Owning a home is rewarding and challenging in equal parts. Especially if you have a home you love and intend to stay in, you’re looking at a lot of maintenance over the long-haul, not to mention probably some periodic renovation. But what do you do if you have big plans for that out-of-date kitchen, but not the time or money yet to do your dream remodel? Here are five easy (and inexpensive!) ways to infuse a little life into just about any room in your home while you wait for that windfall, tax return, or beefy holiday bonus!
The tried-and-true standby of home decorating, a new coat of paint is absolutely the easiest way to spruce up any room in your home. Whether that means pulling down out-of-date wallpaper or just going at your walls with a paint roller, painting can dramatically change the look and feel of a room. Even if you plan on renovating within the next few months, pick a color that will fit your planned decor, or go with something seasonal like this pumpkin orange to keep your home up-to-date at a pretty minimal cost.
Remember, though, it isn’t just walls you can paint. If you’re planning on ripping out and replacing your cabinets and are sick of looking at them but not quite ready for the chaos of construction, paint over them! You don’t need a lot of paint, just a little, but it will not only cover up your ugly old cabinets, but give your kitchen a great pop of color in the process.
Smaller accents, too, can make a big difference. Taking a paintbrush to the inside of a bookshelf or the interior of a glass-paned or open-front cabinet can add a bright, cheery touch of color to the room. Whether you pick one light color, as with the shelf above or several bright bold ones for a cabinet or alcove, it’s sure to liven up the room… and shouldn’t take more than a day and a 20 dollar bill to complete!
Appliances can be one of the biggest growing pains of remodeling a kitchen. They’re called “major appliances” for a reason – the cost of replacing one, let alone all of them, can be prohibitively expensive. Especially when combined with the cost of a new floor, sink, fixtures, kitchen island, and cabinetry that usually come with a full remodel, finding room in your budget for the right refrigerator can be tougher than you might think.
But coordinated, sleek new appliances are what kitchen remodeling dreams are made of. If you just have to have that shiny new double oven or your favorite food network style cooktop, consider this: start buying your appliances before you start tearing up your kitchen. New appliances can give even an older kitchen a little sparkle, and you can offset a pretty chunk of your remodel cost by spreading it out in six month increments before you start; and if you choose new, efficient Energy Star appliances, your energy savings can help further offset your expenses. Besides, you can always move the appliances out and back in to accommodate the new space, and you won’t be caught at the wrong end of your budget without a dishwasher!
One of the greatest woes of new and long-term home owners alike is flooring. Whether it’s tile, carpet, hardwood or laminate, dirt and feet and time will eventually get the better of them – but maybe not at the time you want to replace them! So what’s a homeowner to do? Easy – if you have a hard floor that you plan on resurfacing, get one (or several) small throw rugs to cover up the most heavily trafficked areas. They can hide existing damage and help prevent more – and best of all, you can change them out seasonally to get a fresh new look. If you’re planning on replacing a hard floor entirely, consider covering it with peel-and-stick vinyl tile. For only a few hundred dollars you can refloor your whole kitchen in an afternoon. The new floor will stay looking good for up to several years (until you remodel) and won’t add much more work when you tear both floors out when you’re ready. If you have a carpet, have it professionally deep cleaned at least once a year to extend it’s life and appearance as long as possible!
I’ve spent plenty of time on this blog waxing poetic about the transformative power of window treatments, but even a nice set of blinds is something that tends to fade into the background over the years, making it harder to notice wear and tear and built up grime. Getting a high quality replacement can be expensive, though. In the meantime, think about getting a colorful shade or set of curtains. A simple, breezy panel like this one from DelRay can immediately change the feel of your room, and is easily laundered or fairly inexpensively changed out for other colors or styles, once the hardware is installed.
What this all comes down to, really, is: don’t be afraid to change up your accessories! If you’re getting tired of your home’s current look, regardless of which room, but don’t have the time, means, or desire to do a major remodel, skip on the big stuff and focus on livening up the little things. A few bright throw pillows, a new area rug, or really any change in bedding or linens can completely alter the decor in your room without any major changes. Especially in a bedroom, your bed should be the focal point, so simply swapping your comforter can make a huge difference. Whether it’s hanging a new painting and picking new accessories from the dominant colors, or just buying a second set of towels and matching bath accessories, spicing up your home doesn’t have to be a big job – or a big investment!
What little changes have you made to keep your home looking fresh and new? How often do you remodel, and how often do you think homes should revisit and revise their decor? Let me know in the comments!