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The Home Front

Making your home picture perfect on a budget

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Between magazines, social media sites like Pinterest and entire television networks dedicated to everything home and garden, it seems like someone is always trying to make us feel guilty that our home doesn't look like those idealized images.

But rather than throwing your hands up in despair and letting your yard go feral or saying you're satisfied with those bare white walls, use those feelings as a rallying cry.

Of course, home projects can seem overwhelming, both in scope and finances, but there are ways to make a big impact with minimal investment. With a bit of creativity and elbow grease, you can make small changes to your home that will carry a wallop of visual impact, even on a shoestring budget.

Love to have one of those yards the neighbors secretly envy? There are plenty of experts around who can help you find not only what will work for your space, but what will survive even the blackest of thumbs.

Boise's North End is a veritable hot bed of nurseries and garden centers packed with advice. For those with limited space, try something like the Wally, a modular living wall system fashioned out recycled fabric that had a former life as a plastic bottle, found at the 36th Street Garden Center.

"It's really a neat thing if you don't have lots of floor space or have children or pets," said manager Brenda Jones.

Need more advice? Talk to the pros at North End Organic Nursery or head to one of the area's oldest garden centers, Edwards Greenhouse, where there are not only plants but plenty of locally made outdoor sculptures and decor.

Outside of the city core, visit Far West Garden Center with its array of landscaping supplies or Greenhurst Nursery, which stocks an impressive selection of both plants and yard decor at reasonable prices.

Of course the outside of your home can't get all the love, but you don't have to gut your kitchen or hire a designer to make the most of it. A simple coat of paint, even just on an accent wall, can change the entire feel of a room.

Lindsay Reimann, owner of Reimann's Paint and Window Covering, is always willing to mix up a custom paint color. For a picture-perfect wall, Reimann suggests an easy-to-do texture.

"I could tell you how to do a suede in about 20 seconds and you'd do a good job," he said.

Reimann also suggests painting different shades of the same color on opposing walls.

"It's a subtle change that gives you a little pizazz," he said.

If you rent and can't paint, try using fabric to personalize your space. You can purchase inexpensive remnants, and then places like Idaho Tent and Canvas can add sturdy metal grommets to make hanging it easier.

Sometimes a new piece of furniture or a carefully placed accessory can add a punch of color or style. Consignment and vintage stores offer ever-changing landscapes of eclectic options.

Boise favorite Renewal Consignment Homewares not only offers well loved yet stylish furniture but lots of knickknacks that give a space personality—and all at prices far less than new.

Vintage pieces are perfect for adding character. Broadway Vintage is filled with all sorts of vintage clocks, radios and light fixtures, as well as the more standard furniture items like chairs, console tables and couches.

The Shabby House is a haven for those who like slightly eclectic, vintage but always interesting style. The store lives up to its names but is packed with creative ideas on how to turn ordinary objects into works of art for both inside and outside your home.

There's no reason to feel guilty that your home isn't a showplace—unless of course you don't do anything about it.