Recession Chic

rethinking your home’s interior in a down economy

Lauren Buelow Cunningham

While painting, Linda got the strangest urge for mac and cheese
While painting, Linda got the strangest urge for mac and cheese

Most people might assume that during a recession, an interior designer might feel pretty discouraged. No one is remodeling, restoring or upgrading, right? Not so, says Bonnie Feltz, owner of Department of Interiors in Eau Claire. In Feltz’s 25 years of experience, when the economy takes a dip, people look to their living spaces as their source of entertainment, family unity, and peace of mind.

While hiring an interior designer is considered by many to be a luxury no matter what your economic situation, Feltz finds that during tough times, people consider their homes to be their refuge. They are still willing to invest, not to increase the value in hopes of selling, but to invest in their quality of life.

“When the economy is up, I do about 50/50 commercial and home business,” Feltz said. “When the economy is down, I see much more demand for home improvements.”

“In a down economy, people spend more time at home,” Feltz said. “They are entertaining more at home, and so they upgrade their kitchens or create home entertainment or theater rooms. They contemplate what is more important in life, so they create more romantic master bedrooms or more personal spaces for children.”

With fewer people working full time, Feltz regards the extra time as an opportunity for some quality soul-searching. During tougher times, she often receives requests to create tranquil spaces for meditation and reading.

Another reality facing several American families during this recession is multiple generations living together under one roof. Economic strife can cause many children to move back in with their parents, often bringing children of their own. Feltz helps these families fit into the space they have.

“I created an apartment over a garage for a family whose daughter and granddaughter came to live with them, and I helped another family extend their kitchen into a portion of their three-car garage,” Feltz said. “We help them create new spaces within the footprint of their existing home.”

If you are feeling the strain of these tough times and want create a more inspiring and personal space for yourself, try these tips direct from Bonnie Feltz:

A Change of Scenery:
tips to decorate in a down economy

• Repurpose items in storage. Paint a wooden chair, add a festive pillow, and place outside your front door to welcome guests. Paint an old lamp a fresh, new color and add a new shade.
• Search used furniture stores for items that can be painted and add new hardware. Don’t forget to use items in a different way. A dresser could become a bathroom vanity. A wooden table could become a desk.
• Paint is the least expensive decorating tool you can find. Freshen up your rooms with a coat. Red is great in a kitchen or dining room because it increases appetite and encourages conversation. Dark brown is fabulous in a bedroom as it helps you feel grounded and promotes rest.
• Spruce up living spaces with colorful pillows, art, and accessories. Can’t afford to purchase artwork? How about framing some of your children’s art? Not only does this decorate your room it will lift your child’s self-esteem.
• If you’re really looking to save money, just changing up the layout of a room can do wonders.

Chippewa Valley Home & Garden is sponsored by:

Down to Earth Garden Center & Shops
6025 Arndt Lane,
Eau Claire

Down to Earth Garden Center
Down to Earth Garden Center

Chippewa Valley Home & Garden is sponsored by:

Down to Earth Garden Center & Shops
6025 Arndt Lane,
Eau Claire

Down to Earth Garden Center
Down to Earth Garden Center