Renovate your home -- for $500!Until you win the Mega Millions, we're guessing that gutting your house--let alone renovating a room--isn't at the top of your to-do list.
Cue: Drew and Jonathan Scott, identical twin brothers and stars of HGTV's hit show Property Brothers. Every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Jonathan--a licensed contractor--and Drew--a seasoned agent--find down-and-out fixer-uppers and turn them into kick-ass properties.
And with a well-spent $500, they say you can turn any old room into real estate perfection. "If you have the budget to buy beautiful furniture and expensive appliances, do it," says Jonathan. "But most of us don't have that budget--and if you're willing to put in the legwork and search for the deals, you'll cut your budget in half."
Follow these dollar-by-dollar guidelines from the Scott brothers for a better-looking space (sans the debt) in no time. (For more tips, follow them on Twitter at @MrDrewScott and @MrSilverScott, where they answer questions from followers.)
The right lighting can make a place look brighter and feel bigger. Keep lighting simple, but elegant. For instance, shoot for something with a touch of chrome--it's fairly inexpensive, and has a reflective surface. With $150, you should be able to score a few new fixtures. Pro tip: Start by looking in the free section on Craigslist. People are willing to give away items like light fixtures, appliances, furniture, and kitchen gear in mint condition for nothing.
$100: Area Rug
Sure, everyone wants new hardwood floors. But for $100 (or less), a bold area rug can transform a room. Try Korhani (Korhani.com), a company that distributes to Home Depot and Lowes. And you don't need a huge rug (with an added price tag) to change the look of a room. A 5- or 6-foot rug can do the trick, the brothers say. If you're ambitious, try their trick and buy two rugs with a repeated pattern and stitch them together.
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Despite what you may think, the discounted paint section of your Home Depot or Lowes isn't the island of misfit toys. It's discounted because it was tinted the wrong color for the client, but it's still perfectly good--and usually a quarter of the price, according to the brothers. Remember: Keep paint colors calm, fresh, and crisp. If you want to punch up color in rooms, do it with decor and accent pieces, not paint.
Think:artwork, throws, and other statement pieces. Don't discredit stores like Wal-Mart, Marshalls, or Linens 'n Things--they've really upped their game, and offer steals that can add flavor to your home, the brothers say. Good with your hands? Fabric is fairly cheap, too. Reupholstering chairs is easier than you think, and can completely make over your furniture.
BONUS: 3 Big Splurges You Can Save On
Outdoor living space: Shop in the fall and winter. You won't have as much of a selection, but you'll score pieces for a quarter of the price (or less).
Kitchen countertops: Kitchen galleries usually have a section for miscut countertop that they sell for a fraction of the price, since the pieces didn't fit the kitchen they were meant for. The Scotts' suggestion: Keep your main countertops one color, and use this countertop for your island.
Kitchen cabinets: If the doors aren't hanging off their hinges, you can transform your kitchen by simply re-painting your cabinets--not tearing them out. Pro tip: Replace your kitchen faucet instead. It's way cheaper and can dramatically change the space.
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