How to Redecorate While Using Existing Furniture

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Photo: Blog.mcgrath2.com

Photo: Blog.mcgrath2.com

Redecorating a room around your existing furniture can be fun and inspiring, but also it can be hard to pull off. It’s difficult to create a Shabby Chic-style bedroom with your grandfather’s Mid-century Modern dresser in there – and there to stay. Rather than renouncing your style, blogger Paige Rochetti of Little Nostalgia says mix it up, rearrange it out (and into another room) or simply reevaluate your pieces according to color. Whether your pieces are antique, modern or traditional, Paige has expert tips for making the room look intentional in style.

Alternative titles for this post were, “How To Do A Tim Gunn With Your Furniture” and “So You’re Tired Of That Room But The Furniture Has To Stay.”

Sometimes starting from scratch just isn’t in the cards, whether it’s a budget thing, or you have some family heirlooms that you need to hang onto, whatever. I have been in that club myself (budget, not heirlooms), and I’m happy to tell you that making it work isn’t as hard as you might think.

So let’s break it down: things to do and/or keep in mind when you want to redecorate but can’t throw everything out the window.

Pay attention to color.

Photo: Blewahenak.tk

Photo: Blewahenak.tk

The color of your furniture, obviously, but also the other hues in the room,because everything needs to get along. Example: I chose blue and green for my parents’ guest room because the existing wood furniture had a cherry-ish stain on it, and, as we all saw in the before pictures, a warm color with that shade of wood was a bit on the Redrum side.

The blue and green add some much needed coolness so the red doesn’t overpower and make you all jittery at bedtime.

Rearrange it.

Photo: Teenvogue.com

Photo: Teenvogue.com

If a room has you feeling kind of blah and you can’t figure out why, try doing a furniture shuffle. (I specify it like that because generally if there’s something you hate, your brain is screaming, “THROW THE CURTAINS IN THE FIRE!” and you know exactly what’s up. General malaise can be trickier.)

Move the sofa to another wall, switch the side chairs, mount the TV instead of having it on the console, etc. Sometimes getting a new flow of movement through a room is all it needs.

Do a room switcheroo.

Photo: Naturallymodern.com

Photo: Naturallymodern.com

Sometimes you guess wrong on move-in day, and stuff doesn’t end up where it truly belongs. Here’s an example from Casa Ronchetti: We recently dragged our daybed from the office down to the Book Nook after 2.5 years of waffling about it.

I got myself all freaked out because the daybed is ivory, but all of the trim and cabinetry in the family room is as white as pure mountain snow.

I didn’t want to get it all the way down there and hate it. (Paying attention to colors, remember?) But you know what? There are a couple of other ivory bits in the room — like the stripes on the rug and some artwork — so it looks fine! Sometimes you worry for no reason and just don’t know until you try, so give it a shot. If it looks wonkus, you can always put it back.

Get your DIY on.

Photo: Shelterinteriordesign.blogspot.com

Photo: Shelterinteriordesign.blogspot.com

If you’re crafty, here’s your chance to try all of those Krrb tutorials you’ve been eyeballing. Maybe you can reupholster some cushions. Gold leaf that coffee table.

Whip up some throw pillows. Make some new artwork and hang it up in a group. Just because the furniture has to stay doesn’t mean you can’t do ANYTHING.

Embrace the style that’s already there.

Photo: Thek-list.com

Photo: Thek-list.com

This is the most important one and I saved it for last so it sticks in your brain. Sometimes a total 180 in the style department just isn’t going to happen, even if you want it to. If you have a dark leather couch, for example, going all shabby chic might be kind of a stretch.

Similarly, if you’re like me and tend to lean minimal and/or retro with furniture, it will be hard to swing that into a Tuscan look. I don’t want to be a total party pooper, but if your furniture has to stay, you need to adjust the plan to work WITH what you have instead of pretending it’s not there.

Let’s go back to that dark sofa/shabby chic example. A brown leather couch might not be your first choice, but it can still work if you bring in other bits of your dream style. Behold this family room:

Photo: Bmodm.com

Photo: Bmodm.com

Is it this level of shabby chic? Well, no, because The Couch. But the layers of neutrals, distressed coffee table, and fresh pink flowers add some country charm, and I think it’s speaking the right language even if the translation is a little off.

By focusing on the shabby color scheme instead of ultra-feminine details, it works with Couch instead of against it.

What’s your favorite not-buying-furniture way to change a space? Any tips to share with the class? Anybody else a fan of the between-room switcheroo? And while we’re on the topic of style changes, have you ever gone through a dramatic one?

Paige's blog, Little Nostalgia, is about making yourself at home through DIY projects, decor inspiration, and personal style. She also runs an interior design biz called The Room Kit, working with clients in and around Chicago to make the decorating process easy and fun.

 
  • Jars

    Moving – perfect timing!