Get your house in order — from the outside in

As we head into the tail end of 2008, some of us are hitting panic mode. Visitors will be stopping by for holiday meals. Guests may be staying for long weekends. And it seems like it will take years, much less a couple months, before we can get our house in tip-top shape. Have no fear. With the guidance of some experts, we’re here to help you get your house in order, from the outside in. We’ll tackle simple and cost-effective ways to tidy up your home’s curb appeal, organize your most cluttered rooms and also offer a few do-it-yourself design tips that will have guests remarking on your good taste.

Redecorating? You can redesign without buying new things

You’ve heard of an interior designer. And you may have even hired a remodeler. But until recently, a redesigner was just a word that most of us didn’t realize existed. Thanks to home design shows such as HGTV’s “Decorating Cents,” savvy homeowners are learning that redesigning — or utilizing pieces that already exist in a home — can rejuvenate a house for very little cost and, in some cases, no cost. It just takes a little imagination to think outside of the box — and maybe a friend or two to help move the furniture around.

Accentuate the personal: decorating your home

Decorating your home in 2006 will be a cinch, according to experts. Just remember to stay away from matchy-matchy sets and concentrate instead on bringing out your home’s individuality. This doesn’t mean you can’t have the same furniture your neighbors have. You can. But you may want to present it differently — accenting a warm chocolate brown sofa with a vibrant red pillow. Or if you can’t stand clutter, opt for dramatic wall colors instead of home accents.