Add Pops of Color

Incorporate bright and vibrant accent colors to liven things up. Throw pillows, area rugs, flowers, and art are easy ways to add punches of color. Opt for hues like emerald green, sapphire blue, or a sunny yellow.

Switch Out Lampshades

Lampshades can make a big impact in a room. Swap out old lampshades for new ones in trendy shapes, materials, colors and patterns. Drum shades in bold colors or metallic materials give a modern twist.

Update Window Treatments

New window treatments like roman shades or curtains in lively patterns and textures completely transform a space. They add visual interest while letting in natural light.

Arrange Fresh Floral Displays

Nothing perks up a room like fresh flowers and greenery. Create arrangements with seasonal blooms and display them prominently. Replace them weekly for a vibrant effect.

Add Mirrors

Mirrors help brighten up any area and create the illusion of a larger, lighter space. Lean an ornate floor mirror against a wall or hang a bold framed mirror for instant glam.

Style a Gallery Wall

Turn a blank wall into an artful display with a gallery wall. Hang a collection of paintings, prints, photographs and art in different shapes, sizes and frames.

Update Throw Pillows

An easy way to change a room’s look is by getting new throw pillows. Choose pillows in eye-catching patterns, fun embroidery, bright colors, or interesting materials like velvet or faux fur.

Layer Rugs

Layering rugs brings dimension and texture to a space. Try a large sisal or jute rug as your base layer topped with a colorful wool rug in a smaller size.

Add Statement Lighting

Swap out an old dusty chandelier for something fresh and interesting, like a modern pendant light or vintage-inspired sconces. Statement lights liven up a room.

Display Greenery

Add life to your space with potted plants, orchids and mini trees. Greenery brings a natural element indoors. Cluster them in corners or style them on bookshelves.

Reposition Furniture

A simple furniture shuffle can give a new perspective. Pull chairs away from walls, angle sofas, move side tables to unused spaces and give the room a new layout.

With a mix and match of some of these quick updates, you can easily wake up a tired traditional space. Accent colors, new textiles and creative accessories make all the difference. Focus on a few key areas like windows, lighting and blank walls for the most impact. Soon you’ll have a refreshed yet classic room you’ll want to spend time in.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some easy DIY projects to update a traditional room?

You can make a big difference in a traditional room with these easy DIY projects:

  • Paint or wallpaper an accent wall in a bold color or lively pattern
  • Display your favorite photos, art and objects in mismatched frames to create a gallery wall
  • Make your own throw pillow covers out of scrap fabric or textiles like lace or burlap
  • Spray paint old lamps, sconces and hardware for an instant update
  • Add peel-and-stick wallpaper to backsplashes, drawer fronts or as a mirror frame

How can I make my traditional living room look more modern?

To give your traditional living room a modern twist:

  • Incorporate sleek, contemporary furniture silhouettes mixed with traditional elements
  • Add pops of color with bright throw pillows, rugs and artwork
  • Swap out frilly curtains for streamlined roman shades
  • Display collections of modern art objects like sculpture and ceramics
  • Paint the walls a dark, dramatic color and accent with brights
  • Update lighting fixtures to minimalist designs
  • Add large statement plants like fiddle leaf figs

What should you not do when updating a traditional room?

When updating a traditional space, avoid these major pitfalls:

  • Overloading the room with too many colors, patterns, furniture pieces or accessorizing
  • Going overboard with trendy touches that will date quickly
  • Removing all traces of traditional detailing like crown molding or ornate trimwork
  • Painting over wood antiques and quality vintage pieces
  • Using furnishings with radically different design styles that clash
  • Updating lighting fixtures without considering the room’s style
  • Removing window treatments completely rather than replacing them

What are some budget-friendly tips for waking up a traditional room?

If you’re on a tight budget, try these easy and affordable ideas:

  • Refresh walls with a coat of paint in a new color
  • Rearrange and reposition existing furniture for a new layout
  • Upgrade lighting with spray paint and DIY lamp shades
  • Add inexpensive greenery like potted plants, ferns or cut branches
  • Display collectibles, books and artwork already on hand
  • Make your own pillows and throws from discount textiles or old bedding
  • Dress windows with lightly patterned cotton curtains
  • Incorporate second-hand accent furniture from thrift stores

How can I brighten up my dark, traditional living room?

To brighten up a dark traditional living room try:

  • Painting the walls in a light neutral shade like almond, linen or light gray
  • Maximizing natural lighting by hanging sheer curtains and minimizing window dressings
  • Using lamps with brighter bulbs and lighting the farthest corners of the room
  • Adding mirrors to reflect light and create a more spacious feel
  • Incorporating lighter colored patterned rugs and furniture accents
  • Displaying fresh flowers and potted plants to add life
  • Hanging art featuring bright colors like white, chartreuse or light blue


With a few simple updates like fresh paint colors, stylish new lighting, rearranged furniture and chic accents, you can easily transform a tired, traditional room into a revived stylish space. Focus on pieces that liven up the look without sacrificing the classic appeal. Accentuate architectural details, maximize natural light where possible and incorporate greenery for an invigorated yet timeless room that feels fresh and on-trend.