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Five home style tips that cost less than $50

Julie Dana is a professional interior re-designer and accredited staging professional. Her company, The Apartment Stylist, offers online decorating consultations, do-it-yourself decorating plans and real-estate staging. Visit thehomestyl...

5 home style tips for under $50

If you dream of adding style to your home but don't have a lot of cash on hand to make it happen -- don't despair! Here are five different things you can do that will help your house look beautiful without spending much money.

Style your home

1Declutter your home

Nothing zaps a great look like clutter. Look around you: Do you have paper piles or mail stacks? Do you just add to your knickknack collection rather than rotate your select favorites? And seriously: When was the last time you saw the entire front of your refrigerator?

Simple solutions that cost very little money are to invest in nice office trays, pretty bulletin boards and frames for your child's artwork. Make the trash/recycling cans or shredder handy to immediately toss unwanted mail. Taking away the clutter will make your space appear larger, and help your treasured objects be emphasized rather than lost.

2Make display surfaces pretty

A key element in houses that are decorated by a professional rather than a wanna-be decorator is a true understanding of the art of accessorizing.

Flat surfaces such as mantels, bookcases, and coffee tables are the perfect places to restyle for less. The one important point here is to keep it simple. Bookcases should only be two thirds full. A fireplace mantel should not have mirror above it (a very dated look) -- choose artwork instead. Place no more than three items on an end table -- cluster these varied but related items together for more impact.

3Paint to impress

Paint, as you probably know, makes the most dramatic change for the money. Be bold, be daring and most importantly -- don't do white! Choose a complex color. This generally means that if you would use several different words to describe the color, it is probably complex. For example, if you said it was "a sort of gold, straw, beige-y color," it is probably a complex color. If you said "just yellow," it probably is not a very inspiring look.

A beautiful color on the walls (or even one wall) can make the room go from ordinary to extraordinary in less than a day, and usually for less than $50.

4Make it personal

Decorating your house is a job, but styling your home is fun! Personalization is all about putting your interests, hobbies or values into your décor to really make it your own.

How can you do this? For one idea, pick up some simple (read: inexpensive) curtains at your local big-box store, and then buy exquisite wide ribbon to hot glue on the edge. To finish them off, use the scarf you wore on your first date with your honey to tie back the drapes.

Around the room, certainly place some family photos -- but just promise not to use too many. There is such a thing as overkill -- and, besides, a visitor may find all those staring eyes unnerving.

5Change with the seasons

You know the drill: lighter and brighter for spring/summer and darker, richer for fall/winter. This easy task of changing the fabric items around the home can help you make it seasonal. Change out placements, bath towels and accent pillows. The final touch is to purchase a seasonal bouquet of flowers. Fresh or (attractive) fakes, such floral centerpieces, can add punch to a room.


All of this you can do!

Decorate your home by spending time -- not money -- in decluttering, painting and accessorizing. By following these simple tips, you can make a huge impact by bringing your home from average to spectacular for very little money.

More home style & decor tips:

Live large... but spend small. Read more!

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