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The one quick change that will totally transform your living room

When you first decorate your living space, you were probably in love with it. It had all your favorite things and that splash of style you loved at the moment. Or maybe you never liked your living room from the beginning.

Regardless, you aren’t quite ready for a massive overhaul. Whether you’d rather spend money on other things besides pieces of furniture or you’re worried about the environmental impact of replacing that perfectly good couch and entertainment system, it’s not the time for massive change.

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Good news, however. With this one quick change, you can overhaul the entire look of your living room in minutes without changing your furniture, embarking in renovations, or moving. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Change your accent pieces

We invest in furniture that can stand the test of time for a reason. It’s meant to be a backdrop for the overall look and feel of the room. Even if you invest in that green velvet statement couch, it can become a starting point for a revolving decorative scheme.

Changing your accent pieces allows you to try out new colors and fresh ideas before committing to a complete overhaul. You may want to transition your whole house from Scandinavian industrial design to French Country, but are you totally sure? Buying those pieces just for your living room can give you a feel for the new design before you “go big or go home.”

So how do you change out accent pieces? There are a few different methods to perfecting the subtle switch and getting your design just the way you like it. Let’s take a look at a few different plans.

The fastest change

Pillows and the mantle arrangement are the fastest way to transform your living room. You’d be surprised by how much the addition of a new set of pillows can transform the look and feel of your living space.

Let’s go back to that green velvet couch. Right now, you have green pillows that came with it, but what if you switched to a bold, modern yellow? Suddenly you have a 60’s mod element in your living room, like House Beautiful displays, and you did nothing but change pillow color.

Or what if you switched out to a moody set of dark reds and purples? You suddenly have a luxe feeling reminiscent of some of the most creative townhouses in the Chelsea building. You may even have pillows around your house that could be arranged to show off your hidden geek or build a sweetly feminine motif.

The other fast change is your mantle arrangement. Switching out the placement of objects can take a mantle from a simple, woodsy-inspired option to a fine-art showcase. And if you have no mantle, a coffee-table arrangement can accomplish the same idea. Move those coffee-table books in favor of a terrarium, for example, and suddenly, it’s not the same living room anymore.

A faster change

If you’ve got some time and the budget, changing out your living room rug can make an impact. This accent piece is just as showstopping as pillows and can refresh a room after a long-stagnant design.

One of the best ways is to change up the color of your rug. Go from a busy Persian-inspired print to a geometric print, and you’ve altered the entire feeling of the room in just one unrolled movement.

You could also change the shape or size of your rug. Go from a 5×7 to a big 8×10 to cover your entire living area or add a rug on top of your carpet to separate your nook space from the couch. It’ll be one massive change.

A fast change

Changing your window treatment is the final piece of your accent-piece puzzle. Window treatments are simple to change out and can transform the light and the feeling of your room. If you don’t have any curtains, hang a brand-new pair in just the right spot to add height to your ceiling, as Architectural Digest suggests.

Or you can go the opposite and change out heavy curtains for simple wooden blinds to remove visual clutter from your floors and give your living room a decluttered feeling. Rattan rolling blinds can bring an element of island style to your fussy living area, or sheer flowing fabric can create a sweet cottage feel.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for installing window treatments and check with your building code if you don’t own your space. However, this can be one of the most satisfying changes to make.

Making it all work

If you’re taking these elements and transforming your living room, think through what feeling you’d like to have when you come into your living space. Rather than chasing after trends, focusing on your preferences can help you narrow down the options.

The great thing about design is that you can experiment with blending elements until you land on something you love. Start with the pillows for a low-pressure change. What would English Country look like next to Boho Chic? You won’t know until you try it.

The quick-change rotation

One of the most fun aspects of this quick change is that you can change out pieces regularly to refresh your style. Change your rug once a year and your pillows with each season, for example, and you may find yourself falling in love with all your old favorites all over again.

Trying out new design styles is part of what makes decorating your house fun. While you may have felt a lot of pressure investing in something like a sofa or a television, pillows and rugs are meant to be changed out. You can take a chance on that trend you love without worrying about how you’ll feel next season.

Decide on your color scheme and search for design inspiration to give you a starting point, but we give you permission to play around with pieces you love and to take chances. And who knows? That sofa you thought you hated might just be your favorite spot in the house again.

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Deb Goncalves
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Deb's work has appeared on Moms, Babygaga, and WorldAtlas. When she's not working (that's hard to say about a Capricorn), she…
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