8 Cheap Kitchen Remodels for $500 (or Less)

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Your kitchen is calling from 1988, but your bank account doesn’t want to answer. We get it: According to Remodeling Magazine, a minor kitchen makeover averages $20,122, while a major renovation can hit a you-gotta-be-kidding-me $60,000.

If you’re looking for something a whole lot more budget-friendly, a mini kitchen makeover for about $500 can go a surprisingly long way. Check out these eight cheap remodels to get your kitchen renovation cooking for a whole lot less.

1. Declutter the counter space

Kitchens tend to collect tons of stuff—like Mr. Coffee coffee makers, George Foreman grills, and weird canisters of wooden spoons—on countertops. An easy way to dramatically transform a kitchen is to simply put all that junk away. For around $490, you can install two separate shelving units to transform the dead space in that cabinet under the sink that no one ever uses.

“Glide-out shelving can get around obstructions like pipes or disposals and make the kitchen a more useful space,” says Nina Ward, interior designer and regional director for ShelfGenie. Plus, the shelves can hold up to 100 pounds of kitchen detritus—that’s a whole lot of paper towels.

2. Paint just about everything

A chorus of experts says the most affordable and transformative kitchen makeover is to paint, paint, paint—and not just the walls, points out Tracy Kay Griffin, lead designer at Express Homebuyers, a real estate investment company based in Springfield, VA.

You can also paint the kitchen cabinets (NuVo Cabinet Paint Kit in taupe, $70), laminate countertops ($22 a gallon), formica countertops (Rust-Oleum Light Base Satin Cabinet Resurfacing Kit, $75), or even old appliances (12-ounce stainless-steel appliance paint kit, about $25). In short, you can make an old kitchen look like new, proving that beauty is only skin-deep.

3. Add an island

If a kitchen lacks an island, consider adding this popular workhorse.

“An island not only increases the use of the space and offers storage, but it also creates a wonderful social hub,” says Amy Bell, an interior decorator with Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, NC. A good option is Wayfair’s Dorothy Kitchen Island With Wood Top because it “offers lots of functionality at a reasonable price” of $324.99.

4. Make the dishwasher pop

Colors such as orange or red immediately “spice up” your kitchen, says Sean Juneja, co-founder and CEO of Decor Aid. A new Viking red stove can cost upward of $5,000. But a stove panel that’s easy to install can quickly and easily cover your existing dishwasher. It costs about $500 and comes in vibrant shades like cherry red and pink lemonade. It’s like a quick shot of decor adrenaline.

5. Amp up the lighting

One of the single most important elements that have a profound effect on any space is whatever devices are holding the humble lightbulbs.

“Changing out fixtures can not only update your space but also provide ambiance,” says Juneja. “A new pendant upscales the kitchen instantly and provides the biggest bang for the buck.” He likes this West Elm pendant style for a sleek yet warm look, or you could go for a bit of drama with this bundle of glowing orbs from CB2. Handy? Buy black cables from your local hardware store and hang generic lightbulbs for approximately $100 plus an electrician (maybe another $100 to $150) to make sure everything is safe.

6. Reface upper cabinets with glass

There are some things in your kitchen you definitely want to hide, like that family-size bag of Cheese Balls. Other stuff you want people to see: the vintage barware you scored at a garage sale. Swap out the heavy wooden doors on your kitchen cabinets for ones with glass to display your cute dishes and glassware.

“It instantly modernizes and opens up a kitchen,” says Juneja. It costs approximately $500 for an average-size space.

7. Update tired flooring

“If you have outdated vinyl or linoleum flooring in your kitchen, a fresh wood-looking floor can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of the room,” says John Horner, founder of Central Ohio Home Buyer.

Depending on the size of your space, a nice wood laminate can easily be put in for about $500 in material.

“Many of the laminate flooring found in your local home improvement store is either click together or stick down, and very simple to install yourself.”

We found some options that start at about $2 a square foot.

8. Replace outdated countertops

Another inexpensive way to transform your kitchen from something “dull into something amazing” is to install new laminate countertops from your local home improvement store, which often carries its own brands.

