By Jesse Morado
Sprucing up the old homestead will get 2011 off to a good start. One way to make the home feel new again is by making some simple cosmetic improvements. These projects are usually quite easy to accomplish and more importantly, quite cost effective.
Most of these updates can be accomplished over a weekend or two and can make your home feel new while adding some interest to a room or two. Here are eight simple projects you can tackle:
1. Swap out old doors and hardware: Old flat slab doors or old doors with multiple layers of paint with tarnished hardware can easily be replaced with new six panel hollow core or solid core door slabs. Replace old hinges and doorknobs to give a room a fresh look and feel.
2. Add decorative moldings: Add crown molding in living rooms and dining rooms. Pay attention to the size of the molding you use based on ceiling heights in your home. Taller ceilings are better suited for larger moldings.
3. Apply bead board to a bathroom, mudroom or kitchen: Consider a composite when installing bead board in bathrooms. You can create some arts and crafts style paneling using simple 1 x 4 or 1 x 6 materials applied to the walls in a dining room or kitchen to add some interest. Change out the baseboard to complete the look in the room.
4. Replace outdated electrical fixtures: New light fixtures can make a difference. Replace light fixtures in common areas and bathrooms with new decorative fixtures. Hire a licensed electrician if you choose to add recessed lighting, new wiring or switches.
5. Plumbing Fixtures: Update faucets in bathrooms and in the kitchen. Many of the major faucet suppliers make replacement kits that will take your shower fixture from brass to oiled bronze, chrome or satin nickel without tearing out the valves. Replacing old toilets and faucets with water saving fixtures will make your bathroom feel new and save water and money.
6. Counter top replacement: Tired of your old counters? Install new solid surface, quartz or granite counter tops in your kitchen for a new look. Granite prices have become very competitive and you can have new tops in a matter of days. Install a new undermount sink for a clean look.
7. Install a tile backsplash: Add a tile backsplash or replace an old backsplash with a new tile, stone or glass one. A new backsplash can add some interest and color to your kitchen. Integrated with your new counter tops can really make your kitchen feel new again. If you are removing an old backsplash you may have some drywall repairs to make before you add the new tile.
8. Painting: Painting rooms with new warm colors after you have accomplished any of the projects above will give your home an updated look that will give your home a fresh look for the New Year.
Have a very Happy 2011!
Jesse Morado is CEO of Renovation Coach, Inc. a consulting firm providing pre-construction guidance and risk management for homeowners and business coaching of best practices for contractors. Find out more at www.renovationcoach.com.