8 budget-friendly ways to change the look of your home this summer

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Bar cart inspiration by Jskul Style Interior Design. Photo by Aaron Tran.

My Dad shakes his head and says, “Change for change sake,” when he visits our home and notices new color on the walls. I like a fresh look and satisfy my need with paint and furniture and artwork re-positioning. I’m always budget-conscious and have used DIY classes, trial and error and interior designers to create a comfortable space for us.

Try one of these eight tips to create a new look for your home or apartment, just in time for a summer party:

Paint to transform a space

Paint is one of the quickest and least expensive ways to transform a piece of furniture or room. “Maybe you have a functional hand-me-down that falls flat in the style department. Paint can change that quite easily,” said Danielle McKim, owner of Tuft, a custom furniture and upholstery shop on Central Avenue. “There are so many paint finishes you can try, from distressed to high gloss to a soft matte.”

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Add a unique piece of furniture that also serves a purpose.

McKim suggests using a vintage suitcase as a side table.  Add legs (like bricks, wood, copper piping) or stack items on top and tuck away items inside while entertaining.

Shop your home.

Jenn Skultety, owner of Jskul Style Interior Design, recommends photographing your rooms to see what might be working or not working. Look for hidden or forgotten treasures that may be transformed into something else.

“One of the easiest things to do to refresh your space is to shop your own home,” Skultety said. “Reduce, reuse and recycle the stuff you already have.”

Show off the beautiful dishes that never get used or corral junk into pretty bowls or trays. Spray paint random decorative items the same color for a cohesive look (assuming they’re not family heirlooms.) Re-position your furniture. If something feels stale in your home, Skultety suggests donating them to a local charity (it might be the perfect piece for someone else.)

Stencil a focal wall

For a dramatic change without the burden of a long-term commitment like wallpaper, try stenciling a room or focal wall. “It may take some time, but it’s an easy DIY that packs a huge punch,” McKim said.

Bring the outdoors in.

“When it’s too dang hot outside, bring the outdoors inside to you,” Skultety said. “Adding living things to your home is guaranteed to freshen things up. Plants clean the air and boost your mood as well.” Low-maintenance succulents placed by the window are easy and the occasional $5 bouquet of flowers says, “you’ve really got it together,” according to Skultety.

Repurpose an old dresser.

Look for an old dresser at Consignment First on Independence Boulevard or find one free on Next Door or Facebook Marketplace. Transform it into a unique bar or storage piece with paint.  McKim recommends removing the drawers for open storage, add a pop of color or keep it the same color for a more classic look.

Create a summertime bar.

Transitional pieces such as the bar cart are easy to pull together, convenient and impressive looking.

“It’s a chance to add fun, summer-specific décor like pineapples and flamingos without that kind of thing taking over your whole house,” Skultety said. “You can easily find old metal carts at thrift stores or antique shops. With a bit of cleaning and spray paint, it’s like new again.”

A small bookshelf or table may be used to create a small bar. Don’t forget the basics: various beverages, fun glassware and mixers. Always add fresh fruit and fresh flowers. Then layer in accessories such as leaf garland, colorful artwork and more practical pieces such as a lemon squeezer.

Fill your home with memorable pieces.

Each time I reach for my car keys, I see the metal wall art we purchased at Festival in the Park at Freedom Park many years ago. Then there’s the tiny painting we bought from an artist we bumped into while hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy.

If you do the things you love, you’ll find the right pieces for your home. Skultety favors pop-up markets such as Front Porch Sundays in South End for finding memorable pieces that tell your story.

For more ideas, follow Danielle McKim and Jenn Skultety on Instagram.

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