It’s the time of year when thoughts turn toward refeathering the nest. With more people choosing to stay in their houses, the desire to make “home” more desirable is stronger than ever.

Most people are forgoing major renovation projects because of the economy, according to a poll of top builders and developers taken by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for CBS However, that doesn’t mean everyone is satisfied with status quo.

There is a new trend among homeowners to opt for a room refresh in lieu of a major renovation. Smaller projects such as updating flooring and wall color make a difference and won’t break the budget.

Small changes can translate into big style, according to Erinn Valencich, an interior designer and blogger for HGTV’s “Design Happens.”

“If the bones of a room are good, you don’t need to renovate. You can create a big impact simply by updating a few key elements in the space,” says Valencich. “The application of styling tips, like adding colorful pillows or rearranging accessories, can start to transform a room.”

She suggests trading secondary furniture pieces between rooms to get a fresher vibe without investing in new furniture. Shop secondhand furniture stores and junk shops for unusual pieces that will add a little something extra to the setting.


When Valencich approaches a room refresh, she often begins with the floor.

“Most people may not realize how much a floor adds to the ambiance of a space. A dull or scuffed floor can make a room look tired,” says Valencich.

Many people try hiding worn floors by layering in rugs, but Valencich warns that too many rugs become clutter. Rather than purchasing area rugs to solve the problem, she suggests putting those dollars into a new floor.

“A floor can become a real hero in a room refresh,” says Valencich. “It can help in addressing challenges within a space.”

For example:

• A small, dark room will feel more spacious with a lighter floor and either a soft or bright wall color. • Light floors can also create a dramatic impact when paired with deeper toned walls.

• For a more intimate look, select a darker floor.


• Rich, dark floor colors also create a nice balance with bolder walls.

When adding floors to a space, Valencich prefers hard surfaces such as wood or laminate for their depth of tone and natural feel. She says that laminate is often overlooked as a solution, but its durability and ease of installation make it a solid choice.

“Laminate floors have come a long way since they were first introduced. In fact, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between premium lami-nate such as Quick-Step and hardwood floors,” says Valencich.

There is a wide range of styles available in laminate, from satin furniture finish to hand-sculpted, from painted oak to highly textured surfaces like Quick-Step’s Rustic Cottage Oak.

“I like the look of the warm, smoky gray cottage oak floor. Its highly textured grain looks and feels like distressed barn board. It works well in both a traditional decor or as a nice contrast to sleek modern lines,” says Valencich.

Another alternative is the look of exotic wood. If you prefer the elegant graining and unique color of rare African and Brazilian species, laminate is definitely the way to go.

If you are considering purchasing a new floor, offers a floor configurator that allows you to choose both wall color and floor styles to see how they work together. To make floor selection even easier, Valencich has curated her own collection of Quick-Step “Designer’s Choice” floors, which can be viewed at