Redecorating On A Budget

Getting bored of the four walls that surround a particular room? Want to redecorate, but worried that you don’t have the budget? Here are some low-cost ideas for revitalizing the look of just about any area of your home.


Paint. It’s amazing what a $30 dollar can of paint can do. Changing the shade of a wall, or even just the trim and baseboards, can have a dramatic effect on a room.

Lighting. How a room is lit has an impact on its overall design. Consider replacing any lamps and ceiling light fixtures. Don’t forget that the brightness and location of the lighting can also make a big difference.

Sofas and chairs. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars replacing furniture. If your sofas and chairs are still in good shape, just replace the fabric and pillows.

Shelving and other organizers. Stuffed bookshelves and cluttered surface areas can make a room feel uncomfortable. Consider installing extra shelving and using other products available on the market to help you organize your space.

One final tip: Take stuff out. People often think of redecorating as changing or adding things. But often just taking some stuff out of a room can significantly improve its look and comfort. When it comes to decorating, less is often more.

Staging Tips #1-5

When it comes to “staging” your home for sale – which basically means ensuring it looks clean and uncluttered – you probably already know the basics: clean the counters, vacuum the floors, mow the lawn, etc. But there are some home staging tips that are less obvious, yet can help to sell your property faster and for a higher price. For example:

#1 The Kitchen
Obvious: The stove, sinks and countertops should be spotless.
Not-so-obvious: The contents of your cabinets and refrigerator should be facing face forward.


#2 The Bathrooms
Obvious: They should be clean and uncluttered. Have fresh towels hanging neatly on the rack. (The “hotel bathroom” look.)
Not-so-obvious: All towels should match. Ensure toilet lids are closed.

#3 Your Bedroom
Obvious: Make the bed neatly. Check that the closet is organized and uncluttered. (If your closet is bulging with clothes, put some in storage.)
Not-so-obvious: Don’t leave any clothes out. Even clean clothes neatly folded in a hamper can seem untidy to some people.

#4 Kids’ Bedrooms
Obvious: They need to be clean and, especially, uncluttered. (Good luck!)
Not-so-obvious: Arrange stuffed animals, games and other toys like an attractive display in a toy store. It’s okay to have a toy, like a race track, out of the box. Just make sure it’s completely put together. (No pieces lying around.)

#5 The Garage
Obvious: Make sure the floor is clean and that things are put away.
Not-so-obvious: If possible, get everything (except the car!) off the floor and onto shelves and hanging hooks. This will make a dramatic difference in how roomy the garage will look.

These not-so-obvious staging tips may seem minor, but they add up to a home that is much more attractive to potential buyers.

Play, Games, and Home Buying

As humans, our play instinct is a powerful force that is active in our everyday tasks—think of your Fitbit, using your loyalty card at the grocery store— or playing video games, apps like CandyCrush in your downtime. We are hard-wired to play, and we enjoy playing games. It engages us and prepares us for learning and life as children, young adults and beyond. And for many of you out there, you may be wondering (and hoping!) Can video game multi-media do more for us than simply occupy our spare time?


Our smart phones are an ever-available play resource, filled with thousands and thousands of games at our fingertips. And while there are risks of becoming a little too engrossed, English professor Neil Randall, who heads up the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo, believes that “games hold fascinating life lessons, in part because many games are based on repeated failure”. Not only that, but I’d like to point out that games, particularly video games, provide a controlled and somewhat predictable environment for failure or success. That is, if you get really good at sending warlock trolls to their demise as an Elven archer, you can expect that doing that a few hundred times will lead to greater riches, a new longbow and perhaps a shiny jewel or two.

So how does this transfer to real life? How can we use our gaming instinct to reach out goals? For many first-time home buyers, or those looking to up-size or renovate to achieve a more comfortable abode, there’s a lot of discipline, goal-setting, and repeated actions that lead to success. Reaching a goal of saving 5% or 20% of a home, or saving for that basement renovation is both rewarding but challenging. But you know that home ownership or moving or creating a home that better suits your family is a possible result. It helps if you can make a game of saving with rewards as you reach each increment. Here’s a great article to help you save, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate. And remember, when you’re not spending—you’re saving!

You may have great days, and you may have failures, but one thing you can feel good about: When you invest in a home, you’re investing your life. It means more leverage, building equity as you enjoy a place to rest your head, enjoy dinners with friends and family, and plant your apple tree this spring. It means a degree of stability where you’re able to put in a healthy down payment, and enjoy those rewards when it’s time to move, downsize, or take on a lush vagabond life in your Windstream, sailboat, or tandem bicycle. But not so fast, be sure to check out my article is on Apples to Apples- Smart renovations and When to Sell.

Now go on and become that next-level saver!