Home improvements that don’t break the bank

With the housing market picking up and homeowners moving up and out of a slow economy, a lot of us are looking for ways to update our homes without breaking the bank.  Michelle Krueger at NWI.com has shared an excellent article on low cost alternatives for revitalizing your home.
Here are some tips she recommends:
Try these simple and inexpensive projects to transform something old into something new:

Add some fall color to your landscape. Pinterest offers some great inspiration and shows how a little time and effort can go a long way when it comes to improving the outside look of your home. Curb appeal sets the tone for everyone who passes by or approaches your home. Try cleaning things up a bit, trimming overgrown shrubs and adding a splash of color with some seasonal flowering plants. You’ll even enjoy coming home to a refreshed landscape once it’s complete.

Rearrange the furniture. Here’s another way you can use some ideas from Pinterest. Get started with an overall approach. Look at all of the furniture throughout your home and give some thought to moving pieces from one area to another. You may also want to consider eliminating some pieces altogether. By removing excess clutter you can make your home feel more spacious, comfortable and inviting.

Change the lighting. Again, Pinterest provides some great visuals on the various ways lighting can set the mood in a room. You can use these ideas as part of an overall plan to create layers of light.

From general lighting to display lighting for art on the wall and bookcases, to task lighting for kitchen islands, work areas and tables plus other dedicated spaces like desks, there are many beautiful and functional options to consider.

Take stock of your current fixtures (ceiling lights, lamps, down lights, directional lighting, etc.) and the types of bulbs you’re using (the three main types of energy-efficient bulbs include halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The ENERGY STAR “Choose a Light Guide” allows you to play with different scenarios from warm, neutral and cool using different types of bulbs in fixtures throughout the interior and exterior of your home. Discover how different types of light can work together to create different effects at different times of the day in different rooms throughout your home.

Paint the walls. Everyone who’s ever wielded a paint brush knows you can completely transform a room by refreshing the color. Even so, many people are reluctant to experiment with color.

However, once you see the way color is being used in homes like yours on Pinterest, you may just want to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Especially when it comes to today’s open home plans, where the kitchen, living and dining areas are often one large space. Color can help define interconnected rooms.

Whether your preferences are on trend or more classic, keep in mind that the color combinations you choose will evoke a certain mood or feeling in your home. To get started, consider the designer 60-30-10 color rule. In a typical room, this translates to 60 percent walls (the unifying hue), 30 percent upholstery (visual interest) and 10 percent accents (punch).

According to design experts like Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, you should always start with the color wheel. Neighboring colors (analogous) are going to blend, while those on opposite sides (complementary) have a juxtaposition of color that works together.

Rooms with an analogous color scheme are typically more casual, restful and muted. Family rooms, dens and bedrooms — the places where you retreat for rest and recovery — look and feel great in analogous colors. On the other hand, rooms decorated with a complementary color scheme tend to provide a clear separation of color, making them more formal and ideal for living rooms and dining rooms.

To create a flow of color from one room to another, choose a specific color to use in larger or smaller degrees throughout your home. Then, since each color family is created from the natural world around us, follow Mother Nature’s lead.

Interior designers often decorate “vertically,” dividing colors by value from light to dark, using darker values for the floor (the ground), medium values on the walls (trees and mountains) and light values for the ceiling (sky).

Read the entire article here.

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