Redecorating when cost is important

10 Low Cost Ways to Redecorate

by Shirley Byers

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When the seasons change, human beings also crave change, and our surroundings are often what we look at first. Wouldn't it be fun to gut the living room, refit the kitchen, and replace every stick of furniture in the house?

Alternatively, how about something a little less expensive, or maybe, a lot less expensive?

Interior decorators Leona Schell and Brigitte Braun and interior designer Charlotte Schwanke have a few tips on low cost ways to redecorate. Their suggestions won't break your budget. Let's start off with one that doesn't cost a cent.

1. "Mix it up!" says Charlotte. "Re-think your decorating and re-arrange your furniture."

Maybe the loveseat would work better on the wall facing the sofa. Maybe that blanket chest in the bedroom would make an interesting seat in the living room. Simply rearranging the furniture in a room can give the space a whole new look.

2. Reduce the clutter.

Purge. Edit. Whatever you call it, the message is the same. Consider buying some attractive baskets to use for storage. Consider removing some of the knick knacks. If you're painting, Leona suggests taking everything out of a room before painting and carefully considering each piece before you allow it back in. This applies to furniture, accessories, and art. "Avoid re-cluttering your room, as less is truly more," she says.

3. Make a themed group of family photos such as grandparents, baby portraits, or wedding pictures and create a display on a table or sideboard.

Try for pictures of similar size, but it's not necessary for the frames to match exactly in color or style. Take other things into consideration. "You could go with silver or black frames or both, but you wouldn't throw an old, ornate, gold, gilded frame into that grouping," says Charlotte. They don't all have to match but look for similar elements of design.

4. Paint is relatively inexpensive and it makes a big impact.

"When painting walls, choose a clean, neutral color that complements your flooring," says Leona. Rather than painting the entire room, you might think about painting a single, accent wall. It won't take long and if you want to change it back or change it to a different color later, you won't have invested a bunch of cash. Choose a shade that is at least two shades deeper than the paint on the other walls. For example, if you use a mint green paint on three walls of a bedroom, you might paint the accent wall a deeper shade of green.

Or, look at your accessories. In a beige colored room that has green throw pillows, you might choose a similar shade of green for the accent wall.

Match the sheen. If the other three walls are eggshell, the accent wall should also be eggshell.

5. "Try local hardware stores for mis-tints," says Brigitte.

This is paint that has been returned because the color was wrong for the customer, but it might be perfectly right for you. And it will cost considerably less than new paint.

6. Look for low-cost accessories.

For a punch of color in the kitchen, consider adding a bright, new tablecloth or placemats. In the family room or living room, re-cover throw cushions in bright, clean colors, or if the cost is comparable, and often it is, store your old ones and buy new ones.

7. Recycle and repurpose a garage-sale find.

Use your imagination for a new-to-you item. Give it a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint. "I have been known to spray paint almost anything!" says Charlotte. "Lamps are great. You can find really, cheap lamps at yard sales. Take it home, spray paint, and put a new shade on, and you have a new lamp."

8. Art, professionally framed, can be found in galleries, high-end boutiques, and dollar stores.

"Or," says Brigitte, "buy a canvas and make your own." She displays her children's art on a clothesline like apparatus she picked up at IKEA. It runs along the wall in a hallway, and at Christmas time, it can also be used to display cards.

9. A bright new area rug can provide a pop of color on wood or laminate floors.

Look for remnant ends at carpet stores. They cost considerably less than a comparable rug. Duct tape carefully applied to the underside edges can keep errant threads in check.

10. For fresh new window treatments, buy a bamboo mat and make it into a blind.

Add a rod. Hot glue ribbons on the edges for moving up and down. Economical window treatments can also be made from bed sheets and you don't have to have major sewing skills. Turn over the edge of the sheet and make a rod pocket or use curtain clip rings.

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