Budget decorating

Colin & Justin: When to scrimp, when to save

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Budget decorating

Colin & Justin: When to scrimp, when to save

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan share their insight on the wisest ways to spend smart.

Our motto It's not how much you spend but how you spend it that makes all the difference. With that in mind, think carefully about your household costs and splash out in the right places.

1 DO work out the costs before tackling your redesign, and always stick to budgets. Know your limitations and choose accordingly.

2 DON'T turn a blind eye to the bigger items that you may not be changing (like sofas and beds). Work around them and choose complimentary accessories. Just because you like that amethyst-colour cushion doesn't mean it will look good on your gold velour sofa.

3 DO measure twice, cut -- or buy -- once. You know it makes sense. Just try getting that seven-foot sofa up your stairs without first working out if it fits. If you need to, make a 3-D cardboard box template to make sure it will get up there. We do this all the time on TV projects, much to the amusement of our Canadian homeowners. Same goes for fabrics and any other design materials: measure twice before it's too late, or you'll end up having to buy more. Watch it, Edwina Scissorhands!

4 DON'T paper over existing wallpaper. Remove it and start fresh when it's time to change direction. If you keep papering over paper, you'll soon be living in a padded cell!

5 DO wash any shrinkable fabrics before cutting out your patterns for slipcovers. It's a no-brainer. Do it the other way around, and your gorgeous new homemade cover may not fit your trusted old comfy friend. Think pre-diet Oprah trying to fit into a small-Oprah dress.

6 DON'T use Band-Aid solutions. If cracks start to appear in your plasterwork, for example, you shouldn't simply patch them over and hope for the best. For all you know, there could be an underlying problem that needs immediate attention. Ignore it at your peril!

7 DO spend time attending to regular maintenance; it will save money in the long run. Your home is your biggest investment, so look after it.
Tackle simple jobs to keep problems from building up and becoming costly repairs. For instance, if you let the seals around your external doors become loose, the elements -- and moisture -- will soon take hold and, before you know it, you'll have rotted woodwork and damp-infested sills.

8 DON'T wait until you're selling your home to have it surveyed and appraised. We recommend having experts carry out an inspection every few years. Surely it's better to know there's a problem so you can fix it before it gets out of hand, no? You have your car regularly checked, so why not your biggest investment? Hmm? Precisely!

9 DO allocate a few dollars for weatherstripping for your windows and doors; you'll save loads of money as much-needed heat stays inside your home rather than escaping to the street. Come on, keep your loved ones warm inside, not those pesky raccoons under your stoop!

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Budget decorating

Colin & Justin: When to scrimp, when to save