11 Ways to Refresh Your Home
Frank Fontana
Designer Frank Fontana
Changing the look and feel of your home doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, it's easy to spruce things up on your own—and on a budget. Frank Fontana, designer and host of HGTV's Design on a Dime shares his secrets to making your home look its best without spending a lot of cash.
Front door
First Impressions Are Everything
Spruce up your front door first. For just a few dollars, a fresh coat of paint, a new knocker or even a shiny knob will work wonders for a classy new curb appeal. And, make sure your doorbell works. No one likes to be ignored.
Paint samples
Refresh Your Walls with Vibrant Colors
Pick a room in your home and designate it the "summer room." Repaint, refresh and rejuvenate the walls with one of those luscious, incredible hues found in the vibrant summer blooms. Muted and gem tone yellows, oranges, reds, soft blues and greens are some of the hottest flavors for the walls right now.
Couch in front of a window
Recycle Fabrics and Textiles
Lighten up any room by giving up heavy fabrics from winter for light and airy ones for summer. In the living room, take down your old curtains and replace them with an open weave such as chiffon or organza. Change the dark throw pillows and slipcovers by adding crisp white, a bright solid or even modern floral patterns.
Woman looking at flower pots
Bring the Outdoors In
Take some inspiration from your garden—a piece of wrought-iron gate, a cachepot, a garden tool—and use it out of norm and in the home. Try storing spatulas or large utensils in a terra-cotta pots, or frame a collection of antique gardening tools or freshly picked plant leaves. Try creating a seasonal wall collage of sorts using branches from garden plants dipped in shellac and glued to an old piece of barn wood.
A display of coral
Add a Touch of the Beach
Go to your local aquarium store or your own fish tank and get some synthetic coral. It lasts longer than real coral, comes in amazing colors, is more eco-friendly and costs a lot less. Try mounting the coral on wooden stands like a pieces of art, or use them as centerpieces for your dining room table. Also, you could try using a giant clam shell as decorative bowl for candy or potpourri.
Woman's hand cleaning a cabinet
Clean Up Kitchen Cabinets
Give your cabinets a fresh coat of paint or stain, or simply remove the doors for a truly European-style kitchen. If they're just plain dirty, use a firm brush and a wood cleaning product to get those dirty fingerprints out and get them looking as good as new. Some recycled pulls from a salvage shop can give a funky new twist to your kitchen too!
Man repairing a ceiling fan
Ceiling Fan Update
Did you know they sell replacement blades for your old ceiling fan? Try putting some new blades in your fans, or just clean and repaint the old ones. Not only will your air quality improve, but the fan will also look more attractive.
Packed up cardboard box
Declutter and Store
Just like little squirrels, we hunker down and store our goods during the winter. But come summer, your home is cluttered with knickknacks, heavy blankets and bulky furniture. Put some of the stuff away in storage for a quick makeover. Larger clutter-free spaces not only look better, but also create the impression of a bigger house.
Hang a Mirror
The strategic placement of a mirror can add an enormous amount of natural light in your home. If possible, hang a large mirror in the living room directly where the sun beams in. In addition to bouncing light, the mirror creates virtual space and overall appeal to a small room.
Two woman hanging out in a garage
Clean Out the Garage
Home theaters, gyms, game rooms and computer rooms are becoming trendy these days, but if every room in your house is spoken for, the garage may be the new place to turn to for extra space. Paint the walls, set up your big screen and sound system, throw in a seating element to add comfort and style, and you've got the perfect place to spend time with friends.
Refurbished chairs
Go Green
Going green takes simple smarts and small steps. Follow my three Rs—refurbish, repaint and recycle—to be a stylish and eco-friendly home designer. By reusing old furniture, frames, artwork and more, you're making your own small contribution to saving our planet.

Try making Frank's stylish bulletin board project.