Expert Home Makeover 2023

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On Trend:

Find your new favorite home design style

With an abundance of niche fashion aesthetics to choose from, it can be harder than ever these days to find your personal sense of style. Do you like floaty prairie dresses and peasant blouses, a la the cottagecore micro aesthetic?

Are you an aspiring (or actual) coastal grandmother? Into dark academia? Or just trying to keep up? The same obsession around personal aesthetics can also extend to interior design preferences. From shabby chic to Southwestern style, we’ll take you on a tour of different types of home design and help you find your favorite. Select one style or combine elements of them all for a choose-your-own-adventure approach to creating an environment that’ll make you feel right at home – literally.

Shabby chic: “Pride and Prejudice” meets pops of color

It’s girly yet gritty – it’s shabby chic. Weathered floral prints and worn-in furniture create an ideal backdrop for enjoying a cup of tea or sitting and daydreaming contentedly. There is something decidedly romantic and lush about shabby chic design – it’s perfect for those who enjoy

a feminine flair with a bit of wear and tear. Pieces can be sourced from vintage shops or antique stores for that one-of-a-kind find, and best of all, imperfections are encouraged in this type of design. Staples of the style include soft, muted pastels, furniture that looks vaguely Victorian and white fabrics and furnishings. Add a bit of lace or linen, and you’re set! Then dust off your copy of Jane Austen’s collected works and have yourself a nice sit in your sunroom.

Bohemian: Eclectic art and patterns paired with earthy accents

Are you a free spirit at heart? Love macramé? Or have you ever felt the all-consuming urge to dress like Stevie Nicks in a patterned tunic?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a bohemianstyle home may be the right fit for you. Boho-themed interior design is all about individuality and blending an array of oddities, earthy colors and patterns. No two bohemian-style homes need look alike. Find your own design flair and embrace the boho style with wooden accents, loud, splashy art, pops of green from real or faux plants, woven rugs, tasseled poufs, bead curtains

and as many mismatched pillows as your heart desires.

Southwestern: Vibrant colors combined with warm, wooden accents

Similar to the bohemian style, splashes of bold colors and patterns paired with earthy or natural elements bring the Southwestern style of home décor to life. There

Modern Farmhouse:

As made popular by Magnolia co-founder

Joanna Gaines

If you like your classic home décor with a slice of slightly rustic charm, then say hello to modern farmhouse design, AKA “the Joanna Gaines.”

The foundation of modern farmhouse style is comfort and ease. These types of homes present a lived-in style that’s cozy and invites friends and family members to sit down, snuggle up and really enjoy the space.

is a decided warmth to the desert-inspired design trend, featuring brightly colored tiles and pottery, Navajo-style rugs, animal-inspired accents, woven baskets and gorgeous tapestries. Add cacti or other plants to your Southwesterninfused space for a punch of green. You’ll enjoy beautiful design elements inspired by the colors and landscapes out West without ever having to leave your living room.

Key parts of the look include a cool color palette, wooden accents and using a variety of fabrics and textures in items like pillows or blankets.

Modern Gothic:

Historical and lavish Gothic style with a modern twist

Modern farmhouse, meet

modern Gothic (not to be confused with the painting “American Gothic” or mall goth fashions a la Hot Topic –“It’s not a phase, Mom!”). For those with a proclivity for a darker color palette and rich, ornate styles, the modern Gothic design movement is your new moody and medieval-inspired best friend. It’s not just about all-black styles that call to mind the dimly lit catacombs of a 13thcentury castle (although yes, it can be that, too): Modern Gothic home design combines a range of darker colors with opulent fabrics, eye-catching wallpapers, the occasional statement piece chandelier, stained glass windows and curious or chilling accent pieces that will make your home hauntingly beautiful. A little can go a long way: Choose a few of your favorite Gothic-inspired elements and add a modern twist with coffee table books, plants, pillows and other accent items from the here and now.

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Make Your Laundry Room Inviting as well as functional

LAUNDRY. The mere word draws a groan. It’s a chore and it never lets up. If you have a small laundry room with tight spaces, it’s even more of a chore. Regardless of its size, don’t let the look of your laundry room be an afterthought. The more stylish and well-organized this room is, the less you’ll feel like avoiding it.

