On the way home from our big trip, we stayed at an absolutely wonderful hotel in Seattle. It’s a beautiful historic hotel, but unfortunately, it seems the historical status of the place is keeping them from updating the decor.
As I’ve mentioned before, I can hardly walk into a room without redecorating it in my head. But this room got me thinking about how many rooms there are out there that aren’t ugly, they’re just dated. Those rooms could still keep their traditional or Victorian styles and just make some very minor, easy and inexpensive tweaks to make them fresh and current again.
Here are 6 quick projects I recommend to update a dated room (and they don’t require a big budget!):
1. Update the artwork.
Lucky for this room, scientific botanical prints are very popular right now and maps will always be a great choice. But what could be updated are the mats. The dusty rose is dating these. (And it’s not the color itself–it’s the way the color is used.) Black is a classic choice that will never be dated.
The frames could be changed out too, but in this room, I wouldn’t. I think the gold compliments the room and doesn’t stray too far from the style of the Chippendale bed.
2. Update the blanket.
Blankets are pretty inexpensive items that can make a really big change in a bedroom. Or if you knit, you could consider making a big, chunky one like this, which would also add some great texture and warmth to the room.
The key here is color, bring in a more modern or classic color that goes well with and balances out the other colors in the room.
3. Add throw pillows.
This is always a great way to bring in more modern colors and patterns. Especially if you have vintage, intricate lines in your furniture, like the bed in this room. Take that look and find some throw pillows that mimic it, but in an updated, more graphic way (see the “after” photo below). This is a key way to work with your decor and not against it. Bringing in a chevron pattern here in an attempt to update would only make your bed look more dated and out of place.
4. Tweak the lighting.
Lighting can be relatively expensive. Instead of replacing lamps, they can often just be updated. I recently learned (by trying it) that dated glass lamps can indeed be spray painted. They look classic and current at the same time, which is the whole goal. Replacing older shades with drum shades is another quick fix for lamps.
5. Update the curtains.
The Victorian style typically has lots of different small-scaled and detailed patterns going on. If you have a room like that, try swapping out printed curtains with solid-colored ones (again, in a more updated color).
6. Show off the legs.
There is nothing wrong with skirted furniture. But if a whole room is suffering from dated decor, a skirted piece can add to the problem.
The chair in this room would look so much better with the skirt taken off. (And the arm protectors too for that matter–please don’t ever use those. By the time the fabric on the arms wear down, it’s most likely time for the entire piece to be recovered or replaced anyway.)
Here is the before-and-after of the simple updates mentioned above:
(Pillows from Anthropologie.)
Any other changes you would have made to this room?