18 Brilliant Decorating Ideas That Will Make Your Home Look Better


Tired of looking at your same old stuff? Feel like you want to decorate your home but don’t know where to begin? Take a look at these 18 brilliant decorating ideas. Apply one or two of these ideas, and you’ll transform your home from blah to beautiful.

1. Book tables

Let’s start with Pinterest, home to many great home decor ideas. Steve Brown Apartments’ Pinterest board suggests stacking old books on top of each other to make a small end table or coffee table. Simply stack and secure the books, top ‘em with a tabletop (glass, wood, whatever you like) and you’ve got an attractive and fun table.

Instructables has a how-to guide if you want to get started on your book table masterpiece!

2. Invisible book shelves

Sometimes less is more: building an invisible bookshelf to hold books and other items frees up wall space and makes your home look less cluttered.

Instructables also has good tips on how to build your own invisible bookshelf, where your books appear to float freely against your wall but are secretly secured in place. Try taking down your old cluttered bookshelf and building a few invisible bookshelves instead.

3. Vinyl cling wall decorations

Not everyone can paint their walls — apartment-dwellers know this all too well — and not everyone wants to go through the work and commitment involved in choosing new paint or wallpaper.

Solve the problem by putting up vinyl cling wall decorations instead. These beautiful wall decorations come in many different prints and designs, and are built to be easily applied and removed.

Adding a new wall treatment can change the look of your home dramatically. With vinyl cling wallpaper and wall art, you can change your look as often as you want.

4. Warm lighting

To make your home look better instantly, change the lighting. If all you’ve got in your home is a standard overhead light fixture, it’s time to add some warm, diffused sidelight. Find some pretty lamps and put them on tables or shelves. Or get a standing lamp and put it near a favorite chair. Try to keep your lighting as warm and inviting as possible, and your room will look inviting as well.

5. Decorated lampshades

Don’t ruin your new lighting with boring lampshades. There are plenty of interesting ways to decorate lampshades. Add seashells to the shades, or decoupage images from magazines or photos. Need more inspiration? Check out the Embellished Lampshades Pinterest board.

6. Picture frames… with no pictures!

Here’s another fun decorating hack: put up a bunch of fun, funky picture frames… with no pictures inside. Steve Brown Apartments’ Pinterest board has a good example of how to turn picture frames into stand-alone art.

7. Empty and uncluttered shelves

Want to make your apartment look great fast? Start emptying your shelves. Imagine a series of shelves or a standing bookshelf where each shelf contains only one or two items: a favorite photo, a vase with flowers, a stack of three well-loved books.

The items you choose to display will draw the eye, and the lack of clutter will keep it there. Instant decoration!

8. One big focal item

Every room should have one big focal item, and this doesn’t mean the giant flat-screen TV! Choose a single item that is designed to capture attention: maybe a gorgeous framed mirror, maybe a painting, maybe a group of empty picture frames turned into an art statement.

Think of your home like a museum: what’s the most important work of art in the room? Make sure it gets the focus it deserves, and move anything that might compete with it into another space.

9. A great rug

Every room needs a great rug — it really ties the room together, to borrow the famous Big Lebowski quote. Even apartments with wall-to-wall beige carpet can benefit from a good rug (and yes, you can put that rug right on top of that boring carpet).

Figure out what rug belongs in your room, and then do your best to keep it well-vacuumed and free of stains.

10. Decorative storage space

A lot of these tips have to do with getting rid of the clutter in your home to make space for the decorations. So where should you put all of that extra stuff? How about in some decorative storage space? Wicker baskets, colorful canvas bins, antique wooden chests, even sofas with hidden storage space under the cushions — these are the places to stash the stuff that isn’t a part of your decorating scheme.

11. Paint sample cards

Can’t afford to paint? You can usually get paint sample cards for free, and Broke and Healthy has a list of 50 fun ways to turn paint sample cards into home decorations. Hang them on your wall, turn them into placemats, even make them into coasters!

12. DIY wall art

Paint sample cards aren’t the only types of DIY wall art out there. There are plenty of interesting ways to add art to your walls, and you can do most of them yourself for very little cost.

Go to an art supply store, for example, and buy a blank canvas and some paint in a color that speaks to you. Splash the paint onto the canvas, let it dry, and voila — instant DIY art.

Have a favorite quote or motto? Paint it onto a canvas, use calligraphy to write it onto a piece of wood, or cut the letters out of magazines, paste them onto good paper, and frame them.

The DIY wall art possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

13. Fresh flowers

Want to make your home look better in a hurry? Grab some fresh flowers at the grocery store. Make a habit of displaying fresh — never wilted! — flowers in your home and you’ll be surprised at how much better your home looks and feels.

14. Monochromatic sofa pillows and throws

Adding new sofa pillows and throws is a great way to freshen up the look of your home, but you have to choose the right pieces. If your home already feels cluttered or overwhelming, buying pillows and throws in prints will add to the visual disorder. Buying monochromatic pillows and throws, however, will help calm things down and make your home look more put together.

15. Vintage album art

Here’s one more suggestion from Steve Brown Apartments’ Pinterest board: get some old records and hang the album art as wall decorations. Choose records you love, or go to a vintage record store, find the discount bin, and start looking for any album art that’s funky, colorful, beautiful, or even just plain bizarre!

Adding vintage album art to your walls gives them interest and provides a natural conversation starter — nearly everyone loves to talk about music.

16. Themed collections

Do you have a collection of action figures, novelty mugs, snow globes, figurines, or anything like that? It’s time to put that collection on display and get it noticed.  

The Decor DIY Pinterest board has a good example of a mug collection: when all the mugs are grouped together in an orderly way, they go from being just a bunch of mugs to a decorative focus.

Once you group your themed collection, don’t forget to dust and clean it regularly!

17. Painted furniture

While you’re visiting the Decor DIY Pinterest board, take a look at the painted furniture example. Adding a coat of paint to furniture can transform it from ugly to gorgeous. Paint that old chipped dresser, or turn the boring bookshelf into a cherry-red statement piece.

18. Remove anything you don’t want to see

Sometimes the best decorating tip isn’t to add stuff to your home, it’s to take stuff away.

Take a look around your home. See anything that looks cluttery or unsightful? Get rid of it. Put day-to-day clutter like mail and magazines into decorative bins. Get shoe racks for shoes and hampers for socks. If you feel like you see too many ugly power cords, take a look at Pinterest’s cord management tips to get them out of sight!

Once you clear out all the unsightly stuff, the only things you leave visible in your home are the things you want to see. And that’s how to make your home its best!

Have other home decoration tips for readers? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Emily May, text overlay added.

All photos CC BY 2.0.