5 Cheap Ways to Brighten up a Room

Rearrange the Furniture
You don't have to go feng shui, but it should be functional for your family.
You don't have to go feng shui, but it should be functional for your family.

Making the most of what you've already got is one way to re-energize your space free of charge. If you know how to use an interior design software program or want to play with a free version online, you can make a virtual duplicate of your existing room with a few keystrokes, then furnish it, rearranging the pieces to suit your mood -- all without breaking a nail.

Now comes the interesting part. Take the furniture out of the real room and start over. There may be some elements that have to stay where they are, like a flat screen that requires access to the cable or satellite feed coming out of the wall. Otherwise, you're free to explore. It's fun. You'll rediscover why you found all those pieces worth buying in the first place. Here are some things to consider when you're redesigning your furniture placement:

  • Create groupings - Groupings are smaller areas within a larger space that preserve function and have definition, like a reading nook that's well-defined by the placement of a rug, wall art or a lamp.
  • Respect flow - The way people move in and out of a space to other areas of your home is important. You want to leave paths around the furniture to let people enter and exit without having to vault over footstools or tables.
  • Play up a focal point - If you have a great view or a nice fireplace, make sure to take advantage of it. Arranging your seating so that family and visitors can see and appreciate the room's amenities will make the space more fun (and functional).
  • Indulge in a scavenger hunt - It's a good idea to check the rest of your home for items that may also work in the room. A couple of smart swaps can effectively makeover two rooms at once. If you can pull them off, twofers are terrific!

It's amazing how changing a few things around can make a tired room look fresh and new again -- and again and again.

Related Articles


  • Brown, Deborah L. "Houseplants Help Clean Indoor Air." University of Minnesota. 1/99. (2/22/11).http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h110indoorair.html
  • Corner Desk. "Decoration Design and Color Trends for 2011." Undated. (2/22/11).http://corner-desk.org/decoration-design-and-color-trends-for-2011/
  • Linsley, Leslie. "First Home." Nantucket Book Press. 1998.
  • Miller, Mark R., Rex Miller and Glenn E. Baker. "Miller's Guide to Home Remodeling." McGraw Hill. 2005.
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  • The Home Depot. "Decorating 1-2-3." Meredith Books. 2000


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