My clients often suggest that my own home’s interior must be fit for the cover of an interior design magazine.  While I appreciate the compliment and am proud to keep my modest home looking its best, it definitely wouldn’t make a magazine cover.  And that’s okay! My goal is to create a warm, welcoming, comfortable environment.

A home is a series of ever-evolving projects. And there is always something that needs to be taken care of.  In my home, I notice the paint that needs to be touched up, envision the furniture I still want to buy, and have a long list of my dream improvement projects. Some make sense (like new windows) and some don’t (a two-tiered deck with hot tub). Hey, it doesn’t hurt to dream!

Every home is a work in progress.  You’ll always have a wish list of home improvements. Who doesn’t need a wall painted, updated furniture, or a change in their accessories?  The important thing to keep in mind is sanity.  You don’t want to feel stressed or pressured into buying new furniture or getting new carpeting for your entire home.  You don’t want it to break your budget or strain your marriage.  Crafting your unique living space should be a fun adventure, not a nagging list of worries. Don’t let your home improvement projects drive you crazy!

How do you avoid the stress and craziness? Divide your home improvement to-do list into two categories:

1) The SENSIBLE projects that need to be done to make your living space safe, energy efficient, and comfortable.

2) The DREAM projects that would be nice to do someday when you have the time and money to make them happen. 

Things that make sense and improve the value of your home could possibly be getting a new roof, upgrading cabinetry, changing out the old windows for new and improved, or repairing old plumbing or electrical work.  All these would add to the value of your home and make you feel smart and sensible for doing them. And here’s a secret: the fastest way to change the look of the room is to simply repaint. Really! Fifty dollars of paint and some elbow grease can completely transform an entire room.

Then you have your less sensible wish list, but be reasonable!  I will forgo my two-tiered deck with a hot tub and maybe just replace the decking planks on our existing deck in a year or two. This allows me the satisfaction of a project completed (plus no splinters!) and improves the value of my home, but within a smaller budget. I have never been able to go out and buy a whole room of furniture at one time, though I enjoy helping clients do that!  So, I have to be very strategic about exactly what I want, know the size parameters, carry color samples with me, and always keep a sharp eye out for any good deals I can find to meet the description. I have gotten wonderful pieces, with the added satisfaction of staying within my budget. Being patient in finding deals also allows time for my personal taste to confirm my selection instead of just buying the latest trend. Now go out and enjoy the process of taking care of your home!