Fans: If you have the standard small laundry room,

I feel your pain. Especially in the summer, and particularly if your laundry is off the (un-air-conditioned) garage, it can get hot in there when you’re drying multiple loads. A remote-controlled fan is a blessing for this problem. If you have shelves, set a desk fan on the lower shelf, point it to your level and keep the remote in an accessible spot on the wall in a caddy or shelf. No shelves? Install an adjustable wall-mount fan. Or, if you have available floor

space, place a slim tower fan in a corner. A ceiling fan with light in place of the overhead light is also an option and saves maximum space.

Walls: Paint the walls a color you love, or put up wallpaper. Wallpaper is enjoying a renaissance and adds personality to a room, and there’s no denying a laundry room needs personality! Indulge your creative side

and go with something that speaks to you: Monkeys in the jungle? Steampunk Paris with hot air balloons? Or just paint or wallpaper one wall, like the wall behind your washer and dryer. There’s no reason your laundry room can’t have a feature wall!

On the opposite wall, you could install grid wall panels for a space-saving way to hang clothes, and use with swiveling hangers. If you use matching hangers throughout (your closet as well as your laundry room), you’ll achieve a neater, less chaotic look, which is more calming to the eye and spirit.

Floors: Best for this room are sheet vinyl flooring, ceramic tile or luxury vinyl plank (LVP), which can look like wood in a range of shades and grains. Since it’s usually a relatively small space, you can splurge a little on the flooring if you find something you love. Finish off the floor with a non-slip accent rug.

Washer/Dryer: If space is an issue, consider full-size front-loading stackable units. (LG has gone one better and makes a vertical washer/ dryer that has the controls between them.) This leaves more space for cabinets, a “slop sink” and/or accessories like a drying rack or a wall-

or door-mounted ironing board. If you prefer side-byside units and have some extra space, place a narrow laundry storage cart between them to hold dryer sheets, stain remover, detergent, etc. If you don’t have that extra space, and your machines have controls in the front (vs. the top back), install a shelf above them for folding; you could even add a petite lamp and some faux (or real) plants there for a touch of charm.

Hampers: A quick search yields a range of affordable space-saving options online, like an over-the-door pop-up hamper by SmartDesign; two will fit on a standard door and stay nicely out of the way. There is a range of laundry sorters on wheels with two to four compartments; a commercial laundry cart on wheels by Gracie Oaks has capacity to spare, a canvas liner and pull handles –making it very easy to move from room to room.

Final decorative touches can include something fun like a retro wall clock, a droll calendar or snarky artwork celebrating the universally loathed drudgery of laundry. Now your laundry room practically beckons. And if you leave the door open, it’s so inviting that people actually want to go in there!

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Small Changes … BIG IMPACT

Every home needs a bit of a refresh now and then. But that doesn’t mean you have to hand over a month’s salary or work your tail off. There are lots of things you can do in an afternoon or a weekend (or hire someone to do), that make a real impact on your home, inside and out.

Curb appeal…

Start with your mailbox. If you don’t want to replace it, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Add new numbers on both sides of the box; but before that, if you’re feeling creative, paint or stencil a design like a colorful mandala or a vintage mermaid. A bold design could incorporate your

numbers. Maybe plant some flowers around the base, or a tropical vine you can coax up the stand.

Now to the concrete. Power washing your driveway and sidewalks can make your house feel so much fresher. Whether you DIY, or hire someone, it’s especially nice to do this in the spring.

How does the roof look?

Mildew stains? Pressure cleaning the roof is a job for the professionals, but the freshening impact cannot be overstated.

Do you have a front porch?

A few changes here will make a world of difference. Power washing can get rid of any buggy, cobwebby

nastiness (kill wasp nests first to prevent dive-bombing of enraged wasps). Repaint your front door — maybe a bold bright color you love like marigold, scarlet or teal. Now for the doorbell. Is it the standard little glow-inthe-dark push button? You can upgrade that visually with a wall-mounted doorbell

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Dos & Don’ts

The of home remodeling for newbies

So, it’s time to do some home remodeling. If this is your first foray into overhauling an area of your home, you may be wondering where to begin. We’ll help you get started with the tips and tricks you need to know as a beginner – they just might help you save time and money along the way. To do, and what not to do, that is the question!

