How to elevate everyday, ordinary items in your home to make them feel extraordinary

The mundane objects we see and use often should bring us a spark of joy every time we touch them. Here are 7 impactful ways to elevate your everyday

how to elevate everyday ordinary items to make them extraordinary
(Image credit: Original BTC x Beata Hueman / Chused & Co / Jeff Holt / Cathy Nordstrom)

Giving a room, or indeed your entire home, a refresh doesn't always require a complete redesign. You can revamp a space by understanding how to work with what you already have and simply: make it more special. If the everyday objects in your home are leaving you feeling a little 'meh', it's time to do something about it.

We analyze a lot of spaces here at H&G, and one thing we find truly sets apart a house from a home is the little things. Those small details that infuse your home decor ideas with creativity and personality can bring you joy each and every day. From swapping out hardware and upgrading faucets to unexpected licks of paint and vibrant accessories, subtle design touches can breathe new life into any space, turning ordinary objects into something extraordinary.

To help us stress the importance of paying attention to the finer details and offer some inspiration, we've asked interior designers to share how they go about elevating the everyday. 

7 Ideas To Help You Elevate Everyday Items

In interior design, we have many conversations around choosing a color scheme for your entire home, converting open-plan concepts and furniture arranging – big conversations that deliver a big impact. But we also wholeheartedly believe in the magic that lies in everyday objects. 

The hardworking objects that we see and use often should bring us a little spark of joy every time we touch them. Whether that's an aged brass faucet in your kitchen, an upgraded drawer pull, or simply a much prettier shade on your bedside light; we're talking about instant, low-cost updates that can help you to update and refresh your existing spaces. 

'Making things look extraordinary can be as simple as changing out hardware on cabinets and doors or just painting a space, advises interior designer Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. 'Paint ideas, especially, can really change the mood of a space and elevate it to another level depending on finish and technique. Small changes such as hinges on interior doors with matching finish handles, can make it feel like a whole new space without making any major changes,' she adds.

Here, we show you 7 simple yet impactful ways to elevate your living spaces and imbue them with character and charm.

1. Upgrade your hardware

living room with muted color scheme and a vintage wood cabinet with tasselled handles

(Image credit: Chused & Co / Photography Jeff Holt)

It's the subtle touches that make the most significant impact. One such detail that often goes unnoticed but can dramatically enhance the design feel of a space is hardware. Whether it's the knobs on your kitchen cabinets or the handles on your dresser, upgrading these can instantly elevate the overall look and feel of a piece.

'It can be very easy and rewarding to upgrade your existing furniture with a few simple swaps,' agrees Tom Rutt of TR Studios. 'A good quality cabinet handle can instantly revitalize a cupboard door you’ve grown bored of. We like to use hammered metal, bronze, and sleek edge pulls to elevate doors. They offer a chance for personality and character to shine through and combined with a simple paint refresh can give you years more enjoyment of your furniture without having to carry out a complete overhaul,' he suggests.

When considering hardware upgrades, think beyond the traditional. Opt for unique finishes to add a modern twist and don't be afraid to experiment with unconventional shapes and designs, like the tasseled handles seen above in a design by Chused & Co that help to infuse a sense of whimsy to an otherwise solid piece of furniture. 

We explore the latest kitchen hardware trends in our dedicated feature.

2. Switch your lampshade or base for something more exciting

sideboard with mirror and a lamp with a leopard print lampshade and flowers in a vase

(Image credit: Cathy Nordstrom / Photography Fanny Radvik)

Lighting plays a pivotal role in setting the mood and ambiance of a space. One simple yet effective way to transform a room or a vignette is to switch out a boring lampshade or base for something more striking.

Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director of OKA, says: 'I’m a big believer that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. For example, you could simply re-home a much-loved family photograph or add a new shade to your table lamp to bring a pop of pattern or color to transform how your space looks and feels completely. Even something as simple as a fresh arrangement of flowers can give your room the lift it needs – it doesn’t have to be a big change to have an impact,' she advises.

Opting for a bold color or pattern can inject personality and visual interest into an otherwise dull space. A drum shade can lend a modern and minimalist feel, while a pleated or textured shade adds elegance and warmth. Don't be afraid to play with different materials such as linen, silk, or rattan to add texture and depth to your scheme.

3. Create curated vignettes with decorative trays

decorative wavy rattan tray with collected home bar items

(Image credit: Studio Duggan)

If you've got a rather cluttered collection of objects on your coffee table, sideboard, or countertop, gathering them onto a decorative tray is a quick and easy interior design tweakment that allows you to showcase and organize your items.

'Never underestimate the power of styling and rearranging your decor when it comes to sophisticated refresh ideas that cost almost nothing at all,' says Kathy Kuo. 'If you look at your coffee table decor and see that you have a stack of books, a scented candle, a remote control, and a bud vase, you have everything you need to create a really chic styled vignette inside of a decorative tray. Instant upgrade!'

