1. Know the retail seasons.
January is the time to buy furniture and linens. April brings deals on gardening supplies and outdoor decor. May is the month to purchase mattresses. The best time to buy a grill is after Labor Day. Shop October for appliances and November for cookware.
2. Shop online discounters for home decor.
Filene's Basement, the century-old discounter, has resurfaced as filenesbasement.com. And check out bargains at Overstock.com, particularly its Worldstock items, made by disadvantaged artisans overseas.
3. Use color strategically.
Are your rooms painted different colors that don't flow together? Don't repaint. Instead, decorate one room with inexpensive pillows, vases or throws in the color of the next room.
4. Do it yourself.
Tutorials on YouTube and Wikihow teach you how to regrout a bathtub, upholster chairs, etc. Do the job on your own and save big bucks.
Bob Vila, Home Improvement Expert
5. Save on hot water.
If you don't use a lot of hot water, switch to an energy-smart tankless model that heats water when needed.
6. Discover architectural salvage shops.
They offer a large, low-cost selection of gently used building materials, ranging from wood doors to plumbing fixtures. Vintage pieces add unmistakable flair to a home.
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7. Keep an unused fireplace damper closed to keep home heat from escaping.
If you rarely use the fireplace, consider plugging the flue with a chimney balloon.
8. Seal leaky air ducts.
Gaps can reduce air-conditioning efficiency by 20 percent or more. Hold a candle or an incense stick to the seams where two ducts connect; the smoke will tell you whether air is escaping. Tape it!
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