Many of us dream of living in a spacious home or apartment with big windows, an open floor plan and interesting architectural features like exposed brick or interior columns.
Alas, we are stuck instead in boxy, dark spaces with cheap wallboard and Corian. But the neighborhood is great, it’s close to work and it comes with a parking space, so we don’t want to move.
What to do?
There are lots of ways to turn a boring, ho-hum interior into a fun and interesting space. And the best part is, it’s cheap and easy to change when you get tired of it.
Try some of these ideas:
Install your own Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns. Home Depot sells a ready-made selection, or you can make your own. Use them in doorways, next to fireplaces or to frame windows.
Never underestimate the power of wallpaper. You can use wallpaper to make faux brick walls, wainscoting, stone countertops and more. You can even apply it to your new DIY columns for an Italian marble look. Choose a wild, busy wallpaper pattern to put behind your fireplace, and paint the rest of the walls a complementary color.
Or try 3D wallpaper. Some paper looks so authentic — quilted upholstery or elaborate plaster designs — you’d swear it was the real thing. If you want a serious conversation piece, you can also get crazy with 3D wallpaper in a geometric pattern, cityscape or underwater scene. Or try a paper illusion of a portal to another space so realistic you risk guests walking right into the wall!
Brighten up that dark space. If you only have windows on one side, this can be a challenge, but it can be done.First, you’ll want to paint your walls a light, bright color like white. Cover dark floors with light-colored carpet or throw rugs.Next, don’t cover your windows. Hang curtains or drapes outside of the frames so that they don’t cover any of the glass. This will make them look larger too. Add mirrors across from windows to help reflect light.
Ceiling light fixtures usually make the most dramatic difference. If you have an old fixture that only holds three 60-watt bulbs, replace it with a multibulb chandelier, or a large round, square or oblong fixture. If you opt for the latter, you may want to install a dimmer switch as well, in case you get tired of all that light.
If your ceiling is not already wired for electricity, try a lamp with multiple bending arms to direct light wherever it’s needed, or tall floor lamps like the ones they sell at Ikea.
Sliding barn doors have become all the rage now, as evidenced in almost every episode of Tiny House Nation. What’s great about them is they add character, and you don’t need any clearance to open them.You can take a look at this guy on This Old House building his own sliding barn door from scratch, or you can head over to Home Depot and buy a ready-made one you can have installed in an hour.
So there you have some great ideas for adding light and character to your boring space. You’ve got no excuse now — it’s time to don a baseball cap and a plaid shirt and get that transformation underway!