Whether you're moving into a new home, renovating, or you just want to freshen your decoration up, putting your own stamp on your home is important for most people. At the same time, you will probably be working to a specific budget, so it's important to prioritise where the best places to spend your money will be. Your home can be the perfect canvas to express your personal style. This can be especially important if you're just moving into a property and want to make your space homely quickly.
Before you consider doing anything drastic to a space, such as removing walls or ripping anything out, you should consider what simple changes you can make. Making small changes one at a time can be an excellent way to improve a space if you have limited time and without over spending. If you take some time to plan ahead what you want to achieve and the steps you will take to get there to avoid making last minute decisions that could cost you more in the long run. Sometimes if you've just moved into a property or your home is a bit older just giving the place a deep clean can make it feel more like home, and can often help you notice things that might need repairing or replacing that you hadn't noticed before. You should ensure you use the features your property already has and build on them, especially if you have a period property where masking features could be costly and unnecessary; it's usually a much easier task to build on existing characteristics of a building, and improving them, than it is to remove them.
Sometimes even just simply rearranging furniture can be an effective way to alter a space making it appear smaller or larger. You may even want to experiment with different layouts to find the best one to suit you. Also, replacing fitting and fixtures in rooms such as bathrooms or kitchens is typically a much cheaper way to make things newer. Things such as taps, plugs, cupboard doors or tiles, can usually be changed much more cheaply that replacing entire units.
Another really great way to make an inexpensive change to a room is by simply adding a coat of paint to tired looking surfaces, such as doors, skirting, or even furniture. A new layer of paint can quickly give you a much fresher look. You can even paint over wallpaper if it's looking dirty or old fashioned. Freshly painted surfaces can make a significant difference to how a space feels. Small rooms can be made to feel bigger with a light and bright shade on the walls, and you can avoid a cool feel by choosing a bright shade in a warm tone such as terracotta or yellow. If you're artistic or feeling brave, you can take painting to the next level by incorporating geometric shapes or murals on a surface, and there is a huge choice of paint effects you can try your hand at that will allow you to make a space your own. Also, consider a feature wall to give a room a different dynamic, a pale room with one wall that has a bright or deep colour on it can be effective, and for something more dramatic a plainly painted room with one wall that has decorative wallpaper can add a distinctive charm.
If your property has wooden floors you may want to consider exposing them to reduce costs. Adding tiles or carpets can be expensive, but natural wooden floorboards can usually be sanded by hand or with a belt sander, then you can paint or varnish them to your own taste. To maintain a comfortable feel under foot, you could choose to strategically place rugs and mats on the exposed boards rather than fully carpeting the area.
If you are working with a slightly larger budget and want to make a simple, but dramatic change to your home there are a lot of options available to you, depending on your priorities. One option is changing the doors in your property, and this can have practical as well as visual benefits. Internal doors are typically white or have a natural wood appearance with a stain or lacquered finish, but you don't always have to follow tradition. Doors can be painted any colour you choose and can be used to highlight other features in your room or can even become a focal point for a room. If you want to have more light in your property choosing glazed doors for inside may be more expensive than a panelled alternative, but can make your rooms seem lighter and larger for many years to come. You also have options for wider doorways with a large range of options for room divider doors, including sliding, and folding doors, as well as doors with sidelight panels. Room dividers are the perfect way to make the most of open plan living as they still give you the option of having individual rooms when you want them as they can easily open or close a space up. Also, external doors, especially your front door, can have a massive effect on your kerb appeal, as well as being an important feature in a home in terms of insulation. Style, materials and features, such as glazing, are all considerations you should take when getting a new front door, first appearances are important, especially if you plan to sell the property in the near future. However you choose to change your doors, we'd always recommend you ensure you measure every opening as doors throughout your home may not all be the same size and get an expert to fit them. Poorly hung doors can fail quickly and can even cause damage to an existing frame or opening. You can also risk voiding any warranties if your doors are not fitted correctly, but you should expect good quality doors that are fitted correctly to give you many years of service.
For an even more impressive change, you might want to consider upgrading or replacing your staircase. Stairs are often overlooked, but they are also often a focal point of a property. You can buy individual stair parts which allow you to modify or improve your stairs, without making any structural changes. The range of different styles of stair parts is probably wider than you'd expect. You have choices of simple and decorative parts in various natural woods, for a more traditional look, or you can opt for stylish metal or glass parts that are excellent for a modern or contemporary home. If you want to replace an entire staircase there are design aids available online so you can design your own stairs and have them made to order in your choice of styles and materials, or discuss your ideas with a design team and create something really unique, like a curved or spiral staircase.
Whatever design ideas you have, 2017 might just be the year you achieve them.