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Swap out the old to enjoy the new

Although the new construction home may not be ready for move in until after the holidays, expectant owners can appease their need for the new by searching for old items that can be replaced.

Part of the reason that model homes at new-home communities feel so fresh, after all, is that items on display — whether utilitarian or simply decorative — aren’t getting used in the way that they would during normal, day-to-day, household life.

New-home owners in waiting can increase excitement and relieve anticipation by shopping for the little things that add pop and interest to the most frequently used spaces around the house.

Sure, a buyer can bring the accessories from the existing home to the new home. But if the current accessories in entryways, bathrooms and the kitchen are feeling tired now, they’ll look truly exhausted when moved into a gleaming new home.

Welcome some new mats

If you’re really attached to your old doormats, go ahead and pack them up when it comes time to move. Otherwise, ditch the old dusty doormats. Donate them, dump them or wash them and repurpose them in places such as the garden, under potted plants, in the garage or under a shoe container.

At least a few new doormats — both inside and outside — can make a world of difference in how bright and welcoming the new home feels to new owners and guests.

Got pets and kids? Look for durable, washable throw rugs for inside and out. Many of them are surprisingly attractive and ideal for anywhere from the front step to inside the patio door where Fido’s paw prints or the kids’ feet might land on a regular basis.

For outdoor mats, choose patterns or hand-woven styles made from sustainable materials such as coir, which come from a highly renewable source. While more scratchy than soft to the touch, the crevices between threads and or ropes of coir help collect debris to keep it from entering the house.

They’re available in classic designs or contemporary designs, some even dyed in attractive color combinations.

The same goes for jute rugs, also from highly sustainable sources. These are terrific indoors and provide an earthy texture to the entry floor from a patio or side door. For casually decorated spaces, jute rugs even look nice under a coffee table in a sitting area. At certain times of the year, jute can be used outdoors if kept dry.

Freshen up the bathrooms

On the subject of floors, consider swapping out the old bathroom rugs and mats, too.

Even if the new home’s primary suite will have electric-powered radiant heat, there’s nothing like the feel of a soft fluffy rug under your toes in the morning.

While thinking of bathrooms, give the existing sets of towels an honest assessment. Do they date back to your college days a decade in the past or worse, to your wedding day several decades ago?

Scour the whites sales. Look for high-quality towel sets that match or contrast with the color schemes of the floors, counters, cabinets and shower surrounds in each bathroom. For bathrooms that have a lot of color in their permanent features, create contrast with bright, white fluffy towels.

Don’t get too fluffy, though. Read the tags on the towels. The more cotton there is, the better the towels will absorb water and dry out before the next use.

For bathrooms with enough wall space, consider a towel-drying rack. Some can be wall mounted to keep from sliding around. Others have a 100W electric warming feature and are deep enough that a few towels hung together won’t touch each other.

If choosing the warming feature, be sure to tell the builder so that the necessary wiring and outlet will be ready on move-in day.

Many people display decorative towels in guest bathrooms or in the powder room, switching them out by the season. Keep an eye out to snap up the newest in autumn and winter towel sets or bathroom accessories.

Speaking of bathroom accessories, look at your existing soap dishes, dispensers, toothbrush holders and tissue holders. Get ideas for new sets by seeing what the designers have placed in model homes.

Tip: Research the quality of soap dispensers and test them before removing price tags. At some point in their lives, everyone has purchased a soap dispenser with such an inefficient pump that the piece is no more than decorative.

Next week, we’ll share some easy ways to freshen up for the brand-new kitchen and living spaces before they’re even built.

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