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Look Again

Ten designers offer their tips for remaking a room for less than $1,000.

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Amanda Rafail of Interior Concepts in Hockessin says simple touches such as introducing new throw pillows will help create a new look in any room. Photograph courtesy of Century Furniture.So you have a room in serious need of work. As unlikely as it may seem, you can turn it into something totally new for $1,000. Preposterous, you say? Never. Here are 10 tips from 10 local designers.  

Tip 1: Get the Big Picture
Hanging a flat-panel television will save you floor space wasted by the furniture you needed for your old set, says Bill Frankil, president of Home and Company in Rehoboth Beach. The TV also serves as entertainment device and ever-changing piece of art. “If you’re entertaining and the TV isn’t the focus of the event, you can even put in a CD or DVD of family photos, or a  trip you’ve gone on on the TV,” Frankil says.

Tip 2: Tackle Big Items in a Small Bath
Bathroom updates are notorious for sucking up money. Ed Albers of Design Center of Rehoboth says addressing the few key items in a powder room can add up to a major improvement. The average half-bath is made up of floor, walls, ceiling, sink, toilet, mirror and small fixtures such as towel bars. By spending frugally and installing wisely, it’s possible to remake a powder room for $1,000.

“If the space is small enough and the homeowner is handy, try new tile and add a pedestal sink,” Albers says. “Many web sites carry overstock merchandise where you can pick up a new toilet and pedestal sink for less than $500.”

Tip 3: Freshen Your Accessories
“The most effective ways to spruce up a room are to get new pillows, change out artwork and purchase new accessories,” says Amanda K. Rafail of Interior Concepts in Hockessin. Consider the accessories you already own. You might have items in storage or other parts of the house that can be rotated through different rooms to update the look or create one that is appropriate for the season.

Tip 4: Consult a Professional
Doing so is not at cross purposes with saving money, says Ed Girardi of Edward Girardi Interiors in Wilmington. Paying for a few hours of a professional designer’s time can save you worries—and money—in the long run.

“A good designer is going to find ways to stay within your budget, but give you a dynamite look,” he says. “The creativity level that the individual designer has is what makes a happy client—you’ve stayed within my budget, you’ve given me something I could never imagine, and people walk into my house and say, ‘This looks fantastic.’”

Tip 5: The Importance of Reflection
Mirrors have been perfect decor items for centuries because they not only add the illusion of depth, but they reflect light. Those attributes make investing in decorative mirrors, appropriately sized and beautifully framed, worth the money, says Nita Burstam, a designer with Somethings Unique in Greenville.

Adding flowers to the mix with high-quality silk arrangements in beautiful vases creates yet another level of beauty, she says. “They should be nice silk flowers. They should look real,” she says. “And it’s so easy to take them away when it’s the season for real flowers and put them away when you don’t need them.”

Page 2: Look Again continues...

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