Update Your House on a Budget without Remodeling

Sofa cushionsWouldn’t it be nice if we could get new furniture every few years? That’s just not a reality for most of us on Long Island. It’s easy to get bored with our decor and to want to re-do the whole house. But making small changes can make a huge difference. Even better, they don’t have to break the bank and don’t have to be done all at once. Once you master the art of re-arranging rooms, adding accessories and changing things seasonally, you can spruce up your house on a budget without remodeling and never get bored.

Some ideas to get you started on updating your home:

The room you spend the most time in may be first on the list for some re-doing. Most likely it’s the living room.

One of the easiest ways to change it is to add a pop of color by changing up your throw pillows. Look for great selections of pillows at local stores such as What a Girl Wants in Wantagh or One Ten Home Furnishings in Farmingdale. You can switch them up seasonally four times a year. Oranges, blues and yellows look great in summer! For winter, choose reds and deeper colors that contrast with your furniture.

Another idea is to switch up accessories and accent pieces. It doesn’t cost much to go to a few yard sales or thrift stores and pick up vases, lanterns, candles, picture frames and bowls of varying colors and styles to add some variety on a budget.

For a bigger change, consider painting. You do not need to re-do the whole room. Painting one simple accent wall can make a huge difference and cost under $50 for the paint if you do it yourself. You can even leave matching walls as is but crackle painted and distress the doors for a varied look. Aboff’s Paint has great pricing on paints and over 15 locations in Nassau and Suffolk.

Painting other pieces in your home can really change it up as well. Try spray painting old mirrors, chairs and stools, vases and anything wicker. Here’s another idea — paint the ceiling a bright white. It can really make a big difference!

Chalkboard paint is a new trend that can be fun too. Some people use chalkboard paint on their refrigerator, a table or even a half wall. Chalkboard paints can be found at any paint store. If you’re crafty, you can stencil on painted wooden stools or chairs for a fun new look. Consider hanging a large chalkboard in the mudroom or on a pantry door to write the week’s schedule and activities on. It’s great for organizing plus it looks modern and cool.

Add greenery. If you don’t have potted plants, consider getting some not only for the gorgeous and calming effect they give to a room, but also for their air cleaning qualities. Check out local nurseries like Main Street Nursery and Florist in Huntington and Hicks Nurseries in Westbury. Not into plants? Consider adding a large potted artificial plant. Big box stores like Michaels often have these items on sale for 40% off, or go to a local retailer like White Post Farms which sells lots of home décor items. These can really add an element of warmth or even drama to a corner of a room.

Change tables. You may want a new carpet or couch, but if you can’t afford it, changing a smaller item, like your coffee table or end tables can make a huge difference. Long Island is home to many furniture retailers such as Peter Andrews (multiple locations) which was voted Best Furniture Store on Long Island in 2012.

Instead of purchasing a new lamp, just get a new lamp shade for an updated look. Visit local stores such as Legend Lamp Shades & Antique Lighting in Huntington Station.

You may be dying for new windows, but changing curtains can dramatically alter the appearance of a room at a much lower cost. Getting rid of heavy curtains can make a room appear lighter, brighter and airier. Long Island is home to many curtain stores including Country Curtains in Manhasset and The Curtain Shoppe in Seaford.

Nothing says pretty like large bunches of fresh cut flowers. Why not cut them from your own yard? No plants at home? Consider picking up a few perennials in the spring or fall at a local nursery and planting them so year after year you will have flowers to cut.

Painting cabinets can change the appearance of a kitchen if they are old and you can’t otherwise afford new ones. Try using distressed techniques for an old country look. Just add new handles, and the whole kitchen look pre-done on a very small budget.

Changing up kitchen chairs and stools or even painting them can also update the room without getting a whole new table. If you have two tables in different rooms, consider switching them if they’d fit. You’d be surprised what a difference it makes.

Don’t forget accents like table runners and place mats.  Like throw pillows, keep at least four sets around and change them up seasonally.

To shop more on a budget, you can get items for your home at dollar stores or used goods stores like Savers (Medford, Holbrook), Island Thrift (Brentwood), Seldon Thrift and Unique Thrift (Westbury, Levittown) at very low costs.

Try these ideas to update your home simply without having to spend lots of money on remodeling. Happy decorating!

By Debra Ferrie

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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