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HGTV’s 2008 home improvement guide

Want a new look for the new year?  Brandie Malay of HGTV's "Hidden Potential" and "Designed to Sell" shares  inexpensive and easy solutions that will  brighten and add value to your home.
/ Source: TODAY

Whether you're planning to sell in the new year or you just want to spruce things up for your own enjoyment, Brandie Malay of  HGTV's “Hidden Potential” and “Designed to Sell,” offers inexpensive solutions to brighten up and add value to your home.Bedroom The cheap, easy fixes are simple paint, beautiful bedding and window treatments. They all can add a whole new look to your boring bedroom. Inexpensive places like Target have some fantastic products for the bedroom. Another easy fix is to rearrange the layout of your furniture — just changing a few pieces around can make a tremendous difference.

More-expensive fixes are organizing your closets. You can do it yourself online, then have it shipped and install yourself, or hire a professional company. Adding a master bath can be expensive, but if you're willing to invest, it can add tremendous value.

BathroomThe cheap, easy fixes here are updating lighting. and sconces are a nice touch. Plumbing fixtures, brushed-nickel and oil-rubbed bronze are very popular. Drop-in sinks are a look of the past, so put in an under-mount sink with a granite or marble top. Pedestal sinks are nice, too, but don't provide good storage and are better suited for a powder room. Put in marble or travertine floors. Make sure all the grout in your bathroom is clean and mildew free.

If money is no object, go for heated floors, I have them in my master bath and I swear I will never go without them again! Try a separate spa-like shower with body sprays and a steam shower. Built-in saunas are becoming popular. Fancy jacuzzi tubs are nice, too, but people don't use them as often as they think they do. Regardless, all of these add great value to your home.

Quick, easy fixes are updating lighting fixtures as well as plumbing fixtures. Paint the kitchen a nice neutral color. Remove items that clutter the space; however, have nice pieces above the cabinets and just a few pieces on the counter. Under-cabinet lighting is a nice touch and inexpensive.

More-expensive renovations include new countertops (granite, concrete just to name a few), stainless appliances, flooring (hardwood and slate are popular), and new cabinetry (you can always re-face current cabinets to save extra money), and adding a tasteful backsplash is great. You will receive the most dollar for dollar return in this room on average.

Living room
The quick, easy fixes are making sure your furniture is laid out in the best way possible for the flow of the room. Again, paint is your friend. Also, make sure you have the brightest wattage possible in your lights; look into eco-friendly products. More and more are becoming available. Put dimmers on the switches. Window treatments can have a huge impact on the room.

Pick a focal point. This can be a fireplace or a beautiful piece of furniture. More-expensive renovations would be installing hardwood floors. Buyers love these and they are easy to keep clean.

Outdoor deck area
If you don't have a deck, put one in! This has moved right up to the top of the list with kitchens and baths. There are mixed reviews on composite decks (expensive, but last longer and have no maintenance) versus natural wood (cheaper, but need to be maintained). I have a large deck and laid artificial grass and it looks fantastic.

If you are a city dweller and have pets, it is perfect! This is more of a big-ticket item, though. You can pick up nice, inexpensive furniture and add a nice fire pit. If you want to go all out, do a built-in grill, and pergolas are always lovely additions but cost more money. Make it a zen-like garden. If you are selling during the winter months, be sure to have pictures on hand as to what your outdoor area looks like in warmer months when flowers are in bloom and the sun is shining!

Front lawn
If people don't like the outside, how will you ever get them inside? Neutral paint if it is vinyl siding, if brick, make sure it is clean and tuckpointed. Add shutters to a home if plain from the outside. Put in landscaping. If you already have landscaping, make sure it is trimmed and freshened up. Make sure steps are clean and painted if wood.