“New countertops can drastically improve the look of your kitchen for a very reasonable price,” says Horner. “For a medium-size kitchen, they can cost around $500 and installation is easy.”

Typically, you’ll have two to four different styles of laminate countertops and colors to choose from. 

Posted by Margaret Heidenry on realtor.com

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30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value

Learn ways to add value to your home no matter what your budget.

Neutral-color paint is inexpensive and adds style.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: UNDER $100

Tip 1: Spend an hour with a pro.
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.

Tip 2: Inspect it.
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home’s value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.

Tip 3: Paint, paint, paint.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!

Tip 4: Find inspiration.
An alternative to hiring a designer is to search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and websites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple — when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself projects are best.

Tip 5: Cut energy costs.
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers’ homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $100-$200

Drought-tolerant plants are an excellent way to spruce up your landscaping and save money on upkeep.

Tip 1: Plant a tree.
If you aren’t planning to sell your house today, plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time. Plant shade trees — not only will mature trees make your home more desirable but a fully grown, properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. Mature landscaping is also good for the environment, providing a necessary habitat for wildlife while adding valuable curb appeal to your home.

Tip 2: Low-maintenance landscaping saves you money now, adds value when you sell.
No question that shrubs and colorful plants will add curb appeal to any home, but when shopping at your local garden center, make sure that you “think green.” Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means more savings to you and more green in your wallet.

Tip 3: Add a money-saving luxury.
Speaking of water, here’s another way to tap into extra savings; install a water filtration system in your kitchen. Not only do these systems purify your water, they will also lower your grocery bills — no more bottled water. A water filtration system is an inexpensive addition, but it’s the sort of small luxury that homebuyers love.

Tip 4: Improve the air quality inside your home.
Air quality isn’t just about the conditions outdoors. If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality. If the results prove that your carpets should be replaced, choose environmentally friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard-surface floors are much easier to keep clean, don’t hold odors, give your home an updated look and, in general, are more appealing to buyers.

Tip 5: Save the popcorn for the movies.
Finally, what’s on your ceiling? Few structural elements date a house more than popcorn ceilings. So dedicate a weekend to ditching the dated look and adding dollar signs to the value of your home. This is a project you can tackle yourself. First, visit your local hardware store for a solution to soften the texture, then simply scrape the popcorn away. Removing a popcorn ceiling may not seem like a big change but one of the keys for adding value to your home is to repair, replace or remove anything that could turn buyers away.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $200-$400

If you’re too busy to keep up the yard work, hire a lawn service to keep up your home value.

Tip 1: A messy lawn creates a bad first impression.
Overgrown or patchy lawns and outsized bushes will cause your home to stand out — in a bad way. The good news is that taming your jungle is an easy fix. For a few hundred dollars, hire a lawn service company to trim your lawn and shape your hedges. Your curb appeal will go from messy to maintained without blowing your budget.

Tip 2: Cleanliness counts.
The old adage that you only get one shot at a first impression is true. So, make the interior of you home shine from the moment someone walks through the door. For less than $400, hire a cleaning service for a thorough top-to-bottom scrubbing. Even if you clean your home regularly, there are nooks and crannies that you may miss or overlook. Let a cleaning service do the dirty work to really make your home sparkle.

Tip 3: Visually increase your home’s square footage.
The size of your home dramatically affects the value, but square footage isn’t the only space that counts. Visual space or how large a home feels also counts. The key is to make each room in your house feel larger. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open. Also, try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space. Finally, clear the clutter. The more clutter, furniture and plain old stuff you have in a room, the more cramped it will feel. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight.

Tip 4: Small bathroom updates equal a big return.
Bathroom updates are always a smart move. Even if you can’t afford a full remodel, small changes such as replacing dated wallpaper with a faux or textured finish and replacing old lighting will update the room without denting your wallet.

Tip 5: Add new energy-efficient fixtures.
A functional, decorative ceiling fan is a beautiful thing. It provides necessary light and, in warm months, creates a soft breeze reducing the need for expensive air conditioning. But, an outdated, wobbly, loud or broken ceiling fan is a useless eyesore. Replace old fixtures with new ones to make your home more enjoyable for you now and to increase the bottom line should you decide to sell.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $400-$750

Having an organized home saves you time and money and brings in money at the time of a sale.

