11 Tips from Ty

11 Tips from Ty

Keep the summer popping with these ideas to freshen up your home.

Feeling color-courageous? Fill a bright white room with colorful furnishings to amp up the interest in a dull space.

Pep up built-ins or bookcases by lining the back of the case with bright patterned craft papers (the kind used for scrapbooking works very well) or wallpaper scraps. Use spray adhesive or double-stick tape to adhere the papers.


Lighten a room by removing objects and knickknacks. One, three or five key pieces will have a greater impact than a cluttered mess of collectibles. Donate them, have a yard sale or stash them away for future display, but clear that space!

Most DIYers have a passion for paint, and for good reason: A fresh coat of color brightens a room in less than an hour. Classic, nature-inspired colors like buttercream yellow, oxford-shirt blue and celery green are best bets to lend a subtle, sunny spark.


Tuck tired artwork behind the couch or in a closet, and hang a cheerful new piece on a focal point wall to give a space a winter lift. It can be a poster, the kids’ latest paintings or a fine masterpiece – as long as it’s colorful, it will be a room brightener.

Letting more natural light into winter rooms is the easiest way to lighten and brighten. Pull back heavy window treatments with attractive cording or hardware. Bad view? Add translucent blinds or sheers that let sun in while artfully obscuring that vista of the alley or your neighbor’s garage. And try this pro decorator’s trick: Hang curtains at ceiling height even if the windows are not, giving the illusion of larger windows and more light.

Warm wood tones are lovely and inviting, but crisp, colorful details can give a dining room more volume. By simply adding a patterned rug, recovering dining chairs, painting an accent wall and adding new artwork, you can spice up a once dull dining room.

Nothing says “spring is coming” like a vase of fresh flowers. Go for loose arrangements in a clear glass vessel, so the green of the stems is in the spotlight along with the blooms.

Add new lighting to a room and instantly gain brightness on a gray day. Mix overhead lighting and large floor lamps as well as smaller task lighting in the same room for the best results. Increase the bulb strength in existing fixtures (check the lamp for highest recommended wattage) and trade thick, dark lamp shades for lighter, thinner ones.

In the kitchen, swap heavy glazed ceramic dishes and mugs for lighter glass plates or even summery melamine bowls and dishes. Extra credit for replacing dingy kitchen towels with crisp white ones.

Mirrors add light to a space and encourage a feeling of sunny brightness. Plus, there are tons of styles out there, from modern mirror tiles to a more ornate hanging mirror. DIY tip: Make an inexpensive mirror look top-drawer by cutting molding to create a more substantial frame around it. Affix the molding to the wall around the mirror with finishing nails.

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