Home Improvement (ARA) - With the housing crunch keeping more homeowners in homes they have outgrown, and the economy keeping renovation budgets tight, more homeowners are looking for smaller home improvement projects that offer a big return on investment. While many homeowners may think of remodeling as heavy construction, it’s possible to make a significant change in your home with projects that don’t require big structural changes. In the past, if your bathroom was too small, you might tear it out, take space from here and there and not think twice about turning it into a huge master bath suite. The new twist is that homeowners will try to make it more livable with the smaller touches: more mirrors to add a sense of space, new lighting, glass shower enclosures, and updated fixtures and hardware. Structurally, it’s the same bathroom, but now it has an airier feel. An interior face-lift allows you to use mirrors or glass to change the look of your environments relatively inexpensively, and recommit to your home, rather than sell it or simply undertake a big renovation. Not a do-it-yourselfer? The housing slow down also means good contractors may be able to take on these smaller projects that they passed on previously. Further, these contractors are more willing to negotiate a fair price, providing affordable opportunities to homeowners. Mirrors are the leading tool in changing the way a room is perceived. Long seen as a “secret weapon” of interior designers, mirrors can change the look and feel of a room instantly, without a lot of effort or expense. They add light, create a sense of openness, and reflect interesting views. Mirrors are a simple way to change the look of a room and brighten up a space. A recent study by a leading mirror manufacturer in the United States revealed that homeowners perceive a mirror as inexpensive art, adding a focal point to a room that didn’t have one before, at a cost far more attractive than a painting or expensively framed print. This option is creating a new era of interior design with mirrors. Interior decorators are discovering classy new ways to implement mirrors into the home environment with dramatic yet refined results. The new sense of design with mirrors has provided some groundbreaking interior aesthetic inside the home. New effects with mirrors, including colored mirrors, mirrors with acid-etching, new custom sizes and beveling, etc., provide homeowners with a great design palette to add pizzazz to the home while fitting any design style. Here are a few designer secrets for using mirrors or decorative glass to update your home: Budget home remodeling: It’s all done with mirrors & Decorating March 4, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II & IV • Page 21 ARA In the Bath A large mirror over a vanity can open up the space visually. A framed mirror along with updated towels or hardware can update the space instantly. Glass shower enclosures instead of a shower curtain make a small bathroom feel less crowded. A mirrored wall can brighten up a small, under-staircase powder room. Elsewhere in the Home A mirrored or back-painted glass backsplash in the kitchen reflects light back into the room without costly electrical work. Transparent or a semi-transparent decorative glass in the upper kitchen-cabinet doors is an easy way to change the look instantly. In the den, a large framed mirror over a fireplace adds a warm focal point as well as reflected light. In the foyer, a mirrored wall portion can make the entrance area feel larger. A glass table makes a dining room or sunny kitchen nook feel less cramped and allows colorful rugs, cushions, and centerpieces to add impact. Think creatively and add new sparkle to an existing space. Bathroom elegance without a major renovation (ARA) - When your goal is to turn your bathroom into an elegant and luxurious space, you may think you need to gut everything and start from scratch. But you can save the time, money, and energy spent on a major renovation. With a few simple upgrades, you’ll have a room that’s fresh and spa-like. Instead of a major bathroom overhaul, try these tips for creating a luxurious impact with simple upgrades from Lynn Schrage of the Kohler Store. Add tile around the sink area. Installing a mosaic on the wall behind the sink can give your bathroom fresh appeal in just a small area. Choose tile for pattern, texture, mélange of color, or even a vertical effect. Try picking a color that blends with the sink and wall color for a subtle elegance, or go in the opposite direction and use the tile colors to contrast for a striking look. Dress up your sink. Give your sink a new look by replacing your old faucet with a more modern and eye-catching model. Modernize your hardware. Over the years hardware can begin to look dated, dull, or even smudged with paint. Replacing your hardware, including towel bars, toilet paper holders, and cabinet handles with a new style to complement the faucet and fixtures turn a bathroom into a luxurious setting. Change the reflection. Bring a new look into the bathroom with a mirror that can easily work with the current decor and jazzes it up to an elegant layout. Highlight all your changes. Replacing an old light fixture can make all the difference in the world. The trick is to determine how to provide good lighting that also is flattering to anyone styling their hair or applying makeup. You don’t want to overwhelm the sink area with bright lights, but neither do you want to create shadows. Because bathrooms are typically the smallest rooms in the house, it is also a good idea to find a fixture that matches the style of the hardware and faucet. Consider a ceiling pendant that is almost flush to the ceiling for an elegant touch. With simple upgrades like these, you can transform your bathroom into the luxurious space you want for yourself and your guests. CLEARCUT WINDOW & SIDING INC. 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