Tip 1: Even small changes in the bathroom equal a big return.
A great room to update for less than $750 is the bathroom. The two rooms that benefit most from even small renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. One cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.

Tip 2: Any kitchen update equals added value.
The same rule applies in the kitchen. You don’t have to start from scratch to create a winning recipe. For maximizing your home’s value, kitchen updates are key. Start by swapping out just one item, such as a stained sink or ancient microwave for shiny new stainless models. Even small kitchen updates will add big value to your home.

Tip 3: Replace any worn carpets or area rugs.
Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.

Tip 4: Keep up with regular maintenance and repairs.
Walk around your home and make a list of all the little things that are broken or in need of repair. Individually, small repairs might not seem important, but if every room has just one thing wrong, those small things will add up to create the impression that your home has been neglected. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling the repairs yourself, hire a handyman for a day and watch your “to do” list disappear. Staying on top of maintenance today eliminates problems down the road should you decide to sell.

Tip 5: Get help with getting organized.
Hire a professional organizer for a day. They will show you how to organize various rooms in your home and teach you tricks for keeping it organized. How does this increase your home’s value? Simple — a clutter-free home appears cleaner and larger, which is more attractive to homebuyers and therefore more valuable.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $750-$1,000

Installing new appliances is a guaranteed way of increasing the sales price of your home.

Tip 1: Go tankless.
Upgrade your standard water heater for a tankless model. Most old-fashioned water heaters keep 50 or so gallons of water hot, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, whether you use the water or not. Tankless water heaters heat only the water you need as you need it. Not only will they save you money now, but they’re an eco-friendly and cost-effective update that today’s homebuyers are looking for.

Tip 2: Upgrade your appliances.
Eighty-six the old-school appliances for sleek new energy-efficient ones. An appliance with an Energy Star label has been certified by the government to use 10-50 percent less energy and water than conventional appliances. Matching stainless appliances will not only look great now, but will make your home shine brighter than the competition should you decide to sell.

Tip 3: Go for the green.
Everyone loves a yard with thick, green grass. For less than $1000, in a weekend’s time, you can replace your existing patchy mix of weeds and grass with fresh new sod. You’ll be amazed at the difference this one change will make in your home’s curb appeal and value.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $1,000-$1,500

An upgrade to the entrance of your home will leave a lasting impression with potential buyers.

Tip 1: Spruce up your ceilings.
One of a room’s most neglected spaces, the ceiling, makes up one-sixth of a room’s total area. Updating your home’s ceilings will net a lot of bang for the buck while adding architectural interest. First, if you still have popcorn ceilings, hire a contractor to scrape them smooth. To add a sophisticated custom look to a smooth ceiling, install crown molding or box beams for a coffered look. Ceiling millwork, an attractive feature prevalent in older homes, is rarely found in newer construction. Adding small touches like these will help your home stand out from the pack.

Tip 2: Update your home’s entrance.
The look of your front door and entrance play heavily into the overall curb appeal of your home. As visitors enter, the front door serves as the transition into your home and is part of their first impression. Entry doors are architectural components that should complement your home’s overall design, not detract from it. If your existing front door isn’t up to par, head down to your local home improvement store for a more energy-efficient and attractive replacement. Whether you choose a solid wood door or one with decorative stained or cut glass panels, a welcoming entrance will definitely increase your home’s bottom line.

Tip 3: Consult a design pro.
If you’re unsure of which design style or paint color to use, hire a designer. They’ll use discriminating taste and a trained eye to help with making the big decisions. Also, remodeling your home with a cohesive plan in mind makes all of your choices easier and ensures a pulled-together finished look. So, when you get the right mix of time or money, you’ll know exactly which project to take on next.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $1,500-$2,000

Landscaping makes a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home.

Tip 1: Save on air conditioning costs.
Consider installing a whole-house fan. They’re a great alternative to air conditioning because they use only one-tenth the electricity of air conditioners, saving you money. Whole-house fans are considered a “green” home improvement, which is a popular selling feature with today’s homebuyers. As the cost of electricity continues to skyrocket, green energy alternatives will only gain in popularity.

