Month: July 2008

interior design inspiration

Home Improvement Tips for a Limited Budget

Planning to renovate your home but don’t have a big budget? Here are some tips:

1. Create a theme. Before you start, think of a theme for inspiration. Think of colors that will work well together. If you don’t know where to start, you can find ideas from online shelter magazines and interior design websites.interior design inspiration

You don’t exactly need to copy the inspiration but it will help you focus on one theme. Stick with the theme you picked. Remember that a well-decorated home is one that has harmony and balance.

2. Re-paint the walls. Wall paints are affordable and can dramatically change the look and feel of a room.

Remember, dark hues work best on bigger rooms while light colors can make a small room look more spacious. Don’t be afraid to explore. Using different shades of the same color can create a beautiful effect as well.

3. Re-upholster the seats. Tired of that old sofa? New seatcovers can do the trick. Plain sheets in neutral tones like white or beige can turn an old seat into an elegant piece of furniture.

Adding cushion can also make it look good as new. For a splash of colors, add bright throw-pillows or shawl in coordinated hues. Remember to keep up with the theme you chose.

4. De-clutter. A cluttered home looks messy, disorganized and unattractive. Cleaning up your room is one of the most cost effective home improvement techniques you can do.

Throw away or give away things that you haven’t really used for a year or more. If something really has a sentimental value to you, store it in a decorative box or perhaps use it as a decorative piece.

*Hint: If you have more than one box of sentimental pieces, perhaps it’s about time to let some of the items go.

5. Polish and Shine. Another practical and very cost effective way to make a home look better. When was the last time you cleaned up, from the floors to the ceiling? Get rid of those stains in your window panes and furniture. You’ll be surprised how much cozier the room could feel just by being clean.

6. Accentuate with the right pieces. Foot rugs and carpets can change the look of any home in an instant. Use colors and patterns that complement your wall painting and your floor.

Hand towels and pot holders can make a kitchen look brighter. Bath towels and foot rugs can give your bathroom a new zest.

7. Use decorative storage pieces. Storage pieces should always have two purposes- keep your room clutter free while giving it a new and refreshing appeal. They’re also great for maximizing space in small homes.

Ottoman and chests can be used as seats, tables, and extra storage at the same time. Woven baskets or wooden bowls provide that rustic appeal and can be used in the living room or kitchen. Racks, stacked drawers, decorative boxes—these come in different sizes, colors and shapes, so find ones that match with your home.

8. Use the right lighting fixtures. The right type of lighting fixture can make a big difference in the overall look of a room. There are hundreds of varieties of lighting that you can choose from, depending on the theme of your room. Fine art lamps can give your room the uniqueness and elegance you’re looking for.

9. Change those curtains. Curtains can make a room feel cozy and elegant or it can make a room seem gloomy and dull. Find the right window treatment ideas from magazines and online interior magazines that you can incorporate in your home.

You don’t have to spend a fortune buying expensive drapery, even simple curtains will work if you choose the right pattern and color.

*Hint: If you know how to sew or a friend does, you can save money by purchasing fabric from yard sales or thrift stores or if you happen to have old, unused fabric in your home, you can use them as curtains or throw pillow covers.

10. Recycle. Try creating a new look from your old stuff that are still of good quality. Old tables, dressers, or chairs can once again look good as new by varnishing or repainting them with the right colors. Try to be more creative too. An old dresser can be recreated into a book shelf, an old table can be turned into an ottoman, etc.

*More Tips:

DIY crafts. Create your own wall decoration by framing your own painting or photographs you took.

Bring in the green. Plants and flowers can make a tremendous difference in a house. They create a more relaxing ambiance and won’t cost you a lot.

Less is more. Don’t exaggerate by displaying too many elements all at once. Candles, pots, books, figurines, and art pieces are great accents. But it doesn’t mean you have to put them all together at one time.

*Do you have other home improvement tip to add to this list? If yes, please share:)

photo:
living room

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Top 10 Tips on Choosing the Right Credit Card

Planning on getting a new credit card? Here are tips on how to make the right choice:

1. Read online reviews. There are many types of credit cards in the market and credit card review websites are great tools to help you narrow down your choices. These sites arrange credit cards based on specific categories. You can also read about the best and the worst features of each card without the need to hop from one website to another.

2. Check the interest rate. Of course, you want a credit card with a low interest rate. But watch out for zero interest or low interest rate promos. Before you sign up make sure that the interest rate will still stay reasonable when the introductory period expires.

3. Compare all costs. Remember, the interest rate isn’t the only highlight of a credit card. Be sure to check out the other fees as well (annual fees, late fees, transfer fees, currency conversion rates, transaction charges, etc.).

4. Read the fine print. To compare credit cards better, take the time to read the Terms and Conditions page, after you’ve narrowed down your choices. Here, you’ll see all the costs associated with your card as well as the rules and disclosures.

5. Understand the rules of your card. If you’re applying for a reward credit card, make sure that you are clear about the specific rules of the reward program. For example, most reward credit cards forfeit rewards if you missed even a single payment.

6. Choose a card that matches your lifestyle. Different credit cards are created to match different lifestyles. This is especially true with reward credit cards. For example, if you’re often on trips, you may want to consider a travel rewards card. If you own a car, maybe you’ll want to get a credit card with gasoline rewards. If you’re not a traveler and you don’t own a car, perhaps a cash back rewards card is the more practical choice for you.

7. Don’t base your decision on the ads. Don’t choose a credit card because the ads say it’s the best for you. Remember that the ads only present the best features of the card. The weakest points are often hidden in the fine print.

8. Know what others say. Before choosing, you’ll also want to find out what other people think. Based from their experience, what do can they say about it? Would they recommend it to friends or family?

9. Don’t send many applications at once. Some people send online applications just to get the free shirt or free mug. But sending out many applications to different credit card companies at one time can pull down your credit score. This is especially true if one of your applications get declined.

10. Make sure that you’re ready for it. Do you really need it? If you already own one or two cards, do you really need to get another one? Are you ready for the responsibilities of being a cardholder? Remember that owning a credit card isn’t a ticket for spending. Being a credit card holder comes with the obligation of paying back your debts at all times.

*Do you have a credit card? Which one would you recommend? Do you have other tips to add to the list?