mid century modern tapered leg couch furniture upgrade

Photo: Amy Walton, The Blissful Bee

The Retro Way to Reinvent Your Home
Mad Men may be coming to an end, but midcentury modern d├ęcor is hotter than ever, according the 2015 Zillow Digs Home Trend Forecast. Instead of trying to replicate Don Draper's Park Avenue apartment, you might want to add retro elements to contemporary furniture; that way your home doesn't look too stuck in the 60s. Try swapping your current couch feet for ones in a tapered style, adding hairpin legs to a desk, creating a dipped-paint side table (taking inspiration from this) or making a bar cart from a baby-changing table that even Roger Sterling would approve of.
distress wood shelves to look more expensive

Photo: Ultra F/BloomImage/Photodisc/Getty Images

The Trick for Boring Shelves That Doubles as a Stress-Relief Exercise
Stores like Restoration Hardware sell reclaimed wood shelves for upwards of $250, but you can achieve the same rustic look for a fraction of the cost by distressing shelves you already own. First, sand them down if they're stained or varnished. Then add texture by making dents, dings and scratches with the help of screws and a hammer (or any hard object you have on hand). Young House Love blogger John Petersik's trick is to hit the entire slab with a bag of screws, and then hammer one or two spots, as opposed to evenly spaced out impressions, so that it looks like things bumped into it over the years. Give the wood a good coating or two of medium wood stain and you'll have catalogue-worthy shelves in no time.
gold fixtures furniture upgrade

Photo: Brittany Cramer, Brittany Makes

The Bright Way to Add More Pop
This year, silver, chrome and stainless steel are taking a backseat to warmer metals. For instance, Zillow Digs says shiny gold is 2015's "It" hardware finish, and Houzz forecasts that this year gold, copper and bronze will all share the spotlight.

To keep your home from coming off too Liberace-like, use the metals on smaller items, such as a faucet or cabinet pulls. Or, incorporate them as an accent color by giving a few decorative objects, such as a vase, serving tray or light fixture, a metallic makeover. (This can even be done with spray paint!)
marble contact paper furniture upgrade

Photo: Jennifer Jones, I Heart Organizing

The Blogger's Secret Weapon
If your cheap-looking coffee table is in need of a sophisticated touch, marble contact paper has you covered. Not only is it realistic-looking, but the paper is self-adhesive and has a vinyl coating that holds up (so it couldn't be easier to clean). Of the many bloggers who've used marble contact paper to jazz up their furniture, almost all recommend spending a little extra money on this high-quality paper since it's thicker, glossier and the closest-looking to real marble.
billy bookcase built ins furniture upgrade

Photo: Chris Carey, Just a Girl

The Stealth Way to Add Built-Ins
Custom bookcases can give your living room a sense of style, while adding tons of additional storage space. But if the hefty price tag has turned you away in the past, consider following Just a Girl blogger Chris Carey's guide to faux built-ins that look just like the real deal. Carey bought four IKEA Billy Bookcases ($69 each) and created a custom-looking wall unit by adding a baseboard, trim molding to the gaps between the bookcases and crown molding at the top. Her total cost, including the bookshelves, was just $368—and it took her only seven hours to build!
mod podge plastic chair furniture upgrade

Photo: David Tsay

The Technique That Has Come a Long Way Since Paper Cutouts
Give an old chair a facelift with the craft-closet staple—Mod Podge. This time around, skip the magazine clippings and pick a piece of fabric to cover the surface of your chair. Then it's as easy as cutting, gluing and sealing the fabric with a coat of polyurethane. Interior designer Emily Henderson has one project that can serve as inspiration: Her white plastic chair was draped in an abstract print to liven up her office space. (For the best results, she explains, choose a chair that's relatively flat and doesn't have arms to avoid bumpy fabric and air bubbles.)