Tip 2: Brighten up.
A “bright” way to increase the value of your home is to lighten up. Adequate lighting in a home makes a big difference. Not only does a bright, well-lit room feel more cheerful but it also makes spaces feel larger and cleaner. A well-lit room also shows that you have nothing to hide, so should you decide to sell, prospective buyers will feel at ease when touring your home. Hire an electrician to add recessed lights to a dim kitchen or family room or to brighten up a formal dining or living room with elegant sconces. You’ll enjoy the bright effect now and your home will feel warmer and more welcoming to homebuyers.

Tip 3: Add the right landscaping and watch your home’s value grow.
For less than $2,000, hire a landscape designer to create a plan that will make your home’s exterior really shine. For maximum impact, plant mature trees or fast growing varieties; these can be pricy but they will instantly make your home feel more established. As your landscaping grows, so will your home’s curb appeal and value.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $2,000-$3,000

Full-view glass doors provide elegance and drama that improve the value of your home.

Tip 1: Kitchen or bath remodels are always a safe bet.
Improving your home is a solid investment at any level — but if you have up to three thousand dollars to spend, a great place to start is by upgrading either the kitchen or bath. Either room is a good choice and you don’t have to do a complete floor-to-ceiling remodel to reap financial benefits. In fact, modest kitchen or bath updates can be your best bet for a big return, netting, on average, an 80-85 percent return.

Tip 2: Protect your investment.
For most people, their home is their single largest investment, so treat it that way. Hire a financial planner to work out a strategy for protecting your investment by analyzing all of the financing options that are available. A financial whiz can tell you if you should refinance to lower your monthly payments or pull out some equity to pay for value-adding improvements.

Tip 3: Bring the outdoors in.
Consider turning two standard windows into an opening for beautiful French or sliding glass doors. Full-view glass doors really brighten up the space and a light and airy room is always more attractive. Also, with a view of the outdoors, the room will feel much larger. Another bonus is that modern doors are energy-efficient, cutting down on heating and cooling costs. That means more cash in your pocket now and a financial bonus should you decide to sell.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $3,000-$5,000

You will get extra points by installing eco-friendly flooring.

Tip 1: Add closet or garage storage.
Realtors agree that top on most homeownes’ list of wants is ample storage space. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home’s storage by adding custom shelving systems to a closet or garage. The first step to really getting organized is de-cluttering. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new organized closet or garage to really maximize your home’s value.

Tip 2: Green flooring choices equal more green in your wallet.
Worn, tired carpet will not only turn off homebuyers, but it can make you feel worn and tired too. Replace it with the hottest trend in flooring: renewable, environmentally friendly bamboo. Solid-surface floors are easy to keep clean and give your home an upscale look and feel. Green flooring choices, like bamboo, minimally impact the environment and are a big selling point to today’s environmentally conscious homebuyers.

Tip 3: Resurface concrete.
Replacing the cracked concrete surfaces around your home can cost a small fortune. But for a fraction of that cost, concrete can be resurfaced in a multitude of colors and finishes. Consider adding a cobblestone finish to your driveway, a brick look to an old walkway or a slate finish around the pool or patio. Whichever texture you choose, it will be a huge improvement over standard concrete and potential homebuyers will really take notice.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: $5,000 AND UP

A fresh coat of exterior paint will take the home’s curb appeal from so-so to wow.

Tip 1: Refresh the exterior paint.
The condition of your home’s exterior is key to the overall curb appeal, so refresh that facade with a coat of paint. Fresh exterior paint will not only preserve and protect your home’s exterior siding — the right paint color can make a dull home dazzling. By the same token, a house painted with an overly bright or overly bland color will make a house less appealing and hurt the value, so choose your colors wisely. Should you decide to put your house on the market and the exterior paint looks bad, a buyer will assume that the interior of the home has been neglected too and drive right past.

Tip 2: Go solar to save some green.
Save energy bill greenbacks by going green with a solar water heater. The installed price can cost up to $5,000, but these systems can slash your hot water bills by as much as 80 percent and attract energy-conscious homebuyers should you decide to sell. Install a solar water heater where there’s unobstructed southern exposure and you’ll have savings made in the shade.

