Small Budget and Big Changes

(Family Crossings) – If you have big design dreams but are working with a small budget, no fear – you don’t have to sacrifice style and professional-looking results.

“When people think about do-it-yourself projects, they automatically think about costly, floor-to-ceiling overhauls,” says designer and contractor Amy Matthews of the DIY Network’s “Sweat Equity” and “Bathroom Renovations.” “However, there are several low-cost projects that homeowners can tackle to freshen up their home’s style and add a punch of personality.”

Try these budget-friendly decorating tips from Matthews to help get you the priceless design you’ve always wanted without breaking the bank.

Shed a little light: Give your kitchen an instant and inexpensive makeover simply by replacing outdated fixtures such as faucets, lighting and hardware. You can also add a tile backsplash or under-cabinet lights to really dress up your kitchen. Not only are these functional and design-oriented, they really help deliver a big bang for your buck.

A little dab will do: Before you commit to a paint color, buy samples and try them out on the wall. See how the color looks during the day, at night and under various types of lighting. Also, be sure to have painter’s tape on hand, such as Scotch-Blue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces. Whether you’re painting one accent wall or tackling the whole house, masking trim, baseboards, and other areas with painter’s tape lets you avoid a mess and achieve clean, sharp paint lines.

Something old, something new: Add one special piece in the living room that makes a great conversation starter. This could be a lighting fixture, a piece of furniture or a unique rug – something signature to your style. You can find great pieces by shopping at designer sales and discount showrooms, or uncover treasures in your own house. Rummage through the attic or basement to rediscover pictures, vases or your grandmother’s antique chest. You’ll be surprised with what you may find.

Accent on accessories: Fancy towels aren’t just for your guests’ bathroom – treat yourself to new towels in the master bathroom and quickly transform it into an updated and inviting space. For your living spaces, changing couch covers seasonally will keep your d├ęcor fresh and make it look like you purchased new furniture. Try brown microfiber for fall, white linen for summer and sage green in the spring.

Bring the outdoors in: Take a hint from nature and get inspired by the seasons and the beautiful hues outside. Once you’ve decided on one or two colors, buy pillows, lampshades and other accessories to place throughout your bedroom. Experiment with patterns, warm colors such as red and orange, or calm hues such as moss green and sage. Branches and flowers are inexpensive and can also add instant charm to any living area.

Soak up the sun: When landscaping, buy smaller and younger plants that need time to grow. They’ll be ready in a couple of years when you’re ready to sell your house. Fresh cedar mulch or rock landscaping are other great ways to improve curb appeal – they’re inexpensive and will really make your yard pop.

Priceless Kitchen Project

An updated kitchen can add thousands of dollars of value to your home and create a welcoming space to entertain guests – and you can accomplish it without spending a lot of time and money. With a few coats of paint and stylish accessories, your kitchen can become a showpiece.

Tired-looking cabinets? Breathe new life into your kitchen by updating your cabinets for a fraction of the cost of new cabinets.

Tools you’ll need :

  • Paint roller and/or brush
  • Scotch-Blue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces
  • Screwdriver for removing cabinet doors and drawer and cabinet hardware
  • Primer
  • Paint

Quick tips:

  • When selecting your paint color, keep in mind that a light color will make a room look brighter and more open, while dark colors can help old-fashioned cabinets look more modern.
  • High-gloss paint is often recommended for cabinets; however semi-gloss adds a rich finish.
  • When applying paint to cabinets, use a quality brush – the better the brush, the better the finish.
  • Begin painting at the center of the cabinets and follow the grain.
  1. Before getting started, wipe down cabinets with a tack cloth to remove dust. Sand any rough areas and remove sawdust from the area.
  2. Tape walls around cabinets and the backsplash.
  3. Remove cabinet doors and handles.
  4. Tape cabinet inner shelves and sides. Apply primer coat. Note: Using a tinted primer saves at least one coat of paint, so you can buy fewer cans.
  5. Apply two coats of paint. Allow time to dry (approximately 4 hours).
  6. Remove tape.
  7. Remove door hinges.
  8. Prime and paint doors. Note: Use a brush instead of a roller to apply primer and paint to uneven cabinet surfaces.
  9. Tape fully cured cabinets and trim.
  10. Paint wall base coat. Allow to dry. Carefully pull tape.
  11. Reassemble cabinets.
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