PROPERTY NEWS - If all the dreary economic and climate change news has left you feeling down lately, a change of scene at home could be just what you need to lift your mood.
What is more, rearranging or redecorating a room is generally a lot less costly way for homeowners to get rid of the blues than "retail therapy" or an impulsive trip away - and better for the environment, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
"Taking the time to rearrange or redecorate your home is really very worthwhile as it will not only make you feel more in control but also more energised, because you could express your creativity," he says.
"As an added advantage, it may also increase the value of the property, which will make you feel even better."
Everitt gives some advice on how to go about redecorating.
To start with, you may want to take a look at how much furniture or other "stuff" you have in the room you want to revamp, because an overfilled space will constantly irritate you, even if you are not aware of it.
Remove one or two pieces of furniture if necessary and banish any clutter that has piled up, as well as any dark window coverings that are shutting out the light. Then take a good look around to see if the room needs cleaning and possibly repainting in a lighter shade.
"If you are going to repaint, consider doing one wall in your favourite colour, or creating a feature wall with some beautiful wallpaper.
Colour can of course play a big role in making you feel happier, so top designers advise that you start adding small amounts of your favourite colour to the neutral interiors that have become standard - in the form of cushions, throws, art and flowers, for example."
Everitt says you shouldn't get caught up in "mood" lighting to create an ambience, because if a space is too dark it will strain your eyes and won't be popular with your family members or guests.
"On the other hand, when it comes to art, it's fun to experiment with presentation. Place a picture on a stand or table instead of on the wall; create a shadow-box full of small collectibles or holiday memorabilia; frame some of your children's favourite drawings - it will give your home a unique signature."
In a dining area, chairs with bright, cheerful upholstery are an invitation to relax and not hurry through a meal. "Then in the sitting room or lounge area, you might consider angling some furniture to avoid a boxy look and investing in some couch slip covers in different shades. If you need more storage, one idea is to decorate an old trunk and convert it into a coffee table."
In bedrooms, you don't have to abandon style in return for comfort. An inherited armchair may be a beauty but might also really need a makeover. Similarly, lumpy beds make for sagging spirits, and elderly carpets are hardly enticing.
"If you want to improve your mood, it's really worth making your bedroom into a bright, clean and attractive space with modern flooring, lighting and window treatments. And you can add texture with bedding, throws, curtains, wicker items and wood furniture - as long as they all tone."
If you decide it's the kitchen that needs redecorating, he says, it's always best to go for the most modern look and keep it light.
"White or stainless-steel cabinets are the most popular right now, while glass top-cabinet doors instead of solid wood can really open up a smaller space. Stone countertops are the easiest to clean and colour can be added in the form of door hardware, cookware or even kitchen towels and blinds."
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