Coeur d’Alene Press

It was too smokey this week to even see the for sale signs around town.

Luckily, Neighborhood of the Week occasionally ventures into topics that help readers improve their current home. Whether you’re preparing to sell your home and want to maximize value via decor and staging, or you just want your house to be better than its current sloppy state, there are simple things to do when the smoke ruins those outdoor projects and activities.

Order those extra air filters now

Before you do anything, go double check the filter size in your air system and order some extras. You’ll probably want to change this out as soon as the smoke clears, and, if you’re anything like me, you always seem to be out of these when you actually want to replace them. I’ve finally settled on receiving an automatic shipment to arrive on my doorstep around the time the “suggested” switch out time rolls around.

Seriously… skip the yard work if the air is unhealthy

You don’t need to wreck your lungs just because the grass is a little long. One of my neighbors worked on his flower beds for a couple hours last Sunday, which was easily the worst day for the smoke. That couldn’t have felt good. Feel free to forward any landscaping-related HOA warnings straight to Neighborhood of the Week. We’ll promptly run it through the shredder and mail all the tiny remains right back to them.

Consider spending decoration money on more functional items

Air purifiers, improvements to your current heating/cooling systems, insulation strips for drafty doors and more might be a better use of money, especially since “fire season” seems to return with a vengeance every August/September.

Before you add, reduce

Unhappy with the current look and feel of your home? Join the club. Many of us dream of having the budget and time to completely overhaul the furniture, decor and even the layout of our homes. Most of us just live with the mess/underwhelming assortment, or maybe even abandon all hope in the home and begin looking at “better house” for sale on the open market.

Here’s the thing: Your house may not be in as bad of shape as you think. Watch any HGTV renovation show and you’ll see the No. 1 change before any of the construction involves getting rid of all the junk.

Before you consider overhauling the entire kitchen, try putting everything away and getting rid of the appliances you don’t use. Stop throwing the mail on the counter, and don’t let your island become the place where everyone throws down their cups, keys, books and devices.

Pick up the toys, toss the junk and open up your home by getting rid of all things you don’t actually need. You might have much more space than you think.

Consider a refresh of your walls too. Maybe rearrange the family photos, put up new ones or consider a new paint color. Paint is cheap. You can pick a color, throw it up there, absolutely hate it, and just paint over it again for a few extra bucks.

Don’t get boxed in by trends or what your house “should” look like

As much as we all love seeing the elegant final product on renovation shows like “Property Brothers,” it doesn’t mean the HGTV way is always the best avenue for home decor. You don’t have to spend the kind of money they do to make a room feel comfortable.

Styles change too, and the thing you see being pushed on that random episode you saw last night might even be a few years old by now. “Fixer/Upper” stopped producing episodes in 2018, and, look, I’m not suggesting at all that the Chip and Joanna Gaines way is “out of style” (their various successful books and product lines obviously prove they still know what they’re doing). But you don’t need to approach what you see on TV as some kind of guaranteed, modern approach.

Be creative on the cheap

I’ve seen little abstract clay do-dads listed “decor” at absolutely ridiculous prices. I’ve seen decorative kitty bookends for $100. Look, if you like kitties, that’s all fine. But you know what cost less than that? An 8-by-10 picture of Nick Fury, signed by actor Samuel L. Jackson, with a certificate from a legitimate authentication service. A decent frame to hold the picture is $5. To me, that’s money better spent, and it looks cooler than some elegant cat statue.

The point is… be yourself. Search for eclectic art and accent pieces on eBay or Etsy, and don’t be afraid to fill your space with the things you enjoy. Don’t overfill a space, especially if you already have a problem with clutter, and make sure your housemates and spouses are OK with the Sam Jackson picture hanging alongside the family portrait. (Mine is in the basement, next to my framed “Jurassic Park” poster, duh).

Luckily, decor items and pictures are easy to remove if it comes time to sell your home and stage it more “elegantly” for potential buyers. Until then, if it looks nice to you, then who cares if it isn’t something you’re likely to see on HGTV. Though I hear the Gaines family are big “Snakes on a Plane” aficionados.

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Let us know about the standout neighborhoods around North Idaho you want to see featured in Neighborhood of the Week. Realtors! Reach out to us with updates on new developments and established neighborhoods in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Hayden, Rathdrum and beyond. Contact Tyler Wilson at [email protected]

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