7 Easy Ways to Update Your Home Decor {2018}

First of all, I realize I am probably the east qualified person to write a post like this, but I’m learning a lot as I decorate my new home, so I might as well share, right!?!

I mean, let’s face it. I wasn’t particularly knowledgable about fashion when I started writing about it, and look how that turned out.

No, I’m not planning on becoming a home blog, but there are actually quite a lot of parallels between home and fashion, and my personal experience with each is pretty similar.

I like fashion, and I like home decor, and I think I have good taste (or so I’ve been told, ha!) My problem is, I’m not really good at putting things together. Fortunately, both fashion and home decor can be taught to a certain extent if you’re willing to put the time and effort into it.

I’ve shared already, but in case you missed it, I’m working with a designer on my current home, and she is worth her weight in gold. Even though I have her, I still spend a lot of time reading design blogs and informing myself on current trends and tips on how to make this home my own. While my designer can guide me in my choices and recommend the right sizes and make sure everything works well together, ultimately I make the final decisions about what we purchase, so I want to be sure I’m choosing things I truly love, that I won’t tire of in a few years.

All that to say, as long as you realize that I am speaking with no authority on the matter whatsoever, I’ll share what I think are some easy ways you can “fight the frump” at home, or rather, here are 7 easy ways to update your home decor.

7 Easy Ways to Update Your Home Decor for 2018

#1. Move away from earth tones. 

Those of us who decorated our homes in the mid to late 2000s probably have a lot of earth tones throughout, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it may be time for an update.

This does NOT mean to go out and start decorating your house in all gray, but it does mean you may want to start incorporating some lighter, cooler tones into your decor as you can.

I like how Yvonne at Stone Gable incorporates both warm and cool tones into her decorating for a soothing mix.

{source: Stone Gable}

I’m not saying you have to go and overhaul your entire house, just start incorporating some lighter/cooler colors as you go.

I moved into my former home in 2006, so I fell right into the Tuscan decor trend, but as time went on, I saw those trends changing, and I wanted to move away from the earth tones. Plus I’ve always liked a light and airy feel to my home — my first 3 homes were decorated in a lot of white and blue and yellow, so I started longing for a lighter, more soothing space.

I couldn’t redo everything at once (who can???) so I started incorporating white and sage green and slate blue wherever I could. Some rooms I repainted, and in others I just incorporated white and blue furniture and accessories. It really did help modernize the space, and I liked the combination of colors a lot. It obviously resonated with someone because we had two offers the first day we put that house on the market!

In this house, I’ve intentionally gone towards the light neutrals in my decor, but I’m also trying not to go too far off the deep end into the realm of all grays, because that can be cold and will be dated very soon — if it’s not already.

I’ve learned a ton about color — especially choosing neutrals — from Maria Killam’s blog. If you like home decor, you MUST follow her. I subscribe to her emails so I don’t miss a post, and I always end up going down a rabbit hole when I read her posts because she always links to other posts that further explain the issues she is trying to fix.

#2. Don’t be afraid to mix metals.

Just like with jewelry, gone are the days when matchy-matchy in home decor was considered a good thing. Mixing metals keeps things interesting, and it’s more modern than having all the same finishes.

These days, shiny brass and chrome fixtures are taking a backseat to matte black, matte gold, oil rubbed bronze, and brushed nickel — but any metal can all look great if it works with your overall home’s style aesthetic and the rest of your decor.

See the image below — I love how they mixed matte gold and matte black in this gorgeous bathroom.

{source: Banno Lighting}

#3. Consider painting wood stained cabinets and/or trim.

If you have wood stained molding throughout your house, consider painting it a soft white. This isn’t always the answer, but it can really modernize a space.

One of our former homes was a turn-of-the-century Dutch colonial. It was our third home but the first house we owned, so it was the first time I was able to paint and really make a space my own. It had all the original woodwork with solid wood doors, 12″ baseboards, and rosettes on the window moldings, and it was all stained medium brown. It was gorgeous, but dark, and also kind of beat up in spots due to the previous owner’s dogs.

I painted all of the doors and trim white.

People acted like it was sacrilege to paint that 100-year-old molding, but you know what!?! It was stunning when it was all done. It lightened up the whole house, and it worked so much better with the yellows and blues and greens I painted and decorated with.

I wish I had before and after pictures, but that was before the era of digital photography… if you can believe it! But my point is, if you’re struggling to pick a paint color that works with wood-stained molding, consider painting the molding too. It can give a whole new life to a space.

Likewise, if you have wood stained cabinets in your kitchen or bathrooms that are starting to look dated, a few coats of paint can go a long way towards modernizing those spaces.

{source: House Mix}

Painting your cabinets is a simple change that can really transform a space, and it doesn’t have to be white (although it can.) You can go with white, off-white, grey, navy blue, black… the possibilities are virtually endless. I love how in the example above, she even painted her backsplash.

One of my good friends did this to her kitchen recently, and it looks amazing. Painting your cabinets is not terribly expensive to hire out, or if you’re ambitious, it can be a weekend DIY project… Okay, so it may take a little longer than weekend, but if you take them a section at a time, it doesn’t have to be too overwhelming.

#4. Choose a decorating style, and incorporate other styles sparingly.

This is easier said than done because it’s natural to gravitate to whatever is currently trending, and right now that seems to be “modern farmhouse.” I mean, as far as I know, that wasn’t even a term 5 or 10 years ago.

