4 Rooms, 4 Small Project for an Improved Home

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Joe Pawlikowski
Joe Pawlikowski is a freelance copywriter with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. Visit his site at JoePawl.com.
Joe Pawlikowski
Joe Pawlikowski
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The big secret to home improvement that many people don’t know: little upgrades can make big differences. So while you save your pennies for the big projects, like remodeling your kitchen or finishing your basement, you can continually improve the look of your home by undertaking smaller tasks.

Given enough time you could probably come up with dozens of improvements for each room in your house. But in reality, each room really needs only one upgrade to make an impact. In this post we’ll explore four major rooms in your home and the one improvement that can make the biggest difference.

Living room: coffee table

When you look around your living room it might seem as though you need to change everything. With a new carpet, new sofas, a new entertainment center, and maybe a new TV you could really spice up that frequently used room. Not only would your family appreciate the upgrade, but so would your guests. And yet, it would cost several thousand dollars to make those upgrades. It is, in other words, a long-term project that requires plenty of saving for the average family.

It might not seem like the case, but when you make the change you’ll notice it. The one piece of furniture that really holds together a living room is, wait for it, the coffee table. It’s a small piece of furniture, maybe not noticeable when you’re looking around the room. Yet it can make a huge difference in how your living room appears. If you do it right, it won’t cost you more than a hundred dollars or so.

Upgrading the coffee table won’t solve a problem like the carpet not matching the couch. But it can turn a plain, drab room into a livelier one. Why does the coffee table make such a difference? Because it sits in the center of the room. Everything arranges around it. And so while you might not notice it unless you’re looking for it, you can also use the coffee table to upgrade your living room.

Kitchen: cabinet doors

Have you ever gotten an estimate on replacing your kitchen cabinets? If you have, you know the bill shock that comes with installing custom kitchen cabinets. For an older home with dilapidated cabinets the cost can be well worth it. Yet there is a way to change the appearance of your kitchen without spending the truckload of money you’ll need for new cabinet installation.

The doors are really what people see. With new cabinet doors, plus some sanding of the frames and some paint, you can change the look of your kitchen considerably at a fraction of the cost — perhaps half the price

of a full cabinet replacement. The cost can get even cheaper, still, if your current kitchen cabinet doors are in decent shape. You can sand them and then varnish them or finish them with primer and paint. You’ll get a rejuvenated look without breaking the bank for custom cabinets.

Bathroom: vanity

When people think about remodeling their bathrooms, most often they think about two things: tile and wallpaper. After all, those two aspects add color to the room. They’re also things that stick out when they get old. Nothing makes a bathroom look dirtier than peeling wallpaper or tiles decaying grout. And really, if the grout is decaying and the wallpaper is peeling you should probably replace them — though you can always fix peeling wallpaper. But if not, there is one other bathroom piece that can change everything.

Some day, some home improvement company will create a tool wherein you can upload a photo of your bathroom and then replace the vanity with a new one. I think it would convince many homeowners to scrap plans to retile and wallpaper their bathrooms and go with a new vanity. This one might be a bit more expensive than the other improvement, but you wouldn’t believe what kind of difference it makes.

As a personal anecdote: when growing up my parents always hated our bathrooms. We rarely had guests because of this. When I got older and they came into more money, they started making improvements around the house. Like most people, they retiled and wallpapered the bathrooms. They looked nicer for sure, but the new tile and the new wallpaper put an even bigger emphasis on the ugly vanity. One weekend I came home from college to find new vanities in both bathrooms, and I couldn’t believe how different they looked. The difference was far greater than when they did the wallpaper and tile upgrades.

Bedroom: paint

A little paint can change the look of any room, but in no room does paint stand out more than in a bedroom. That’s probably because bedrooms are small, enclosed areas. The walls are all near each other, and so the pain really stands out. Merely painting a bedroom’s walls can completely change its look and feel. So take inventory, decide which color looks best, and take the plunge. Between paint and supplies you can probably get away with a bill under $200, with each additional room being that much cheaper (because you won’t have to buy brushes, drop cloths, and other supplies).

Want to spend a bit more and make a bedroom really pop? Here’s a post about spending $400 on a complete bedroom makeover. The before and after photos tell the entire story here. And, again, if you want to do more than one room you’ll spend less than $400 on the second, because you’ll have supplies leftover from the first.