Throw a Remodeling Party
By Jennifer Bell

The new year is for starting fresh and working on personal goals. So, why not ring in 2012 by changing up the most personal place in your life - your home?


While the thought of redecorating can be quite daunting, for both your psyche and wallet, it doesn't have to be. Redecorating a single room by putting more of your personality into it is a great way to release your creativity without breaking your piggy bank.


Plus, doing the job with friends makes it fun. Those remodelers on TV always look like they're having a blast. You can, too, with the Carolina Woman version.


Here's how it works: Recruit two pals and work as a powerhouse trio on one another's homes. One room in one home gets done in January, one in February and one in March. By spring, each of the three women in your group will be proud to show off her remodeled space. And she might even drag people to the other houses to keep showing off!


Draw lots to decide whose house goes first. Each month, spend the first three weeks planning and shopping. In the last weekend, spend the first day painting. Use the second day to reposition furniture, hang up wall art and cleverly position accessories.


Here are more tips:



Focus on a specific room that can be enhanced by slathering on a coat of paint, deducting clutter and adding imagination. Be sure everything can be easily accomplished by your group of three. Don't do anything that requires a professional.


Make sure you have a clear vision. Setting a tangible goal is important and will give you something precise to work toward. Having a list of the things you want to accomplish, and being able to check them off as you do so, will keep you motivated as you go through the process.


Before running off to the store, know what type of style you want in your home. Create a scrapbook of clippings while browsing through magazines, books and websites; you'll be unstoppable once you're armed with this book.



Know what you want and where to find it by being a prepared shopper. Remember that getting it right is more important than getting it done quickly, so don't give up - as every woman knows, there are always more places to shop!


Take advantage of sales in the Triangle. In January, many stores run promotions as they prepare for new inventory. This is your opportunity to shop local.


Look for items that enhance what you already have. Think of things such as small items of furniture, lamps or lampshades, area rugs, couch pillows and large accent pieces.


Enlist the help of your friends to make short trips to:

Furniture stores - The collections are curated by savvy professionals who stock pieces in perfect condition. Most of the stores in the Triangle have decorators on staff. Show them your scrapbook of ideas.

Artisan markets - There's a fun vibe, and you can find unique pieces - often at reasonable prices.

Consignment shops and other repurposing outlets - For example, Habitat for Humanity's Restore - in Durham - carries furniture, lighting, frames, housewares and more.


Just because it's used doesn't mean it won't look great in your home - after all, one woman's trash is another woman's treasure.


Invite your friends' advice, but remember that you're decorating your home. Trust your instincts and hunt for things that inspire you. Your home isn't temporary, so your furnishings shouldn't be either.



Throwing color on the walls - your project for the first day of remodeling weekend -- is a tried-and-true way to update a room. A new paint job can transform the large living room in a Cary home or brighten the cozy kitchen in a Durham townhouse. So, move everything out of the room and get started.


Don't be afraid to paint over textured wallpaper - a contemporary hue on an old design can really freshen up your home.


Sales associates at paint shops can teach you new painting techniques and many big-box stores offer classes.



Day two of remodeling weekend is the time to put the room back together.


"Less is more," goes the old saying. And it's true. So, deduct, deduct and deduct some more.


Then start moving things in. Even if you do use an item that was already in the room, make sure you've changed something about it. For example, is there a new shade around that lamp or a new frame around that painting?


Make it a goal to put only one item back exactly where it was. Move everything else around. Be sure to highlight new purchases, such as area rugs or window treatments.



Throw off your shoes and throw back a few martinis with your friends while admiring your handiwork. Then, start talking about next month's project!