Tip 3: Kitchen remodels are king.
Hands down, one of the biggest returns on investment comes from a kitchen remodel. Most experts agree that if you plan on updating only one room in your home, it should be the kitchen. Large, open kitchens have become the social hub of the modern home. High-end touches like granite countertops, richly stained custom cabinets and energy-efficient stainless appliances are the gold standard in modern kitchens. Experts agree that kitchen remodels return an average of 80 to 85 percent of every dollar spent. You can expect an even higher return if you are remodeling a really outdated kitchen.

Posted on The DIY Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Hallmarks Of A Successful Kitchen Renovation


It’s worth it to go for luxury in the most lived-in (and looked-at) part of the house.

It can be challenging to live without a kitchen during a renovation, but the payoff can be worthwhile, since a new kitchen can dramatically improve ease of use while also providing the biggest return on investment when it’s time to sell. After all, there are two main spaces — kitchens and bathrooms — that are often a huge selling point in for-sale homes since they get such frequent use. Taking your renovation project a few steps further and opting for a luxuryrenovation in the heart of your home can boost your own enjoyment of the space, as well as your home’s value, even more.

If you’re considering a luxe kitchen remodel, follow these four guidelines for renovation.

1. Consider function

Any successful luxury kitchen renovation requires some essentials, and one of the most important considerations is functionality of the kitchen. Luxury kitchens today predominantly have open floor plans, and buyers often prefer brightly lit, oversized center islands, or even two islands in some cases, to maximize usable workspace while also creating a gathering space. Kathryn Fagin, a Boston, MA–based interior designer, says her clients often request a butler’s pantry for additional storage, prep space for kitchen staff, and a second dishwasher and refrigerator if they enjoy entertaining.

2. Mix trendy and timeless

When it comes to kitchen design, make sure the main elements are timeless, including the cabinets, appliances, and countertops. Designer Brianna Woodhouse, principal of Weymouth I+D in Austin, TX, says she has seen trends come and go: from country-themed kitchens to modern and sleek ones to kitchens with an industrial flair, and back again. What remains constant, and what potential homebuyers will immediately notice, are the beauty and quality of the cabinetry and the appliances — the hallmarks of a true luxury kitchen remodel. “If you skimp [on those], everyone can tell,” says Woodhouse. “You end up costing yourself more money down the line when having to replace them in a few years because they don’t hold up.”

For cabinets, rich woods in neutral tones or white provide a classic backdrop for adding in other textures, unique art pieces, or pops of color that can be changed later along with the trends or homeowner’s taste. With countertops, natural stone, granite, and marble provide a beautiful focal point on a center island and can be customized to look even more luxe when wrapped over the countertop edges for a “waterfall” effect. Finally, for appliances, stainless steel remains the classic choice for professional-looking kitchens, while integrated appliances installed flush with panels that match the cabinetry and millwork are also a popular option as they can disappear into the design of the space.

In many luxe kitchens, appliances are functional showpieces. Long Island, NY, real estate agent April Hughes Kaufman points out that of all the newer “extras” she’s seeing in luxury kitchens, the addition of specific-use refrigerators impresses the widest pool of buyers. For example, under-counter refrigeration drawers allow for convenient beverage storage and easy access for children, while glass-front refrigerators display their contents beautifully. For some, a separate wine storage unit in the kitchen or butler’s pantry introduces an element of both luxury and convenience.

3. Luxury doesn’t have to be large

While an open floor plan will probably expand your kitchen’s footprint, it’s important to consult a professional: A good designer can create a luxury kitchen in any shape or size that will best suit the lifestyle of the homeowner. “The feel of luxury is provided by many design elements: the inviting lighting, the glistening appliances, as well as warm and cold textures breaking up the room,” says Woodhouse. What small kitchens lack in square footage they often make up for in thoughtful details and functionality — so don’t assume a luxury kitchen isn’t for you simply because yours is modestly sized. Many appliances can be customized to fit in smaller spaces, and cutting back on the number of range burners or opting for smaller versions of traditional appliances can help free up space. With less surface area to cover, upgrading to higher-end marble countertops or adding a luxurious tile backsplash becomes more feasible too.

