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Take years off the look of your home

(NC)—Maybe your home is a little down-at-the-heels and you haven’t noticed, let alone done anything about it. Not to worry, the following are some tips for an update that are neither difficult nor time-consuming:

The world’s at your feet

Wall-to-wall carpeting can really look like yesterday’s news so do the easiest thing: Pull it up and expose what’s beneath like shiny hardwood or polished concrete. It will be cool on the feet and to the eyes. Throw down a faux cowhide or two if you feel a little “warmth” is needed. They’re easy to clean with a quick sweep of the broom and are appropriate with a wide gamut of décors.

If you don’t like what’s underneath, consider staining a wood floor a lighter or darker hue—pure white and ebony are hot right now, or stenciling it.

For something super-easy, add a border to an area rug. Glue-gun contrasting suede on a sisal, for example. It not only produces a more expensive appearance, but personalizes it.

Dress up and down the windows

The key to modernizing window treatments is to make changes that not only look good, but allow the window to perform more efficiently. Have you had mini-blinds since the 1960s? For a more formal, yet still leisurely atmosphere, exchange them for versatile Vignette Modern Roman Shades. To make the window treatment even more current, there are mobile apps available that allows you to control motorized products by shade, room, time, or activity. In advance, just set everything as you want it so that when you arrive home, there’s nothing to do but relax.

Fool the eye

Kitchens are among the first rooms to show their age. One way to fix them up is to reface cabinet doors. There are a variety of brands available that are installed over existing frames for a perfect fit and enhanced functionality, and you can choose many details, too, from drawer glides to ornamental accents. Center a coordinating area rug on the floor, and there’ll be no mistaking it for any time but the present.

The good kind of mold

Whether it’s because they were built when cost was an issue, or an absence of imagination, many older homes lack wall molding. Similar to the right window dressings, molding provides the polished detailing that gives any room the designer touch.

When it comes to selecting the motif, think about the overall feel of the room. You wouldn’t want molding à la the Palace of Versailles in an airy loft or something plain in a palatial salon. They should complement each other. Also key to selecting the right ones is that they be proportional to both the size of the room and the height of the ceiling.

The best quick-fix

Painting might be the fastest and easiest alteration one can make to a room. There are certain colours and combinations—avocado, deep pink, turquoise with brown and orange to name a few—that shriek “old-fashioned.” So rifle through your favorite magazines or sites and pick a new palette. It can completely transform a room’s mood from yesterday to today. If a total re-do is too radical for the moment, try painting one accent wall, perhaps in the niche of a large room, to establish a cozy spot for reading.

Add your own special touch

Just as you accessorize your wardrobe to suit your lifestyle, do the same with your home. If you have an old-fashioned, bedside table left over from childhood, replace it with a clean-lined chair or stool with a flat, wide seat. Is your bathroom from the Victorian era? Paint the claw-footed tub, and slipcover a chair with terrycloth to match—very spa-like and fun. As importantly, break up suites of furniture. Nothing is more yesterday than matchy-matchy, be it in the living-, dining- or bedroom.

There’s nothing like changing the décor to update an entire house. And be brave. Unlike a real facelift, whatever you do in your home can be fixed easily and inexpensively.