Marianne Guenther Bornhoft has over 18 years experience as a REALTOR and offers up these five inexpensive ways to improve your home.†
1. Reclaim Your Space
De-CLUTTER~ I canít stress this enough. Go room by room and take a hard look at all of those items that really donít add anything to the room and are just collecting dust. It is time to find solutions for all those extra papers, toys, art/dťcor items, clothes, photos that have been added over time. A home can be a place of happy memories that can rotate just as the seasons do. It is time to pack things away and relocate them to storage, create a system for mail, bills or any important papers. Start with one drawer at a time and clear it out to make room for more the main items you need at hand. Clean off your counters and make your surfaces void of unnecessary things. Then, bring back a few of those special treasures one at a time in order to bring the space into a more manageable and attractive area. This becomes a great time to donate those things that you donít want or need.
2. Neutral Zone
PAINT ~ this magical five letter word is the key changing any room into a space that not only looks fresh and new, but it is the easiest and one of the most important things to do to freshen up your home. Repainting a large surface a more natural color, creates the potential for the homeowner the ability to mix and match their furniture to the room and gives the illusion of it actually being larger than it really is. A bright red wall in the dining room might look ok, but if you paint all the space in and around the dining room the same a color such as Cream in my Coffee , will make it flow better and feel more open. There are so many neutral shades of color like off-white, mushroom, light brown, taupe or a soft yellow base tone that will put some life back into the space. Avoid anything too dark as it will make the room look small.
3. Curb Appeal
FIRST IMPRESSSION~ Drive up to your house and really take a good hard look at the setting. How does it look from the street? Does the exterior, fence or even the front door need painting? Maybe a simple quick fix of some new house numbers, a new mailbox or replace old and outdated exterior lights. Donít forget to replace the old welcome mat to a snazzy new one. Add flowers in the planter boxes. Even taking the time to edge your lawn and trim back any shrubs, trees or plants that might be a little overgrown is worth a little sweat equity. †Look at the windows. Are they clean and clear? How is the paint around them or their seals? Is the roof in good condition, or do you need to clear it of moss and clean out the gutters.
4. Deep Clean
ELBOW GREASE~ A little goes a long way. Sometimes just cleaning your floor whether itís buffing and polishing your hardwood floors or deep cleaning your carpets makes a new fresh start. Regrout the bathroom or at least really scrub those hard to reach areas. Wipe your cabinets inside and out. †Plan on taking a day and take out everything in your refrigerator and donít forget to check all those food productís expiration dates. You shouldnít use a heavy cleaner on the inside as the food will absorb all smells. Clean it with 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts hot water or 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of hot water. You can always use white toothpaste as an abrasive for those stubborn areas. If the thought of spending a weekend really getting down and dirty bothers you, call in a professional who does it for a living. Sometimes, it is worth paying an expert rather than stress about it.
5. Set the Stage
THE WOW FACTOR~ Think like a professional stager. Go in each room and take a pad of paper and create a simple to do list. In the main living spaces, rearrange the furniture to allow for an easy flow for the traffic. Update the window treatments. Upgrade the brass or any old finish with new hardware, drawer pulls or hinges. Adding a few decorator touches to the surfaces makes a huge difference. In the bathrooms, replace old towel racks and shower curtains. Fix that broken tile. It is amazing how much of a difference a brand new $25 shower head makes the bathroom feel like a spa. †Buy nicer toilet paper. I know that sounds too simple, but it works. A well known Historic Hotel in Spokane had an actual theft problem of its cushy toilet paper because it was known in the area as the most luxurious loo in town. Take off the extra toiletries on the counter and put them in the bathroom cabinet where they really belong. Nobody wants to see your extra bottles of hand lotion or shaving cream. In your bedroom, update your bedding and window treatments. Remember you donít need a ton of new pillows, just a classic and simple look is best. The kitchen is the easiest place to create a classic space. Take off all those old photos and magnets on the refrigerator. Put your small appliance away or in the appliance garage where they should go. A few small window plants add interest, but donít go overboard. Pick a total of three colors in each space and no more. Make sure your lighting is updated and investing in new LED bulbs. In the long run it is worth it.
Seek outside advice:† A friend, professional organizer, colleague, even a REALTOR†who you wonít mind taking a harder stance with you and walk through your house by seeing it from outside objective eyes. They can give it to you straight and be honest about what needs to happen. Let them be the heavy.† After all they are the experts.
Marianne Guenther Bornhoft
2014 Spokane Association of REALTORíS ď REALTOR of the YearĒ