4. Your kitchen’s ROI

When it comes to remodeling a kitchen, it’s wise to keep the costs within a reasonable proportion of the home’s total value — and keep the style harmonious with the rest of the house. Does your home have a traditional exterior? If so, an ultracontemporary kitchen might feel awkward and out of place.

After basics like a sound roof and HVAC system, real estate agents and designers agree that the space that matters most is the kitchen; it’s the heart of the home and a general gathering spot. It’s also the space in which homeowners spend most of their time. Considering the commitment required to undergo a renovation, Kathryn Fagin also says buyers recognize that getting a home with a well-designed kitchen is an effort they won’t have to make and are generally willing to pay more for the privilege. But you don’t have to sell right away to capitalize on your renovation investment; a luxury kitchen is always a plus, so give yourself a few years to enjoy it before you sell!

Posted by Kelly O’Reilly on Trulia

2 Easy DIY Projects for a Total Kitchen or Bathroom Refresh

Get a big impact with minimal effort when you tackle these basic home improvement tasks.

Remember how during last year’s holiday dinner, you optimistically offered your home to host the entire family for the next big get-together?

Fast-forward through the endless winter, the trees blooming again, and back into fall — you’re now only about a month out from Turkey Day. If you’ve been delaying a giant kitchen update or bathroom refresh, the next few fall weekends are the perfect time to make these spaces ready for the upcoming influx of guests (and for your personal enjoyment, too!).

All you need to complete either room upgrade is two big-impact, yet entirely basic DIY, projects: painting cabinetry and changing out your faucet fixtures.

1. Color your cabinets

The beauty of kitchen cabinets truly lies in the eye of the beholder. So if those selected by a previous homeowner still appear in good shape, but just aren’t quite your style, don’t waste big bucks on replacements. Instead, with just a bucket of paint and a free weekend or two, you can give your cabinets a total makeover for very little money.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

First, remove all of the hardware — door pulls, hinges, and knobs — and pull out any drawers, doors, or adjustable shelves to be painted separately. Then wipe down all surfaces twice: once with warm soapy water, followed by a clear rinse to remove any dirt, grit, or grease.

Once the cabinets dry, scuff them up with fine, 120- or 140-grit sandpaper to help the primer adhere, and vacuum up all the leftover sawdust.

Next, brush a coat of primer onto all surfaces, and allow it to dry completely. Lightly sand the primer with 400-grit sandpaper, wipe off the dust, and spread on a thin first coat of paint.

Take a two-day break to allow the paint to dry completely, then repeat: sand, wipe, and paint a second coat.

Once that top coat has dried thoroughly, reattach the hinges and hang the doors. Finally, screw in the old hardware or, for a full transformation, add new knobs and pulls to complete the makeover.

2. Swap out old sink fixtures

Nothing dates a kitchen or bathroom more than an unfashionable faucet — or worse, one that leaks. Simply swapping out this fixture can give your sink or vanity a fresh face while also saving water, thanks to today’s models with built-in aerators that cut water usage by up to one-third.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Lucky for you, it’s one project that’s easy enough to pick up on your own. When you’re ready to replace the faucet, shut off the water supply via the valves under the sink. Disconnect the supply lines from the faucet using an adjustable wrench or, for better reach, a basin wrench.

Then undo the left rod, remove the nuts from under the faucet, and unscrew the slip nut on the trap. Slide a bucket underneath your plumbing to catch any water that drains out, and unscrew the drain flange from the tailpiece.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installing the new faucet through the mounting holes in the sink. Then, reconnect the drain: Screw the drain nut all the way down on the drain body, and push the gasket over it.

Apply a small amount of silicone under the flange, and position the drain body on the bottom of the sink, making sure that the pivot hole is facing the back, and then screw the flange on from the top. Tighten the nut and gasket underneath.

Install the drain rod by unscrewing the pivot nut on the drain body and inserting the horizontal rod through the hole in the stopper; replace the nut. Push the horizontal rod down, and secure the lift rod to the strap with the screw.

Finally, reconnect the supply lines to the faucet and give it a go, turning on the hot and cold water for about a minute. While the water is running, check all the connections for leaks and tighten any, if necessary.

