Make the Most of your Budget
Home Makeovers from $250 to $5,000
June, 2007 - Issue #32
compiled by Therese Edwards and photography by Ted Dayton

If, by chance, your IRS return wasn't big enough to afford a new tile, let alone many of them held together by grout, you aren't alone. But when the budget gets tight, the tight get creative. Changing the look of your home for the better is just a few bucks (relatively) away, says Santa Clarita's finest design improvement experts.

$250 to $500

Greenery in a home creates the softness and warmth needed in just about every room. Trees range in price from $80 to $800 depending on the style, size and type of container. Palms of all types, ficus, raphis, sheflera, cypress, and many other varieties are available to purchase or you can custom order any tree in all sizes, and in any type of container.
~ Carolyn McLintock of The Decor Store


For $500 or less, any home can easily be transformed to give it a designer look with great accents like new baseboards. It's a surprisingly simple do-it-yourself weekend project and you'd be shocked how much better your home looks when you're done.
~ Virginia Karren of SCV Moulding and Design Center


A lot can be done for under $500. Live plants are making a huge comeback from the '70s as an inexpensive decorator's tool, because with easy once-a-week watering, you have an abundance of color and freshness added to any home environment. Potted orchids are at the forefront of this "fresh phase" and are no longer considered the rare and delicate genre which prevented most people from welcoming them into their homes. Most orchids will retain their fresh blooms for at least six to eight weeks, sometimes longer.
~ Susan Opalk of Orchid Gift Emporium


Add a touch of spring to your home for under $500. Choose silk topiaries, vines, potted herbs, candles, pictures and many other stunning decorator items for a look that's distinctly "you."
~ Cory and Hortencia Abouaf of Bella Venezia Home & Decor

One of my clients told me, "Every little girl should have crown moulding." A small bedroom can start for as little as $300, including the moulding, and can be completed in just a few hours. Plus, you'll be saved from dealing with complex angles and hitting your fingers with a hammer.
~ Erich Hahn of Hahnco Interior Moulding


I would recommend that clients make over the patio by choosing an item for each of the five senses. Imagine yourself sitting on a comfortable wrought iron garden bench brimming with pillows, gazing at a stone birdbath or angel, hearing the soothing melody of a windchime, enjoying the scent of lavender in the air from an outside candle, and sipping on a delicious cup of The Barefoot Contessa coffee. A piece of heaven at around $500.
~ Nanette Ferrara of McKenna & Greene, an Eclectic Home, Garden & Gift Boutique

$500 to $1,000

"For $600 or less you can dress up your guest bath. Replace the standard tract-style vanity cabinet with a vanity cabinet that looks like an antique. These unique vanities include opulent stone tops and fine porcelain sinks and are designed to give your bath a sophisticated feel.
~ Lisa Woodward of Woodward Kitchen & Bath


Hire a designer to give you a consultation. Getting a consultation will give you the tools and ideas to achieve a designer's look without paying big bucks!
~ the staff of The Design Squad


I think purchasing an original art piece is a wise investment. For that amount of money it's difficult to find a one-of-a-kind anything that could potentially increase its value over time. Works of art are often heirloom pieces that have their own unique story and creator. Interior designers frequently use a piece of art as their inspiration or focal point for decorating. A painting, sculpture or photograph brings a lot of character to a space and may be the missing link needed to tie things together.
~ Deno Antonini of Interior Home

Ugly brick fireplaces are always an eyesore. If a client has $500 to $1,000 to spend, I'd suggest fauxing the brick to simulate old limestone. This look is perfect for many types of designs, especially Tuscan.
~ Laura Kashmere of Studio Designs


You can absolutely jazz up your space for under $1,000. Mix up accessories. Use glass, crystal or a variety of finishes like wood or metal tomes or stone looks. Include light-weight elements like feathers, silk flowers or open iron works with heavier objects like large candles and ceramics.
~ Billie Hubbard of La Via Bella


Try painting a few strategically-placed accent walls throughout your home to add that stylish flair and depth to any room. Perhaps a tasteful mural is what your wall needs to show its (and your) true personality.
~ Josh Abramson of A.Allbright Painting


Consider reupholstering some chairs or a sofa; 20 yards of fabric will do either two chairs or a 7-foot sofa. In-stock yardage off the roll will average $300 to $400 and the labor around $550. With new cushion fillers, it will look fresh from the store at a fraction of the cost.
~ Tom Fisk of Coming Home Fabrics

Many new homes have circular- or polygon-shaped windows and transoms which defy the tenets of traditional window treatments. Stained glass overlay enables the homeowner to insert a piece of custom-designed art glass directly over the window without the need of removing the existing glass. Adding a piece of sunlit art to a room brings with it a sense of serenity and elegance.
~ Carla Davidson of SGO Designer Glass


