Renovation For Sale: Low Cost Options With High Impact Style- By: Judy Ballard
Interested in renovating a part of your home but don't have the cash? Perhaps you're putting your house on the market and you just know the ugly old linoleum in your bathroom will turn buyers off. Many people don't realize how easy and cost-effective do-it-yourself home improvement projects can be. Read on to find plenty of stylish options for home improvements that won't break the bank or your back.
Flooring is an area of home improvement that can get very pricey indeed. However, there are some fantastic new products now that might surprise you. New imitation wood and tile designs in vinyl have the textures of these materials without the cost, maintenance or installation tools and preparation necessary with other kinds of flooring. Vinyl tiles are easy to install: just clean the sub-floor thoroughly and make sure the surface is completely smooth and flat, then determine your layout, peel off the paper backing, and stick down your tiles. Best of all, the cost of vinyl flooring can be as low as $0.50 per square foot.
Many homeowners fall in love with granite countertops until they see the price tag: around $75 per square foot to start. Given the nature of granite, installation can't really be do-it-yourself. However, there are some lovely alternatives to granite that can really make your home stand out. Concrete countertops are a great option for the do-it-yourselfer who doesn't mind spending a bit more time on the project. Although curing does take some time, concrete countertops can be tinted any color and formed into beautiful curvy shapes. You can even inset other stones into the concrete before it dries to create unique patterns and textural details.
Tile is the old budget-friendly standby for counters, and for good reason: it's durable and timeless. Although it has some negative aspects, they can be remedied by thinking creatively. For example, if you're a baker who is constantly rolling out dough on your countertop, don't shy away from tile. Many tiles come in small and larger formats (usually designated for floors) that can be used for countertops. Installing tiles on most of your countertops and reserving a spot for a butcher block or similarly smooth material is also a low-cost option.
Another cash-guzzler that can dramatically change the look and feel of a home is lighting. There are many low-cost options for lighting fixtures, but these are usually the standard builders' buys: boring and bland. More unique fixtures can drive up your budget considerably, but they certainly don't have to. If you are even just a little bit crafty, you can make your own lighting fixture for around the same cost as a lightbulb.
Get a pull-chain fixture for a bare lightbulb (the kind usually installed in closets and broom cupboards) and install it where your old fixture was. Be careful to take all the necessary precautions when doing electrical work, such as shutting off the power to your fixture. Then get creative with materials to cover what is now just a bare bulb. You can be as quirky or as refined as you wish. Some ideas for kitchen fixtures are colanders, hinged metal steamers and seives.
A loosely-woven basket with a hole cut in the bottom for the bulb, or a fancy paper towel holder lined with a sheet of decorative heat-resistant paper could both be used anywhere you like. Keep in mind that the object you choose to cover the bulb must offer places through which heat can escape or be big enough for heat to dissipate. It must also provide a spot from which it can be attached to the ceiling.
These are just a few ideas to get those gears turning. Take a trip to your local home improvement store and see what you can find out there. The library is also an excellent resource for DIY help. You'll find resources for anything you're interested in, from tile-setting to refinishing your hardwood floors. Just remember to think outside the box. Creative thinking and an open mind are two important keys to a unique and saleable home.
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