I Call A Do-Over!
by Brenda Spagnola-Wilson

Remember when we were kids and your turn during a game didn't go as expected?  You called a "do-over".  Now that we are all grown-up (well, physically anyway!), it's time to put that phrase to use once again.  Where?  In your living room, of course!  The most used room in the home.  Considering the amount of time you and your family spend here (hence the name "living" room), it needs to be comfortable for everyone, yet we want it to look nice and be inviting.  But because we spend so much time there, things seem to wear out faster.  Or maybe we just get tired of it quicker since we see so much of it.  Regardless of why, a living room "do-over" comes to all of us eventually.

Furniture is usually the focal point in just about every room.  But buying new furniture every time you redecorate just isn't feasible for most of us.  It's simply too expensive.  (If it's not, let me know and I'll come live with you!)  However, there are many ways you can "do-over" your furniture without spending a fortune.

First, go through the room and determine which pieces of furniture you really like and which ones you are so-so about.  Look at the style, color and functionality of each one.  Get rid of anything you really hate.  If you don't like it, it shouldn't be in your home, right?  Then, look at the pieces you like.  Do they need a good cleaning to spice them up, or maybe a little more work?  How much work are you willing to put into them?  Here is where your ingenuity and elbow grease come into play.  You may find that many things just need a really thorough cleaning to spruce them up.  Some furniture may need repairs, sanding or painting.  Maybe you want to really change the look of the room by using slipcovers or reupholstering. 

Doing this work yourself is time consuming, but well worth the money you will save.  And most of it is easier than you would think.  If finances are a problem, do one piece at a time.  Even something as simple as tossing a throw blanket over faded fabric on the sofa can make it look great at minimal cost.  Pillows on the sofa and floor can help bring color into a room, as well as give additional seating for the kids.  Now that the furniture is  done, let's look at the walls. I'm not talking about paint, although you could change that if you wanted to.  I'm talking about wall art.

Here's a little secret for you wall art is not just pictures.  If you are as domestically challenged as I am, then this will come as a surprise to you.  I know it did to me.  When I think "art", I think paintings or family photos.  These are only a small part of wall art.  It can be molding, chair rails, wallpaper, decorative plates, candle sconces, whatever.  Changing and updating these can change the entire look of your room, at little or no cost.  Look to see what you have in other rooms in the house that would work well in the living room.  After all, you should have nice things to look at if you are spending a great deal of time here.  And don't forget lampshades!  These can be altered simply by gluing a fringe on the bottom, or painting the shade itself, changing their entire look.

Another great way to completely "do-over" the look of your room is to rearrange the furniture.  Your furniture should center around a focal point in the room the TV, a fireplace, maybe a favorite piece of furniture.  Once you pick the focal point and where it will go, place your furniture around it.  Putting an area rug here will help define the space.  Or open it up by angling furniture instead of sitting it flush to a wall.  This will also help direct the flow of traffic in a room and draw the eye towards your focal point.  Remember though, that the focal point should not overwhelm the rest of the room nor detract from your other decorations.

If you are like me and live in an apartment, moving the furniture around simply may not be an option.  I know that in my place the furniture only fits one way.  In this case, consider moving around the wall art, tables, plants, area rugs, etc.  Adding a potted tree in a corner does wonders for a room (especially if it is a plastic or silk one that you can't kill!  LOL!)  It's amazing how these little things can liven up a dull and boring space.

Lastly, don't be afraid to experiment.  If you don't like something, you can always change it back when you are done.  But you might just find a creative side of yourself that has been dying to get out and "do-over" the space where you live!

Brenda Spagnola-Wilson is a moderator and community leader at www.BabyUniversity.com and lives in Texas with her husband and two children.  She enjoys writing about a variety of topics, with her main focuses being home improvement & decorating, saving money, being a SAHM and general home care.  Currently she is the Co-Editor of the At Home with Baby University Newsletter.  Feel free to contact her at bspagnola@ev1.net with any comments.

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