Accessorizing can be anything from the perfect frame, framed art, a lamp, sconces or an urn. Keep in mind your theme or style, whether it is classic, modern or contemporary with a Mediterranean, Tuscan or tropical feel. The items you select should be timeless so that as your room evolves your decor can still remain.
~ Julie Mair of Rooms to Roam

$1,000 to $2,500

In the range of $1,000 to $1,500 you can get custom drapery for an 8-foot sliding glass door selecting from a large array of moderately-priced fabrics. A custom wood pole and finials would be included to add to the dramatic statement.
~Wendy Rasberry of Designs to the Nines


I would definitely suggest money be spent on making the patio into an extension of their home. By making your drab patio into an outdoor living space, you are adding square footage onto your home and utilizing an area often forgot. A beautiful patio set, surrounded by pots, plants and candle light, will get you instant gratification.
~ Amy Boswell of Oasis Garden & Patio


An ideal way to bring form and function together in the way of art is by using tile to capture your personal expression into your environment. Created from simple materials used throughout history, it conveys a deep sense of emotion whenever it is used. This can be done for as little at $1,000 to $2,500 or less including installation depending on the size of your bathroom/backsplash or floor.
~ Jodi Gragg of Advantage Tile & Stone Design

To obtain the performance your home requires along with the design elements needed to maintain your overall design, we suggest a patterned carpet style. A carpet with a pattern and the right color can make a dramatic impact to any room whether formal, casual or in between. At the same time you will get great performance as well as trendsetting designs to create a totally unique room. High-quality patterned carpets are available in a multitude of colors, styles and price points. A standard-sized room will generally run $1,500 to $2,000 installed with a premium cushion and phenomenal warranties.
~ Jennifer Davey of Elite Stainmaster Flooring Center


If a parent has around $1,600 to invest in their child's room, we would suggest designing that special themed bed for the child. By going with a loft bed concept, which is great with smaller rooms, space is maximized by using the area under the bed as a place for study, relaxation or play. And by having a themed environment the child enjoys, the bed can be a spark for the imagination and creativity.
~ Michael and Judy Albert of Dream Themes

The most common way for our customers to stretch the dollar is to have shutters put into high profile areas. Depending on the house size, many people can transform their living room area for a few thousand dollars. This is a permanent upgrade that will dazzle anyone who walks through the door. If you have an expendable budget, splurge and shutter the whole downstairs; that way the family room and real living areas get covered too, and you have pure enjoyment and add tremendous value to the home.
~ Paul Gatlin of Alpine Shutters & Window Fashions

$2,500 to $5,000

If a client were to spend approximately $2,500 to $5,000 in home improvements I would advise them to spend money on the foundational elements in their home. For example, new flooring, a new updated paint color on walls and ceilings, and moldings. These basic items set the stage for a fresh, new palate to build upon. Nothing is better than a new color on the walls!
~ Nina del Valle of Superior Design


Class it up and hide those ugly wires! For $2,500 to $5,000, a custom media center will add value and outstanding impact to your home. With all the options available it's easy to help you create that "wow" factor that makes your home stunning. In a room dedicated to home entertainment a custom media center will provide style and comfort for the entire family to enjoy. It just really looks good!
~ Mike Connor of Woody's Custom Furniture


The average Granite Transformation kitchen starts at $4,000. The process blends the beauty and elegance of Italian granite with modern technology to install directly over any existing surface. It's great, because there's no mess or demolition.
~ Scott Viers of Granite Transformations

Talk to a general contractor for great ideas on how to make dramatic improvements. Some homes call for entertainment centers and mouldings. Wainscotting, in particular, paneled wainscot (raised or recessed panel) can be casual or formal; bead board wainscot is for a more casual feel. Crown moulding can also have the same effect as the paneled wainscot.
~ Jay Rezendes of Jay Rezendes General Contractor


The fastest growing trend in window coverings is shutters. Plantation shutters are the wisest investment. As the only window coverings designed to last the lifetime of your home, they not only add beauty, they actually add salable value to a home. Instant curb appeal is also achieved as shutters are beautiful from the outside as well.
~ Bob White of CountryView Shutters


Design on a Budget Contacts

A.Allbright Painting

Advantage Tile Stone Design

Alpine Shutters & Window Fashions

Bella Venezia Home & Decor

Coming Home Fabrics

Country View Shutters

Designs to the Nines

Dream Themes

Elite Stainmaster Flooring Center

Granite Transformations

Hahnco Interior Moulding

Interior Home

Jay Rezendes General Contractor
La Via Bella

McKenna & Greene

Oasis Garden & Patio

Orchid Gift Emporium

Rooms to Roam

SCV Moulding & Design Center

SGO Designer Glass

Studio Designs

Superior Designs

The Decor Store

The Design Squad

Woodward Kitchen & Bath

Woody's Custom Furniture
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