Is your house falling apart? Does it look uncared-for and aging? This actually means: “Is what’s inside your house falling apart?” Roof and gutters are not included here. You may not remember how old your furniture, carpet, blinds, paint job and other products are. Unless you just furnished your place, can relate the purchases to an event or did it all at once, it’s not easy for many of us to keep track. There are reasonable expectations for how long “long” is for most stuff you have. It your house was last worked on in the 90’s, or the 80's, I would bet you’ll need to do some catching up, and not just aesthetically. Here’s a quick list:
Paint: A good paint job can last for years. I mean 10 years…maybe more for top-notch work and a healthy home. If you have leaks or settling, peeling and cracks can happen in a couple of years, or even months. If you want a paint job to last, it’s ALL in the preparation: repair the cracks, patch the drywall, prime and use food quality and a paint finish that will hold up where you need it. Nowadays, there’s not much flat paint in use, other than on ceilings and there’s good reason for it! My experience is that faux finishes (again –done properly) last “forever”.
Wallpaper: Years, again, unless the conditions aren’t good and/or it’s not installed well.
Carpet: Well-tended, I would say about 7 years. That means that you need to vacuum and clean it when needed. More wear might make it wear faster, but not necessarily. I have clients who have had carpeting for 5 years to over 20. And be prepared that re-carpeting is about as disruptive as moving. All the closets should be at least partially emptied and the furniture will have to (of course) be moved out!
Area rugs: A good wool rug – Oriental or contemporary is made to last. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be a plethora of vintage and antique rugs to buy. Hey – my antique-buying cousin used to seek rugs at auction that had holes in them—threadbare and worth a LOT.
Window coverings: Blinds in wood or metal will last until they fade or (like mini-blinds) deteriorate. Again: keep them clean. Drapes or curtains can also last years if taken care of properly. Over 10 years is not unrealistic. Every several years, have them cleaned and when you select fabric, please take care not to buy something that you are told will fade or deteriorate: some fibers don’t last as long as others and blues, blacks, purples and other colors fade pretty easily. For sure, add a lining. Shutters last forever. That’s one of the reasons they are always popular. If they are painted, they can be repainted by an experienced painter.
Wood floors: I used to hear 7 or so years to re-seal wood floors. Not so much with newer products, but pay attention to the condition of your floor and take care of it. This is the one repair that will absolutely disrupt your routine if you have to refinish the floor. Cork floors need re-sealing as well.
Stone and Tile: Tile can last decades. Walls and floor installations can both last and last. Again, maintenance can slow down big re-doing: re-grout as needed, polish and seal stone floors, etc. Stone tops should be re-sealed as well.
Furniture: The Biggie – Furniture will last if you take care of it. Cabinetry will last “forever”. You can repair, refinish, re-design (sometimes) cabinets. That includes tables and chairs – wood and metal. Glass can be replaced with new glass or maybe stone?
Upholstered furniture: I think assume about 7 years for textiles. But, I have clients who don’t make it to 5 years will top-level products and I have a couple of clients that have had the same fabric on sectionals for over 15 years. Those sofas are in rooms that are used daily, too. Reupholstering furniture, perhaps with clean coat of paint, can totally change the atmosphere of the room.
Kitchens, bathrooms, rec rooms (as they were, before “media room” appeared) have their own elements. These rooms are technology-driven as much as they are aesthetically driven. A gourmet cook or media geek might need to redo and update these spaces quite regularly. This topic deserves to be my next blog topic!
So, if you decide that it really IS time for a makeover, new? Redo? There is no simple answer to that question. Maybe you should call a design professional for advice, or try to pull it together yourself, if you like. It’s feasible, but could cost more than hiring a Designer that doesn’t charge suggested retail prices. But most of all make sure that what you are repairing or re-doing is worth the cost—at least to you. No matter what salespeople will tell you in many chain stores, there absolutely are times that you should consider whether what you own is of a good enough quality to justify the amount of money you’ll be investing. My clients have sometimes invested more in reupholstering than buying new, bu t they LOVE “that chair” and know that what they will get is much better quality than it ever was before.
Remember: Ignoring the work the house needs will not make it go away! These projects may seem out-of-control so pace yourself -- don’t get overwhelmed. If you have to or want to, get help rather than make a mistake.
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