By Kathleen Kirk, Design Consultant for ICON Custom Builders

When the new year began, it seemed that everyone was suddenly in a “must transform my home” kind of mood.  It is typical that around this time of year, we all want to start fresh and spruce up our homes to some extent.  The ladies at Triad Moms on Main asked me to share some tips with you on how to make these changes and updates throughout your home on any budget level.

What is the difference between a house and a home?  Love!  You should LOVE your home.  In this hectic world, it is your place of refuge.  But, what if you don’t love your home?  Then it is time for some TLC!

First, go through your home and make a punch list for every room in your house.  Walk in your front door like you are seeing everything for the first time.  Look around, but don’t overwhelm yourself.  It could be a simple as cleaning off the coffee table, just make a list.

Second, prioritize the list.  Number them and stick to the order.  Figure out what will give you the biggest bang for your buck.  It’s amazing what a difference a coat of paint, new light fixtures or even new door knobs can do for a room!  Mix them up so you have some fun things mixed in.  For example, if your list has:  install a new fan, clear clutter, and get a new couch – add something fun like buying flowers!  It is amazing how flowers add instant color and really freshen up a space.  (My tip:  buy a mixed bouquet when they are marked down at the grocery store.  Put like flowers together in funky containers.  You will get 3-5 sets of flowers from one bunch).

Third, make a plan.  Figure out your time-line and budget.  If you want to repaint a room – it may cost you a Saturday and about $100 in supplies.  If you want a new bathroom – it may cost you several weeks and several thousand dollars.  Call and get estimates, figure out time and costs, and plan accordingly.

Fourth, call in the professionals.  HGTV makes it look easy, but if your calling is taxes…focus on accounting and leave the wiring of that new fan to an electrician!  Make sure the professionals are licensed and insured, and members of the local homebuilders association.  Get referrals from friends and family or attend a home tour.  Getting the right person for a job makes all the difference in the world.

Fifth, enjoy your space with your friends and family.  It is your home and should reflect it.   One of my most favorite trends that I have seen??  People living in their homes!  Gone is the “formal” living room that no one sits in!  My clients are utilizing everything from “cloffices” (closet turned office) to crafting areas to coffee bars to outdoor spaces.  They are unique to each family and fulfilling their needs.  Kind of refreshing, isn’t it?  Sounds like LOVE to me!