Ah, spring has sprung once again and itís time for that age-old ritual of spring-cleaning. Time to pull out the mop and pail, dust away the dust and sweep the cobwebs off the ceiling.
But what happens if your house still looks a bit drab and outdated, even though youíve slaved away for hours on end? What are you going to do then?
Of course, you could just sell the place. But that has its own set of problems, particularly in a soft real estate market. Plus you have to list the house, pack, uproot the kids and oh, update the look of your home.
Since you have to redecorate either way, why not do it for yourself instead of a prospective buyer whoís never going to appreciate your individual tastes anyway? With just a little elbow grease, some fresh paints and new ideas, you can make your old house look like a brand new home. And itís far easier than you think.
You donít have to be a Bob Vila or even be halfway handy. Thanks to places like Loweís and Home Depot, you can become a decorating savant in no time, even if you havenít held a paintbrush in your hand since you were in 4th grade art class. There are lots of tools, techniques and ideas for those of us who are dťcor challenged. And thereís no longer any need to be haunted by those poor grades you received in art class or wood shop.
2. Get ideas and collect materials
As a homeowner or even as a renter, youíve probably tuned into a decorating show once or twice on HGTV or roamed the endless aisles of your local home improvement center, looking at the endless array of choices out there these days.
Fear not. This was not time wasted. In fact, this is a great starting point because you probably have already seen lots of things you like and donít like in home dťcor. Another good place to start are home decorating magazines. Unlike those trashy tabloids at the supermarket, you can buy these with pride. The checker will look at you with a knowing glance that you are someone of substance. After all, youíre interested in the beauty of your own surroundings, not the latest alien abduction story.
In addition to collecting some magazines, take a trip to your local home improvement store to pick up some paint chips and wallpaper samples (if wallpaper is your thing). Then head over to the fabric store and look at possible fabrics for window coverings, upholstery, etc. Donít be shy about asking for help in either place. These folks know a thing or two about interior decorating and can help you match colors and textures.
Youíre doing great so far
3. Let the creativity flow!
Cart home all your samples and add them to some of the photos youíve clipped from the decorating magazine. Then take some photos of your furniture. Once you have all that paste them onto a black piece of poster board that we forgot to tell you to pick up at the store as well.
This is your ďinspiration boardĒ. From this youíll begin to draw your ideas for colors, textures and designs that you love. Youíll also begin to see ones that do nothing for you. Thatís O.K. Itís part of the process.
Live with your inspiration board for a while. Look at it from time to time. Study it from afar. Study it up close. Soon youíll start to see patterns of what you want your room to look like. This becomes your springboard for creativity.
Donít jump in the car yet though. You still have a few more things to do before you shake up your first can of paint.
4. Clean, empty the space and decide what needs retiring! (this is a challenging part)
The first thing you want to do is a load of wash. No, you donít need to have clean clothes to paint. But you do need to wash your curtains, cushions and pillow coverings before you do anything else. While things are spinning in the washer, remove all the ďfutzĒ from your room. Whatís futz? Itís all the ornamentation you have: vases, knick-knacks, trophies, souvenirs and such. You also want to take down all your photos and paintings. If youíll pardon the pun, you want a blank canvas to work with and these things can be distracting.
Congratulations! Your room is empty. Well almost. You still have your furnishings and floor coverings. These are the next things you need to mull over.
First, the floor. Take a good look at your carpet. Is the color still O.K.? Does it need a good cleaning? Or is it time to give it the old heave-ho. If itís still good, youíll need to work around its color. No need replacing a perfectly good carpet. If the carpet has seen some better times, then you may want to consider replacing it, either with a new carpet or perhaps a wood floor or wood floor with area rugs. A trip to the home improvement store is a good idea if youíre considering replacement options. Again, these people love to help you and can help point you in the right direction
Time to turn your attention to the furniture. Hopefully, you like your furniture. If not, you may want to pull out a credit card and go shopping. However, there are things you can do to change up your furniture without an expensive spree.
An exhausted sofa or a stained chair can get a new lease on life simply by changing the covers. If the covers are removable, you can dye them. If dyeing isnít your thing, you can always send them out to a professional for recoloring.
If your covers have seen better days but the cushions are still good, consider making new covers. Or better yet, you can re-cover them with slipcovers. Donít be put off by the thought. In contrast to the first generation slipcovers of the 70s, todayís covers are well crafted and firm fitting. They wonít end up looking like you just threw a sheet over your furniture.
and it sits there until you move again. You rarely move it around in the room itís in, let alone into other rooms. Changing the furniture around can do amazing things to the way your room looks.
Stay with us. Weíre almost to paint.
5. Use your handy skills and get your workout tooÖ..!
The last things to review in your room are the window coverings. This is another inexpensive fix. You donít have to buy pricey curtains or expensive blinds. If budget is a concern, think about buying fabric by the yard at the fabric store and using pullbacks to give the fabric shape in the window. There no need to pleat and primp. Check out sites like diynetwork.com or hgtv.com for helpful tutorials on window coverings.
Now, on to the fun stuff: paint or wallpaper. Once youíve given your floors, furniture and window coverings a remake, itís time for some extreme dťcor for the walls. Return once more to your board for inspiration. What colors seem to fit into what youíve already done? Are there other colors or wallpaper patterns that may be better choices now?
You donít even have to paint or paper an entire room, you know.
A single painted wall will serve as a delightful accent, even when the rest of the walls are white. If you do decide to paint or paper the entire room, be bold in the use of color. Thereís really no point in going through everything else here and then painting the room the same color again.
Here are some helpful tricks too. Often darker colors can make a room look larger than it is. You may also consider leaving the ceiling white and using a darker shade of color on the walls. This will add height to the room (and you donít have to hassle with painting the ceiling, which is no fun at all). Remember, paint is a relatively inexpensive way to change the look of a room. And if you end up not liking the color, you can always paint over it.
6.Arrange all your things (donít be afraid to play around)
Youíve reworked the colors, perhaps changed the furniture fabric or the furnishings themselves and revitalized the wall and floor coverings. The weekend is almost over and there are just a few things to do.
First, let the paint or wallpaper dry. Once it is, itís time to reintroduce your precious futz into the room again. This is a delicate procedure. You donít want to just put the futz back where it was. Instead, try to put everything in a new place. Mix your futz up. If something doesnít look right no matter where you put it, try putting it in a box. You may just need to put it away for a while or move it to another room. Keep swapping around items until you have a sense that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Do the same with the artwork and youíre all done.
Thatís all there is to it. And only a weekend has slipped by. Your room looks brand new and your friends and family are envious of your new living space with its vibrant colors, thoughtful accents and fresh looking furnishings.
And the ďFor SaleĒ sign can stay in the garage where it belongs.