Many people start the new year with a few resolutions. Over the holidays is a great time to set goals, but acting on them is what really counts. This year, I’d like to challenge you to consider some steps towards the goal of improving the livability of your home.
Imagine how much better our day to day lives would be if we could address even one of the of following areas:
The Kitchen Is King
A “modern/updated kitchen” tops the wishlist of most homeowners. You don’t need to rip your kitchen down to the studs; a smaller investment can have serious impact. For as little as $5,000, you should be able to add a new suite of appliances, as well as a new countertop and flooring, resulting in a fresh, coordinated look. Applying a fresh coat of paint to the walls or cabinets, and updating the hardware, can also breath new life into the space.
What is the trend for 2017?
Stainless Steel – Though it has been around for decades, this appliance finish conveys clean, contemporary design, so it will signal “updated” to guests of your home. For the latest spin on stainless, look for new versions of black stainless steel from KitchenAid, LG, and Samsung, each with a softer, less reflective finish but the same cachet as the original.
Quartz Countertops – Engineered from stone chips, resins, and pigments, quartz has started to challenge granite and marble as the go-to material in higher-end kitchens. It shrugs off heat, scratches, cuts, and stains, and it requires none of the upkeep of comparably priced natural stones. Expect to spend $40 to $100 per square foot, installed.
Buff up the Bath
Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are pretty easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath.
We also suggest replacing an old, discolored bathroom floor with easy-to-apply vinyl tiles or a small piece of sheet vinyl. You may not even need to take up the old floor. You can install the new floor right over the old one.
If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up some folks opt for is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.
First impressions are important, especially when it comes to your house. Interestingly enough, your front door is likely to influence how visitors view the rest of your house far more than the siding, roofing, windows, or any other single element can. A handsome, well-designed entrance also does more to welcome friends and family than a manicured lawn. The irony is that most front entryways are boring portals that merely let people in and out.
Add a pop of color – ditch the dull paint and choose a bright, fun color that will make your front entry door warm and inviting. Do you have a flimsy little door knob? If so, spring for some nice hardware on the front door such as a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A brass door knocker and kick plate also signals to visitors that this is a solid home.
Look underfoot. Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colors. If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs.
Put on a Coat
Paint keeps your home looking its best while also defending its surfaces from wear, tear, and the elements. However, you don’t need to blow thousands having every square inch repainted. Instead, focus on high-traffic areas, including the kitchen and bathrooms. Give the trim a fresh coat of paint in your family room. If the back door is covered in scratch marks from the dog, fix that. Attack the areas that will give you the most bang for your buck.
So happy holidays. Take the rest of the year off and enjoy spending time with friends and family; but roll up your sleeves and get to work on one of these projects early next year!