A room makeover doesn’t always entail major renovations — or a big price tag. A simple color change, a piece or two of new furniture and fresh way of looking at things can all make big changes. There are many reasons to make over your home — a change of seasons, a change of mood — even when you are getting ready to sell. However, not all makeovers involve breaking the bank. Budget-friendly is a phrase we can all appreciate today. And small changes really can make a big difference.Jill Hosking-Cartland of Hosking Interiors had a pretty good idea about what she could do to this tired bedroom. She was inspired by the beautiful paint color (Jamestown Blue by Benjamin Moore) and knew it would become the catalyst for the entire room. She decided to keep the charcoal gray chenille drapes and create a room filled with additional color, texture and contrast. Instead of removing the drapes altogether, Jill removed the valance to instantly update the treatment.“Removing the center valances allows the windows to appear more elongated, which draws the eye up the cathedral ceiling,” Jill says. She now had the beginnings of a beautiful room.That decided, she moved on to the bed. Because Jill was staging this room, she wanted to stay away from overly busy patterns and instead focused her attention on moving the color around the room. For this reason she selected a couple of matelasse coverlets in a “soothing combination of creamy tan and blue” to work with tried-and-true white bed linens and matching dust ruffle. Jill likes to design “gender neutral” bedrooms, so that everyone is happy: “Pillows with pretty flowers don’t need to scream at you.” She found the perfect shade of gray for one pillow and a beautiful cream, blue, tan and white floral for two others, adding just the right amount of pattern to tie it all together.The artwork and other decorative accents were also chosen to highlight the color scheme and melt into this tranquil retreat. “Satin nickel accents were used to bring a little sparkle to the room,” she says. She found a lamp, picture frame and clock with the same finish to do just that.Once she was finished with the main part of the room, Jill wanted to cozy it up even more and did by adding an inviting seating area in the corner. The black rattan chair and side table were just the ticket. The side table was actually re-purposed from a wooden tray and iron garden table. She finished it off with coordinating pillows, a hearty potted plant and a heavenly scented candle.I’m always looking for new and inventive ways to stretch my client’s decorating budget and so is Jill. Using what you already have while embellishing it with a few new finds is a quick, inexpensive way to update your home. You can give your room a whole new look in less than a weekend by switching out easy-to-replace accents like pillows, lamps and accessories. Refresh your rooms again and again with these simple steps:Get inspired by looking through magazines for ideas. Pull out your favorite painting, teacup or blouse to help you refine your style and identify what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t.Now it’s time for color. You can pull colors from existing patterns, or if your room doesn’t have much to begin with, start with your favorites. The more color you add, the more energetic your room will become. The shades of blue Jill chose to highlight the existing paint color resulted in a soothing space, so choose wisely. Then, simply move the color around the room for better balance.Ask yourself what you want from the room and then decide what you can live without and what has to stay. This may depend entirely on your budget, but you can swap out smaller items without spending a small fortune. As with Jill’s room, she chose to keep the more-expensive foundation pieces and then brought in less-costly finds. Have fun swapping out pillows, a lamp or two and a few well-chosen accessories to add personality to the room.Stretch your budget by adding plants, bowls of seashells, dried grasses and other organic materials to bring a little bit of Mother Nature and lots of texture inside.Although Jill was actually staging this bedroom to help sell the home, she used the same design principles she would have used for any makeover. “I know what I’m looking for, so whether I shop in box stores or specialty shops, I focus on what will give the room its own unique style,” she says.So what did Jill’s clients have to say about the results? “They almost moved back in when they saw the finished room, and the home was under contract in less than 43 days,” Jill says. I’d say it was a complete success.Furnishings are where you find themLook beyond conventional resources and strike out to find beautiful furnishings and accessories at consignment shops, flea markets and tag sales — you never know what you might find.Don’t miss Flea Market Style — a new must-have magazine from Concord’s Matthew Mead. Each issue is filled to the brim with fresh ideas for turning someone else’s trash into a true treasure. Take a peek at the magazine’s blog for additional tips and tricks — fleamarketstylemag.blogspot.com.
You’ve got two more chances to visit Brimfield this season. Check out this not-to-be-missed flea market — and don’t forget your sunscreen. brimfield.comNot your usual consignment store —White Home Market in Wilton is open one weekend a month and features a bevy of gently worn, new and creatively crafted merchandise.For a complete schedule, visit whitehomemarket.com.Visit nh.craigslist.org for daily listings of garage and moving sales.If you have an iPhone, iPod or iPad check out the app igaragesale to search for items, and locate and navigate to the yard sale sourced from Craigslist.Visit fleamarketsource.com/newhampshire for a list of New Hampshire flea markets.
This article appears in the July 2010 issue of New Hampshire Magazine