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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Frugal Redecorating: Use What You Have

I've mentioned Lauri Ward's books before: her motto is "use what you have." Frugal, green, and--believe it or not--quick. Her books--especially the first one, which remains the most useful--don't present beautiful pictures or fantasy environments a la Architectural Digest. Most of us couldn't afford the pillows in an AD spread, much less the Picasso gracing the wall.

So much of our mood depends upon our environment. Ward's blog is usually kind of meh, but I check back now and again. Her most recent post shows a room filled with furniture that is either the same as ours or worse! What a relief! Yet look how nice the room looks when the furniture is rearranged.

She explains how to rearrange in her first book. I followed her ideas and--no kidding--instant improvement.

Have you tried her techniques?


Shelley said...

That 'after' photo is an astonishing improvement on the 'before'. Skeptical me thinks it's not just about the pillows on the sofa but also to do with the space framed in each photo... Very impressive, all the same! Amy Dacyczyn (sp?) also said to use what you have... after cleaning and uncluttering and perhaps a lick of paint. I got a lot of satisfaction in pulling many of my old framed pieces from the loft and seeing themon the wall.

jenny_o said...

We've done something similar in our own home. We replaced wallpaper in three of our rooms with paint, in preparation for a "maybe" move, and the colour schemes changed as a result. But we have not bought a single new picture, we just moved them around. We were amazed at the difference! Now I will be thinking about how to reduce and move the furniture to give a cleaner look.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I'm impressed with that transformation! I haven't read her book, but I do try to use what we have--and what we have is still, after twenty years of marriage, a mix of hand-me-downs and second hand finds. I don't know if we're the most destructive family on the planet, but it seems to me that buying nice furniture when you have kids and dogs is a waste of time. And the line that you see in decorating magazines about how easy it is to toss white slipcovers into the wash is total BS.

I think my house is due for some rearranging. :)

Duchesse said...

She got rid of the horrid lumpy mess of pillows, IMO the biggest sin. People think pillows add something but often it's just clutter.

And she separated the ottoman and chair, again reducing visual clutter. But- who actually *sits* on an ottoman? It is usually the last seat taken.

So, while the second shot looks much better, a lot of it is simple decluttering, removing the busiest visual elements, like the sea of pillows and crammed bookcase. Agents listing a house will be stern about the same approach.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--She also removed pieces. She rearranged and added to increase sense of symmetry. She puts the ottoman there to create a u-shaped conversation area. Ideally, one would have two club chairs. Since many do not, the ottoman pinch hits as a second chair.