A New Look on a Limited Budget

A New Look on a Limited Budget

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Are you wanting to update your home? Are limited finances standing in the way of a renovation? Join the club – for many homeowners, a home improvement project is out of the question right now. A stubborn economy means putting off such renovations until economic stability returns, something that isn’t like to occur for at least the next one or two years.

In the meantime, you can makes some changes to your home that won’t bust your budget. Certainly, those changes won’t mean finishing a basement or adding on a new room, but they can mean giving your house and property a nice “refresher” to provide a much needed psychological boost as you buy time before committing to an expensive renovation.

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of updates for inside and outside of your home, changes that can breathe new life into a dated abode:

Strip flooring – New wood floors are expensive, but stripping your current floor and adding new varnish can give it a bright and fresh look. Make repairs now too by removing damaged flooring and replacing with new slats.

Throw it out – Declutter your home, removing old, bulky furniture and reducing the number of paintings on the wall. Swap out those old, dark drapes for shear curtains or blinds, bringing in more natural light.

Paint the walls – With more light inside, you may find that the walls and ceilings need to be painted. Choose light, neutral colors to give your room a more open feeling. If you are partial to a dark or vibrant color, then reserve it for just one wall in your living or dining room.

Replace light switch plates – Most homes have the usual off-white light switch plates. Now that your walls have been painted, consider replacing these plates with designs that complement each room. If your family room has a nautical theme, a switch plate with a lighthouse design can be ideal. For children’s rooms, match switch plates with what they like – clowns, balloons, a favorite story character, you name it.

Make use of mirrors – Reflect natural light and give the appearance of a room that is larger than it really is by installing mirrors. One strategically placed mirror can have the intended effect. Consider placing mirrors on an entire wall if a room is small and can benefit from a more expansive look.

Replace kitchen cabinet hardware – Kitchen cabinetry is expensive to replace, but handles and related hardware are not. Find a fresh, new style and, if your cabinets are painted, repaint these to offer a refreshened look. Varnish can be updated too.

Install crown molding – Luxury on a budget means installing crown molding in rooms where this feature is not found. You can handle this job yourself by measuring each room’s perimeter and buying the wood to fit. This isn’t an easy job for the amateur – be prepared to find yourself frustrated as you seek to bring joints together and handle sometimes challenging angles or corners.

Choose new light fixtures – A cost effective makeover may come as easily as changing a light fixture. A bulky and out of date chandelier can be replaced with track or recessed lighting. A dated shade can be tossed for something that is modern and elegant. If possible, get rid of floor lamps in small rooms and replace these with attractive wall sconces or track lighting.

Enhance curb appeal – The exterior of your home might possibly be in need of a makeover too. Consider replacing a mail box, updating door handles, putting down a new welcome mat, swapping out bushes, adding flowers, painting the walkway, repairing cracks in your driveway, replacing a gutter downspout, planting new grass seed, trimming a sick or overgrown tree…you name it.

You can also freshen your bathroom by replacing the mirror, buying new curtains, exchanging the shower curtain or updating light fixtures. Use your “design eye” to provide similar updates for your living, dining and family rooms as well as for bathrooms, the den, entertainment room and even your garage and basement. Set a budget and stick to it – and start saving for that major renovation you plan to tackle down the line.

See AlsoHome Remodeling Plans

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Categories: Home Interior

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".