Then wash your hands of all the hard work, and relax knowing that your home is guest-ready.

Check out more kitchen and bathroom design inspiration.

Posted by BobVila.com on Zillow

 

Home Improvement Lesson of the Week

Have you done your homework? Study up with a quick chalkboard tip.

Fall is almost here — time to dive into a new school year. It’s also a great time to tackle that home improvement project you’ve been putting off all summer.

To help you do your homework, we’re sharing remodeling lessons from “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate.” Here’s the latest tip:

It pays to get A’s, but C’s get degrees. The same can be said about renovations: A no-expense-spared remodel is nice while you get to enjoy it, but once you sell your home, you may be wishing you’d aimed a bit lower.

Data shows spending a ton on a renovation doesn’t necessarily increase your home’s resale value more than spending a lot less money.

Take mid-range windows, for example. A homeowner will recover, on average, $1.15 for every $1 spent. But for beautiful, double-glazed panes with stained hardwood interior trim, you’ll most likely break even at $1.01 for every $1 paid out of pocket.

No, that’s not a typo. Data shows bathrooms are where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck if you’re trying to up your home’s resale value. But the key is function, not fashion. Here’s why:

The median cost for an upscale bathroom remodel is $12,000, with only $.87 recovered for every dollar spent. Meanwhile, a $3,000 mid-range bathroom typically returns about $1.71 per dollar invested.

In other words, turning a non-working or low-end bathroom into a functional space is a lot more valuable to prospective buyers than upgrading a room that’s already in good shape. Plus, a lot of home shoppers filter their search by a certain number of bathrooms. If you add another one, you may  increase your odds of getting on their radar.

Before you splurge on new countertops, ask yourself why you’re renovating your kitchen in the first place. If you’re fixing up your home to put it on the market, you’d be better off updating another room.

Kitchen renovations offer among the lowest return on investment of the home improvements studied in “Zillow Talk.”

In fact, both upscale and mid-range kitchen renovations recover about half the cost invested. In other words, whether you spend $5,000 or $20,000, you likely won’t recoup the the full cost.

There’s no shame in getting that man cave you’ve always wanted. Plus, basement remodels are cheaper upfront: They tend to cost around $10,000 while adding a second or third story can reach five times that amount.

But if you’re looking to increase your home’s resale value, adding another floor is where it’s at. Data shows a basement renovation typically returns $0.48 for every dollar spent, while a story addition gives you $1.02 per $1.00.

Moral of the story? Aim high on your next home addition if you want to come out ahead.

Posted by Catherine Sherman on Zillow

Four Cheap Fixes to Improve Your Home’s Value

There are many possible reasons why you may be selling your house. Regardless of reason, be prepared for this uphill battle since this is no easy task.

The real estate market is hard to predict and you never know when and how much you will be able to sell your house. However, there are 4 easy things that you can do to at least fix this and improve the value of your house.

Improve the Kitchen

The kitchen is considered the heart and soul of the home so it wouldn’t be surprising that it is one of the places that potential buyers look at first. If your kitchen looks like one of those sets from a 60’s comedy show, then it would be difficult to sell your house for a good price. You don’t necessarily have to change the cabinets and cupboards, though. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color and some slightly modern accents and accessories can go a long way.

Freshen up the Bathroom

Another area in the house that potential buyers always tend to scrutinize is the bathroom. It is a place where people do their private businesses so it should be comfortable and relaxing. Make sure that it is free from any major problems and damages and try to update the fixtures as much as possible.

Just like the kitchen, if you bathroom design is stuck in the past, it would be a lot difficult to find a buyer for it. You don’t necessarily have to demolish the bathroom and rebuild it anew but giving it a fresh makeover a some good scrubbing to make the tiles clean will certainly go a long way when it comes to the look and appeal of the bathroom.

De-Clutter the House

If you want your potential buyers to make a mortgage loan for your house then you will have to ensure that their first impressions are good. When they see massive amounts of clutter, then you’re off to a bad start. Even if all these things will be removed when you move out, to the potential buyer they will attach that clutter to the value of the house making the impression less favorable.

