Change the look of your living room or den with a quick update of your sofa area.


Before our update, the space has all the right elements in place but it lacks the oomph that comes from an artful arrangement of color and pattern. A neutral sofa, rug, lamp, and tables gave us free rein to choose a color scheme. Pull your palette from one pillow or from a work of art as we did. Then, shop around other rooms of your house for accents, throws, pillows, and other elements you might be able to work into this space. Once you’ve checked your home, one shopping trip may be all you need to complete your new look.


First, jettison any pillows that match your sofa upholstery. They add nothing visually except bulk. Instead, bring together a mix of pillows in various shapes and sizes that contribute to your color palette. Vary the scale of patterns like our large houndstooth and small flowery chintz to create a more interesting and balanced look. Add in some texture, too, as we did with the felt rosette, velvet, and pleated pillows.


The artwork over the sofa added a lot of color and personality but was just a bit too small to float in the center on its own. We moved it to the side and balanced it with a pair of framed shorebird prints that tie into our sea creature accents on the tabletops. The frames and images contribute weight to the wall arrangement without bringing in competing hues.


Jazzing up the side table is as simple as adding a patterned lampshade. You can shop for a pretty one like this floral fantasy in coral hues or you can cover an old lampshade with a piece of fabric you love.


Instead of folding a throw over the sofa arm, we spread the orange fouta over about a third of the sofa back and seat to serve as a graphic stripe of bold color.


Create a balanced arrangement on your coffee table. A tray to one side is fine but it needs the counterweight of the stack of books on the other. Tie the two sides together with related accents like our seashell and starfish. Include a vertical element or two of different heights so that everything is not on the same plane.

Perk up plain glass florist vases or candleholders with easy painted-on patterns. Print out a pattern that you like, tape it inside the glass and follow the lines with a white paint pen.


As a finishing touch, we added a large-print trellis pattern pouf that repeats the wall color. Our changes were simple and inexpensive but had a big impact on the overall look of the space, which is now more unique and inviting.


Feel free to share your thoughts on our changes or tell us how you’ve updated your rooms with affordable fixes.


Photography by Chris Hennessey


© Caruth Studio

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