My Favorite Room Update That Won’t Break The Bank

As a Boston area decorator one of my specialties (besides Color) is helping my clients make the most out of what they already own. When you are not buying all new, it can be a challenge to decorate a room and get a whole new look and feel. Over the years I have learned what freshens up a room the most that also costs the least amount of money:  moving furniture around, painting walls and furniture, adding art work, bringing in plants and flowers and my personal favorite…..adding new Throw Pillows.

In my own home my husband accuses me of being a pillow hoarder.  You see,  I like to swap out throw pillows on a semi regular basis (Tip: Space Bags hidden under beds and in closets can easily hide 30-40 pillows). I have Summer pillows, Winter pillows, solid color pillows and bold graphic pillows. Each set totally changes the look and feel of the room.

If you plan to use pillows as away to incorporate the latest trend colors and patterns  it is best to invest in a neutral or solid color sofa and chairs.

living room

Samantha Farjo Designs

When the homeowner of the room above is ready for a fresh new look  maybe she could swap out to these pillows below. It would totally change the vibe of the room and add a fun new pop of color. Great update, small investment.

 CasaBella Interiors

Via CasaBella Interiors

I love the fabric patterns and bright colors of the pillows on this blue sofa below from Hi Sugarplum.

Photo via Hi Sugarplum blog

and when it is time for an update how about swapping out the three green and blue pillows to these pink and blue ones below? In fact, the pink pillow on the right looks to have the same pattern as inside her bookcase.



Even if you don’t have a solid color or neutral sofa you can still find pillows that will coordinate. Look for solids, stripes or small prints. For those that love expensive designer fabrics; what would be hundreds (thousands) of dollars if used for window treatments cost only a fraction of that if turned into a pillow.

brunschwig fabrics

brunschwig fabrics

Pillows to me are like mini squares of joy and there are so many affordable choices today. Besides Homegoods, Target, and other similar stores, I have some favorite online sources as well.

Etsy:  Thousands to pick from including unique ones like personalized family pillows.



Pillows by Dezign:  a great source for designer fabric pillows at a reasonable price. (I want them all!)

Pillows by Dezign

Pillows by Dezign

 Fabricadabra: a great source for decorative pillow covers made only from natural, non-toxic fabrics. Check their website for  ethnic throw pillows including ikats, suzanis, kilims,wool, wax prints, organic cotton, vintage, batiks, indigo cloth and tie-dyes.



Wayfair: over 5000 pillows to choose from so even a pillow lover (hoarder) like me can find something new.


How about you? Do you love throw pillows as much as I do?

What’s your favorite way to freshen up a room without breaking the bank?


If you would like help choosing color or updating your room using what you already own, give me a call.

Before and After…and After… With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Remember this table? This was the very the first piece of furniture my painting partner Susan Siefer of  Mad Patter Art Design and I painted using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

console table before

console table before

The top was covered with dirty contact paper that was hiding at least two previous paint jobs: notice the yellow that was painted over the blue that was painted over the original wood.

console table before

contact paper over paint

Since we had heard there was no striping, sanding or prepping needed with the Annie Sloan paint we wanted to try it on really rough piece. You can read my blog here about all the steps we did with the paint, stencil and wax to transform it into this.

console table after

console table after

Well after looking at it for a few months in the studio we weren’t feeling the love anymore. In fact there were several of our earliest pieces that we got the urge to give a make over. Luckily, one of the best things about the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is that if you decide you want a change …just repaint it…again, no sanding, prepping or striping.

Then last week while visiting the Brimfield Antique show we saw this fabulous Union Jack dresser painted by Nancy Chace of Sea Rose Cottage.

Union Jack Dresser

Photo by Nancy Chace of Sea Rose Cottage

Seeing Nancy’s chest inspired us to give our console table a little British flair.

console table after, after

console table after and after

We used nail heads around the edge for a little added bling.

We also gave a makeover to this Antibes Green stenciled table.

green stenciled table before

green stenciled table before

It now has a new life painted Emperor’s  Silk Red.

Table after

Table after

Here is a close up of the top which we lacquered with images of graffiti that I photographed while vacationing in Barcelona.

barcelona table detail

We gave this red stool with silk fabric a makeover to go into a little girl’s room.

stool before

stool before

and is now painted with Antoinette pink and gold leaf trim and recovered with a bright paisley print.

stool after

stool after

Even this orange and blue table got a little tweek

with the addition of a pompom accent trim.

Since we have recently acquired some large and unique pieces to paint, as well as a few commissioned pieces, we need to clear out and make some room. We are putting all our pieces for sale on Etsy. Click HERE to see what is for sale as well as some of Susan’s paintings. You can also see our painted furniture by following my board on Pinterest . We will be adding new pieces as we paint.

So what do you think of our makeovers?  Have you used the Annie Sloan paint yet?

If you have a piece of furniture you would like transformed or if you need help choosing the perfect color, or decorating give me a call at 617-965-3342.


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