Sunday, October 7, 2012

Give a Home a Fresh Look Without Breaking the Bank

English: Austell, GA, November 2, 2009 -- A co...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even newer homes lose their luster over the years; flooring shows wear in high-traffic areas, chrome bathroom fixtures that looked so smart and modern fifteen years ago, now look plain and utilitarian, better suited for a cheap roadside motel. The era of pink bathtubs has come and gone, and 1970s wall paneling is best left in the last century.

Homeowners can update the look, function and value of their homes without the expense of a total renovation. A room-by-room assessment will identify the specific areas that need addressing. Assuming a home’s structure and mechanical systems are sound, most homeowners will find they can update their castle without emptying their wallets.

The Front Door

High-end homes often feature ornate oak doors with etched-glass inserts, making the half-lite steel doors found on so many homes seem a poor relation. Repaint that steel door with a color similar to wood. Once the paint has dried, swipe the surface with a coat of wood stain; this will add a faux wood-grain texture. Complete the project by applying a decorative window film to the door lite to get the etched-glass look.

The Kitchen

Revamping a tired kitchen will improve a home’s value and make life more pleasant for the cook in the house. Replacing dated cabinets is expensive and usually unnecessary. Sometimes a coat of paint and new hardware is all that is needed to bring a kitchen into the 21st century. A more expensive route is to replace the cabinet doors and the surrounding veneer. This may be the best approach when dealing with hopelessly outdated cabinet styles.

Replacing countertops requires carpentry skills that are beyond the reach of most homeowners, but money spent on hiring a contractor to replace that old, speckled laminate will increase the home’s value more than the cash out-lay.

The Bathroom

A few quick changes in the bathroom — a new toilet seat, new lavatory and tub faucets, new shower doors — can make a big difference is the room’s appearance. Homeowners with outdated or stained bathtubs may wish to investigate resurfacing kits. These epoxy-based products apply like paint and can cover that dated tub with a resilient finish similar to porcelain.


A steam cleaning can often bring wall-to-wall carpeting back to life, but there are many other options for homeowners seeking a cleaner look. New laminate flooring are relatively inexpensive and often can be a do-it-yourself weekend project.

Older homes are often hiding solid wood floors under worn and stained carpeting. Lifting the carpet in one corner of a room may reveal a hidden treasure of wide pine boards. Light sanding and a coat of polyurethane will give the room a clean look, suitable for country or modern d├ęcor.

Homeowners that find plywood under their old carpet may discover, with smaller rooms, a coat of stain over the plywood, followed by polyurethane, creates a warm, rustic look. The lack of texture in plywood makes it unsuitable as a floor covering for larger areas.

Wall Paneling

Removing wall paneling is a major chore, and often adhesives applied to the paneling at installation has marred the sheetrock underneath. An easier way to update these walls is to paint. The grooved paneling, covered with a fresh coat of paint, will have the look of expensive wainscoting or beadboard without the price. For homeowners that wish to wallpaper, the grooves in old paneling can easily be filled in with joint compound to give the wall a smooth surface.

Author’s Bio: Jeff Hall is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. His blog focuses on insurance. You can follow him on Google+

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