By Brentnie Daggett
If only your budget were as expansive as your imagination. We've all spent time daydreaming about how we would improve our homes if we had the time and money for a complete renovation. Grand kitchens, laundry rooms, in-ground swimming pools and walk-in closets top the dream home wish list for many.
If you don't have the budget, time, or energy to remodel your home, there are many small projects you can take on that will improve the look and function of your home without breaking the bank. If and when it comes time to sell, these minor upgrades can also add value to your property, potentially maximizing your return:
New Cabinet Hardware
You might not be ready to tackle an entire kitchen remodel, but swapping out the hardware on your cabinets and drawers is an inexpensive cosmetic change that will update the look of your space immediately. Old, outdated hardware can make the home's age more obvious. Look for a sleek and modern alternative that suits your taste and will be appealing even after the latest trend has passed.
If you're looking for something unique, hardware these days comes in a variety of materials, including leather pulls, acrylic and metal combinations, stone, and more. As long as you keep it tasteful, new cabinet hardware is a cheap investment with a high return.
Faucets are one of the fixtures that quickly show their age, yet we tend to forget that they're fairly easy to replace. Over time, faucets become dull and tarnished from constant use. Brighten up your bathroom or kitchen with an attractive, modern upgrade.
Figure out the configuration and mounting type of your current faucet to ensure you choose the right option. The existing holes in your sink, the material and thickness of your countertop, and your budget will all play a role in selecting new fixtures. Take a trip to your local hardware store and find a model that will work for you while still playing nicely with the style of your kitchen or bathroom. If you're replacing multiple fixtures throughout the home, look into ordering them in bulk online. There are instructions on how to complete the installation yourself if you don't want to hire help.
Modern Light Fixtures
One of the easiest ways to update the feel of a room is by replacing the light fixtures. This quick fix can add color and intrigue to any space and can update the lighting of the entire room depending on which fixture and light bulb you choose.
You can replace many ceiling-mount light fixtures without the need for rewiring, which means you'll be done with this project in less than an hour. Browse online or in your local home decor store for modern fixtures that agree with the look and feel of your home. Once you have your supplies, unscrew the old fixtures and replace them.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
A simple coat of paint can upgrade countless areas throughout your home—walls, cabinets, doors, trim, etc. Even if you aren't changing the color of the paint, a fresh coat can brighten things up and erase any wear and tear that may have occurred over time. Painting projects can be adjusted to fit any budget, as you can tackle them yourself or hire professionals.
Of course, there are a few tricks to ensuring a good paint job. You don't want your DIY project to leave you in a worse position than when you started. For whichever surface you're painting, be sure to research best practices in order to make it look professional.
Flooring has one of the widest pricing ranges in home improvement projects due to the variety of options. Maybe you don't have the budget to redo the flooring throughout your entire house, but even minimal updates can have a dramatic impact on your home and its resale value.
Consider replacing particularly damaged or worn areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, mudroom or laundry room with laminate flooring options. There are many options in terms of style, from tile to hardwood. This material is durable to most wear and tear and relatively simple to install.
No matter the size of the project you decide to undertake, make sure to educate yourself completely on each step of the process, take your time and plan ahead. The old adage "measure twice, cut once" is a good rule of thumb. Maybe tackle a smaller project first and then move onto a larger task. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment every time you walk into your home.
Brentnie Daggett is a writer and infographic master for the rental and property management industry. She loves to share tips and tricks to assist landlords and renters alike. To learn more about Daggett, and to discover more great tips for renters, visit www.rentecdirect.com.