10 Tips for Sprucing Up Your Home On a Budget

  1. Color. Paint something…anything…a fun new color. Painting a room is one of the least expensive ways to make the most impact. If painting all the walls is still not as cost effective as you were hoping, paint one accent wall. Or, paint the ceiling!! Ceilings are the fifth and often forgotten wall. If your walls are all white, go bold on the ceiling.  If even painting one whole wall is too much, consider taping out a shape or pattern and just paint a portion of the whole wall.  Lastly, if painting the wall(s) still seems like too much work, opt to paint a table, picture frame or chair a brand new color. Just make sure you use the right finish.
  2. Declutter! Spring cleaning is a great excuse to declutter, organize and make sense out of spaces that have been hibernating all winter. By getting rid of out-dated and unused items, your room will feel fresh and clean and be more functional!  You will also feel good for donating items to people who may be in need.
  3. Go shopping—in your own home! Reusing items your already own, but in a different way, is the least expensive way to make a change—it’s free! By “shopping” in your own home, you move accessories, artwork and maybe even furniture from one room to another. By giving your belongings a “new home” they take on a completely different look and feel.
  4. Swap Meet. Another great way to not spend any money is to recycle your things. Organize a party with your friends who also want to spruce for less.  Have everyone bring art, accessories, throw pillows or even furniture that they no longer want or need. Then, you take theirs and they take yours.  Not only will you enjoy your “new” items, but when you visit their home, it’ll feel even homier with familiar pieces.
  5. Add some bling. You may not have the budget to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, but a great way to make a subtle, yet noticeable impact is to switch out the hardware on your cabinets. Knobs and pulls are like jewelry for our cabinets, and just like any great outfit, the accessories can make the difference. Updating knobs, handles and pulls—from brass to brushed nickel, or polished chrome to oil-rubbed bronze—may be just what your kitchen or bathroom cabinets need. And if your cabinetry does not currently have any hardware, consider adding some.
  6. Scrub it down. Sometimes all a home needs is a good ole fashioned deep cleaning. Whether you clean your own home or have the luxury of a service, sometimes the everyday cleaning and maintenance just doesn’t cut it. Every now and then you need to get down and dirty and scrub those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Washing windows—interior and exterior—lets the sun shine through in a whole new way. Rent a carpet cleaner to get rid of icky stains.  Wax those hardwood floors. Steam out those draperies. Grab the extension hose on the vacuum and rid vents (both high and low) of dust and debris that has accumulated over months of being shut in.  Polish tarnished picture frames, accessories and tchotchkes.
  7. Float and flip. The way your furniture is currently arranged in the room may not be the only option.  A lot of the time people are not sure the best way to lay out furniture, so things often get shoved up against the walls. Float furniture in the room. Reverse the way everything is facing. Floating and flipping can create new pathways and lines of sight. By moving the sofa from there to over here may give you a whole new vantage point of your room or even your whole house. Just because the outlet for the cable is on one wall does not mean the TV has to go on that wall or that the sofa has to be on the opposite wall. You likely have much more flexibility than you think!
  8. It’s the little things in life. You need not purchase a new piece of furniture or remodel a kitchen or bathroom to feel the change. The littlest things can make the biggest impact. Add a new bright throw pillow to the sofa, or simply make or purchase a pillow cover for existing ones. Swap out the photographs that have been in those picture frames for years with newer, artsier ones. On the computer, you can crop, make black & white, or add some cool crazy effects. For a more dramatic change, paint the picture frames, too.  Fresh flowers go a long way to brighten a space. If their life span concerns you, consider a silk flower arrangement that will live forever! Orchids are gorgeous, but tricky to keep alive. Going faux here will never make you feel like a failure!  The Silk Thumb in Highland Park can help you here. New sheets on the bed can not only totally change the look of your bedroom, but can also make for a great night’s sleep! Mix and match bright bold colors for sheets and pillowcases, or select fun big patterns.
  9. Honey Do List. Ah, that never-ending list of things that need fixing and repair. Anything that is broken, damaged or dysfunctional should be addressed.  That hole or crack or creak or leak or rip or tear, once repaired, will be like new again and no longer be a burden or the source of dismay or even arguments.  Yes, these things can be tricky to take care of, but once they are it will feel so good!
  10. Upgrade. While these things may require a bit more expertise to handle, they will not only breathe new life into something old, but can ultimately add value to your property. Consider changing out your kitchen or bathroom faucet or install new light fixtures.  If you own a home, chances are the things that came with the home may not be the style of your choice. Perhaps you prefer separate hot and cold handles on your faucet instead of just one. Or, maybe you like brushed nickel light fixtures instead of the builder-grade brass ones. Places like Lowes and Home Depot have a great selection of cost-effective fixtures for both plumbing and lighting that will suit your personal style.
    • holly j waxman interior design
      principal designer | project manager
      t 847 393 7657