versions -- look best with lampshades featuring flared bottoms and narrower tops.
Take the lamp with you when you shop for the new shade, including the harp. It's easier and faster than guessing on the size of the new shade. If you're guests are arriving soon and you didn't shop for a shade in advance, swipe a suitable shade from a bedroom lamp until you have time to hunt for a new one.
Drape a Textile
Turn an old sofa or table into a fast, new focal point by draping it with a vintage textile. You can use an old quilt, bedspread, or even an antique rug originally meant for the floor. Cut yardage works well too; you can hide the raw, unhemmed edges.
To drape a sofa, remove the throw pillows and seat cushions. Remove the back cushions if your sofa doesn't have a tight back or attached cushions. Center your textile on the sofa back with any directional patterns facing the ceiling. Lay the textile on the sofa's back and smooth it. Tuck in the fabric or rug where the back of the sofa meets the seating deck, and then smooth it. Replace the cushions and pillows and you're good to go.
Place textiles on tables just as you'd place a tablecloth, or angle it for a more interesting look. Let the piece hang over the front of your table, and make sure directional patterns face the ceiling instead of the floor.
Add Throw Pillows
Add fast color, pattern, and texture to your upholstered furniture by tossing on a few new throw pillows. If you choose bold, vibrant patterns and colors, you and your guests will see the pillows at first glance. The old sofa becomes just a backdrop. Swipe some throw pillows from your beds if you're making the change in the seconds before the doorbell rings.
Soften the Lighting
Turn off the overhead fixtures before your guests arrive, or before you sit down to relax. Use candles, table lamps, and wall sconces instead. Every room looks better in soft lighting from numerous sources, rather a single source of light burning overhead. Chandeliers and recessed spots on dimmer switches are the exceptions. For table lamps, switch any bright bulbs for those with a lower wattage. Try gold-tinted or frosted bulbs in your chandeliers or sconces.