How to Make a Box-Type Home Feel Homey

Are you feeling boxed in by your surroundings? Not everyone lives in a country estate or chic city penthouse. For most of us, our homes are simply average apartments, town homes, or small tract houses. But, these need not be limiting factors when it comes to living stylishly.

Paint for Personality

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a hundred times:  Paint is the easiest and least expensive way to make a big change. And you know what? It's true! Do not be afraid to go with color. It doesn't have to be wild DayGlow colors; soft neutrals or bold deep colors can be sophisticated yet friendly. Not sure how to pick your colors? It's as easy as flipping through a Pottery Barn catalogue. Their design professionals have selected the perfect Benjamin Moore colors to create their room displays and they now share what those colors are. So, even if you're not in the market to buy furniture just now, there's something to be learned from just reading the catalogue.

Spice Up Furntiture with Slipcovers

If you're looking to update your style, there's a current hot design trend that is very easy on the wallet. Right now, it's all about burlap, cotton, and linen slipcovers. Update a sofa or arm chair with a white or beige cotton slipcover and if you're handy, you can whip up some easy throw pillows made from inexpensive burlap, or even cotton dishtowels or vintage grain sacks. And don't worry about using white! White cotton is completely user friendly-just wash with bleach and it's good to go!

Have Fun with Your Floors

How are your floors doing? If you have wall-to-wall carpet, you can always place a smaller area rug right on top of the wall-to-wall in order to spice things up or create a cozy conversation area. And, speaking of cozy, you can warm up a basement space or any other non-carpeted area with carpet tiles, which come in many different colors, patterns and textures. Tiles are usually 19" square and can be installed wall-to-wall or as area rugs. No installer required, just choose your pattern of choice and it's easy to install yourself.

Add Some Inexpensive Lamps and Lampshades

So, we've worked on the walls, the furniture, and the floors. What's next? Great budget lighting is always a good place to start. If you have a lot of mismatched table or floor lamps, a really great way to improve the overall look is to replace all the shades. Lampshades often get dusty and discolored, so get rid of what you have and go with an off white shade that is scaled right for the size of the lamp (hint-don't go too small!).

Clear the Clutter to Make Room for Your Own Personality

And finally, clear the clutter! The most beautiful, expensive space is ruined by too much clutter-whether it's old toys, out of date photos or piles of mail and magazines. You do all this, and you'll be breathing a sigh of contentment in your tranquil "new" home that didn't break your back or the bank!

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