When it comes to beautifying your home, color and pattern are as terrifying as they are crucial.

But you can approach them carefully and still get stunning results.

Kevin Sharkey, Martha Stewart Living's executive editorial director for decorating, recommends the following places to beautify your home with minimal expense or commitment.

• Decorative pillows. "They really change a living room or bedroom, and they're a nice way to test-drive color and pattern - 'Do I want to live with turquoise polka dots?' - without laying out too much money."

• Bedding. "Sometimes if you just change out your sheets and consider a color sheet or a pattern you never had before, it adds a new dimension to something you're used to seeing every day."

• Towels. "It's a great way to update your bathroom and you experience them all the time, so it's fun to play with new colors and color combinations. If you're a white-towel person, sometimes just putting a powder-blue towel in the mix makes you appreciate your bathroom in a whole new way."

• Paint. "Maybe you don't want to paint a whole room, but choose a little paint project like the frame of a mirror or a tabletop."