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Bring the outdoors inside with interior renovations

As more and more homeowners choose to stay and play in their current homes instead of selling, Cheryl Smith of Bella Casa Interiors in downtown Red Wing offers five solid interior renovation tips, each of which easily can be accomplished in a weekend.

"One of the longest-lasting decorating trends is to bring the outside in," Smith said. "Homeowners enjoy the look of natural, real products in their home, and real wood fits in with almost every design style."

First impression: If the first thing your visitors see upon entering your home worn carpet or vinyl, it's time to make a grand entrance.

Rip up that dated look and replace it with clean, fresh, easy-to-maintain wood flooring. The room will be brighter, more elegant and easily customizable with a gorgeous throw rug, or a custom stain job.

If going green is not as essential to you there are so many products that give the look and feel of wood or high-end ceramic tile which are just as beautiful and easier on your pocketbook.

Kitchen facelift: According to Linda Kelly, interior designer with the Bella Casa Interiors, kitchen renovations are one of the best ways to add value to a home. To keep the project from becoming overwhelming, take it one step at a time.

"A ceramic or glass backsplash is a fabulous way to get everyone excited about spending time in the kitchen," Kelly said.

She also recommends updating a kitchen island.

"The kitchen island is often the visual focus of the room in which family members gather. Change the look of the island with granite or solid surface countertop and you'll love the whole new look it gives the room! You don't need to do the entire countertop surface but bring in a bit of "wow" factor into the center of your kitchen."

Clean up the bathroom: Why neglect the one room in your house everyone will see?

Create a fun, relaxing rest stop: Paint or glaze your existing vanity cabinet if you can't afford new, consider tiling halfway up the wall and adding some fun or metal deco tiles or listello and then add a new laminate or solid surface countertop and a vessel sink for a very relaxing and spa-like, zen feel.

Tone-on-tone wall paint, towels and accent pieces will add to the relaxing ambience that you are longing to create.

Dine in style: Often the most formal room in the home, try this easy project to add another layer of style to the dining room -- picture frame moulding.

Just below the chair rail, install round moulding pieces, cut to create a square or rectangle on the wall. Paint the frames an accent color, and get ready for the compliments to roll in.

Finish the look with soft custom drapery panels in a rich fabric to give you the first class dining experience you are entitled to.

A successful office: Create an environment designed to nurture and encourage good work habits. Customize the office with fresh touches.

"I absolutely adore the textures, fabrics and look of some of the new window treatment styles. Talk about introducing success into your workplace," Smith said.