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Your Style, Your Budget

Tired of ogling the latest styles in brand name home furnishing stores and catalogues, only to find that the price of one little coffee table equals more than half your monthly salary? Donít be discouraged ó with a little ingenuity, your home can be as beautiful and stylish as a Hollywood celebrityís, for just a fraction of the cost. * Start with the walls. Itís easy to forget that sometimes just adding a fresh coat of paint or changing the color of your walls can give your living room, bedroom, or dining room a brand new look and feel. Wallpapering is another way to jazz up a room ó but donít break your budget hiring a contractor. Consider wallpapering just one wall, or only wallpapering borders. * Create atmosphere with Light.

Donít overlook the power of a lamp. The right lighting can transform any room. Forgo overhead lighting for lamps, and stay away from halogen unless it fits into your modern decorative scheme. Wall sconces are another great way to add a stylish touch to any room. Look for the type that lends itself to easy, self-installation.

* Accessorize. Another inexpensive way to create a designer look is to buy a few key accessories, like silk pillows, chenille throw blankets, and fresh-smelling candles. Choose an elegant centerpiece for your dining room table or coffee table, like floating white candles, fresh flowers, or a ceramic or glass fruit bowl. Pictures, photos, prints and paintings can be hung around a room to create whatever look or feel you desire. Shop flea markets and thrift stores for prints and interesting photographs, or go to a discount store for frames and hang some of your own creations. * Buy furniture that wonít break the bank. Shop smart for couches, lamps, tables, entertainment centers, and more. Estate sales, consignment stores, flea markets, junk and thrift stores can be gold mines for second hand but stylish furniture. If you donít want second hand, shop clearance sales or online. Online furniture stores can be treasure troves for good deals, since they generally have little overhead and therefore donít pass those costs on to you, the consumer.

* Canít afford a new couch? If you are somewhat handy with a sewing machine, use discounted fabric or beautiful sheets to sew yourself a couch cover. Still have energy? Create more cheap but beautiful "new" furniture by sewing upholstery covers for your armchairs or dining room chair seat cushions. If you canít sew, buy a shabby chic slipcover or tuck in a large beautiful sheet or blanket for a homemade slipcover. Finally, consider simply rearranging your furniture ó finding a different wall to put your couch against can create a whole new look for your living room. Use any or all of these tips to achieve the style you want at a low, low cost. Amaze your friends and family with your stylish home, then dazzle them with the shoestring budget you had to work with. Go ahead! Itís your home and you deserve the best without having to spend the most.


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