Are you renovating your kitchen, bathroom or dining room? You want to make your space magazine-ready without taking out a second mortgage, but for that, you need some expert input. We talked to Hope Kauffman, an interior decorator in Chicago, for a few tips and tricks she shares with clients who are decorating or renovating on a budget.
1. Reupholster your grandmother's furniture
"The great thing about using older furniture," explains Kauffman, "is that the quality is so much better than anything you can buy now on a budget." She recently bought two chairs at an estate sale and had them reupholstered. "The key is picking bold, bright, colorful patterns to give it that modern look."
2. Instead of ripping out something, try to work with what you have
A lot of older homes have original crown molding or wall-to-wall room paneling. Sometimes just painting it white can completely change the look and separate your house from all the new construction ones on the market. "You can't get that level of detail with plain old drywall," says Kauffman. "It can be really special."
3. Never replace hardwood floors
A lot of times the hardwood floors that you find in your house may be salvageable. "If you sand it down, and refinish it, your house can look amazing," says Kauffman. When it comes time to resell, having hardwood floors can be the clincher, since it's a top priority for many buyers.
4. The heavier, the better (with faucets, anyway)
Look for faucets that have solid brass construction and ceramic cartridges (instead of plastic). A lot of name brand faucets have these, but they come with a serious price tag. There are some online stores whose house brand might be unknown, but have these components for a fraction of the cost. "If you are replacing the faucets in your bathroom or kitchen, you can literally save thousands of dollars," urges Kauffman. The faucets in your bathroom will feel expensive, and it can be your little secret. Two websites to try: Signature Hardware and Vintage Tub and Bath.
5. Sometimes simpler is better, too
Sometimes less is more, says Kauffman. "Plain white subway tile at a big-box store can be really cheap," explains Kauffman. "If you pair that with a black or grey grout, which is really in right now, you can have a designer look for a fraction of the designer cost."
6. Buy remnant granite pieces
When it comes to your granite or marble, especially in your bathroom or on an island, where a small piece will do, ask your granite people if they have remnant pieces you can buy. Usually these pieces are leftover from larger jobs but are too small to use for an entire kitchen. You will pay very little, usually just for the cost of the labor of fabrication.
7. Ask for a discount on your appliances
When you are buying more than one appliance, and especially if you're buying a whole kitchen's worth, be sure to ask for a bundle discount. Many places can do it, but they won't offer it to you unless you ask. "Also, check to see if you or your spouse's workplace has an employee discount program with one of the major appliance manufacturers," advises Kauffman.
Bottom line? Renovating or redecorating doesn’t have to break the bank. A little creativity and ingenuity can go a long way.