DO: Your research

It’s a good idea to know ahead of time what kind of remodeling project you want to accomplish and what you want it to look like. Perusing Pinterest, Google Images or blogs for ideas can help you envision the end result. Want to add a tile backsplash to your kitchen? Try searching online for pictures of

backsplashes or keep an eye out in your favorite home design magazines for images that resonate with you. With that being said, according to Real Simple, too much inundation of inspiration images could influence your design decisions. The key is to make sure that whatever you choose is a true reflection of your tastes, so that you’re not swayed by design trends that just aren’t you.

DON’T: Forget to create a home renovation budget

Money matters. Setting a realistic budget for your remodeling projects ahead of time will help you stay on track financially and give you a practical idea of what you can accomplish with your funds. According to Real Simple, people often underestimate the cost of renovation projects, which can be quite expensive, especially these days. It’s recommended to budget 20 percent over the estimated cost of the renovation project in question, just in case.

DO: Think practically

When getting ready for remodeling, your mind may begin to wander, considering all the possibilities. Sure, you may feel inspired to swap out your staircase for a wonderful, winding slide (a dream renovation, to be honest), but

the more practical projects and maintenance essentials, like updating an old appliance or putting a fresh coat of paint on your kitchen cabinets, are just as important, writes one Angi article. Real Simple echoes this ethos: By focusing on the more necessary upgrades first, you ensure that the important projects are accomplished before your renovation budget runs out. Remember: Remodeling takes time. Be proud of your progress every step of the way.

DON’T: Work in silence

During the remodeling process, you’ll be hard at work on making your home a newer, shinier, more upgraded version of itself, and at times, it might feel tedious or even overwhelming. Don’t lose morale: Put on some of your favorite tunes in the background (or a podcast if that’s your thing) to lift the mood and keep you motivated while you work.

DO: Stay hydrated

You can’t expect to remodel your home if you haven’t had enough water, now, can you? I thought not! (The same goes for snack breaks.)

DON’T: Hesitate to hire a professional

If you’re unsure of your renovation skills or have a project in mind that requires

technical work, consider hiring a professional. Make sure you find the right person for the job: Real Simple recommends getting a few estimates first and asking any questions you might have before making your final choice. Remember, if the renovation is in an area of your house that you frequent, you will have to see it every day. So, make sure you hire someone who does quality work and understands what you’d like done. A good rule of thumb is to hire a professional when there is more than one trade involved in the renovation, such as plumbing or electrical work, according to a Martha Stewart article. When in doubt, give a contractor a shout!

DO: Take pictures

What’s the fun in undergoing an expensive and often timeconsuming home remodeling project if you don’t have before and after photos to show for it? Catalogue your journey by taking pictures or videos of your home before, during and after the remodeling process. Sometimes the best of memories can be made while you and your loved ones are hard at work, making your home your own. Don’t forget to take photos so you can see later just how far you’ve come. Happy remodeling!

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Fixer Upper:

surround in a traditional or arts and crafts style, or take it even further and install a doorbell with a camera (such as Nest or Blink). Add a new welcome mat and an outdoor wreath. There are loads of festive, affordable wreaths at HomeGoods and online. A final note of welcome: a potted topiary (or a matching pair) at the front door. It doesn’t have to be real, either — there are faux boxwood topiaries available on Amazon, Target, Nearly Natural and Wayfair that rival the real ones in appearance and require no care.

or the walls (or one feature wall) of your kitchen for an (almost) instant lift. Replace the drawer pulls and faucet; whether you choose black or bronze or brushed nickel, mission-style, traditional or modern, this is an opportunity to redefine your kitchen’s style without breaking the bank. If you have one of those obnoxiously bright but uninspiring fluorescent ceiling lights, consider ditching that and getting recessed or pot lights installed instead to give your kitchen a whole new ambience. Hidden lighting under and/or above

Elsewhere in the house, rearrange your furniture. Switch out chairs and lamps between rooms. Paint or recover dated chairs. Put new covers on your throw pillows (Bed, Bath & Beyond has a great selection). If you like your sofa, but want to give it a new look, consider a new slipcover. A formidable DIY project for those savvy with a sewing machine, but if you hire someone to do it, it’s still going to cost significantly less than buying a new sofa.

