Add streamlined storage. Easy-to-install shelves make the most of a blank wall, adding storage without blocking light or taking up a lot of room. They are fashioned from two seven-foot aluminum standards ($25 each) and ten 12-inch brackets ($7 each, issdesigns.com). The actual shelves are made from precut oak stair treads ($25 each, homedepot.com for store locations).
Make a move. Pulling the sofa away from the wall instantly gives the room a focus.
Fluff it up. Throw pillows are a fast fix for an outdated sofa. Here, the pillows add warmth and texture while lightening the oversize brown couch.
Accessorize. Pick and choose your knickknacks so they add personality, not clutter. In a modern house like the Benders', simple, sculptural pieces work best.