First of all, let me just say that I’m hardly an expert at managing finances. :-)
However, when Amanda Gates, Linda Holt and I talked recently in this telecall about some ways to invest in some home improvement with a lump sum of money that might befall one with a tax refund, I couldn’t help but dream up a few ideas of my own.
I always feel like when you get a lump sum of any kind of money, that it’s not a good idea to just add it to your overall spending.
First of all, it’s a sort of a random and unplanned amount of money in your account which can cause you to waste it because you feel flush.
Secondly, I think it’s a good idea to have a plan before it hits and then invest it wisely before it gets frittered away on other things.
Unless you need it to pay off some debt or credit cards or have any other specific needs, then here’s how I would approach an unexpected deposit of funds, if you are thinking about home improvement or furnishings.
1. Analyze your projects and pick one to get done.
Do you have any planned projects or places that you are ready to update but haven’t put into action yet? You might prioritize those and come up with something that will help you feel like you’ve accomplished a goal and moved toward a desired end result you’ve been considering for awhile.
For example, my son and his wife just bought their first home, a townhouse down close to downtown Houston. They had been renting there awhile and are itching to replace their cheap, worn out carpet with wood floors and some more new carpet.
That’s a perfect type of project to attack when you get a bonus of money, as it’s a significant investment. It’s going to make them feel like they accomplished a big goal toward their growing list of improvements they want to make and it will give them some pride of place, not to mention help their property value.
2. Just have a small bit on your return?
Let’s say you don’t have a significant amount. I think that’s the great time to just splurge on something that you wouldn’t normally buy, like a piece of furniture. I would suggest something rather timeless, but a small side table, a new nightstand, a piece of art from an art fair, might be just the thing to lift your spirits and give your room some style.
Sometimes looking at a wall of bookshelves with new eyes for a touch up and some restyling can give you a fresh outlook and make you feel like you've done a significant makeover. Check out this styling we did last fall. Quite the change!
3. Pay a pro to do the labor.
Time is money, right? Do you really want to spend the next 3 weekends painting your dining room and installing new light fixtures? Of course you can DIY, but if you’re feeling flush with that cash, maybe you could hire out that work and use that time (and save the backache it might render you), toward spending time with your loved ones or even a little much needed R&R.
I really value my contractor's efforts. Find out why right here.
4. Buy some new bedding or maybe even a new bed.
Maybe this is a big deal just for me, but I hang onto bedding way too long. I've always got other things to spend my design dollars on and tend to overlook my bed.
It’s something that is great to refresh often as it gets dingy, stained and sometimes shrinks so you can’t fit it properly on the mattress. A new mattress and pillows can help allergies and give you firmer support for a better night’s sleep. It also feels a little bit luxurious and spoiled, to be able to have your money invested in a space that’s just for you.
Here's how we approach designing the perfect bed for our clients.
5. Get some interior plants and planters.
I’ve always had a big tree in my main living room, just something I think is important in a fully designed space. This is a wonderful design trend too, I might add, plants everywhere! I have a fiddle leaf fig now that looks a little timid and skinny. I’m about to put it outside for the summer (it loves it out there in the shade in our humid environment) so it can get big and leafy again.
In the past, I’ve had a ficus and an areca palm, but I like the architectural character of a fiddle leaf fig and it can create such structure and fill a space beautifully. I plan on getting a new one for my living room while the one I have has a spa in the backyard for a few months and I’ll probably go to this place in Houston that specializes in oversized interior trees.
6. Refresh your outdoor furnishings.
Let’s say you’ve got your home all perfect and you are satisfied with everything. (Right!) Outdoor furnishings don’t really have that long of a lifespan and if you take a good look, likely need a refresh.
With all the outdoor living so popular these days and all the beautiful products to furnish outdoor spaces, adding items like rugs, pillows, extra lounge seating and tables help make a garden a livable part of your home. And….it’s just in time for summer. :-)
See how I refreshed this corner of my back garden last year.
You can check out the other suggestions my design peers mentioned in the telecall link right here.
I've got a new design tip guide for all of you out there who are working your own projects these days. I see so many projects that are almost there, but with a few tweaks might have been even better! I'm sharing my top 9 things to consider when designing a project yourself, whether it's remodeling or furnishings, so that you can get the maximum best result!
Amanda and I will be talking all about subway tile next month. Is it over? Are you tired of it? What are some upcoming options? Click here to put it on your calendar.