Home improvement can conjure scary visions of hard-core renovation projects like replacing the roof, updating the bathroom, overhauling the kitchen or ripping up the floor. But it’s nice to know that fixing up the house can also include gratifying, soft-core undertakings like window treatments, furnishings and décor. No matter what the improvement category, the two things necessary to make any of it happen are planning and attitude.
Luckily, professionals can help get things rolling, providing everything from tips for doing it yourself to doing it for you. If getting to the finish line is the goal, the journey is easier when you know where to start.
April Force Pardoe of AFP Interiors says start where you are. Trying out a new look at the beginning or end of a season, or after you’ve taken down holiday decorations and things are feeling kind of empty makes sense. But you don’t have to wait for those cues. “Make a change when the mood hits you no matter when that is,” she says.
One of the most budget-friendly ways to change the feel at home is to work with what you have and move things around to please your eye, says Pardoe. “Move the furniture, change out the accessories on shelves and table tops,” she suggests.
“Gather up the whole collection and lay it out on a flat surface or on the floor. Group the pieces, reposition and replace. Challenge yourself to put things in a new place,” Pardoe says.
If you think you don’t have an eye for design, try to summon an attitude and go with what pleases your eye. Be guided by symmetry and the rule of numbers. If you like a symmetrical look, put two similar shapes together. If random is more your style, your eye will find groups of threes or odd numbers pleasing, says Pardoe, who insists that design is “easy and fun to do.” afpluxeliving.com & afpinteriors.com
Faux finishing artists at The Studio 33 in Ellicott City can paint you a getaway that will keep you relaxed at home. thestudio33.com
Located in a restored church, Westwood Antiques & Unique Furnishings offers classes and gift certificates that may be the answer to your prayers. westwoodunique.com
Savvy design advice and beautiful goods are on offer at Urban Threads Home. urbanthreadshome.com
The Antique Center at Historic Savage Mill offers a wide range of antiques from 150 dealers – as well as complimentary monthly appraisals. antiquecentersavage.com
If it’s time for more than just tweaking, call the pros. Pro-Built Construction can tackle everything from building a deck to remodeling the kitchen to breaking through the walls and adding that addition you’ve always dreamed of. probuiltconstruction.com
For some inspiration, check out Brothers Services showroom on Snowden River Parkway. The company recently teamed up with ABC’s “Extreme Makeover, Home Edition” as the roofing contractor to rebuild the Girls Hope group home in Northeast Baltimore. brothersservices.com
If you think it’s time to jazz up the place with new flooring, know your type, color, style and budget, say the experts. For example, if you’re dreaming about wood floors know that wood can cost twice as much as carpeting and is high maintenance, says Bill Friedman at Bode Floors. Not sure what kind of wood floor to get? Bamboo and cork materials are growing as popular choices but the new kid on the block is the cost-saving Alterna, a brand name for a vinyl and limestone combination that mimics ceramic and porcelain. bodefloors.com, apluscarpet.com