Home dec­o­rat­ing? You can do more with less

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Kathy McCormick

Looking for some ideas and hints for dec­o­rat­ing on a bud­get? Fol­low th­ese tips from Colin McAl­lis­ter and Justin Ryan, HGTV’s pop­u­lar hosts of Home Heist. Ten ways to do more for less:

Paint — Paint­ing a room is rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive and will elicit max­i­mum re­sults for min­i­mum ef­fort. Proper prepa­ra­tion costs noth­ing, so do it all prop­erly and the fin­ished re­sults will prop­erly de­liver. Be slap­dash and your re­sults will be cheap and nasty.

Do it your­self, but do it prop­erly — Do what you can your­self, but don’t be a have-a-go hero if you’re sim­ply not up to the job in hand. Think how much you’d save if you could ac­tu­ally paint, tile or make cur­tains — and then es­ti­mate how much wasted time and cash there would be if your home be­came a se­ries of botched jobs. Yup, if DIY’s not your thing, then try DFY — Done For You. Call in the pros.

Use what you’ve got — Raid the base­ment, fish out granny’s old dresser and give it a facelift. A lick of paint and some new han­dles could haul it out of the dark­ness and make it wor­thy of be­com­ing cen­tre stage, once again, in your home. Or reach for the sewing ma­chine and make some new slip cov­ers for your dated sofa. Or drill holes and add some shelves to a dated ar­moire to turn it into a me­dia cen­tre that could hap­pily house your TV or DVD. Al­ways think out of the box and look at things dif­fer­ently.

Move things around — Some­times, a good clear-up and a change of ori­en­ta­tion can be all that’s needed to freshen pro­ceed­ings and pro­vide a whole new look. So, with this in mind, move your sofa to the other side of the room, try your bed on an­other wall, or sim­ply clear clut­ter and re­ar­range ac­ces­sories to re-dress your space.

Swap skills — OK, so you’re handy with a sewing ma­chine, but know noth­ing about electrics. What are you go­ing to do about your ter­ri­ble kitchen lighting? Hold on a minute... Your next-door neigh­bour’s a friendly elec­tri­cian, but he has ter­ri­ble cur­tains... Why not of­fer to make some fab­u­lous new win­dow drapes in ex­change for fit­ting some over­head lighting?

Shop sec­ond-hand stores — Sec­ond hand doesn’t have to mean sec­ond best, so cast your decor net around char­ity stores, news­pa­per no­tices, on­line auc­tions, es­tate sales and sal­vage yards for some fab­u­lous home bar­gains. But re­mem­ber our motto; think twice, buy once. Just be­cause some­thing ap­pears to be a bar­gain, it doesn’t mean you should have it. Avoid snatch-and-grab im­pulse buys and in­vest in­stead in clas­sic pieces that are solid enough to stand the test of time. Or buy items that can be trans­formed into use­ful pieces. We’ve re-uphol­stered many an old sofa on Home Heist, only to give our home­own­ers their favourite couch back — but by this time, dra­mat­i­cally restyled.

Search out the scratch-and-dent — Ask around larger fur­ni­ture stores to dis­cover whether they of­fer dis­counts on scratch-and-dent dam­aged items, cus­tomer re­turns or even last sea­son’s stock. Some depart­ment stores have ded­i­cated clear­ance cen­tres, so it’s well worth scouting around. We reg­u­larly buy Home Heist so­fas from The Bay’s clear­ance cen­tre and they’re al­ways fab­u­lous! Re­mem­ber our other motto; It’s not how much money you spend, but how you spend it that makes all the dif­fer­ence.

Buy off-the-shelf items — Custom items gen­er­ally cost a lit­tle more, so try to stick to stock prod­uct when­ever you can — even if that means adapt­ing read­ily avail­able stuff as re­quired. Buy off-the-shelf pic­ture frames, but use card mount to size aper­tures to fit your pic­tures.

Use the In­ter­net — Swap, sell or search. Yup, what­ever you do, get onto the web and sniff out those bar­gains.

Sea­sonal ad­just­ment — De­sign your room with a neu­tral back­drop and choose plain walls and fur­ni­ture. Next, ad­just your over­all look by us­ing clev­erly se­lected ac­ces­sories. Bear in mind it’s cheaper to change dec­o­ra­tive jew­elry than a whole room — so if you’re a ha­bit­ual dec­o­ra­tor and con­stantly re­design­ing, let the sea­sons guide you.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Base­ment: Space is too valu­able to waste — use il­lu­mi­nated glass pan­els and fake win­dows to turn a dark and dis­used base­ment into a bright, mod

ern loft style apart­ment.”

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