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When to Splurge


Published: 06/01/2012

by Kimberley Seldon

Regardless of budget, when it comes to decorating a home, there is only a certain amount of money available. The leaded-glass front door may be worth the investment, but it’s only possible as part of an overall plan that incorporates other, more modest choices. In other words, splurge on a stone countertop and you might have to forego the gas fireplace in the bedroom.


When it comes to the budget, staying on target involves a delicate balancing act between what you can splurge on and
where you need to save. Here are some examples.


Do replace an existing standard window with a gracious bay window. Add a window seat or banquette seating and gain valuable
storage space as well as additional floor space.


Do replace an unattractive backsplash with well-priced ceramic tiles. Popular today are 4x6-in. subway tiles in bright white,
butter, celadon and pale blue. Lay the tiles in an offset brick pattern, where vertical grout lines are staggered from one row to the next. Or create a dynamic backdrop by installing the tiles in a herringbone pattern.


Do choose natural materials wherever possible, as they are perceived to have greater value. However, when the budget
is limited, consider synthetic options that look like their natural counterparts. For example, choose linoleum that looks like tumbled marble, or a laminate countertop in place of granite.


Do trade an inelegant interior door with a glass-paned French door. The see-through solution allows light to travel between rooms, creating a feeling of spaciousness.


Don’t attempt to save money with inferior quality paint for walls and trim. With painting, the largest investment is in
the labour, and a superior product typically requires fewer coats to achieve full coverage – and is easier to maintain.


Don’t overspend on custom crown mouldings and baseboards. Instead, fake it. Choose a standard crown and baseboard, and
install a quarter-inch applied moulding two inches below the crown and two inches above baseboards. Paint the entire area – from the crown/ baseboard to the strip moulding (including the 2-in. section of wall) in one colour.


Don’t rely solely on pot lights, puck lights and table lamps to illuminate rooms. Decorative lighting, which includes sconces, library lights, lanterns and chandeliers, improves the atmosphere of every room.


Don’t endure the look of a popcorn ceiling when smooth drywall is what you crave. Instead of removing the granular surface, you can hide it with sheets of drywall. This is the perfect time to adjust any lighting inefficiencies, as the new drywall
instantly covers any damage to the ceiling.


Don’t ignore first impressions, which are vitally important to the perceived value and enjoyment of a home. An appealing,
well-maintained façade and beautifully tended garden translate into thousands of dollars when it comes to resale. In fact, in addition to kitchen and bathroom improvements, real estate agents list exterior renovations within the top three that increase a home’s resale value.


Kimberley Seldon Design Group is a full-service design, build and decorate firm. For more information, phone 416-780-9187, ext. 227, or visit

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