Is there a room in your home in serious need of a makeover? Maybe a guest room is being transformed into a nursery, home office, or craft workshop. Maybe it’s time to transition a little kid’s room into one suitable for your big kid or teen. Or perhaps the use isn’t changing but the living room, family room, kitchen or master bedroom could use some updating. The good news is, even if your budget is next to nothing it’s possible to breath new life into a room!
Check out the following tips and then tap into your creative side to give your room a low-cost facelift:
1) Think through your goals for the room re-do.
What isn’t working about the current room? Does the clutter drive you crazy? Add “better storage and organization” to your list of goals. Other plans might include updating the color scheme, creating better traffic flow, or making a space that seamlessly accommodates several uses (guest room and home office, for example). By focusing on what you really need to accomplish with the renovation first, you’ll find that you keep those goals in mind throughout the project and can be assured the finished project will function as you’d hoped.
2) Find some inspiration.
Now’s the time to look at lots of pretty pictures and brainstorm fun ideas for your new space! What this doesn’t mean is that you should head to the nearest book store and drop $50 on a stack of home decor books and magazines. Instead, don’t allocate any of your budget to this phase and save by heading to the library to thumb through books and the latest issues of magazines focused on your home’s style. See something you like? Make a photocopy or just snap a picture with your cell phone or digital camera.
There is also tons of inspiration to be found online.. Check out pinterest.com, houzz.com, or websites of the home decor or lifestyle magazines you liked. Keep a file of everything you love so that you don’t have to waste time hunting something down a second time. Catalogues are also a great place to find ideas you might want to use in your own home.
3) Look for less expensive ways to recreate the things you loved.
Chances are after the “inspiration” phase of your project you’ll have a file crammed full of designer rooms, $1000 rugs, absurdly expensive light fixtures and lots of other budget-busting items. Don’t get discouraged – here’s where the real fun comes in…when you create the look you want for less. Find ways to transform what you already have – paint furniture, swap out drawer pulls, recover pillows with new fabric and pull items from other rooms that fit your new look. Look for inexpensive accents and accessories that are similar to those in your inspiration photos at thrift stores, yard sales, online auction sites, big box discount stores or online discount stores. Baskets, artwork, vase fillers, coffee table books, candles, conversation pieces, and much more can all be found very inexpensively and provide the perfect finishing touches on your new room.
4) Focus your budget on low-cost changes that have a big impact.
You can’t overstate the power of a fresh coat of paint. Brighten a room with a lighter colour, make it feel cozy with a deep shade, have it appear larger with a pretty neutral or give it an up-to-date feel with an “in the moment” hue. The room will also look cleaner and more pulled together as the marks and dings that happen in a “lived-in” house are painted over.
Another big impact item is to let in the natural light. Take down heavy window treatments in favour of unobtrusive blinds, put up sheer curtains that offer privacy but let in the light or simply leave the windows bare (if you aren’t worried about what can be seen from outside your home).
Create a gallery wall comprised of a mishmash of framed family photos, artwork and children’s works of art. Hanging them together makes the different styles and colours of the frames and their contents look interesting and intentional. For an even more cohesive look, paint all the frames the same colour (which doesn’t have to be black or white!)
Which room would you most like to re-do? What’s on your must-have list for that room?
Anna writes for the popular personal finance blog, Good Cents Savings, which focuses on helping you save money, stick to a budget, and live well on less. She is also the mother of a four year old daughter who is worth every penny!