With the current state of the economy, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that home decorating isn't at the top of most people's to-do lists.
But it never hurts to spruce up your space, especially with springtime just peeking around the corner. And the best part? There's no need to spend a massive amount. Some of the easiest, cheapest ways to perk up your place are right under your nose.
Sandra Collins, owner of SCI Design in Oklahoma City, often tells clients it doesn't matter how much they spend as long as they do it wisely. She recommends investing in visible, out-in-the-open items, like furniture and accessories.
To start, splurge on an investment piece such as a couch or table, said Collins, president of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. This gives one a base around which to accessorize.
"If you don't have a large budget, go ahead and invest on a large piece of furniture," she said. "That piece will really help you grow. It may not even be something you have to invest in. It could be a family heirloom."
Or, try scouring yard or estate sales for an inexpensive furniture find, she said.
A few simple touches will soften and brighten a room, Collins said. If the sofa looks tired or old, try coating it with a slipcover, or adding pillows and rugs to take the room from drab to fab.
"Maybe you want to brighten (the couch) up for the spring and summer, and add a little bit of color," she said. "If you put a slipcover over it, it just looks more homey."
Pricey furniture stores aren't necessary to find most of these items. Many decorations are available for a bargain online or at discount stores that sell brand-name items for less, said Jamie Holliman, owner of Garrett Belle Interior Design in Edmond.
"Lots of places always run sales," Holliman said. "Right now, I think everybody's looking at the discount places."
If you do fall in love with a pricier piece that doesn't quite fit the budget, she recommended searching the brand name or item number online to find a site or store that carries it at a reduced price.
Painting " an inexpensive, do-it-yourself approach " also adds drama and freshness to a room, Collins said.
Barbara and Leigh Gage, who recently worked with Collins on their kitchen renovation, reinvented the look of their walls with a textured paint that replaced old wallpaper.
"It's kind of a two-layer, Tuscany look," Barbara Gage said. "We were real pleased with it."
Collins noted that artwork has a way of tying a room together, but if it's out of your price range, try decorative moldings " an inexpensive alternative that adds some architectural flair. But for folks who already own staples like pillows and wall decor, a simple update of the existing may be all that's necessary.
"There are real inexpensive ways to glitz things up," Holliman said. "Say you don't like the knobs on your cabinets. Just a simple can of spray paint can change the look of that and either make it fun or just change the color."
Holliman also advised using hot glue to add beads, ribbon and fringe to throw pillows.
Updating furniture also has a way of awakening a room, Collins said.
"You can dress up some of your furniture by painting it or re-staining it, or just adding a little bit of a stain or a coat of varnish," she said. "That's not a major investment."
Collins said she reminds her clients that one of the best ways to keep a room fresh and decorations lasting long is maintaining and cleaning what's already there. She also said when it comes to decorating, spending isn't everything.
"It's not how much money you have," she said. "It's about how you use your money." "Caitlin Harrison