A whole new look in one weekend!

The $150 Living Room Makeover

by Shaunna Privratsky

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Have you ever needed to redecorate a room on short notice? From minor changes to a major overhaul, you can accomplish a room re-do in record time without busting the bank. Here's how.

First, make a list of what needs changing or updating. Keep in mind your time frame, budget, and priorities. Next, decide on a theme. It could be a modernized color scheme, based on a favorite hobby, or just a whole new style. My recent weekend room makeover involved switching from a contemporary theme to a safari theme.

Take a moment to plan out your project. It will save you from headaches and your budget later. Decide what color, style, or theme it should be. Determine exactly what you need to buy.

Pick up the phone or go online. Shop around for price as well as quality. When your shopping list is complete, hop in your car. Group errands at stores that are nearby to save both time and gas.

For extraordinary deals on furniture, unique accessories, lighting, soft goods like curtains, pillows and throws, pictures or wall decor, check out your local thrift stores or consignment shops. With your theme firmly in mind, you can shop here first to get the best bargains and spend the least money.

My sudden switch in decor started innocently enough. My mother-in-law decided to buy us a new recliner. Unfortunately, the model we ended up picking totally clashed with our existing living room theme. Time for an emergency re-do!

The new theme was simple. I chose a safari theme because the earthy tones and exotic accessories would blend with the new tan chair that was scheduled for delivery in three days. Other popular themes are shabby chic, classic modern, or eclectic, which is a mixture of new and old items.

To make the safari theme a reality, I needed a new area rug, wall decor including pictures, window treatments, and accessories. Fortunately, our black leather furniture, black wrought iron tables, black lamps, and cherry bookshelf would blend in.

With a maximum budget of $150, I itemized my shopping list. The area rug would be the most expensive item, so I looked for one first. I called eleven stores and located a leopard one at Target for $69.

Pictures were another challenge. With our cathedral ceilings, our oversized walls needed large pictures. I remembered a used office furniture store carried large animal prints in wooden frames. I found four large pictures and one smaller one for $25 total.

I had some cream, cheesecloth-like material with an India pattern for long drapes, but needed a liner for light control and privacy. I purchased a white sheet at Walmart for $4.85 for an instant liner. All I had to do was sew a line at the top for a rod pocket. You can use sheets for draperies for any style; just match the color or pattern to your theme.

A typical drapery rod and brackets runs upwards of $300. Instead, I found wonderful black and copper holders and matching rods at a dollar store for $5. Hardware stores like Lowes are another great source for inexpensive rods. They sell copper or aluminum piping by the foot, and they will cut it for you for free!

To update our black lamps, I purchased feather trim for $8 at Michaels. A little glue around the edges and it instantly transformed the lamps. You can also find new lampshades to update your look at discount stores for around $10.

Accessories were the most fun. I found an eclectic mixture of brass candlesticks, vases, container boxes, wood items, and all kinds of funky items for less than $10 for everything from local thrift stores.

Accessories really pull a look or theme together and can be the most important element of a new style. Don't go to pricey designer stores. Instead, you should shop second hand and thrift stores and discover unique items at terrific prices.

The doorbell is ringing. The delivery van is here. After my weekend whirlwind of planning, shopping and decorating, the new chair will fit right in. Now our family can relax in an exotic jungle Safari, without leaving our living room.

Even with little time or money, you can still perform a weekend room re-do. All it takes is a plan, some creative shopping, and fun decorating to transform your room. Happy decorating!

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