Once-upon-a-time you loved the look of your living space, but now it feels so last-century. If this sounds like you, consider injecting new energy into your home by making a few high-impact changes without a high-roller budget.

Clever use of colors in combination with smart lighting can enliven rooms so they give off a more compelling, modern vibe without the need for costly remodeling projects or expensive furniture.

Color Transformations

Color both soothes and stirs the senses. Accent walls are a great way to introduce bold color and contrast, infusing a room with a sense of adventure, playfulness or drama. Bring vitality to any room by painting one wall a vivid shade to frame a focal point such as a dramatic piece of artwork.

Accent walls are usually solid with no doors or windows, unless there is something special about these features you want to highlight, such as a spectacular view or interesting architecture.

If you find yourself intimidated by vibrant colors, use neutral tones on your primary walls with a darker, more intense shade on your accent wall. Popular paint colors this year include fiery, orange-infused reds, watery blues, lush greens and earthy neutrals.

Lighting at its Best

Lighting is one of the most dramatic areas where things are changing in home décor. Not only are new bulbs such as CFLs and LEDs offering greater energy efficiency, light fixture styles and lamp styles are also changing.

Remember those recessed lights so popular years ago? Depending on how they are used today, they may make a home look outdated. Kichler Lighting’s Director of Trends and Training, Jeff Dross, suggests replacing this older style with contemporary semi-flush fixtures. He also recommends swapping outdated chandeliers, especially of the old brass variety, with a series of modern pendant lights.

“Nothing makes a tasteful statement of modern simplicity better than a row of pendant lights over a kitchen island or above a dining room table,” Dross says.

For the bathroom, use wall sconces placed on each side of the mirror for evenly lighting the face.

“Wall sconces add visual interest to the bath and even make daily tasks like shaving and make-up application easier,” Dross says.

For bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms choose strong bold shapes for your table and floor lamps.


Pillow Power

Match decorative accessories like pillows and lamps to your accent wall color, incorporating the color -- or shades of it -- into a variety of textures. Framed photos, an interesting vase or impressive plant will stand out well against an accent wall, making the perfect focal point.  A buffet lamp (a smaller version of a table lamp) adds ambience and makes an ideal accent. 

For more information on modern home design, visit www.kichler.com or join Kichler’s experts in discussing the latest lighting products and trends on Twitter and Facebook.

Giving your home an up-to-date look doesn’t need to break the bank or your back. Simple tweaks can give your interiors a much-needed face lift.

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