Also, buyers would like to visualize themselves living in the house. They want to think where they will put the couch or the drawers or the book shelf. If the house is too cluttered, they won’t be able to visualize this placement which can make it hard for them to see the idea of living in that house.

Proper Lighting

Just as how unnecessary clutter can decrease the impression your house can give to buyers, poor lighting will also have the same effect. If the house is not well illuminated, it will appear smaller and dirtier that it actually is. If you can, replace the broken light bulbs and install more to make the rooms look bigger. If possible, open up the windows and curtains to let natural light in.

In most cases, these are simple fixes that you can do to make your house more marketable and appealing. These may be small steps but can greatly affect your chances of selling the house.

About the Author: Joel Cordle is working for Dwellaware. DwellAware provides a online search web application to help prospective homebuyers easily and confidently find the most comfortable, highest quality home that best match their needs.

by HomeZada on April 1, 2015 from Remodeling Projects.

Transform Any Basic Bathroom Into a Luxurious Spa

Spa-like bathrooms are a hot amenity among home buyers, and whether you’re looking to buy or sell, you might be thinking about putting some money into a bathroom upgrade.

Transform Any Basic Bathroom Into a Luxurious Spa

Fuse/Thinkstock

But you don’t need to install a Jacuzzi tub to indulge in a home spa. A few simple steps involving lighting, color and some fun add-ons can transform the room into a luxurious retreat.

“It’s all about atmosphere,” says Eva Dewitz, a Boston interior designer. “A spa should appeal to all the senses. Play music [a small radio or wireless speaker will do]; light the room softly; put a dimmer switch in.”

With stress a major component of modern living, investing in spa-quality relaxation is money well spent. The next time you need to retreat from e-mail, a ringing cell phone or other demands on your time, just soak your worries away.

Clean Design Creates Sense of Tranquility

The easiest way to attain an uncluttered look is to make white, or a calm neutral, your color of choice. A monochromatic theme keeps it simple.

“I personally like the tones of beige,” says Boston interior designer Gregory R. Van Boven. “Keep it plain and simple.”

At bathroom specialty store Billie Brenner Ltd. in Boston’s Design Center, partner Robin Brenner notes that many of today’s in-home spas include big-ticket items like a large walk-in shower with a vertical whirlpool (the shower has body jets and multiple shower heads). Other “hot” items include saunas and heated towel bars, she says.

Nothing beats the convenience of adding a hot tub directly to your bath area, if you have a few thousand dollars to spend and some extra space. But you can find those stand-alone heated towel bars, for example, for less than a built-in.

The key is to be creative and realize that many smaller aspects of a spa can be purchased for a lesser price.

Jacuzzi-Alternative Amenities

If your budget falls short of a Jacuzzi, you can turn an ordinary tub into something just short of a whirlpool relatively inexpensively. For less than $100, you can get a portable spa motor that turns a regular tub into a massaging jet experience. For a shower, you could add a rainfall shower head—or one with massage options.

You could also set up your own manicures with an in-home treatment system, including a nail dryer, for $50 or less. There are a number of foot massagers on the market—some using water to soothe your feet, others using acupressure points and heat—for an equally reasonable price.

There are machines that offer the sound of ocean waves, rain or a waterfall to zone you out. Or consider a speaker that syncs with your iPod or other media player.

When planning your spa, it’s also important to keep your sense of smell in mind. Dewitz suggests using bubble bath or bath oil rather than highly perfumed candles, which can overwhelm the senses. Or you can search out candles with a light scent.

Scented soaps are another way to add a pleasing aroma to the room. Present the candles or the soaps nicely on a decorative dish or stand.

Furniture Dresses Up the Bathroom

Brenner says she’s seeing more people combine the in-home hideaway and spa concepts. Her clients are introducing furniture into their baths, including bookshelves and comfortable seating—even a fireplace.

Space permitting, adding a pretty chair and floor lamp can also enhance the relaxing atmosphere. That way, when you step out of the bath, you can wrap yourself in a luxurious robe, cozy up with a throw blanket and perhaps begin a foot soak.

Based on an original article by Anna Kasabian. Published by Anne Miller on realtor.com. See it here.