Karl Lohnes: Five easy ways to update your living room

Adding some decorating pizzazz at this drab time of year can make your living room look like a million bucks — without robbing the bank.

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With the glitz and glam of the holidays a mere memory and winter’s grey humdrum days stretching into the horizon, my home needs a little decorating love. Adding some decorating pizzazz at this drab time of year can act as a holdover until warm weather decorating arrives.

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The living room — where we tend to spend a lot of time in these months — is the best place to start. These decorating ideas and on-trend add-ins will make your living room look like a million bucks — all without robbing the bank.

Evolve your accessories

Introducing a new significant decor element is a great way to inject a new look into your living room. Replace a tired accessory like a rug, coffee table or set of lamps. These items are most likely in stock and you can take them home in the car for immediate gratification.

Here’s a tip: When evolving the decorating scheme of your living room, try incorporating a colour that’s already in the room with new on-trend colours or finishes. For instance, if you have blue and grey, include one of those colours with new colours like terracotta, green or brown. This will blend in the new elements rather than make them look like an afterthought that grabs too much of the spotlight.

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Paint a wall

Painting a room is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to dramatically change its look and feel — that’s a familiar refrain from designers. Let’s be honest, moving furnishings out-of-the-way and painting in the dead of winter isn’t all that easy. Here’s a solution: paint a focal wall in a trend colour to get a similar effect without the fuss of moving everything.

Feeling colour shy or don’t want to commit to an on-trend colour? Paint one wall a darker shade of whatever colour the walls are currently to add drama. Another idea that’s gaining popularity is to paint interior doors in a deeper, darker colour. Tip: Look for latex paints that have low-VOC when painting in winter to offset the challenge of minimum air ventilation.

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Bring the look of the outdoors in to create a lush interior. Issa Potted Artificial Island Palm in Basket, $40, Walmart
Bring the look of the outdoors in to create a lush interior. Issa Potted Artificial Island Palm in Basket, $40, Walmart

Bring in the green

Green is one of the biggest colour trends for 2022. Almost any version of it seems to be on-trend with decorators. The easiest way to introduce green in your room is through houseplants, which have never been more popular and have the added bonus of cleaning the air, adding humidity and giving us something to nurture.

If you aren’t a green thumb or your living room is dark, pick up an artificial or ‘everlasting’ plant that at least gives you the look of lush foliage. Tip: Use tall plants in corners to draw the eye upward or if you have a combo living/dining room, line two to three in a row to act as a room divider between the spaces.

Add a mirror

Mirrors are a great option that open up a space. They are a neutral element that reflects the room instead of introducing more colour or style. Consider switching out artwork for a mirror — it’s always wise to move art around in your home as it can become invisible when in the same spot for years.

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Mirrors can also solve decorating problems. A standing floor mirror will add another “doorway” to the room, which opens it up even more. Tip: Look for a frame that blends with your existing decor. For instance, if you have walnut wood furnishings, choose a mirror with a walnut frame.

A mirror’s reflection bounces natural light around and makes rooms appear larger. Umbra Prisma Wall Mirror, $85, www.walmart.ca
A mirror’s reflection bounces natural light around and makes rooms appear larger. Umbra Prisma Wall Mirror, $85, www.walmart.ca

Repurpose Furniture

Save money and keep perfectly good furniture out of the landfill by giving a pre-loved piece a new look and purpose. Paint an old dresser with an on-trend colour and dress it up with new knobs. For a real splurge, have a piece of stone or marble cut for the top to give it a luxe look. Tip: For a glossy, lacquered finish, have a piece spray-painted professionally to ensure a smooth finish.

Are you the handy type?

Here are three more ways to spruce up the living room.

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— Make custom window treatments. Purchase store-bought panels and sew contrasting fabric bands (or wide ribbon) down the sides. Presto! You’ve got custom drapes that no one else has.

— Add wood moulding trim to the walls for a panelled look. Paint the trim the same colour as the walls to keep the look subtle.

— Install dimmer switches on overhead lighting. Subtle lighting at night is the best way to change the mood of a room.

Do you have a decor dilemma or want to more decor advice? You can follow Karl on Instagram at Karl Lohnes.

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