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12 easy ways to get more bang for your decorating dollars

Overview

Published: 06/21/2012

by Kimberley Seldon

We all want assurances that we’re using our money wisely. Therefore, when a decorating or home improvement project is required, we all appreciate smart solutions that won’t break the bank. However the satisfaction of enjoying a home that is lovingly cared for is the true reward. Here are a dozen affordable ways to improve your home’s style quotient and value.

Combine stock elements with custom elements. For a kitchen renovation you may choose stock cabinetry for lower cabinets as well as the majority of upper cabinets, but opt for custom-designed wall units flanking a feature window. The overall impression will be anything but routine.

 Modify items that are noticeably dated. The 70s-era wall tile in the bathroom, the balloon shades in the living room, or
eggplant-coloured toilet can all be improved upon. That is unless you are designing a room that is retro in style.   

Use standard elements with custom flair. For example, slate flooring tile in a 12x12 in. size can be customized by cutting the tile into numerous sizes, say 6x12 in. and 2x2 in., and using the various pieces to create a unique pattern.

Update items at eye level where the immediate impact can be appreciated. The dull stair runner, tired backsplash, insipid wall colour, or chipped cabinetry offer nearly instant gratification when replaced or enhanced.

Don’t be afraid to mix pedigrees. The IKEA sofa and the Hermes throw are perfectly companionable, provided they share a similar design philosophy.

Paint offers the most obvious changes at a minimum cost. Good quality paint doesn’t chip, goes on easily and covers well. Remember that the role of paint is to enhance other items in the home.

When it comes to purchasing investment pieces such as area carpets and sofas, spend the most you can comfortably afford. These items are used frequently and can be enjoyed for many, many years.

Update lighting and enjoy an immediate improvement. Replace dated fixtures and improve the atmosphere by adding table and floor lamps. Incandescent light sources provide the most comfortable, flattering lighting.

To improve cabinetry in any room, change uninteresting hardware. Today’s choices are nearly limitless, with finishes ranging from pewter to porcelain, glass to nickel.

Invest in original artwork. Seek out local artisan sources and purchase a painting or photograph that inspires or pleases you. Contact a local art school such as the Ontario College of Art to find out about student showings.

 Traditional homes benefit from the addition of crown moulding and substantial baseboards. Although it requires some skill to do the installation, it’s a relatively easy project. In addition to adding depth to rooms, architectural enhancements such as these will contribute to the resale value of a home.

Adopt a five-year plan. For many, this is the only practical way to create the home of your dreams. Make a list of all the required changes and work systematically through the list, beginning with ‘hidden’ work such as lighting, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and roofing. Although these initial tasks are not glamorous, postponing them can actually be dangerous and cost you more money down the road.

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