The conventional rules of design lead us to believe that things should be done the “right” way, or not at all — and, frankly, no matter how confident you are in your disregard to such rules, this adage can still stymie our design progress. We tell ourselves “I’ll just wait to decorate this space until I have enough money saved up,” or “I can’t paint that until it’s done professionally,” and “I shouldn’t do anything to this room until that’s fixed.” But then two years go by and you’re still living in a space that could probably make you smile a little bit more, if only those pesky rules hadn’t worked their way into your subconscious.
We here at Design*Sponge have seen a lot of interiors, and over the years we’ve gathered plenty of ideas we’re eager to try and have witnessed a gamut of tricks to fast-track the looks we want. We are quite fond of the quick fix when it comes to design, because not only does it empower budget-conscious decorating-lovers, but it allows us to express our creativity as soon as it strikes. It also enables us to create beautiful spaces that nurture us and give us a sense of home, regardless of the fact that you hung a picture over a hole in your wall or you slapped a rug on top of an unsightly spot on your floor. If a quick fix can improve your overall mood and make you feel more at home, we will always support that.
Today I’m sharing some recent quick fixes I’ve employed in my own home, and calling on our team to divulge their favorite tricks as well. So you can go ahead and throw that rule book out the window! —Kelli
Do you have any go-to quick fixes? We want to hear about them! Share your tips in the comments.
Embrace the texture
I live in a home that was built in the late 1980s, so it has a not-so-lovely texture covering every single interior wall. In a time when crisp, matte walls are found all over Instagram, it’s easy to wish our walls were scraped and smoothed to a clean finish. But that’s an update that not only takes time (if you’re doing it yourself), but it would be very expensive for me to hire out to our handy man. Instead of waiting for the day when we’ve saved up enough money to have our walls’ texture removed, we’ve moved on and painted anyways.
In our main bathroom, I had my heart set on a deep and moody green hue to replace the greige paint that was there before. This new color, while completely transformative of our space, was bound to highlight the texture, but we used it anyway. And it makes me SO happy — texture be damned.
In the same bathroom, there was a metal plate on the wall (where the mirrors are) that holds the electrical for a sconce light fixture. Years ago, a previous owner installed track lighting (oh, joy) on the ceiling above, cutting the electrical line to this sconce source. Instead of just leaving the plate there and painting over it, my husband and I chose to install a light there anyway. We built an inexpensive light using Lowe’s parts to mimic a high-end look I was inspired by, and installed it knowing full well the light wouldn’t work. Some day, we will have a professional come out and rewire the plate (and remove the track lighting), but for now we still achieve the same overall aesthetic we were going for. In the meantime, our bathroom gets so much natural light in the daytime that an additional light source isn’t needed, and at night we just use the existing track lighting. The result is a space that feels way more like home, and that, to me, is worth the light being purely decorative in its current iteration.
Put a rug on it!
Grace: “When we first moved into our house we couldn’t afford (and still can’t) to redo all of the things we wanted to that were in need of repair. Our floors are in rough shape, so to cover up the worst spots, we threw rugs on top of any problem area we could cover easily (with pre-existing rugs). It’s not a ‘forever’ solution, but sometimes ‘okay for now’ is perfectly fine.”
Thumbtacks & wallpaper are friends!
Caitlin: “Our home is one big, open space with the bedrooms tucked away in three corners and the kitchen in the fourth corner. Brown paneling covers all of the walls in the open space, so in my dining area I put up a busy black and white wall paper with thumbtacks until I had the time and money to paint the paneling. Two years later, the wallpaper is still there, I still love it, and don’t see any reason to make it a permanent addition.”
Layered bed for less
Garrett: “A lot of patterned bed sheets only have the pattern on one side. To make my bedding look nicer, I put my flat, patterned bedsheets on upside down so when you flip them down over the top of the comforter the pattern shows.”
Hang it quick
Sofia: “I’ve completely given up hanging any art on the walls with nails because it’s just a recipe for me to destroy the walls with holes and marks. Picture hanging strips have proved priceless — I can swap pieces around to my heart’s desire without leaving the faintest of mark on my walls!”
Fake tiled backsplash
Last but not least, I’m still blown away by the look Aude Christin created in her Parisian rental’s kitchen by using vinyl tile stickers as a backsplash. There are so many possibilities for using a material like this beyond the kitchen — I’m looking into using them to tile the wall behind my laundry’s washer and dryer and to also cover a small mirrored shelf in a built-in cabinet unit we have. I imagine these would look dreamy in a bookcase, a small powder room, or even surrounding a fireplace mantel.