Stencil the top of a tired bureau or coffee table. Rearrange the contents of your bookshelves — whether by color or size or type of book — and weed out the ones that no longer interest you to make space for tchotchkes, framed photos, plants or a petite lamp. Somewhere in your home, where it makes visual sense, add a string of decorative lights.

Your living space…

Free or low-cost fixes: Move your art and photos around. Refresh them with new photos, or something unexpected, like an interesting mask, a vintage fan or a stencil quote. One fun way to make low-cost art for your walls is to find artistic greeting cards or vintage postcards (think antique stores and museum shops). With a deep mat and the right frame, voila!

What about the kitchen? Repaint the cabinets and/

the cabinets is another interesting way to change up the mood.

In the bathrooms, typically smaller and with one or two sizable mirrors, repainting the walls will bring real impact. But so will changing out the shower curtain (and it’s a lot quicker and easier). The new shower curtain might inspire other changes, like complementary rugs, new art, baskets and other accents. Here also, new drawer pulls and faucets will really make a statement.

Do you have a potted Areca palm or ficus in a corner? Place a spotlight on the floor angled up at the leaves to throw interesting light and shadows on the wall. If you’re feeling creative, paint a design or mural on an alcove or feature wall, or apply a stencil on the wall behind your sofa or bed. Inspiration teems for such projects on Pinterest, royaldesignstudio. com and cuttingedgestencils. com.

Any one of these ideas can make a difference in your home, as well as trigger all sorts of new ideas to try as well. Refreshing your home is a fun and creative way to make it reflect you, and serve you, better.

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You can in yoursmall space

Living in a small space has its perks. There’s less space to cool, and it’s easier and quicker to clean. If you own your home, updating the flooring won’t cost as much, there are fewer windows to replace when the time comes, a new roof will be less expensive and you won’t need as much furniture as you would for a big, sprawling home. In

fact, some people prefer the coziness of a small home, and enjoy the challenge of making it work.

When it comes to getting maximum functionality in your small space, furniture that does double duty is key — an expandable dining table, benches and ottomans with built-in storage, a coffee table with storage and a

lift top, a sleeper sofa, beds that have storage drawers underneath or cubbies in the headboard — options are endless for making the best use of a small space, and your creativity will be your superpower. Make your walls do double duty too: Whatever you can get off the floor (lighting, storage, books) to open up pathways is ideal.

If your main goal is to make your small space look bigger, keeping clutter under control is job one. Clutter creates a feeling of stress, of unease; if it’s starting to take over, judge it honestly. Keep individual items that you love (if they bring joy, or spark a beautiful memory), or if they are useful. Otherwise, pitch it, sell it or give it away. Stay on top of paper clutter with a weekly purge — bills, ads, notices, newspapers, etc. Shred anything with personal details and recycle the rest.

In terms of colors, think lowcontrast, monochromatic. Go with soft, paler neutrals that reflect light rather than absorb it, to open things up visually. Let varying weaves and textures, and toneon-tone color variations, provide the visual interest. Stick to leggy furniture: When light can pass under your sofa, tables and chairs, or through things like openweave lampshades or glass light fixtures, your room feels airier. Lucite chairs or tables, glass tabletops, mirrored furniture and large mirrors reflect or transmit

light and open up the space as well. Bring in the natural light, and draw the eye up while you do it. Hang pale sheers all the way to the floor from a rod near the ceiling to exaggerate the height of the room, or install rolling or folding blinds in the same color as the walls.

Another trick that fools the eye into seeing a bigger space is painting your walls and ceiling the same shade of white. It creates an unbroken field of light-reflecting color that makes the corners of the room visually recede, and naturally draws the eye up. A similar approach works below your feet – reducing contrast between the floor and your furnishings adds to the perception of airy spaciousness.

Making your small space seem bigger is a matter of fooling the eye with color, paint, light and placement. Use your creative superpower! Before you know it, living large won’t feel like an illusion anymore.

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