Make Over A Room For $100

By Lisa Quinn
May 4, 2008

You can improve any room without breaking the bank! Here are three simple steps to transform your space:

Conquer That Clutter

Most of us buy things we don’t need, then agonize over where to put them all. If you’re consumed with junk, try these tips:

Make a great first impression. The foyer can be the messiest catch-all in the house. Hang hooks along one wall for coats, hats and scarves. If you have space, place a small bench below the hooks for easy shoe removal and store your shoes underneath in baskets.

• Eliminate multiple items that serve the same purpose. Are your kitchen drawers and countertops overflowing with enough spatulas, wine openers and gadgets to cater an event at the White House? “One of everything” is all you really need, unless you’re Wolfgang Puck.

• Shop with intent, not on impulse. Resist the temptation to buy those candlesticks you don’t have room for. Take a list with you every time you shop and don’t bring home frivolous items that take up valuable space.

• Don’t procrastinate. You’ll never create a peaceful room if there’s clutter everywhere. Attack it now and take 15 minutes every day to keep it tidy (your kids can help too). Soon it will become a habit.

Perk Up Walls With Paint

Paint is the most dramatic and least expensive way to make an impact in a room. It adds color and character and can give the illusion of extra square footage.

• Paint an opposing wall a rich hue, like red or brown. The rich color adds depth and makes the room feel larger.

• Lighten up ceilings. Apply a pale shade of cream or yellow in a semi-gloss finish to the low ceilings in converted basements and loft spaces. It will create the illusion of light and height.

• Create stripes by using two shades of one color paint and a roll of painter’s tape. Vertical stripes make a room feel taller; horizontal stripes make a room feel wider.

• Choose low contrast. Contrary to popular belief, painting walls white doesn’t always make a room appear larger. If your furnishings and accessories are dark, the contrast against stark white walls actually can make your room feel more cramped. Choose a cream or light taupe instead. Low contrast is easier on the eye and gives the illusion of space.

• Live with the color before you commit to it by applying it to a poster board first. Tape the poster board to your wall for a few days to get a sense of how the color will look.

Mix and Match Your Movables

A budget-friendly way to get out of a decorating rut is to rearrange your existing furniture.

• Enlist a friend to give you a second opinion and help with any heavy lifting. Clear the room and your mind, then slowly begin to replace the major pieces.

• Get a new perspective. Arrange your bed against a different wall. Waking up to a fresh view in the morning will make you feel like you’re in a new room.

• Play with space. If you have a large living room, pull your furniture away from the walls and move the pieces closer together to create a comfortable seating area. If the room is small, consider placing some pieces on the diagonal to add visual space.

• Display collections together for the biggest impact. A grouping of black-and-white photos on one wall will make a stronger impression than various, mismatched frames all over the house.

• Repurpose, reuse and recycle items from your home for a brand-new take on accessorizing. For an
Old World feel, move a rug from the floor to the wall by hanging it from a curtain rod. Transform a folding screen into a headboard simply by placing it against the wall behind your bed.

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