“Honey, get in here! ‘Love It or List It’ is on! They’re showing back-to-back episodes with ‘Property Brothers’! Later we can see what Chip and Joanna are doing on ‘Fixer Upper’...hurry!” This is my usual refrain as I get ready for my weekly binge-watching session of Home & Garden TV. It’s such a ritual in my house that my 11-year-old son can even do spot-on impressions of all the hosts. As a professional interior designer, these shows are really more entertainment for me, but a lot of people get fooled into thinking that these shows are reasonable representations of interior design projects. For starters, their budgets are totally unrealistic. $20,000 to gut renovate a kitchen? They obviously don’t live within 600 miles of New York. Five weeks to complete the job? Not unless five weeks is code for five months. Contractors hanging around to finish every detail? I guess that’s a Canadian thing. But don’t despair. There really are many things you can do to “transform” your home without breaking the bank or inviting chaos into your life.
Swap Out Your Accessories
We are into another season now and I, for one, am sick of looking at my living room. So I bought a few new throw pillows. A different pattern or color can change the whole feeling of the room. Don’t forget texture—splurge on a yummy faux-fur throw. Change your area rug. Or get a few fun and colorful coffee-table books and put them on display.
Introduce a Different Accent Color
Everyone has seen that one, bold color on an accent wall. Guess what? You can change that color anytime you want if the surrounding walls are neutral. You won’t throw your house into a renovation zone by repainting one or two walls. Buy new window panels to coordinate. There are so many great, ready-made curtains out there now. “But, wait, isn’t that a fickle thing to do?” Yes! That’s the whole point! Give yourself permission to change.
Revisit Your Lighting
Most people have dark spots. Not those kind of dark spots! The three types of light that should be present in every room are overall lighting, accent lighting and task lighting. Replace that outdated lamp on your side table or buy a standing lamp to brighten up a corner. Of course, none of this will work unless you actually turn the lights on. I’m talking to you, Dad!
Be Careful Shopping
Know your online resources before pressing the “submit payment” button. If there are stores that you have repeatedly bought from because you like their aesthetic and you approve of their quality, then you can take a chance on ordering without seeing something in person. Or you can do what I did once and order from a large “bargain-oriented” home-furnishings website. The window panels I got resembled shower curtains. Ugh.
Finally, you don’t have to tackle that argument about the ugly piece of furniture that only one of you thinks is ugly. Keep the process positive!
By Jane Morgan
Jane Morgan is president of Jane Morgan Interior Design, a boutique design firm in Westchester County. Go to www.janemorganinteriordesign.com to see her work.