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Beautify your home on a budget

Let resourcefulness be your guide.

Throughout the pandemic, nearly everyone has spent more time than usual at home. And while it hasn’t been an ideal situation, it has provided ample opportunity to assess and, perhaps, reimagine your living space. During stay-at-home restrictions, many Canadians were putting everything from changing light bulbs to renovating and redesigning entire rooms on the table for consideration.

If you are considering some improvements, but the increased prices and lower availability of a wide assortment of goods has convinced you to put home renovation projects on the back burner, there are ways to realize your ideas with a little creativity and confidence in a do-it-yourself approach.

Diving into DIY

There are many remarkable DIY improvements you can complete with the proper preparation. Removing carpet, for example, can take some muscle but doesn’t require a lot of skill. Doing it yourself can save you hundreds of dollars in labour costs that you can then spend on what’s going to replace it, like a new rug or flooring that you may be also able to install. The same goes for tiling. There’s a massive selection of books and free, online resources, such as DIY videos, that can walk you through the process with confidence and offer some helpful tips on how to keep costs down. 

What’s old can be new again

If your sofa, dining room set or favourite chair is showing its age and no longer looks and feels as good it once did, don’t despair. These days, material shipping delays, limited retail inventory and hefty price increases on goods are bringing refinishing and reupholstering furniture back into style. 

Check your local marketplace for services devoted to rescuing and reviving your older items. You may be surprised to find it’s a more affordable alternative to buying new or even used items that don’t match your style preferences. The best part about it is that you can choose the shades of wood stain, fabric colours and upholstery patterns that will fit in nicely with your home décor. 

Paint and lighting 

Just a splash of paint can be an inexpensive way to freshen up and personalize any space. Bold tones can transform an otherwise boring room, while neutrals can invite a sense of calm and ease. If your wall colours are fine, consider dressing them up with some expressive vinyl decals, which are a fun and non-permanent way to add a new sense of character to a room. Choose from the thousands of different decals available online, and then just peel and stick. For extra ambiance and drama, add some accent or dimmable lighting. 

A splash of art 

If traditional wall art is more your thing, look for spare materials around the house that can serve as a springboard into making your own artful creations. Leftover paint, slabs of wood and items such as old fabric and photos can be surprisingly easy and fun to transform into pleasing works of art. If you’re stuck for innovative ideas, do-it-yourself art, hobby and decorating websites offer inspiration and instructions for how to repurpose those everyday items. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Putting pressure on yourself to finish improving your living space by a specific date could end up taking the fun out of a project that should be an affordable and enjoyable experience. 

Before you start, give some thought to structuring your plans on a scale of most to least importance and do only what you can afford on an ongoing basis. Remember to watch out for sales on any special items you’ve had your eye on. 

Avoid overdoing it

As challenging as the pandemic has been, it’s given many people the time to think and act on their desire to improve their homes with more affordable, hands-on projects. However, major renovations or purchasing substantial new items can play havoc with your finances. Going into serious debt to make yourself more comfortable at home might mean you exchange a feeling of dissatisfaction for anxiety about money. 

If you have big plans, give your advisor a call to discuss the state of your household budget and to review the funding of your long-term financial goals, starting with the money you’ll save by embracing the resourceful DIY approach. 

Make repairs a priority

Fixing anything that’s broken and possibly dangerous should be high on your list of priorities. Leaky plumbing, exposed wiring, aging roofs, worn-out flooring, drafty windows and other structural issues could affect the safety (and value) of your home. Any big problems should be assessed and, in most cases, repaired by a certified professional. 

Of course, this can take a big bite out of your renovation budget, leaving you with less to cover the fun stuff like pursuing your redecorating dreams, but all is not lost. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

Once important repairs have been dealt with and things are in good shape overall, upgrades can begin. Start with what would mean the most to you: a more comfortable recreation room, a brighter kitchen, installing some new appliances or one of the more popular recent trends, creating the perfect home office space. 

Do plenty of research up front. Remember though, the more elaborate the plan, the more likely you’re going to need help from professional contractors. Connect with friends and neighbours to see if they’ve undertaken any similar projects lately and ask for recommendations of reliable suppliers. 

If your plans exceed what you’re willing to tackle alone, interview multiple contractors and consult some online resources to confirm details about their project portfolios and business reputation reviews before signing any agreements. Major structural renovations and those that require changes to wiring and plumbing will also need municipal building permits, so factor that into your timelines and costs before you set any physical work in motion. 


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