Decorating Smart, Not Shabby

Decorating Smart, Not ShabbyMoving into your new home is an exciting time. It’s a clean decorating slate for choosing paint colors, deciding how to arrange the furniture, and even abandoning the old in favor of all things new. Moving into your new home can also be an expensive time, but it doesn’t have to be. So how can you give your home the look and feel you want while staying within a reasonable budget?

Start planning before you even move into the house. Take inventory of everything you have from furniture to wall hangings, accessories and knick knacks. Sell, donate, or throw out anything you haven’t used — those items stored in the garage or attic — that won’t need a place in your new home. This step will also save you a lot of unpacking time in the days immediately after your move. But hold on. Think creatively here and don’t get rid of something you could easily repurpose with a new finish or paint to give it a new look. Key word is “easily” here so it doesn’t become another project taking up your time and mental space.

Then set your priorities. Consider holding off on even deciding what to do first until after you’ve settled in for a few weeks. Living in the house for a while day to day will help you figure out what’s most important to you. Where do you spend the most time? What can you tolerate leaving as is versus what you absolutely need to decorate now? Delaying any major purchases or decisions will also give you time to make simple changes without spending any money at all, such as moving a piece of furniture from one room to another where you realize it will be more useful.

You might decide the room that deserves immediate attention is the one most personal to you: your bedroom. Treat yourself to quality bedding in fabrics and color tones that will create an environment to best promote rest and comfort. And when you’re ready to decorate your bathroom, remember that small changes can make a huge difference in that space.

Make the most out of paint. The most obvious way to change a room is with a fresh coat of paint. Even a little bit of paint can go a long way. Out of time and money? Paint one wall instead of the whole room and your guests will marvel at the accent wall. Another benefit: Just one wall is easier to change later when you tire of the color or change your mind.

Decorating doesn’t mean renovating. That is, the look of a room can be transformed with other simple, inexpensive improvements. In the kitchen, for instance, you can paint worn cabinets to freshen them up or simply replace the handles or knobs with new hardware. Any room can be updated with new lighting and switch plates. Don’t tear out the bathtub or sink; install new fixtures instead. If your budget allows, new flooring could be an option for a room or two.

Unleash your inner interior designer with free online virtual room programs. There are no special skills required when you use Planner 5D or Design a Room. The tools like these let you see how various colors, textures and finishes look together. Swap them out in different combinations to help you make decisions.

Be patient about home decorating. Save before you splurge and don’t be impulsive just for the sake of decorating every room at once. One step at a time will result in creating a home that is just the way you like it.

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