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When it comes to refreshing and revitalizing a rented home, the price of what you pick and what you dream about bringing into your spaces shouldn’t keep you up worrying at night.

If you have remodelling limitations, or your budget’s a little tight, here are five great ideas that will help instantly transform your spaces and won’t hurt the bank account...


A quick pick-me-up for your cabinets, dressers, sideboards, and hutches, new hardware spices things up instantly. If you've got dated looking hardware, switch it out for modern chrome or distressed pewter handles, or something with a more Artisanal flare.

Don't worry if you have a few different finishes in the same area: as long as they're in the same colour family (chrome, pewter, nickel, and aluminum, or copper, oil rubbed bronze, black, or antiqued brass), you'll be just fine.

Some companies are coming out with amazing etched and oxidized finishes for totally unique and artistic looks; don't be afraid to go bold on drab cabinets or aged furniture.


Paint is one of the best - if not the best - ways to instantly transform a room.

We’re no strangers to painting at least one room nearly every year or two in our own home. It staves off boredom and allows us to create different looks at the fraction of the cost a total makeover would run.

Walls aren't the only thing that might benefit from a dash of new colour: coffee tables, consoles, old dressers, bookshelves, and end tables are other pieces you can splash your brush with for a fresh look.

This also works great for thrift shop or clearance finds with less desirable finishes.


Outdated and inefficient fixtures drag your spaces down and aren’t the least bit flattering.

Lighting can make or break a space and is often over looked when it comes to decorating. Some of the most striking fixtures I've ordered in the past have come from inexpensive outfits such as EQ3 or Structube.

Floor lamps done up with classic drum shades in woven grass cloth add soft sculptural dimension to bare or dim corners, while Mid-Century ceiling fixtures can help infuse whimsy and minimalist charm over a dining table or breakfast counter.


Once those walls are painted, it’s time to add a little polish and style; I don't necessarily mean you need to buy all new artwork, but consider editing or moving it around to new locations.

Make new groupings by pairing pieces of similar size or colour together, or take that large piece down from over the mantle and lay a few smaller frames with black and white images up against the wall for a more contemporary look.

Get creative with large collages made from patterned paper or fabric, wallpaper scraps or maps, or pop children’s art into off-the-shelf frames with bright white mattes.


Tired of your living room furnishings but not in the position to buy new? Add a few new toss pillows instead to help introduce a new accent colour, or punch up the look of a plain sofa.

If you've lucked out and own neutral furniture, you've essentially got a blank canvas you can work with. A colourful throw over the back of a neutral sofa is a great way to add a pop of colour, and conversely, if the heavy or outdated pattern of your furniture needs to be toned down, a single toned or monochromatic throw will help to hide some of the distraction.

As a rule, don't buy more than three of the same cushions to use in a room; you can end up with a space looking too contrived and matchy-matchy. Instead, buy two or three of the same staple cushion, and then find a few others in similar or contrasting shades with different and interesting textures or patterns.


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About the Author

Crispin Butterfield is the creative force and mastermind behind Urban Theory; a graduate of Mount Royal University in Calgary, her engaging personality and design-commerce savvy make her a valued and well-respected professional and mentor within her field.

She’s able to uniquely see the parameters and vision of each project in ways her clients often cannot, and has honed the process and proficiency required to grow incredible long-standing client relationships. 

Crispin embraces a life full of ingenuity and imagination, fueled by raw ambition and a desire to leave her mark on the world. Her impeccable design style, expertise, and a rock-solid business acumen is the foundation which allows Urban Theory Interior Design to provide full scale services with authenticity, innovation, and ample amounts of personality.

Featured in Style At Home Magazine, Covet, Canadian Retailer, and The National Post – www.urbantheoryinteriordesign.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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