10 Projects for a Beautiful Home
by Sherry Kyle
Five years ago, my husband and I purchased a short sale, which had seen many years of neglect. The bones of the house were solid, but the kitchen layout was too small, the lighting dated, the walls and beamed ceiling in need of new paint, and the whole exterior of the house, including the landscaping, screamed for attention. It was hard to know where to begin. Can you relate? Seems like there is a never-ending to-do list when you own a home. The trick is to know when to hire a professional and what to tackle on your own. We hired professionals for some of the big projects, like the kitchen and bathroom remodels, but pulled up our sleeves for the rest.
Here are ten projects you can do on your own to make your home beautiful:
Improve front landscaping. My husband is the gardener in the family and does a great job at keeping our plants looking happy and healthy. Thank you, Honey! But I helped him create a new flagstone path, re-do our sprinkler system, and pick out the new flowers and shrubs. When you have nice curb appeal, it makes your guests feel welcome.
TIP: Research the web for a beautiful garden design layout and for the type of plants that grow best in your area.
Create an inviting entry. Are your house numbers easy to spot? Does your front door have a nice coat of paint? Are the front steps and porch well lit? We changed all these things, which are easy to fix and make a big impact on the overall aesthetics of your home. Go one step further and add shutters to the front windows. Paint them to match your front door to give your house a cohesive look.
TIP: Purchase old shutters from an antique store. A little bit of sanding and a fresh coat of paint make them look as good as new!
De-clutter. Is it time to de-clutter? You’ll know it’s time by the piles of mail on the kitchen counter and the stacks of books that litter the family room coffee table. When surfaces are clear, it gives the room a clean feel. Too much furniture in a space is another way you can de-clutter your home. Are you bumping into furniture or weaving around tables and chairs to get from one end of the room to the other? Remove extra pieces to create better flow and a more inviting space.
TIP: Afraid to get rid of a favorite old chair? Relocate it to another room or give it to someone in need. Your heart will be blessed and so will your home.
Paint. Nothing brightens a room and is as easy on the pocketbook as a new coat of paint. The key to a good paint job, however, is the prep. Move furniture to the center of the room, cover the floor with a tarp and tape off windows and trim. Go bold or neutral with your color choice, but make sure to consider how much natural light is in the space.
TIP: Rainy days make for drips and slow-drying paint, so wait for the sun to come out before painting your home.
Create an accent wall. Do you have a wall in your house that needs a little more pizazz? You can use many different design techniques to make a blank wall go from boring to bling. Paint an old hutch a fun color and fill it with things you love, or hang a collage of random pretty plates in the empty space. Put up wallpaper, reclaimed wood or hang family photos. Of course, a different paint color is the easiest and quickest way to create an accent wall. Try a pattern, such as geometric shapes or stripes, or add a see-through bookshelf for a cool effect.
TIP: Not sure where to put an accent wall? The best wall to feature is the one your eye is naturally drawn to when you enter a room.
Add splashes of color. If you tend to like neutral-colored walls and furniture, spice up the room with decorative items, fun accent pillows and window treatments. That way you won’t feel so committed to a specific color and can change them when the mood strikes, the seasons change or when there is wiggle room in your budget.
TIP: To keep spending to a minimum, buy one feature piece and get the rest of the decorative items on sale.
Refresh your bathroom. Does the bathtub need to be refaced? The toilet switched out? A new countertop or vanity to spruce things up? Before you gut your bathroom, simply purchase a new shower curtain, bathroom rugs and towels to freshen up the space.
TIP: Before you spend the money on a new vanity, sand and paint the cabinetry white for a bright, clean look.
Change lighting and plumbing fixtures. Go to your local hardware store to purchase new lighting and plumbing fixtures to replace outdated ones in the kitchen and bath. If that’s not in the budget, change out light bulbs for a new look and update your plumbing fixtures with a can of bronze (or black) Rustoleum paint.
TIP: Remove chandelier lampshades for a quick fix or change the look by covering the lampshades with interesting fabric.
Update your kitchen. Consider painting your kitchen cabinets. Have fun with the space by painting the uppers one color and the lowers another for a fun two-toned look. Remove a couple of the cabinet doors if your shelves are display worthy, and change the hardware to make your kitchen look as good as new.
TIP: Your small appliances are decorative accessories too. Buy a toaster, coffeemaker or mixer in a fun color to add a pop of color to the space.
Makeover your bedroom. For a cozy, romantic feel in the bedroom, dress the bed with layers of muted colors and pretty patterns. Include an electric fireplace as a special feature, and add timeless pieces on your nightstand, such as an antique alarm clock, a vase, books and lamps to have a beautiful room to retreat to every evening.
TIP: For a prettier space and a good night’s sleep, keep electronics out of the bedroom.
When you take the time to care for and create beautiful spaces in your home, you will provide a happy, inviting atmosphere for your family and your guests.
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