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Best Home Improvements for Your Buck

Remodel Within Budget

Are you ready to update your home but not quite ready for a full remodel-renovation? Here are some of the best home improvements to make your house look and feel amazing! First, focus on updating the architectural elements of your home. These pieces often add a ‘wow factor’, creating a unique character to a space for a quick low-budget remodel.

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Here are a few of my favorite architectural elements to transform.

All Those Blank Walls

One of the best home improvements for your buck update is adding applied panels. They become another layer-texture on the wall. It doesn’t take much to turn a blank wall into a focal wall with applied panels and an accent paint color. First, use panel mouldings to create patterns, such as herringbone, squares, or chevron. Then paint the applied mouldings and walls the same color to create a cohesive look. You can create a moody space by using darker paint colors or keep things light and bright with a pretty neutral color. Add panel mouldings to spaces you might not think about…like the master bathroom. If you are handy (and have the right tools) this can be a DIY project. Another option is to hire a finish carpenter and you do the painting.

The Staircase

Some of us inherited a dreadful golden-oak staircase in our foyer. Overall it feels brown and boring. With the help of a professional painter you can change the finishes by following these steps.

  1. First remove an old carpet-runner. Depending on the look you want – paint, stain, or resurface your stair treads. And paint the stair risers white.
  2. Paint the railing posts and newel posts (usually white to match the room trim color)
  3. Paint or stain the handrail. I like to add a bit of classic black to a space. The railing is a good place to add some contrast.

Add a pretty chest, art, and area rug. It will feel like a whole new space.

The Fireplace

The fireplace is often the focal point of a room making it one of the best home improvement elements to update. Fireplaces come in many different shapes and sizes so there is not one ‘update’ that works for all types. A brick fireplace is easily updated by painting or white washing the brick. Think about adding a new beam style mantel for more interest. Traditional fireplaces often have tile surround/hearths that feel dated and dull. This is a great time to consider color and pattern when you replace the tile. A larger update might include adding stacked stone or more simple painted wood surround and over-mantel. A new fireplace can set the style for a space as you think about a larger remodel for the future.

Built-in Cabinetry

I consider built-ins as one of the best investments to the interior of a home. These pieces become architectural elements in a space adding visual interest and detailing. Built-ins are extremely functional as they are designed for specific storage & use. The idea is that they ‘hide’ everything thus keeping a space clear of clutter. Over the past few years some of the most popular built-ins are storage cubbies found in mudrooms & laundry rooms. These pieces can be quite charming with beadboard details and interesting cabinet hardware. Built-in window benches are also quite popular. Especially in breakfast room spaces creating cozy eating areas. Everyone loves built-in cabinetry. It provides that final, thoughtful addition to a space.

Decorative Light Fixtures

My last tip is to say goodbye to those sad outdated light fixtures. Replacing light fixtures is easy, effective, and budget friendly. You can find good looking fixtures at many online sites. Try Shades of Light. Along with new lighting in your main spaces like the foyer, kitchen, dining room consider adding hanging light fixtures in the family room (if you can say goodbye to your fan) or the master bedroom/bathroom. You will be surprised what a difference it makes. Think outside the box and add wall sconces in the kitchen, in a built-in bench area, or in a kid’s room by their bed. Decorative lighting is a simple way to add something unique to a space.

Updating your home is usually a balance of needs and wants. And there is always the budget. Be thoughtful. Do some research. And remember even a small project can make a difference during a low budget remodel.

by Meredith Ericksen, owner of Tuscan Blue Design. All photos provided by Tuscan Blue Design.

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