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Sprucing up your house on the inside doesn’t have to put a major dent in your pocketbook. Try these seven tips for bringing new beauty to your home even on a budget.
- Research first
There’s no bigger waste of money than making changes you don’t like. So hit the magazine stand or bookstore for home décor titles and clip pictures of colors, fabrics and styles you love. You can also take note of the unique colors and materials at your favorite restaurants and stores for inspiration.
- Pour on the paint
Nothing gives you more bang for the buck than paint. For as little as $25, you can transform a room. Pull wall colors from a favorite rug, pillow or curtain to tie together the room’s look. Dark paints can make a small room seem cozy and more interesting, experts say, while white and pale neutrals lend an airier feel and focus more attention on furnishings. Move beyond solid colors with decorative painting techniques such as sponging, glazing, combing and stenciling that are easy yet lend a professional touch. And don’t forget that a new coat of paint can also transform tired furniture and cabinetry that you can’t afford to replace.
- Light it up
Changing a light fixture or adding new lamps can make all the difference in a room. In a dated kitchen, for example, new fixtures over your island, sink or table can add a touch of modernity without a total makeover. Experts suggest adding floor lamps to dark corners where overhead lights may not reach (without the cost of new wiring.) Accent lamps and even new lampshades on existing lamps in the living room or bedrooms can also shed a new glow.
- Rearrange and reposition
Playing with the placement of existing furniture and accessories can have an enormous impact. Experts suggest floating furniture away from the walls or turning pieces at an angle to make more interesting use of your space than lining everything up against walls. And instead of hanging up single items, group four to five pieces of artwork, photography or mirrors for greater visual impact.
- Pull out all the stops
New knobs or pulls on doors, dressers or cabinets, plus new plate covers for lights and electrical outlets, can make a surprising difference for minimal expense. Be sure to check the space between existing holes to determine exact sizes before you buy replacements.
Plants can go a long way toward creating a new atmosphere in a room. Add elegance with an orchid or a country feel with herbal topiaries. Slipcovers too can brighten up a dull couch or chair, especially when topped with cushions that pull out the shade of your new wall color.
Sometimes you can create a new look not by what you put up but by what you take down. Decorators say there is a fine line between cozy and cluttered. Put a few things away—even things you love–and rotate them seasonally.