It’s officially spring and a perfect time to tackle your home improvement to-do list. And good news for those of us on a budget - and with not a lot of time - even the simplest renovations can increase your property’s value.
I visited Lowe’s with Sabrina Soto, design and lifestyle expert and author of “Home Design: A Layer by Layer Approach to Turning Your Ideas into the Home of Your Dreams.” She offered great tips on lazy and inexpensive home renovations with the biggest bang for your buck.
Update Your Countertops
Starting with our kitchens — perhaps the most expensive room to remodel – renovating old countertops could give the space a valuable facelift, but no need to spend thousands on a total replacement. Soto says there’s a faster, cheaper shortcut.
“You can get a granite overlay, which is basically a very thin layer of granite installed on top of your existing countertops,” she says. “The company comes, takes the measurements all down, then they come back and install it right on your countertops – no demolition necessary. It takes a few hours, maybe, when new granite countertops can take a lot longer than that and are a lot more expensive.” The savings: 20-30% cheaper than new granite counters.
Restore Hardwood Floors
Throughout your home, your hardwood floors probably experience the most wear and tear from your family’s daily foot traffic. Replacing or resurfacing them can be costly and time consuming. Instead, Soto recommends sprucing up the wood’s condition with an inexpensive product like Howard Restore-A-Finish. It sells for around $10 a can and applies like a stain with no sanding required. A few cans can help your dining room floors look as good as new in just three to four hours.
Next, we know that bathroom renovations can boost your home’s bottom line, and a few simple changes can provide a whole new look, starting with lighting. If you’ve got those Hollywood lights and a giant mirror, Soto says it may be time to swap out those dated fixtures with something more modern. But no worries – this is an easy step.
Update Your Bathroom
She says don’t even bother taking down that big mirror. “What you want to do is frame it. You can go to the local hardware store and get molding,” says Soto. “Have them cut it into fours. You could actually adhere it right to your mirror using liquid nails or construction adhesive, and then paint it or stain it to match your existing cabinets.” Just doing the quick math, this small renovation costs $22 in paint, adhesive plus time. It’s a small investment for a big payoff.
Freshen Up Your Tiles
Another smart home improvement job in the bathroom is to clean up your tiles. While replacing or steam cleaning grout can cost hundreds of dollars, Soto’s pro tip saves a bundle. “You can a get … a grout whitener, basically looks like shoe polish, and you go over your white grout lines with this whitener, let it sit and then wipe it off. It is the easiest, most cost-efficient way to brighten up that bathroom,” she says.
Paint What’s Seen First
Finally, your home’s curb appeal does matter but no need painting the whole house from head to toe. Soto says a simple fresh coat of paint – for just $30 per gallon - on the mailbox or front door is enough to turn heads. “If your door is all wood, the easiest thing to do is paint it,” she says. “Classic colors are navy, burgundies, hunter green, even black. Sometimes even red is a wonderful color—that much needed pop outside.”
Replace Your Front Door
If you’d rather replace your front door altogether, Soto suggests opting for a simple, classic style with a beautiful knocker over something more ornate.
What are some of your home improvement budgeting tips? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #finfit.