Tricks of the Trade – Simple tips on how to easily modify your house
We often think of renovating a house as a big project but there are easy things that can be done to brighten or enhance the house inside and out. Let’s go over the interior options today and not the obvious changes like furniture and rugs.
To make noticeable and dramatic changes, the approach can be done two ways; you can go room by room or in categories. I tend to prefer the categories approach for two reasons. First, the changes created are better to the overall feel of the house as opposed to just one improved room. These changes are more subtle and keep the house unified. Second, these changes can be done over time with little affect to lifestyle.
We help clients the most by bringing fresh new ideas to existing spaces. This is easier since for us because, most of the time we're seeing your house for the first time. Try to think about your house as if you were walking through it for the first time. Start at the front door and walk through the house as if you were showing someone around. How is the flow? Are you walking around furniture? How is your line of sight? Are there a lot of distracting elements? Most people, over time, collect a lot of stuff. We also find they either purchase over-sized furniture or have too much of it. This simple walking method will often tell you to remove pieces of furniture or rearrange it to create a better flow.
Next, look at the light. Over time, drapes or blinds have been added and have shut spaces down from the light. Remove heavy drapes or blinds in favor of lighter colors or more shear fabrics. Now look at your lighting fixtures. It’s pretty easy to pick out the outdated or drab fixtures. You want to pick a variety of fixtures but still be so keep them in the same style family and color. Pick new fixtures that are more contemporary. They are an easy design statement without breaking the bank. Even if you have to have traditional, new LED fixtures will brighten the house and make a dramatic change.
Doors also affect the appearance of a house. If you are trying for a contemporary style, the old six panel door is killing the look. Single panel or two panel doors create much cleaner lines. There are some online companies that will make and send doors to your house at a very reasonable price. At the same time, look at new hardware for those doors and cabinets. There are hundreds of options and this can be a lot more about your personality and style. Make if fun, grab some friends and head to a local hardware supply store. They have lots of options and can help you make selections that fit your budget and taste.
While you’re thinking about removing furniture, also think about creating a large built-in piece or a series of small custom pieces. These can be reasonably priced and set the tone for the whole house. Pick an end wall or the spaces left and right of the fire place. Create a bench seat or a drop zone cabinet by the front door. These items can reinforce the style of the house or create character while being useful areas for organizing and storing clutter.
Finally, clutter. Most of the houses we go into can be greatly improved by reorganizing and removing clutter. If you have a bookshelf, organize the books. Some should be stacked while other should be placed in various heights and sizes. Add framed pictures and small interesting items around to create a unified look of interest. Try removing nick-knacks. It may be painful, but you will notice a big difference and not miss the items as much as you think. Walls are often as cluttered as surfaces. We all love the family photos, but try replacing all the images with a simple piece of art. If selected properly, this will add interest and pull together colors and textures in the room. Or unify family pictures by choosing the same frame in varying size for all the photos.
When thinking about making these small changes to your house do it with a purpose and a plan. When you design with intent it shows in the finished product.