Chic for Cheap


// by Stella Katsipoutis

Years of wear and tear can take a toll on your home’s appeal and overall worth. But giving your house a much-needed revamp doesn’t have to cost you your life savings. Sometimes all it takes is a little attention to detail and less than $1,000 to spruce up for springtime—or even selling time. Here, some of Jacksonville’s top designers round up the five best value-boosting upgrades that are easy on the eyes—and on your wallet.

Give your home’s exterior a facelift In today’s visually driven world, first impressions are everything. If you really want to make your house memorable for guests or potential buyers, the experts suggest starting with your front yard and entrance. You don’t need to go all-out with fancy landscaping; just a couple of modest touches can drastically hike up your curb appeal. “Sometimes painting a front door, laying down some fresh mulch or adding a nice potted plant to the doorway makes the home feel more alive,” says designer Shirley Kishek of Kishek Interiors. “It’s inexpensive and gives a nice, homey feel.”

Get rid of the popcorn ceiling
Do your house a favor and save the popcorn for the movie theater. “I don’t think there is anything you can do to make a room with a popcorn ceiling attractive,” says Andrew Howard of Andrew Howard Interior Design. “It must go, and if it’s in your house, this should be the first area of focus for any remodel plan.”

Aside from dating your design scheme, a textured ceiling is all but impossible to clean and will have most home buyers running scared. Scraping it off can be done in no time—with little to no damage to your budget. But you may want to let the pros handle this one: They can patch up any uneven spots and create a smooth, clean surface. You also don’t want to end up with a hole in your ceiling or, worse, a face full of ceiling crumbs.

Give your walls a new coat of paint
Averaging only about $31 a pop, a gallon of paint is like a total home makeover in a can. Introducing a brand-new color to a room is by far the easiest and cheapest way to give new life, style and attitude to a room that may otherwise feel sterile and boring. “Everyone feels happy in a freshly painted space,” says Howard. “It makes everything around it feel fresh and new.” If you’re looking to resell, pick a neutral hue that isn’t totally stuck in the safety zone: Have fun experimenting with pigments that show off your personality but aren’t so offbeat that they turn off potential buyers.

Switch up your light fixtures
Just as a simple pair of sparkly earrings adds a dash of class to an ordinary outfit, a standout chandelier can dress up any room at a fractional cost. “Light fixtures are like jewelry and can either elevate a space or cheapen it,” says designer Alex Gebicke with Troy Spurlin Interiors.

Try using paint to put a DIY twist on your existing lighting, or swap it out entirely for an inexpensive find from a retail or thrift store. To make a glowing statement, put up chandeliers in unexpected places, like the laundry room or your child’s bedroom.

Add moulding to everything
Plain walls, windows and cabinets do the job, but what’s a main course without all the trimmings? Something as uncomplicated and economical as a decorative moulding can take your décor to the next level. “Adding moulding to otherwise architecturally spare spaces can give a more updated look and is relatively easy and inexpensive,” says Gebicke. “Chair rails, wainscot, picture rails and bead board are all obvious additions, but sometimes people overlook trim that can be added to smooth panel doors, cabinetry and ceilings.”