By Jennifer Maggio, Crosswalk.com
Pick up the latest issue of Southern Living and flip to any page. It is filled with endless ideas to have the most beautiful of southern homes. Not a southern girl at heart? No worries, there are countless home interior and design catalogs to satisfy your every design craving – whatever your taste. The problem? Many in today’s economy simply do not have the financial means to “gut” kitchens and bathrooms or replace furniture throughout our homes and drop $50,000-$100,000.
I live in a forty year old home. No, I don’t mean one of those nostalgic, older homes that we all romanticize and dream of owning one day. I mean a forty-year old house with carpet and paint colors that are almost as old, I suspect. I have been flipping through catalogs for ten years now and finally received the green light from my husband to make some design changes. And I, too, did not have a hundred grand to drop on redesign ideas, so I got creative and learned a few things that I would like to share with you.
1. A fresh coat of pain is the cheapest, most powerful tool used in redesign. From stencils to texturing, paint can provide an entirely new look to a room. Painting a dominant wall one color and the other three walls another is another popular trend. Whatever your taste, rest assured that some fresh colors on your wall will give you the most bang for your buck.
2. New fabrics create a great foundation for an updated look. New curtains can dramatically change a room. A new throw over your sofa can give it a more modern look. New linens and comforter on your bed can turn your boring master bedroom into a romantic oasis.
3. Accessorize. Don’t have the money for a new living room suit? No worries. Remove existing throw pillows and replace them with new ones. Visit your local thrift store for amazing finds on wall paintings and knick knacks. It’s worth the time to dig through the piles to find your next treasure.
4. Discount stores have great deals. Don’t skip your local discount stores assuming they will not suit your tastes. I found that many of the major retail discount stores have dramatically improved the quality and variety of home furnishings and accessories. It is likely you may find a great chair, accessory, or wall print at an even greater price!
5. Don’t be afraid to paint existing furniture, built-in bookshelves, or other home interiors. This is a very inexpensive way to create a new look. With many home improvement stores offering paints and primers to cover almost any surface, it is both quick and easy.
6. Invite friends to join in the fun. I do not mind admitting to you that I do not have one aesthetically-driven bone in my body. That’s not to say that I do not enjoy the beauty of a well-designed living room or kitchen. It simply means that I have no idea how to achieve that look. But I am, if nothing else, resourceful. I know that redesign is not my forte, but I have friends who live for that sort of thing. Their homes look like they could be featured in a magazine. I am willing to bet that you have those type of women in your life, too. Gather some girlfriends together. Brew a fresh pot of coffee, and gather some design catalogs. Have a wonderful afternoon brainstorming ideas, all while enjoying some good girl time, too.
Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single moms and womens’ issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who has a God-given passion to see women walking in total freedom. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and has been featured in countless media venues.