Creating Your Perfect Space

Tips for Refreshing Your Living Space

Credit: Courtesy

Spending Time at Home and Tired of Your Home?  If the answer is “yes,” you’re not alone. I’m getting a lot of calls from people who, after months at home, want their spaces updated. With a sigh and some frustration in their voices, I usually hear, “I’m tired of my living room but don’t know how to change it.” 

Here is some advice on how to begin:

Credit: Courtesy

1. Determine what you’re not:  It is sometimes easier to define what you don’t like, so start there. By eliminating certain styles and colors, you can hone in on what you do like. 

2. Find inspiration: If you’re not sure whether you prefer eclectic, industrial, farmhouse, or organic modern design, then look at your clothing. Are you always in comfortable, loose linen and tend towards neutrals? Or perhaps you prefer bright colors and bold patterns? Another way to approach this is to think of how you want your space to feel. Glamorous and elegant? Neutral and organic? Playful and fun?

Next, spend time looking for photos of your ideal space (you can blame me for hours spent on Pinterest!). Cut out photos from your favorite magazine or catalog and determine what these spaces have in common. These elements can provide guidance on creating your refreshed look.

3. Get ready to break up:  I often work with clients who want a refreshed living room but don’t want to replace their sofa because it’s not that old. Or they want to decorate using their existing bedroom set because, well, it was from their childhood home. It’s normal to have attachments to certain pieces, and I’m not advocating that everything must be replaced, but sometimes these are the pieces that are preventing you from updating your space. Time to break up by donating or selling said item and let someone else love it. 

Credit: Mauricio Bergamin

4. Make a plan:  Which existing items match your updated style? Which items need to be replaced? What colors do you want in your space? Is it time to paint the walls? Most people get excited and rush out to buy a new rug or entry table but don’t first think about the space as a whole. Creating a cohesive look takes time, so imagine how everything will look together before making purchases.

5. Balance and scale:  Why do furniture catalogs always look so good? Proper use of proportion and scale. If your fireplace isn’t centered on the wall, balance it out with a piece of art or a tall plant next to it. Also, many times people use furniture that is too large for the room. Reread number three about breaking up.

6. Layer and texture:  This is my favorite part of the process — and the easiest to change over time. Even if you want a living room that is all white, you can create interest by adding pillows, blankets, and artwork with texture. Think kilim and mudcloth pillows, a chunky cable-knit throw, and layering rugs. 

Credit: Mauricio Bergamin

Most of us want a refreshed space to magically happen overnight, but keep in mind that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Just keep the end in sight to create a space that works for you and your family.

Christine S. Cowles is owner of Styled & Staged Santa Barbara, offering home staging and interior styling services. She is a certified Staging Design Professional™, a member of Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and Real Estate Staging Association, and a proud WEV graduate. She can be reached at


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.