Whole House – Put wasted space to work. Transform a plain wall into a storage and display showcase by adding stacks of open shelves or cutting out the drywall to create a recessed niche.
Refinish Wood Floors
Refurbishing hardwood floors will enhance the overall look and the value of your home. Just be ready for a few days of dust. If your floors are worn or stained, replacing them might be the better option. Consider splurging on wide-plank hardware floors in your foyer and living room, then scaling it back in the bedrooms.
Replace Your Windows
You don’t have to put up with drafty rooms. Trade in older, energy-squandering windows for new high-performance units that swing in for easy cleaning. Energy Star windows can cut your fuel bills by as much as $340 per year over drafty, single-pane units.
Accentuate the Architecture
Call on simple molding or trim to draw attention to existing features, such as a high ceiling, or an attractive view from a window. In this cottage bedroom, pronounced beams provide a visual transition between the walls and ceiling.
Add a Fireplace
A fireplace exudes an inviting vibe to your home. It adds warmth and creates a focal point for the room. Dress up the firebox with a tasteful surround and a classic wood mantel. If you opt for a gas unit, upgrade to one with the most realistic-looking logs.
Install New Lighting
You’ll be amazed by how well-placed pools of warm light can make your home inviting and user-friendly. Even inexperienced remodelers can easily install simple plug-in puck lights under kitchen cabinets, inside built-in hutches, or in bookcases.
Polish Up the Laundry Room
Create an attractive, functional laundry room by replacing old appliances with units that offer the latest energy- and fabric-saving features. Also, equip your laundry room with long stretches of counter space for folding clean clothes, tuck-away bins for sorting dirty laundry, cabinets to keep detergents stowed out of sight, and a built-in ironing board.
Upgrade Kitchen Countertops
Durable granite is “still by far, the most requested countertop material,” says interior designer and space planner Mary Fisher Knott of Mary Fisher Designs in Scottsdale, Arizona. If granite is beyond your budget, however, consider laminate countertops that offer the look of natural stone at a fraction of the price. Add a beveled edge to these laminate countertops for an authentic stone look.
Add an Island
For many homeowners, an island workspace is a kitchen must-have. For easy traffic flow, be sure to allow at least 39 inches of space all the way around it, Knott says. Need a budget-friendly island? “Use a sofa table topped with tile, or place two painted chests back-to-back and top with butcher block,” Knott says.
Replace Old Appliances
If your appliances are more than 10 years old, consider buying new ones that use less energy. Energy Star appliances are not only good for the environment; they are good for your pocketbook, too. The appliances cost a little more upfront, but the money you save on energy bills, in the long run, more than makes up for the initial price difference. Similarly, energy-efficient water heaters and furnaces pay back the extra cost after a few years of service and will continue to save you money for years to come.
Change the Backsplash
Add personality to your kitchen with a new backsplash. For a low-budget update with big impact, choose inexpensive ceramic field tiles and add sparkle with knockout decorative pieces in glass or metal, or install a checkerboard pattern of several hues.
Bathroom Incorporate Technology
Create a spa-worthy retreat with these high-tech features and design touches.