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How to Make the Most of Your Redecorating Budget


With the slump in housing sales, more Americans are opting to spruce up their current homes rather than go in search of a new house. And while many housing markets across the country have seen flat or even declining real estate prices, people are spending more than ever to redecorate their homes.

In 2006, the average cost of a mid-range kitchen remodel topped $54,000, according to figures released by the National Association of Realtors. According to the National Retail Federation, furniture store sales increased throughout 2006, ending the year around 2.5 percent higher than for the same period in 2005. Top interior design firms did well in 2006, and major paint manufacturers reported sales increases throughout the year.

With remodeling price tags on the rise -- and returns in increased home value declining -- there are still some home remodel projects that remain a sure bet, like the kitchen, bathroom or exterior siding.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your home redecorating budget:

* Upgrades to countertops, cabinets and flooring remain the best investment when remodeling a kitchen. Homeowners report these improvements will provide both the best return on investment at sale time, and the highest level of satisfaction while you're still living in the house.

* Paint remains one of the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective ways to create a whole new feeling in your home decor. The cost of making a bold color change is the same as the cost of simply freshening a room's existing color. A new coat of paint can serve as the foundation for a complete room remodel, or a simple, more subtle change in decor.

* Wall murals continue to be a favorite decorating tool for homeowners and interior designers. Easy-to-hang wallpaper murals can serve as a focal point or an accent to a room and enhance virtually any decor. Jacqueline Hickey, designer at New Leaf Design Solutions in Connecticut often incorporates murals in her designs. "So many houses don't have a view and I use murals to create a focal point and give the room visual interest," Hickey says. "Murals offer more impact on a room for less money than alternatives like faux finishing and wallpaper." Do-it-yourself retailer Lowe's offers 21 wallpaper mural options for under $100. Visit www.lowes.com for a location near you.

* Bathroom redecorating always provides significant returns both in home value and homeowner satisfaction. With the trend towards spa-like baths continuing into 2007, investing in a new bathtub or shower is a great way to get the most out of your bathroom redesign. From whirlpool baths with heated jets of water to multi-head showers that massage, homeowners have a staggering array of options when it comes to upgrading their baths.

Home design and renovation experts predict Americans will continue to invest in redecorating and refurbishing their homes in 2007. With a little research and careful consideration of your budget and goals, you can ensure you get the most for your home redecorating dollars.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Categories: Home & Household, Just for me, Newsletter,

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