A standard, builder-grade kitchen really isn’t that exciting. Functional, sure. But fun to look at? Not really. But small changes can make a big difference.
Add some crown molding to give your kitchen that high-end, custom look found in more expensive homes. You can do it for very little money, and once you get the hang of it, it’s really pretty easy to do.
Ah, does anything feel as dated as a popcorn ceiling? You can totally change the look of a room by getting rid of it, and it’s pretty easy to scrape it off yourself. (IMPORTANT NOTE: if the ceiling was put in before the 1970s, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t have asbestos, which needs to be removed by a professional.)
Once the popcorn is scraped, you’ll likely have to do some ceiling repair, and then you’ll just have to repaint the ceiling.
If you don’t want to demo and replace all of your tile (which is a big and expensive job), did you know you can paint your tile to make it look modern and clean? You’ll just sand, clean, and repair the tiles before painting and priming.
If you like the look of your tiles but don’t like the way the grout looks (it does to get pretty dingy over time), you can paint just the grout to change its entire look.
A dated brick fireplace can quickly look modern with a new coat of paint. Just clean the fireplace thoroughly before applying a stain-blocking primer. A high-gloss paint will give you a clean look that lasts for a long time.
Go here to learn more about how to paint your fireplace.
Builder-grade accessories, like unframed mirrors, are pretty common in most homes. Upgrading those builder-grade items makes a big difference in how your home looks.
One of the most ubiquitous and unattractive builder-grade items are those unframed mirrors. Framing your bathroom mirrors costs just a few dollars, and it’s incredibly simple to boot! You should be able to do all of your bathrooms in no time.
Your front entrance is people’s first impression of your home. A fresh coat of paint on the door and slick new hardware can make the front of your home look brand new.
You should also think about installing a new doorbell (a smart doorbell is a good choice). You could also update the lighting, which can instantly brighten and liven up the entire area. Add a few new plants and a new rug, and you’ve got a whole lot of curb appeal without much money or effort.
Adequate entryway storage makes a surprisingly big difference to any home. It can mean the difference between shoes and coats tossed everywhere, and well, a clean entryway.
If you have an existing coat closet but it doesn’t have adequate storage, add some shelves. If you don’t have a closet but you have space, create one with a freestanding armoire or cabinet.
If you don’t have a closet or space, storage benches come in all different shapes and sizes. You can even put storage under an entry table. At a bare minimum, hooks and a coat rack will keep things off of your precious floor space.
It’s easy to make any space look bigger, brighter, and more modern with some new light fixtures.
Ditch the frosted flush-mount lighting and get some elegant pendant lighting instead. Recessed lighting is also a wonderful option in rooms that need more light. Under cabinet lighting is a popular choice in kitchens because they allow you to get more light exactly where you need it. A chandelier, even an inexpensive one, can also make a dining room or hallway look much more luxe.
Also, have you thought about installing dimmers on your lights? They’re probably the cheapest and easiest upgrade we’ve listed, but they entirely change the atmosphere of any room, especially if it has harsh overhead lighting.
Backsplashes can look dated quickly. (Teacups on the backsplash, anyone?) Luckily, a backsplash is not an expensive thing to swap out. You can never go wrong with an inexpensive but classic subway tile. You can even use a peel-and-stick tile backsplash, which is incredibly easy to install because it doesn’t require grout.
Plan for the future with an improvement that will mature and add value to your home over time. Properly placed shade trees can cut down on your cooling costs by as much as 40%. Mature trees are also helpful for the environment, and don’t forget the curb appeal they add to your home!
Visual square footage is how large your home feels, and it counts. Make your home feel larger with a few tricks.
First, replace heavy drapes with vertical blinds or shutters that allow lots of sunlight in, which will make it feel larger and more open. A large mirror also visually doubles your space. Last, don’t underestimate how much a shelving unit can help you get clutter off the floor, which makes the entire room feel bigger.
I hope this gives you a few ideas for making some small and inexpensive upgrades to your home. It’s always nice to make some changes that you know will make it more valuable.
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