On a Budget? Tips for Decorating

David Deem

You've scrimped and saved to buy your first home, and moving in was sweet. But now it's time to decorate and your pockets are empty. What can you do on a shoestring?

Plenty, says Pat Hanley, a d cor consultant with a home improvement store in Boulder, Colo. "For many young couples, the first order of business is often to make the home their own," Hanley said. "That is, a space that reflects their taste and lifestyle and not the taste of the family that just moved out."

To do that, she suggested, begin with clean, bare walls. Wallpaper removal supplies are inexpensive and efficient, and bare walls in a light, neutral color will give you a fresh palette on which to work.

Next, focus on one room at a time and note the many ways you can bring them to life without spending a fortune.

Kitchen Paint or re-stain dull kitchen cabinets and/or update the pulls with new hardware. Replace old ceiling fixtures with new designs or ceiling fans and, if the room is square and boxy, an inexpensive portable island will add a cozy focal point as well as extra storage and counter space.

Bathroom Any bathroom benefits from more light. Consider wall sconces, recessed, or strip lighting. Wall-mounted shelves or cabinets are inexpensive and attractive, or hang extra towels or robes from pegs. If counter space permits, set out glass containers filled with seashells or soaps.

Living room If color is your thing, paint one wall in a vibrant shade and throw contrasting pillows around the room. A large mirror will reflect light and color, and silk plants add elegance and charm.

Master bedroom Do as many hotels are doing: throw a two-foot wide strip of colorful fabric (hemmed) over the lower third of a plain, white comforter. Use the same fabric to create a window valance shirred over a standard curtain rod or draped over a decorative pole rod.

Kid's rooms Choose a wallpaper border in the pattern of choice (Cowboy? Princess? Safari?) Add accessories as funds permit-or use primary colors in painted furniture and toy storage bins to create a kid-friendly environment.

DRE: #01266522


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