Whether you buy an older home that needs work or live in a new home for while every house needs to be improved at one time or another. If not for style changes then it’s physics. Because after a while the laws of nature win out and work has to be done to prevent the elements from coming inside or for an old heating system to quit. In most commercial buildings there is a preventative maintenance schedule that takes into account the wearing out of fixtures and surfaces but, unfortuantely, homeowners usually wait until the things break down before making a move.
Style is another big motivator in home improvement. In the 1970’s bright shag carpet and colored appliances adorned many of the homes. Olive green and chocolate brown were the “in colors” for the bathroom fixtures and kitchens sported country-style, vinyl wallpaper. During the next decade homeowners with money quickly changed out this style but many others suffered through the decades and sold the home without changing a thing. Buyers were then stuck with either renovating the place or waiting until they could afford it.
But renovating does not have to be expensive. The key to “remodeling on the cheap” is to understate the latest trends rather than follow them blindly. Because by changing small things you can have an up-to-date home at a pittance of what it cost your neighbor to completely renovate his or her home and without the mess.
No type of home makeover gets done more quickly and with such little cost than painting. The effect of painting is striking because it can define the very boundaries of the room, both by color and by dimensions. Everyone knows that to make a small room bigger, paint it a lighter color and vice versa. However, you can also change the size and scope of the entire home by putting different colors in different areas or, the case of halls and bathrooms, by painting two colors as in a wainscotting effect.
Faux painting has added another dimension to using paint as a primary home improvement tool. The fact that you can not only change the color but the design and texture of a room at the same time is amazing. And one of the best things about painting, whether faux or plain, is that it can be a do-it-yourself job.
Another idea that takes planning is to paint your kitchen cabinets. With the right paint and some careful touches your kitchen will come alive. Then go down to the bargain bin at the home store and pick out some new hardware.
Years ago many housewives would change the concept and style of a room by rearranging the furniture. As simple as it sounds, it did the trick. The space and design of the room were altered by simply shifting around the objects in the room. And when the drapes were replaced it added another dimension.
Today there are many more ideas to make the room larger or to supercharge the feeling. If the home has hardwood floors a rug can be replaced or one large rug can be changed out with several smaller ones to accent the floor instead of covering most of it. Window shears can replace heavy drapes to maintain privacy but allow the light to fill the room. In addition, window dressings can included café rods which can bring curtains ½ to 1/3 the way up a window, allowing light and privacy
Changing the theme of a room can also bring an immediate alteration. Different plants and vases with artificial flowers add to this look, as do altering the style of the pictures and adding floor stands to hold vases.
Although it can get expensive if you are not careful replacing the flooring in a home immediately changes the concept. However, this does not mean that wood has to be used. The new laminate flooring designs mimic real wood down to the plank strips and can be professionally installed for a little more than $2.50 a square foot. Or you can do –it-yourself for less than $1.25 a square foot including underlayment. If the home had carpet before the change will be awe-inspiring. Many homeowners go for an oak-look and this works very well with most homes. Before buying you should get some samples and put them against your kitchen cabinets and other flooring to see if it will work. Sometimes the busy grains get in the way of other styles. But laminate flooring comes in so many different wood designs that you should be able to find a compromise.
Porcelain tile is another choice but it is harder for a do-it-yourselfer to install unless you have some “handy blood” in you. Home improvement stores do give courses in installing tile so keep on the lookout for these. Unlike laminate tiling takes time and can be quite messy. But if it is done right tile will bring out a classic look to any room. The amazing thing about tile is that it is manufactured in dozens of shapes and sizes and thousands of colors and designs.
Besides the cabinets and flooring nothing changes a kitchen like a new countertop. Laminate counters come in hundreds of designs and colors and you can have a new look and great new surface for your kitchen for under $500 installed.