If you’re like me, you might have felt a little bit sad when you packed away the holiday decorations and were left with a decidedly un-festive house.  This is the time of year when I like to add a few new touches to perk up tired décor and transition from holiday and winter themes to more a more colorful spring palette.

Because we currently live in military housing, which is pretty much exactly like a rental in that you can’t make permanent changes, I try to stick to inexpensive, temporary, and portable decor choices.  That way, when we pack up and move on to the next house, I can decorate in an instant!

Here are my top four choices for easy decor updates:

I have a white slipcovered sofa because it provides a neutral and washable (children! pets!) backdrop for whatever I want to throw on it.  And, as my husband will attest, throw pillows are a bit of an addiction with me.  You can see how I rotate my supply to create completely different looks in my living room:

Different throw pillows change the entire look of a room | 11 Magnolia Lane

When they’re not in use, I store them in clear plastic bins in my garage.  If the covers zip off so that I can wash them, all the better, and I’ve learned to sew a simple envelope-flap pillow cover so that I can make my own.

I customized this coral lumbar pillow with an iron-on monogram and I think it finishes the room nicely.

Coral black and white pillows | 11 Magnolia Lane

A simple change between green and silver makes my entryway ready for spring (I have the silver out during the holidays).


Best of all, when you’re tired of your current look, all you need to do is change a few pillows, and that’s a decor update that doesn’t break the bank!



There’s a reason why every single list on how to update and personalize your space includes paint.  It’s a fast, easy, inexpensive, and reversible way to customize your home.  Most landlords approve painting requests if the colors are neutral enough or if you offer to return the color to its original shade when you move out.  And for homeowners, you can obviously improve the value of your home or apartment when you update using pleasing colors.

In my laundry room redo in our previous home, I painted a white quatrefoil pattern on the wall using a stencil, and it really made the small space pop. But if the next owners don’t care for it, a gallon of paint will make it any color they want.

Laundry room redo with painted quatrefoil "wallpaper" | 11 Magnolia Lane

Kitchens are surprisingly fast to paint because there’s so little surface area on the walls.  I love to use a dark color to make white cabinets stand out (the color on the left is Benjamin Moore’s Camouflage, and on the right is BM’s Waynesboro Taupe).  Doesn’t it change the entire look of the kitchen?  Oh, and I painted the tile backsplash, too, but you probably can’t do that in a rental!

White kitchen with light wall paint and darker wall paint | 11 Magnolia Lane



While a large rug is obviously going to be more expensive than a few throw pillows, it performs a similar function in that it’s colorful, portable, and allows you to update a space with minimal work.  If you have stained carpets or scratched hardwoods that you’re trying to disguise, this is a great solution.

Aqua Sitting Area | 11 Magnolia Lane

{This is Mohawk’s SmartStrand Forever Clean Bound Carpet: Willow Spirit (color: Icebreaker)}

My daughter’s room is a pretty shade of aqua, but the dull brown carpet was stained and very worn-looking:


We added a bound carpet from Mohawk and the color and style are a perfect fit for her feminine room.  As an added bonus, it’s a SmartStrand® Forever Clean™ carpet, which means that it’s incredibly easy to clean. In fact, most stains come clean with water or a little mild detergent AND the built in stain and soil protection doesn’t wear or wash off over time.  Plus, it’s so soft and cozy!

Aqua Sitting Area | 11 Magnolia Lane

The great thing about a bound carpet is that you can get it custom sized to fit the design needs of a space. To find a local Mohawk dealer near you for wall-to-wall carpet or a bound carpet, click {here}.

Aqua Sitting Area | 11 Magnolia Lane



Changing out a light fixture can update the look of an entire room, and it’s surprisingly simple to do.  I hired an electrician to come and hang a chandelier for me a few years ago, and asked him to walk me through the process, step by step.  Now I change out my own light fixtures all the time, even when we’re renting.  I just stow the ugly contractor-grade lights the house comes with in a closet or under the bed, and then reinstall them when it’s time to move.

Our kitchen came with a yucky fluorescent pendant light, now it sports a carriage-style lantern:

Eclectic and colorful living room decor | 11 Magnolia Lane

While the obvious location for a statement chandelier is the dining room (and yes, I’ve hung my own there, too), I also love to put small chandeliers in laundry rooms, bathrooms, pantries, and even closets:

"Her" closet at 11 Magnolia Lane

If you’re not comfortable hardwiring a new light fixture, consider a chandelier or sconce that plugs into the wall (I’ve found quite a few at IKEA).  And if you have recessed lights, there are recessed-to-pendant light adapter kits that you can buy now, like the ones I used in our old kitchen:

Recessed to pendant light converters | 11 Magnolia Lane

We love coming up with new ways to update our homes over at 11 Magnolia Lane; come visit and see what we’re up to!

Thanks for stopping by–

Christy new headshot
icon-facebook-1icon-instagram-1icon-mail-1icon-pinterest-1icon-twitter-1NEW Google+