Small Can Still Be BIG


A tough economy is no longer an excuse for not giving your home a face lift. Most people assume it take big bucks to completely change the look of a room- but you know where assuming gets you! Today I want to show you steps that will still make a big impact on the look and feel of your space that can fit within all types of budgets.

The first thing you need to do is assess what final look you want for the space. Can you benefit from just adding a piece of art to a blank wall? Does your furniture still function but need updating? (See my previous post about Affordable Design in the News) Maybe you’re looking for a bigger change? I’ll walk you through my steps of change for making big impacts. We’ll start with the smallest budget change, and take you to the biggest. Each can be done individually but I’ll show you a progression as we transform this ordinary kitchen.

Starting Point

My advice if you’re on a tight budget is to start with wall color. White or beige are good colors to be a simple background, a “blank canvas” for someone who likes to change out accessories frequently. A bolder color might help add personality to a simple space and take the place of having to find the right piece of art for your blank walls.

Painted Walls

Next I would suggest looking at ceiling design. Most people forget the 6th surface of the room! Unique ceilings are unexpected and can add interest to a small space. Whether you use paint, wood, or another material you are sure to create a lasting impression on your visitors.

Metal Ceiling

Another way to change the feel of a room is to take an ordinary element and reinvent it. In our example kitchen I’ve just taken cabinetry which would normally be white or stained and painted it an unexpected color. You can accomplish this same effect by having an old piece of furniture reupholstered uniquely, or turning a table lamp upside down and making it a pendant. This is your chance to get creative!

Painted Cabinets

And finally for the icing on the cake, I suggest replacing old, out-dated flooring. This can improve the value of your home! Carpet can transform a once loud dining room into a quieter, more intimate setting. Wood can be warmer on bare feet than a winter-chilled tile floor. Area rugs can add life and color to an otherwise dull color scheme. In our kitchen I’ve completed our design by replacing the contemporary maple-look linoleum with a darker, prominent grained wood. To add pizazz the counter tops were also changed from a light color to black. Just for fun, here’s the before and after of our kitchen:

Before and After

Voila! Complete transformation. Not all projects have to make drastic changes to turn heads. Maybe instead of replacing your kitchen cabinets you slap on a few coats of paint or install new hardware. That hand-me-down chair of yours might look great in a “Tiffany” blue instead of cream, or just in need of new contrasting buttons. The secret to making small changes that make a big difference is to find what element is holding back, dating, or not contributing to your design and do something about it.

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