Clever Ways to Transform a Room

Take any room from blah to brilliant by making strategic and dramatic decorating choices.

True Style

You don't need to hire an interior decorator to create inspiring home spaces. You just need imagination and a love for making things stylish. The only caveat? Decorating is addictive.

Start with paint. Small rooms—like a foyer or a guest room—often beg for darker shades of paint to make them feel instantly richer and cozier. Ideas include Arresting Auburn 6034 or Stunning Shade 7082, just two by Sherwin-Williams.

Top Shops

If you're shopping for new homes in Northern Virginia, you'll want to make sure to visit these two spots (when you're ready to decorate): Abaca Imports in Alexandria for their great selection of global furniture and No Place Like Home in Arlington—their vintage treasures are priced right.

Art rules. Use colorful art as a focal point in a room. You don't need a Picasso to add drama—simply choose what moves you. Two affordable artists we recently found on Etsy include Amy Gibson (she creates her work out of recycled magazines) and Elle Moss, whose photography intrigues.

Have fun with fabric. Throw pillows are the easiest and most affordable way to add some textile punch. West Elm, a go-to favorite among interior decorators, continues to create some of the best and most affordable accessories on the market.

Wild with wallpaper. Although it's more expensive than paint (and usually requires the services of a professional), wallpaper is an instant room-changer. The possibilities are endless, depending on the look you're going for. How about a traditional Chinoiserie pattern for dining room wallpaper? Or maybe a whimsical geometric print for your powder room?

Swap your light. Lighting is so important in a room, because it changes throughout the day. For added drama, swap out your standard overhead light with a pendant light or chandelier. Depending on what you choose, it can change a room's entire attitude. Go contemporary, go country-inspired, or downright glamorous.

Ryan Homes Tip: Take a smartphone photo of the room you want to tackle, so you have a visual while you visit brick and mortar stores.