If you're wondering: "What is a vignette"? You're not alone. Vignettes are like mini-stories, gathering objects together for a styled moment in your home that looks to elevate a space with design interest. For a cohesive look, choose items that complement each other in terms of color, texture, and scale. Mix and match decorative objects such as candles, books, vases, and sentiment items to create interest and balance within the tray.

4. Paint your woodwork in a pop of color

childs bedroom with light painted walls and blue painted woodwork cornice and window trims

(Image credit: Plaster & Patina)

From window frames to door trim and baseboards, introducing bold hues into your woodwork can instantly uplift any room. When selecting a color for your woodwork, consider the overall color palette of the room and choose a hue that complements or contrasts with it. Bold colors can make a striking statement, while softer pastel tones lend a more subtle vibe.

'A simple trick to make a space feel extra special is to play up the woodwork,' agrees Alexandra Azat, founder of Plaster & Patina. 'Here, [above] we painted the crown base and casings in De Nimes from Farrow & Ball, but the extra special touch was carrying the baseboard up to 18" utilizing a simple classic panel molding and paint.  By painting the baseboard up to the molding, we were able to make the baseboard appear to be higher, adding so much richness, color, and interest to the otherwise neutral walls.'

Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene agrees. 'For a truly dramatic feel, paint woodwork in a contrasting color. This is a great way of incorporating a particular color that may feel a little overwhelming when used in large expanse but works brilliantly as a highlight.’ 

5. Wallpaper somewhere unexpected

wooden open shelving book case with yellow walllpaper and a cozy reading chair

(Image credit: DATE Interiors / Photography Kirsten Francis)

Embracing unexpected design choices, such as painting woodwork or wallpapering unconventional surfaces, can yield surprising results. Wallpaper ideas are a powerful tool for expressing your personality and breathing new life into spaces by adding texture and pattern.

While traditionally confined to walls, try thinking outside the box and consider adding a pattern to the inside of a cabinet, try an on-trend accent ceiling or the back of a bookshelf. 'Elevate a bookshelf by wallpapering the back of it,' suggests Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors who created the cozy space seen above. 'This adds color and depth, creating a more interesting background for books, art, and decor.'

Experiment with removable, peel-and-stick wallpaper for temporary transformations. This allows you to change up the look of a space without the commitment, making it perfect for renters or those who love to regularly refresh their decor.

6. Add a wall sconce or picture light above artwork

living room with marbled chaise lounge chair and a large artwork with picture light wall sconce above

(Image credit: Original BTC x Beata Hueman)

Of course, a rather lovely way to upgrade a space is decorating with art. By now, you should be old hat at gallery wall ideas, how to frame artwork properly, and even more unique things to hang on walls that aren't prints; so we aren't going to give you a lecture on upgrading a room with new art or new frames. But, what if there was a way to get even more impact out of your pictures?

Take notes from a museum and let your artwork shine bright as the focal point of the room. While overhead fixtures and floor lamps are commonplace in our homes, hanging a strategically placed wall sconce or "picture light" above your art adds a layer of sophistication and drama, improving the ambiance too.

Additionally, sconces can serve as decorative accessories in their own right, so don't go too boring with your choice. Whether you choose sleek and modern or ornate and vintage-inspired, statement lighting can elevate the mood of the entire room. Experiment with different angles and intensities to achieve the desired effect. Soft, diffused light creates a cozy and intimate atmosphere, while focused beams add emphasis.

7. Upgrade your faucet and brassware

devol kitchen with a huge sunlit window, marble sink and brass faucets

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Your faucets and taps may seem like simple utilitarian fixtures, but upgrading them can instantly elevate the overall look and feel of your kitchen ideas or bathroom ideas. From sleek modern designs to timeless materials, as something you'll use every day, investing in high-quality faucets and brassware can seriously uplift the experience.

'A great set of taps can completely make a kitchen and it's always the vintage brass styles that catch our eye, but they’re just so hard to find in good working order,' says Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL Kitchens. With this in mind, deVOL set about making their own collection of aged brass faucets that look old but work like new. 'These taps have become a staple in our customers’ kitchens and in so many homes all over the world,' she adds.

By choosing stylish and well-crafted fixtures, you can elevate the design and functionality of these objects. If you're considering an upgrade, be sure to explore a variety of styles and finishes to find the perfect match for your space. Polished chrome and brushed nickel offer a contemporary aesthetic, while bronze and brass exude warmth and the elegance of a transitional kitchen. Pay attention to details like handle design, spout height, and ergonomic features to ensure both aesthetic and practical appeal.

When thinking about giving your home a refresh, try to zone in on each space room-by-room and even consider focusing on standalone furniture pieces or groupings. This way, you'll feel much less overwhelmed and can focus on simple swaps and upgrades that make subtle changes that are big on impact, such as new handles or a lick of paint. Whether you're refreshing a tired room or embarking on a complete redesign, let your imagination soar – and don't forget to sweat the small stuff.

Charlotte Olby
Content Editor

Charlotte is content editor at Homes and Gardens, having joined the team the week before Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she found herself working at many women's glossy magazines including: Grazia, Stylist and Hello and most recently working as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with Charlotte's passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome