“Deco-vating” Is the Easiest Way to Make Your Dream Home a Reality

As much as we all wish that our wildest home dreams could come true quickly and efficiently (and without breaking the bank), that's not always a possibility.

That open kitchen you've been dreaming about for years may not be structurally possible in your mid-century modern home. That major addition to your living space may not be financially feasible for a few more years. Your rental may have strict rules about what updates you can make to the space. Or maybe you're just not fully sold on the idea of renovating.

No matter your specific situation is, you don't have to put your renovation dreams to rest. There are so many tricks of the trade that decorators and designers use to make homes feel brand new without going full blown reno mode.

Think of it as using decorating to fake your way to renovating, or as we like to call it..."deco-vating."

These ideas make a huge, almost immediate, impact in your space and can truly change the look and feel of any room. So if you're not ready to fully commit to a reno project, or you just want a little change to refresh your space, these "deco-vating" tips are for you.

Fake a Built-In

Amy Bennett finished built-ins.

Amy Bennett

Built-in storage is one of the most sought after home details, but few are lucky enough to stumble upon a home already equipped with this feature. Fear not, though! With a few mindful design choices you can create incredibly convincing built-ins.

Blogger Amy Bennett used Billy bookcases from IKEA to create a convincing set of built-in bookcases in her home. Bennett purchased two sets of the Billy bookcases along with extenders and trim to build out her dream library. After attaching the shelves to the wall for safety and painting them a gorgeous shade of green, Bennet's formerly empty corner was totally transformed.

Bring In a Mantel

faux mantel

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metlzer Photo

This may sound wild, but not having a fireplace doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful mantelpiece. Faux mantels are becoming all the rage in the design community, and for good reason. They not only add visual interest to a room, they are an ideal way to fill up empty space and provide ample opportunities to decorate as well.

One of The Spruce's home decor experts, Sarah Lyon, has brought several mantels into her NYC apartment, and the results (which you can see on her Instagram) are stunning. You can fill the hearth with candles or books or throw blankets and top the mantel with candles or busts or seasonal decor...the possibilities are truly endless. And while these aren't the cheapest way to "deco-vate," you can occasionally find a great secondhand steal through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or at estate sales and thrift stores.

Add Trim

White chair rail wall trim with black and white art on walls

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

When it comes to charm, it's hard to beat homes that come equipped with eye-catching trim. Think crown molding, picture frame molding, wainscoting, or any of those little details that make a blank wall or ceiling feel high-design. But you don't need to live in a home that has these details already installed to make that dream a reality. While installation is required to add trim, the effort is nowhere near what's required for a full reno.

Change Up Your Walls

Colorful peel and stick wallpaper applied to wall with yellow candles and red mirror in front

The Spruce / Ashley Poskin

Repeat after me: The current color of your walls is not forever. We've all seen clips of house hunters unable to look past a paint color they don't love, but updating your walls is one of the easiest ways to make your space feel completely different. Tired of those stark white walls in your apartment? Consider giving rental-friendly removable wallpaper a shot. Not ready to fully commit to making large scale updates to your home? Try out a new paint color first—it just may be the change you've been craving.

Play With Your Layout

room with room divider

Aleksandar Novoselski / Stocksy

Putting up new walls is no small task, but that doesn't mean you can't carve out a new distinct space in your home. Use room dividers, bookshelves, or curtains to create a visible demarcation and split your existing area into multiple zones. This is ideal if you want to dedicate space for a home office, homework area, reading nook, or just make a large living space feel more manageable.