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Michelle Sachs

I am an Interior Design Project Manager for Urbandale Construction, a local Ottawa homebuilder. I have over 25 years experience in the home industry, specializing in new home construction, light commercial construction and interior design. My passion is to share my love of design with everyone.
January 19 2018

Freshening up on a budget

You know that you want to bring some new life into your space, but don't have a lot of cash to do so. So, what should you spend your money on? 

First and foremost - edit - it's free! Take a good look at your space. Is it cluttered, lifeless or just not your style anymore? 

Whatever the problem, a good edit can solve this. Start by taking everything off the coffee table, shelves, mantel and any other surface in the room. With the space now void of clutter and items, start by rearranging furniture. Orient the room in a different manner perhaps shift the focus to a comfortable seating area, as opposed to having all furniture focused on facing the TV. Try positioning an area rug on an angle, group smaller end tables in front of the sofa. You can even swap lamps, accessories and pieces of furniture from other rooms to create a new look. Don't worry about matching sets; rooms look better when they have unexpected elements in them. Rearrange artwork or even group art pieces together in a gallery style feature wall or re-frame tired looking art pieces with simple and inexpensive black frames.

When you are finished re-vamping the furniture arrangement, start by adding only half of the accessories back into the space (trust me, we all have too many accessories.) It is always better to group accessories in odd numbers (3,5, 7 etc.) and add contrast with different sized items. Try a large vase paired with two smaller figurines, or an oversized table lamp with a medium sized picture frame and small trinket. 

If you are looking to make even more of a statement, paint is an easy and affordable way to update a space. Choose a soft neutral in warm shades of white for a fresh gallery look, or try a deeper hue for a more dramatic effect. 

Next, take a good look at your existing furnishings. Are they in good condition? Do they fit the scale of the room? Do the pieces function well for your lifestyle? Replace frayed throw pillows for a budget friendly update, have area rugs professionally cleaned, or if you are more on the crafty side, think about bringing new life into current pieces with new paint or lacquer. Soft furnishings life sofas and chairs can be re-upholstered and refilled. Personally I have had many pieces born again by the talented team at Da Silva Upholstery in Ottawa. 

Another area that can have a major impact on a space is window treatments. If you are not concerned about privacy, leave the windows bare, or add small drapery panels on the side of windows. Using ready-made panels is the most economical, but be sure to double check the measurements to avoid ending up with curtains that I like to call "floods", where the bottom of the drapery panels hang somewhere between the window and the floor. If you are a sewer, adding custom trim on the sides or bottom of ready-made panels can enhance the look and add a custom effect. Custom blinds can be added in areas that require more privacy. You can find budget friendly blinds that can be cut to size at many home fixit centres. If you are looking to stay in your current space for a longer period of time, it may be worthwhile investing in quality blinds that are customized to your windows. 

The first step to refreshing your space is to prioritize what needs to be replaced and what you can fix and reuse. Good luck with your edit! - Michelle

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