Home A Makeover
Making your home attractive doesn't always require major
renovations. Changing the colour scheme, repainting,
hanging new window coverings and installing new lighting
and flooring can help give your home the facelift it needs
without breaking your budget.
Improving the "look" of your home not only makes it more
attractive and comfortable, but may also increase the
market value of your property. If, however, you are hoping
to recoup your home improvement costs someday soon, stay
away from specialized improvements such as pools, saunas,
gyms, greenhouses and dark rooms. These are the types of
improvements which -while they may be personally appealing
-have little demand and, as a result, little added value.
The wisest improvements in any home are those that bring
it up to the standards of other properties in the
immediate area. If most properties have garages, central
air, home office and fireplaces, these are well-worth
adding. Improvements to enhance the exterior of your home
-such as fencing, decks, shade trees, shrubs and
landscaping -can also add value.
What's your style?
Before you begin your home improvement project, determine
your style. It is best to choose colours and decorations
and stick to one style. Chances are you won't be replacing
all the furniture and fixtures in your home, so try to
work any new colour schemes with the furnishings you have.
For continuity and to create spaciousness, maintain the
same colour scheme throughout the living areas of the
home, varying only the accent colour from room to room.
Break away from these rules in your personal spaces, such
as bedrooms and bathrooms.
Don't be afraid of colour
When it comes to home decorating, colour and paint are
your best friends. Colours can visually enlarge or reduce
the size of a room, and can heighten or lower a ceiling.
One of the best ways to update your home is to use paint.
Paint can transform dated cupboards and vanities into
bright new features in a room. The splashy colours and
techniques available can add life to almost anything. You
can brighten old floors and even give them a faux tile
look using paint and polyurethane. Paint can also do
wonders to the exterior of your home.
Take in the view
Do your windows provide a beautiful view? If so, be sure
to keep the window coverings light and simple. If privacy
is an issue, however, you will want to consider heavier
fabric or blinds or blinds that offer privacy while still
allowing the light to shine through. There are so many
colours and types of window coverings to choose from that
you will have little trouble finding something both
eye-catching and functional.
Light up your life
Lighting can change the mood of a room. Bright lights
stimulate activity; dim lights help you relax. Install
dimmers for flexible mood lighting. If you want to create
a warm atmosphere, use small pools of light instead of
general lighting. The exterior of your home will also
benefit from spotlights and floodlights that highlight
your garden, walls and other features.
A ceiling skylight will dramatically increase the sense of
extra space in a room and let in more light than a window
the same size. It can transform a dark area into a
brightly lit living space. Ventilating skylights can let
in air as well. If your budget is too tight to install a
skylight, try adding recessed floodlights to a ceiling or
track lighting in areas you want to brighten.
Give the floor a clean sweep
It's amazing what homeowners have discovered under the
rug. If your home has old wall-to-wall carpeting, take a
peek to see if there is hardwood underneath. Wood floors
may only need polishing or sanding down and sealing with
polyurethane to restore them to their original beauty.
Even when they can't be restored, wood floors can still be
rescued with paint.
If you decide on new flooring, consider the wear and tear
the room will have. Hard-wear areas like the kitchen and
bathrooms benefit from resilient flooring choices such as
ceramic and vinyl tiles. You can give any floor extra
character by adding inexpensive area rugs, even over
Ask for advice
Many home improvement stores, paint stores, wallpaper
outlets, etc. offer free decorating advice. Take advantage
of this service during the planning stages of your make
over. Ask for samples of paint colours and fabric and take
them home to ponder. Above all, take your time and be sure
you choose a colour or fabric you will enjoy for a long