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REJUVENATE ON THE INSIDE

I was channel surfing one night when I came across a program aimed at helping women look 10 years younger. Why not do the same thing for your home? There are simple ways to instantly update any home, making it look fresh and new, not tired and dated. Here are just a few tricks you can try immediately to take years off your home's appearance. Mary Carol Garrity, Scripps Howard News Service

Paint a room: Do any of your rooms look drab and worn, with walls and woodwork full of scuffed or fading paint? Or perhaps your wall color is dated and could benefit from a hip new palette. Maybe you have antiquated and stained wallpaper that needs to come down. Take a critical look at the color and condition of your walls, then consider jazzing them up a bit with new paint or wallpaper.

Replace pillows: Are the accent pillows on your sofas or beds starting to look a bit tattered? Are they out of style? If so, it's time to get new ones. Check out your favorite home-interior stores to see what's new, or re-cover your old down forms with fresh fabrics that complement your sofa or bed ensemble.

Freshen wood furnishings: In the hustle and bustle of daily life, wood furnishings get dented and dinged. Now is the time to get a stain stick and touch up all your wood pieces, covering up those boo-boos that make them look older than their years.

Do some deep cleaning: There's nothing like a thorough deep cleaning to make your home look newer. Put on your grubby clothes, turn on some great tunes and get to work. Scrub your walls and woodwork, polish your silver, scour the grout in your kitchen and bathroom and wash the windows. Then, lie to yourself as you swear you'll never let it get this grubby again.

Open yourself up to new window treatments: Window coverings take a beating from sun and dust. And when they get dated, they age the look of your entire home. Sometimes simply hanging new curtains will dramatically update the look of a room. I'm in the process of doing just that in my kitchen. The window valance above my sink has gone limp, so I'm going to replace it.

Replace fixtures: Take a long, hard look at your light fixtures, faucets and the hardware on your cabinets. Do you still love them as much as you did when you moved in? If not, it's time to replace them with today's new styles. It's easy to change out doorknobs and cabinet pulls, and that single touch can make a world of difference in a room.

Weed out artificial plants: While faux greens look nice, they are dust magnets, and no matter how well you clean, after a few years they get filthy and faded. So do some interior weeding, tossing the fakes you've had on display for years. When you replace them, you're going to be so blown away by how much better today's faux greens are that you'll wish you'd done it sooner.

Edit accessories: Today's trend in interior design is for a lighter and leaner use of accents, using fewer pieces to make a bold statement. As you evaluate your displays, remove pieces you aren't crazy about.

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