I like modern farmhouse and cottage styles, but when I do a gut-check, I realize it’s not really me. I prefer my decor to be a bit formal, even glam in certain areas, although I definitely want my home to feel comfortable. I gravitate towards traditional styles and fabrics, but I like to incorporate modern touches where I can to keep things fresh.

It’s good to mix styles to a point, but there should be one prevailing style throughout.

Also, don’t be afraid of color. I say this because trends right now tend towards neutrals, and while neutrals are beautiful, color is what will really make your house your own. I’ve used a lot of neutrals in this house, particularly for foundation pieces that I don’t want to change when the next trend takes off — namely window treatments and paint colors — but I’m in the process of incorporating color with my furniture and accessories, and I can’t wait to see it all come together.

For example, when picking my family room couch, I didn’t want to go with the popular white/grey/beige that I’m seeing everywhere. I have a couple of white chairs, and they show denim transfer and are already looking dingy after just a couple of years. But a couch is an expensive piece of furniture that I won’t be replacing every five years as trends evolve, so I wanted to choose something that I won’t get tired of.

I read somewhere (probably Maria Killam’s blog) to always buy a couch in your favorite color, and you’ll never get tired of it. So I sat and thought about that.

What is my favorite color? What won’t I get tired of?

As I thought through the options, and recalled my favorite rooms in past homes, I decided a good shade of navy blue was a safe bet. It’s neutral enough to give me a lot of options for accent colors, but it’s a color that makes a bold statement, and most importantly, one I’ve always loved.

Of course, now I’m seeing navy everywhere on design blogs. Ha! I guess it’s a popular choice with all the beige and white that is trending, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be tired of it when the next trend du jour takes off.

By the way, the family room isn’t done yet — it’s in desperate need of accessorizing. I’ve ordered an upholstered ottoman that will bring in muted greens and blues, as well as accent pillows for the couch that will bring in more color and texture.

I’m not sure what we’re doing with the end tables yet, or if they’re staying or going, but whatever we end up with, they need lamps. Even though we have recessed lighting, it’s nice to have lamp light as well. For one thing, lamps are a nice detail and a great way to anchor a room, but the light they provide is much softer and more cozy than overhead lighting.

#5. Use texture and layering to add interest to a space.

What’s the saying? The devil’s in the details… It’s the attention to detail that takes a room from nice to amazing, and those small details are what will give a room its personality.

Layering helps add dimension and interest to a room. Add a throw and a bed tray to your bed, or create a vignette for your coffee table. Just like layering jewelry, layering your home decor accessories can be really fun — just be sure not to overdo it.

Another detail that is important not to overlook is use of texture. A room will fall flat without use of textures, so consider adding fabrics like linen, burlap, raw silk — anything that has a great texture to it because that helps add dimension to your decorating.

{source: Randi Garrett Design}

There are so many great examples of layering and textures in the room pictured above — the vignette on the coffee table, the various textures in the pillow materials, the layering of the throws and pillows on the couch, the pattern in the rug, even the brass nailhead accents on the sofa.

I love Randi’s modern glam take on style, and hers is another blog I’ve been enjoying a lot lately.

#6. Update your door hardware and light fixtures.

Another detail that is easy to overlook is your door hardware, but it can make a big difference. People think I’m nuts, but one of the first things I do when I move into a new house is change the hardware on all the doors — both doorknobs and hinges. It’s details like that that give a home a more modern feel immediately.

In my last house, I went with oil rubbed bronze in some areas and brushed nickel in others. In this house, I’m doing all the door hardware in matte black, and I’m incorporating some satin brass (a.k.a. matte gold) in light fixtures in my more formal areas.

See how the matte black door hardware in my guest room works so well with the drapery rods and the metal bed? I’ve done the same in my master bedroom, and I’m working on other areas of the house as I can.

bed // curtains // pillows here and here // throw // bedspread // wall art

Also, light fixtures can instantly date a room. This house was built almost 15 years ago, so the light fixtures that were passed down to me all look pretty dated. The would have been lovely at the time it was built, but it’s time for an update, so I’m working on switching them out as I can.

So far, I’ve changed out the gold and white ceiling fan in my master bedroom to a black one, and I updated the chandelier in my dining room. Next on my list is the light fixture over my kitchen table.

Even if you don’t entirely update all of your decor, a simple switch like an updated light fixture can make a huge difference in a space.

#7. When in doubt, go big or go home.

Big and bold is more modern than a bunch of small objects grouped together, so rather than grouping a bunch of small accessories, use one large one. Rather than a hanging of small pictures on a wall, choose a few big pieces. If in between sizes, choose the larger area rug. Hang an oversized mirror over your hallway console table.

In fact, my designer has suggested a full-length mirror behind a console table in my foyer, as in the example below. I’m still debating this one… what do y’all think?

It may be too dramatic for me, but on the other hand, I like the idea of doing something unexpected since I tend to play it safe in my decorating style.

{source: Decoist}

Okay, so that turned out to be a lot longer than I expected! Who knew I had so much to say about updating your home decor???

Anyway, a lot of you have asked for this post, so I hope this is helpful. While I’m no expert, I do pay a lot of attention to details and trends, and I think it’s fun to see a space transform with a few basic changes.

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