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  • Writer's pictureGwen Canfield

What is “Deco-vating?”

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

This article from The Spruce is great - Enjoy! -GC

These reno shortcuts are the easiest ways to make your dream home a reality.

As much as we all wish that our wildest home dreams could come true quickly and efficiently (and without breaking the bank), that’s not always possible. The open kitchen you’ve been dreaming about for years may not be structurally possible in your midcentury modern home. That major addition to your living space could be out of reach financially for a few more years. Your rental may have strict rules about what updates can be made to the space. Or maybe you’re just not fully sold on the idea of renovating.

No matter your specific situation, you don’t have to put your makeover dreams to rest. There are so many tricks of the trade that decorators and designers use to make homes feel brand-new without going full-blown reno mode. Think of it as using decorating to fake your way to renovating, or as we like to call it… “deco-vating.”

Here are our top ideas to make a huge, almost immediate, impact on your space and truly change the look and feel of any room. So if you’re not ready to fully commit to a renovation project, or you just want a little change to refresh your space, these “deco-vating” tips are for you.

Add Trim

When it comes to charm, it’s hard to beat homes that come equipped with eye-catching trim. Think crown molding, picture frame molding, wainscoting, or any of those little details that make a blank wall or ceiling feel high-design. But you don’t need to live in a home that has these details already installed to make that dream a reality. While installation is required to add trim, the effort is nowhere near what’s required for a full reno.

Bring in a Mantel

This may sound wild, but not having a fireplace doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful mantelpiece. Faux mantels are all the rage in the design community, and for good reason. They not only add visual interest to a room, but also are an ideal way to fill an empty wall and provide ample opportunities to decorate. You can fill the hearth with candles, books, or throw blankets, and top the mantel with candles, busts, or seasonal decor—the possibilities are endless. And while a mantel isn’t the cheapest way to “deco-vate,” you can occasionally find a great secondhand steal through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or at estate sales and thrift stores.

Change Up Your Walls

Repeat after me: The current color of your walls is not forever. We’ve all seen clips of house hunters unable to see past a paint color they don’t love, but updating your walls is one of the easiest ways to make your space feel completely different. Tired of those stark white walls in your apartment? Consider giving rental-friendly removable wallpaper a shot. Not ready to fully commit to making large-scale updates to your home? Try out a new paint color first—it may be the change you’ve been craving.

Fake a Built-In

Built-in storage is one of the most sought-after home perks, but few are lucky enough to stumble upon a home equipped with this feature. Fear not! With a few mindful design choices, you can create incredibly convincing built-ins. Freestanding shelving units, such as Billy bookcases from IKEA, can give you the look of built-ins: Attach the units to the wall, add trim, and paint the bookcases. Your room will be transformed.

Play With Your Layout

Putting up new walls is no small task, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carve out distinct spaces in your home. Use room dividers, bookshelves, or curtains to create a visible demarcation and split your existing area into multiple zones. This is ideal if you want to dedicate space for a home office, homework area, or reading nook, or to break up a large living space to make it feel more manageable.

Need help "deco-vating" a room in your home of office?

Book a free consultation with Interior Designer Gwen Canfield at

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