The living room is the most used room in your house, so it makes sense for it to be attractive not only for the guests you’ve invited for dinner, but for your family’s daily use. Aside from how it will look the changes you make should ultimately result in a room that is practical for everyday use, will hold its value, and in the best cases add value to your home.
You could have a spectacular vision for your room, however; regardless of your budget, it will take careful planning and often some degree of compromise. And remember, budgeting isn’t about buying only what is cheap, it’s about making smart informed decisions – Much like the advice you get from your REALTOR® when it comes to buying and selling. Here is some advice from the experts at HGTV on home decorating.
1. Make a wish-list
Set your imagination free. Write down a list of everything you would like to do; everything you would like to buy. While it’s fun to write down all of your wants, don’t forget your needs. It’s not very practical to buy fancy new furniture if its only compliment is an old, worn out carpet.
2. Determine your Budget
Be honest. If anything, sell yourself a bit short. If the money isn’t there, set a savings goal and wait until you reach it – there is no sense hurting your credit because you are in too deep. You need to be happy and comfortable with how much you are willing to spend.
3. Familiarize Yourself
Do your research – look in stores, magazines, the internet. Find out what the price tags on your wish-list are. You might be a bit shocked if it’s been a while since your last home project.
Itemize your wish-list and its whole cost. You will quickly see which of your wants will have to wait. If you have a huge project, decide if you should do it by room rather than all at once. Similarly on a smaller scale, you may need to tackle it by category: background first, then furniture, then accessories.
5. Invest in the Important
These are the hot ticket items that will create the wow factor – or as mentioned earlier, items that you will use every day or hold value. Items like new flooring for example; anything that is permanent. It’s okay to splurge on these – just make sure you’re paying what they are worth.
6. Low cost cosmetics
After purchasing your big ticket items, divvy up your remaining budget on the extras; linens, lighting, accessories, etc. – everything that is easy to switch out and upgrade later. Follow the trends of accessories and you will be able to make an impact on your room without impacting your bottom line.
The three R’s of successful decorating – Review, Re-think, Re-evaluate. Sometimes you will run into a situation where you find something you absolutely need, but your budget doesn’t allow you any room – do some juggling. If your flooring eats up more of your budget than you expected – allow less for a piece of furniture. This is where having a spreadsheet of items comes in handy, it lets you see what items you’ve gone over, and where you can make up for them with others.
8. No Surprise is a Good Surprise
The 10-15% you budgeted for at the beginning will help cover any unforeseen costs, like that of an electrician if you find a lighting project that is more difficult than expected. Don’t fall victim to the following three common mistakes:
a) Impulse buying – Keep your list with you at all times to keep you focused. Deviate only when absolutely necessary be it a smokin’ deal, or something you absolutely need and can actually use.
b) Freight/Delivery – These can add up quickly if you don’t pay close attention. Even if it means waiting longer for something to come in, try see if your manufacturer will let your order piggy-back others to save charges.
c) Supplies – If you don’t intend on hiring a professional and elect yourself to do a job like painting, budget for the hardware. Paint is relatively inexpensive, but once you buy a stepladder, rollers, brushes, trays, extending poles, painting tape, tarps and more to ensure the job is done right, an expert painter’s quote might suddenly look reasonable.
9. Phase it in
Sometimes you can’t afford to do everything all at once, but don’t lose sight of your vision. Spread out your expenses by turning it into a long range plan – good things come to those who wait. It’s recommended to tackle projects in this order: Ceilings, walls and floors first, then shelving and buildable items, and finally furniture, fabrics, lighting and accessories.
If you're thinking about renovating to sell, be sure to talk to your local expert at Century 21 Mountainview Realty. We can give you advice on what needs addressing, and what can wait. We can also give you home staging advice to ensure your home is viewed in the best possible way by potential buyers. After all - you have only 8 seconds to make a lasting first impression.