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Fast, Frugal Fall Fix-Ups

Transform Your Home in a Weekend or Less Without Breaking Your Budget

(ARA) - The ebbing sun and dropping mercury in the garden thermometer signal the end of summer. The shorter, cooler days also mean you might be coming back inside from the great outdoors to discover your home could use a little pizazz. After all, you spent the past few months soaking up the rays while you worked and played in your yard rather than inside the house.

It takes only a few quick fixes, combined with some creativity and elbow grease, to transform the rooms where you spend most of your time. In a weekend or less, you can make your home go from stale to striking for the fall season ahead.

As you look around the house, ask yourself this, "If I could fix only one thing in each room, what would that be?" These answers are your quick fixes. Not all home decorating ideas require a great deal of time or money but can transform a tired-looking room into something truly eye-catching.

"Sometimes all it takes is one or two small changes to completely transform a space," says Christopher Prebel of Pratt & Lambert Paints. "You'd be surprised how even the tiniest updates really make a difference."

Study your foyer, for starters. It's the first thing guests see when they enter your home. What can you do to make it more inviting? Maybe it needs a little more color. Add a colorful rug to the entry way and maybe a floral arrangement to the console by the front door. Or maybe less clutter? A small storage bench can reduce clutter - shoes, school bags and sports equipment - to a minimum and add a clean, inviting look to this first-impression space.

If your house is like any other, the kitchen likely is the other main gathering place for both family and visiting friends. These high-traffic areas usually can use fresh paint more frequently than other rooms. While high-quality paints might cost more upfront, you'll get a solid return on your investment because using a high-quality paint extends the time between repaints and keeps your room looking its best as long as possible.

An excellent choice for your home's most well-loved room is Pratt & Lambert. In 2010, Pratt & Lambert was named the interior paint Award Recipient by J.D. Power and Associates, ranking "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Interior Paints in the U.S."

Paint companies have teamed up with your favorite local paint dealers to make color selection nearly effortless. Most dealers now offer hundreds of color strips in sophisticated displays and some even offer actual paint samples - 2-ounce containers of paint tinted in popular colors so you can take it home and try it without the long-term commitment of buying a gallon or more.

Next, what about your living room? Is it too austere? Does it sit unused? While it might be out of your budget to change the furniture, you can warm it up and make it a space where people want to sit and visit by getting rid of those formal, outdated window treatments. Dress windows with light blinds or sheer curtains that provide privacy but allow light to filter through. You might also want to rearrange the furniture into a grouping that's less formal and more inviting.

Chances are, you and your family think your family room is pretty great, but even your favorite lounging space always can use a little upgrading to keep it modern, fun and welcoming. One easy change for this often-used space is new throw pillows. Add a splash of fresh color to the familiar simply by swapping out pillows on couches and chairs or adding a nook of colorful floor pillows for family members who prefer to sprawl on the floor to watch TV and play video games. Or, if you feel your sofa looks tired and worn out, maybe you'd rather invest in a new slipcover to bring a fresh look to the room and transform your old sofa into something new and special. New lamps also can update a room almost instantaneously.

When you're doing your fall upgrades, don't forget the bathroom. For a small investment, you can transform the space with some fresh paint and a new faucet. If you're looking for an even bigger change, you can accessorize it further with a mirror in a finish that matches the faucet, as well as coordinating robe hooks and towel bars.

"Putting a fresh spin on any home's decor doesn't always mean you have to think big," Prebel says. "Small changes can easily transform a space from boring to beautiful in less than a weekend, even on the tightest of budgets."

 

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