- Start with paint. There is no other home improvement that gives you as much impact for so little cost. In our example, fresh creamy paint brightens up the space and gets rid of any grubby, shabby corners that might have kept the room from looking lavish. A ready-mixed colour saves a bit on painting, too.
- Simplify. It's amazing what clearing away the clutter will do for a room. A coffee table with built-in storage helps tidy away the remote and the magazines, while everything else is just stowed away. The room looks more spacious and feels more serene, with no need for costly decorative items.
- Plan the layout. A grand fireplace and a picture window provide focal points for this room, and the furniture is arranged to take advantage of them. Just a few pieces will do when they're laid out thoughtfully. The dining area at the other end of the room can work for playing games or conversation when you have friends in.