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Given the down payment you just dropped, it might be awhile before your bank account recovers enough to take on the full remodel your fixer upper so desperately needs. In the meantime, these relatively easy-on-the-wallet projects can turn your ho-hum house into a 10—or at least a solid seven.
Funk in the Tub
Embrace that oh-so-’50s pastel pink/green/blue tile in your bathroom by painting the walls a clean white and picking up funky accessories. “Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are always great resources for shower curtains that make it look like the bohemian vibe was intentional,” says designer Megan Kane of Denver’s Megan Kane Interiors.
Annie Huston—owner of both the garden store Birdsall & Co. and Columbine Design, a landscaping company—advises starting outside with a thorough cleanup (remove weeds, rake debris, prune shrubs and trees). Then add large pots planted with hardy, low-maintenance perennials, such as coral bells, lavender, or hostas, that can overwinter in Colorado.
Let There Be (Better) Light
Replace discolored, gunk-encrusted plastic outlet covers and light switches with decorative metal versions. Or go even further by swapping out tired light fixtures for inexpensive pendants or chandeliers, suggests Cassy Kicklighter Poole, owner of Denver’s Kaleidoscope Design, whose go-to ceiling-bling shop is Baker’s Fusion Light and Design.
Until you have the budget to refinish beat-up wood floors, Jennifer DesJardin, principal of Motif Design Solutions in Denver, recommends this temporary design fix: Remove any finish; apply an oil-based primer; draw a pattern (think: chevrons or a checkerboard); and alternate paint colors in the shapes you have created.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink
The truly handy should consider washing existing kitchen cabinets with degreaser before giving them a light sand and a fresh coat of paint. Another easy upgrade for the canteen? Replace existing knobs and drawer pulls with on-trend hardware (hello, brass!) from Lowes or Home Depot.