Nicole San, a designer and decorator at Pam Design Interiors in Craig, said putting up crown molding or a chair rail is a quick way to modernize a room.

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Nicole San, a designer and decorator at Pam Design Interiors in Craig, said putting up crown molding or a chair rail is a quick way to modernize a room.

Redesign on a budget

Simple ways to improve a room without hurting the walls

— Although this might not be the year for a total home makeover, local designers say there are still low-cost ways to make a room updated and modern.

From the simple suggestions - like moving a piece of furniture from one room to another - to the more daunting - like cleaning out a room full of clutter - all suggestions could be done easily and for little or no money.

Nicole San, a designer and decorator at Pam Design Interiors in Craig, suggested applying a fresh coat of paint as one way to improve a room.

"Using a good quality paint always freshens a room, without a lot of expense involved," she said. "Some of the most simple changes make a big difference."

San said earth tones - different shades of green and blue - work well when repainting a room.

"They warm up a room, and you don't have to worry about next year that it won't look as good," she said.

Decorator Amy Bower, a Craig resident, said removing clutter could make a room seem new.

"People need to clean out a room, and maybe give it some fresh paint," Bower said. "Then, you can shop around your house.

"Maybe there's a lamp you haven't moved in 20 years. You can put that in a new spot, and it would be new again."

Having less clutter and a new space to work in could be a springboard for ideas, Bower said.

"It's important to work with a new slate," Bower said. "By cleaning out a room, you can edit how you put everything back in."

San recommends updating existing furniture as a way to incorporate new designs.

"You can easily buy new lampshades to cut some costs," she said. "With dining chairs, you can just have them reupholstered - maybe just the seat cushion in one accent color.

"That way, you get a new seat without the entire expense of replacing all the chairs."

One slightly more expensive route to go is to add molding, San said.

"A quick way to modernize a room is by putting up crown molding or maybe a chair rail around the room," she said. "You might be only able to do it in one room, but it could really dress it up and not be a huge expense."

For the kitchen, San recommends getting rid of the old metal.

"You might want to consider replacing the hardware in the cabinets," she said, "maybe changing to pewter for a more modern look."

San said following through with modern hardware on doors could complete the look.

Finding the focus of a room and working around it is another way to tie everything together for a small amount of money, San said.

"It could be a centerpiece, or a new table cloth that drives all of your ideas or inspires you to design around," she said. "It might be as simple as just pulling one color from it."

That advice also carries over into the living room.

"Select one accent color to bring into the room," San said. "Replace throw pillows, maybe a new area rug and window treatments to bring a new color into the room without changing everything."

But, just throwing everything out and starting over would be counterproductive, San said.

"People have been wanting to freshen the things they already have and not replace everything," she said. "One of the best ways to do that is to pick out a few things in the room that make a difference."

And if new furniture is necessary, Bower recommends looking in unusual places.

"Go to yard sales to try to find that new look," Bower said. "Or maybe try swapping furniture with a friend."

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