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Going light and neutral is good advice when it comes to choosing wall colors, as well.

“We’re getting away from the brown family of beiges and seeing more creams and yellow tones,” Ms. Fortin said. “For contemporary homes, gray is in right now.”

Bluish-green grays are popular in bedrooms, Ms. Chevalier said, adding that flat paints are a good choice if the walls have flaws.

“Flat paint hides imperfections much better than glosses,” she said.

Mr. Zorc said he’d also be careful about having too many different colors in a home. “White ceilings are classic and make a huge difference,” he said.

Mr. Lloyd recommended painting all the woodwork in the home a bright white. “That makes a room pop,” he said.

Another “pop” factor for a home is the lighting.

“We’re seeing a lot of drum lamps and shades - that’s a timeless look,” Ms. Chevalier said. “When you get ready to redo your lighting, check out the design magazines to see what’s current.”

Mr. Lloyd pointed out that the Washington area has a great deal of builder-grade polished-brass lighting.

“You want to replace all of that, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune because so many stores sell close reproductions of high-end light fixtures,” he said, noting that the biggest expense is hiring an electrician.

“Save money by picking out all of your lighting for the whole house so the electrician can do it all at once,” he said.

Polished brass in hardware - doorknobs, light plates, outlet covers - is passe, the experts agreed.

“Brushed brass is coming in, and it’s not bad-looking,” Ms. Chevalier said, adding that other popular finishes are burnished bronze, stainless steel and wrought iron.

Ms. Fortin said the hardware is really the jewelry of the room. “Even so, don’t overspend in that direction,” she said.

Before embarking on an expensive remodeling project, Mr. Lloyd said it’s a good idea to bring in a Realtor or stager for a consultation.

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