Sharon Harlan - Let’s face it – our home is not just a place we head for when the day’s work is done to unwind and spend time with our family; it’s also a status symbol that we'd love to flaunt in the most subtle ways. This is the reason why we clear the clutter in the living room when unexpected guests show up, and why we’re apologetic and rushing to explain how “we were just going to clean up.” We want people to admire our homes, we want them to go "ooh" and "aah" when we show them around our living space, and we want them to secretly envy our good fortune. So if you’re looking for design ideas that are not too expensive but which will still get people to sigh in admiration, here are a few:
- Keep your home clean and uncluttered: Even the most stylish homes will invite only wrinkled noses and disgusted looks if it’s messy and cluttered with clothes and toys strewn all over the floor and furniture. It doesn’t matter that you paid your interior decorator a fortune or that you have the most expensive and fashionable furniture and furnishings; the first thing visitors and guests will notice is that your home isn't clean. So ensure that you do all you can to keep your home clean and free of clutter – dust and vacuum often, and put away things as soon as you’re done using them.
- Make a few simple changes every now and then: My aunt had us all wondering if she spent hundreds of dollars in home décor every month - that’s how often her home would change looks! It took us a while to figure out that all she did was move furniture around, invest in new sofa cushions, or just rearrange her ceiling lights and floor lamps. Sometimes the simplest things give your home a whole new look – you just have to experiment and find the one that exudes the wow factor.
- Regular maintenance is a must: There are some maintenance tasks that must be taken care of on an annual or biannual basis. This could include checking for pest damage, cleaning your pipes or checking your roof, or even ensuring that your appliances work correctly and safely. You could also choose to repaint your home, enhance its curb appeal, fix faulty plumbing and leaky pipes, and even buy new, updated upholstery for your furniture. All these keep your home looking and feeling good, no matter how old it is.
- Take care of your artifacts and valuables: Your home may be decorated with the most intricate artwork and collections, but if you don’t take good care of them, you may as well toss them in the trash. If you have children at home, keep valuables out of their reach. And above all, show your visitors that it’s possible to have a home that’s beautiful, clean, and child-friendly, all rolled into one.
- Don’t invest in things that you cannot take care of: You may think a beautiful lawn, a lush garden or a lovely swimming pool may add more appeal to your home and you’re right; however, if you can't provide these accessories with the right kind of care and maintenance, they're going to be more of an eyesore than the eye candy you wanted them to be. (Think of green, murky water floating around in an unused in-ground swimming pool!) So think carefully before you include high-maintenance features in your home. You don’t want white elephants in your back or front yard.
And if you're selling your home, you'll be interested in building home admiration for the sake of appealing to potential buyers. Here are some great real estate tips from the expert - Barbara Corcoran of Corcoran Realty.
This guest post is contributed by Sharon Harlan, from Interior Design Degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id: firstname.lastname@example.org.