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6 Inexpensive Ways to Transform a Room in 3 Hours or Less

Is your home decor looking a little drab? Perhaps you grew weary of the whole look some time ago, but you haven't had the time, money, or inspiration to redo it. But here's something that'll cheer you up: Enlivening your interiors can be done in three hours or less.

Yes, just three hours! And it's not nearly as messy, complicated, or expensive as you might think.

It's all about achieving "instant decor gratification," says Sean Juneja, CEO of interior design firm Décor Aid. This means using simple, inexpensive moves that will make a big difference in your living conditions.

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Some of these suggestions won't cost you a dime, just your time and effort. So roll up your sleeves and prepare to be inspired. Once you're done checking out this list, your only question may be "Which idea should I try first?"

1. Put up a patch of removable wallpaper

Photo by Fotograf Lisbet Spörndly

Removable wallpaper makes it so easy to add print, color, or texture to an accent wall, backsplash, or piece of furniture. There's none of the messy prep work or glue that comes with hanging traditional wallpaper.

And the best part? If you don't like the results, you can peel the wallpaper off at the corner and start over. It's the ideal solution for renters.

2. Switch out the textiles

This Decor Aid Executive Apartment Project shows how different accessories can freshen a room.Decor Aid

Insiders know that bringing in new textiles like throws, rugs, and pillows is a quick and inexpensive way to change the look of a room.

"It's a tip interior designers use when working on a project with tight time constraints," says Juneja. "Adding new textiles is easily a task that can take your room from boring and one-dimensional to a room full of personality, color, and style."

If you're a savvy shopper, you can work miracles with $50 and a bit of time at a discount home decor store, flea market, or online resale site such as Craigslist or eBay.

"If major furnishings like the couch are neutral in color, the room will take on an entirely new look by changing out the rugs and decorative pillows," says Janice Simonsen, U.S. design spokesperson for Ikea. "This is probably the single best way to create an entirely new look in a room."

3. Paint a prominent piece of furniture

Photo by Sarah Seung-McFarland

You'll be shocked by how much a new coat of paint will liven up a bookcase, built-in, or fireplace. Paint the entire bookcase (like the one above) or just the inside panels or the outside edges. It's a not-too-ambitious project that you can complete by yourself in an afternoon.

4. Use a slipcover

Photo by Home & Harmony

We're not talking about those gross, clear plastic things that your great-aunt used to keep her antique sofa free of cat hair. Go for a contemporary slipcover in canvas, linen, or even denim.

A gorgeous slipcover can add color, texture, and interest to an otherwise neutral room. Or it can neutralize an obnoxiously bright (read: formerly trendy) sofa or chair that you're sick of looking at but love to sit on. It's like getting brand-new furniture for a fraction of the cost.

5. Reposition your artwork

This Décor Aid Greenwich, CT, Project shows the art of leaning art. Décor Aid

For this project, you don't need to buy a thing—not even a hammer and nails. Take a survey of the artwork you have hanging throughout your home, and mix it up from wall to wall and room to room.

To switch up the look of your artwork, you don't even have to hang the pieces on the wall! Juneja suggests leaning a single piece or a group of paintings on the ground up against a wall in the room you're styling. Leaning art will also look great on a mantle. Rearrange the pieces in various formations until they look just right.

6. Change the curtains

Changing out the heavier curtains in this Ikea bedroom makes a huge difference.Ikea

A room without curtains can look rather bare, and the right set of curtains can tie the room together. That's why switching out the curtains in your room can really make a difference.

"Celebrate spring and warmer weather by removing heavy drapes and replacing them with sheers or light, bright drapes," says Simonsen. "Once the weather gets colder, look for curtains in a heavier fabric in deep colors or jewel tones for a cozy look."


This article was written by Lisa Johnson Mandell, and was originally featured on

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