Do-It-Yourself, or Call a Pro? Getting Renovations Done Right

 These days, the urge to save a few dollars here and there may be inspiring the  creatively inclined to try their hand at home renovation. Before picking up the  paint brush or tearing up that carpeting however, it may be worth it to consult  a professional designer or architect. With myriad building codes, board rules  and the unknown risks that lie within each load-bearing wall or decades-old  bundle of wires, the D-I-Y approach can get tricky for even the handiest  homeowner.  

 Starting Out Small

 Still, that isn't to say that there aren’t plenty of small things a homeowner can do that will make a big difference to  the look and feel of their co-op or condo. Marilyn Sygrove, president of  Sygrove Associates Design Group, Inc. in Manhattan says there are a variety of  inexpensive yet highly effective options for people who want to freshen up  their living space.  

 First, less can indeed be more. “A good, old-fashioned spring cleaning where you can edit some of your  possessions and dispose of damaged or less useful items” can be a good option, Sygrove says. “Simply getting rid of something you have been hanging on to opens up your space.  Less clutter and repositioning what you have decided to retain can make a huge  difference in the appearance of the size of the apartment. If you can see the  floor, the space will look larger.”  

 Organization can also help in achieve that de-cluttered effect. “Remove things that stick out, like hanging shelves or racks,” Sygrove says. “They cut into your space. A long-term worthwhile investment would be to have  your closets outfitted for better storage so you can eliminate wall mounted  shelving that eats up space.”  

 Designer Kim Depole, owner of Kim Depole Design Inc. in Manhattan suggests  oversized mirrors as another inexpensive way to shake up a room. “They provide double the lighting effect,” she says. And as an added bonus, “just about everyone likes to look at themselves when they are running out of the  building.”  

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