(Family Features) With longer days and warmer weather, many homeowners look to take on summertime projects to bring new life to their homes, lawns and gardens. According to a recent survey from Bank of America, 46 percent of Americans plan to tackle DIY projects to redecorate or renovate their homes this summer, but for many Americans, the cost of these projects can be a big hurdle.
Home design and DIY experts Ben and Erin Napier, together with Bank of America, offer these budget-friendly tips and ideas to refresh any area of your home.
Sun doesn’t have to stay outside
Capturing the beloved summer rays indoors is easier than you might expect.
To brighten a room, Ben Napier suggests hanging mirrors on the wall opposite the window to reflect light to every corner.
“We hang mirrors across both sides of a room, focusing on where the light is strongest for the best reflection,” Ben said. “It’ll bring light into all corners of your home and you’ll be surprised at how this tip can make a dark room feel like a larger, friendlier space.”
Get creative with decor
Plants and flowers bring life and pops of color to any decor. Creativity is key to creating a unique area, and to keep costs low, Erin Napier suggests turning to your kitchen for inspiration.
“Everyday cake pans can make for great hanging planters,” Erin said. Follow these three simple steps:
- Take a Bundt pan, which often has ornate detail, and paint it an accent color to complement the space.
- Once the paint is dry, drill holes in the sides to loop in twine for hanging.
- Once your kitchen-inspired planter is complete, add your favorite plants, flowers or herbs.
“For outdoor inspiration with this idea, fill the planter with birdseed and hang the planter near a window for an interesting bird feeder,” Ben said.
Turn an empty wall into an art gallery
Transform an empty, plain wall into a hand-crafted gallery by collecting frames and repurposing them to display different types of art.
“When we shop for second-hand gems, I can never resist a good frame,” Erin said. “They’re good for more than just pictures and paintings. You can easily display eye-catching, dimensional pieces like antique saucers or other flat objects by removing the backing and glass and hanging the object on the wall within the frame’s borders.”
When setting up your home gallery, don’t forget:
- Select pieces that follow a theme, such as natural wood, black frames or metallic.
- Variety, like texture, shape and materials, keeps things interesting and prevent the design from feeling uniform.
- Start with your focal point piece in the center at eye-level then work outward to fill the wall.
- Line the frames and other eclectic pieces down a hallway in a creative pattern.
Create an illusion of more space
Bring the spacious feeling of your backyard into the home with one of Ben’s favorite tips to make a room feel larger.
“All you need to do is re-hang your existing curtain rods at ceiling height, then extend the length by about a foot beyond the window on both sides,” Ben said. “Complete the effect with long curtains that just hit the floor. It’s amazing how much bigger your room feels after this simple, quick fix.”
Farm to table herb gardens
Forty-four percent of Americans plan to host a party this summer, according to data from Bank of America. If you’re planning to cook for a crowd, Ben recommends turning to your garden for seasonal recipes.
“Backyard dinners and barbecues are one of our favorite summertime activities,” Ben said. “It’s great to have our friends and family over to enjoy a home-cooked meal that features home-grown herbs and spices. Especially during summer months, herbs add fresh flavor to seasonal cooking.”
Herb gardens can also add a rustic, eclectic look to a garden or planter, and are smart ideas if you don’t have much backyard space or are trying to stick to a budget at the grocery store where fresh herbs can really add up.
“Indoor or container herb gardens are also great for apartments and homes that may not have a yard,” Erin said.
Once you find your planter or herb box, head to your local garden store to buy soil and seeds or starter plants for your favorite herbs and spices.
Thyme, basil, rosemary and oregano are good choices because they’re versatile for everyday cooking and there are many things you can do to preserve them at the end of the season.
Stretch your budget with rewards
Giving your home or backyard a refresh this summer doesn’t need to break your budget, especially when you’re taking advantage of simple, savvy DIY projects. One of the easiest ways to help offset costs for these projects is to use a credit card that rewards you for what you love doing by letting you earn cash back on your purchases.
Since home improvement projects – no matter how big or how small – can add up, use a card like the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card to help you stretch your budget for renovations of all sizes with its cash back benefits.
With the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card, cardholders earn one percent cash back everywhere, every time, two percent cash back at grocery stores, and now at wholesale clubs, and three percent cash back on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale club and gas purchases each quarter.
For more information, visit bankofamerica.com/getcashback.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman hanging mirror)