living room update
Photo: J Muckle/Studio D
Whatever your level of expertise, Elaine Griffin, author of Design Rules: The Insider's Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator, has ideas for transforming any space.

1. Stretch Your Snapshots

For a piece of art worthy of your wall, snap a pic with the smartphone app Instagram. Then use Instacanvas, a service that prints your photo on stretched canvas and delivers it to your door.

2. Wall Paper Your Furniture

A vibrant pattern, from sites like, can breathe new life into an aging cabinet or plain end table.
  • Lightly sand the surface. (For cabinet doors, unhinge them and remove knobs.) Apply two coats of an oil-based primer, waiting an hour between coats.
  • Cut wallpaper to size using a straightedge blade. Paint on a thin layer of Mod Podge and apply the wallpaper, flattening any air bubbles. Wait 24 hours before applying a coat of acrylic sealant.

3. Stencil a Wall

Painting a pattern requires patience, but the result can change the whole room. Consider Cutting Edge Stencils for all-in-one shopping.
  • Wipe down the wall with a damp cloth (to make sure it's dust-free), and apply painter's tape to the adjoining walls, trim, and ceiling.
  • Using a 36-inch level, line up your stencil. Starting at the wall's center, affix the pattern with painter's tape.
  • Pour paint onto a paper plate. Dip the paint roller, and run it over the stencil.
  • Remove the stencil and repeat across the wall. Use a stencil brush to fill in any details, if necessary.

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