Every night I go home and mop and vacuum my house. It’s not because I’m fastidious about dust; it’s because my husband and I are, once again, undergoing renovations. That’s because it’s that season again: the home-reno season; a chance to rejuvenate and replenish the most frequently used room in the house.
But not all home renovations have to be extensive or expensive. There are cheap and cheerful ways to update your home and here’s a few ideas to get you started.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR KITCHEN SHELVES: When you consider a new cabinet can cost $200 or more why not consider adding slide-out and customizable shelves to your current cabinets instead? For instance a slide-out towel rack is only $30 at the major home hardware stores, while an under-the sink slide-out basket draw ranges between $50 and $70 (depending on the features); add a lazy-susan to that corner cabinet and you’ll only between $70 and $130.
PERK UP YOUR KITCHEN WITH NEW HARDWARE: Knobs and pulls can make or break a kitchen — and one of the cheapest and most effective ways to dramatically change your kitchen. Cheaper knobs start at $1.50, but more dramatic options will cost you $5 to $10 per knob/pull. Still, if you have 30 drawers/doors you’ll spend approximately $150 to $300 for a fresh new face for your kitchen.
ADD LIFE TO YOUR KITCHEN FLOOR: While appliances and cabinetry can steal the kitchen reno spotlight the one facet of the most used room in the house should really get some attention: the floor. To reduce the costs you can install the flooring yourself — but this also depends on your level of skill and your ability to recognize potential problems in the removal and disposal of your old flooring. (For instance, some older floor tiles, such as many installed in the 1950s, contain asbestos.)
Still, there are a number of cost effective options for replacing your kitchen floor:
1) Hardwood ($5 to $22 per sq. ft. installed) is the most expensive option, but adds a sense of warmth to your kitchen (and can often increase the resale value of the home). To cut costs you can look into veneers (engineered hardwood) but remember the thicker the veneer the longer the floor will last. Still, do-it-yourselfers will love how easy engineered hardwood is to install, particularly interlocking “floating” models.
2) Ceramic ($3 to $20 per sq. ft. installed) is both beautiful and durable. The drawback is that it provides a colder feeling to the kitchen (and your feet!). But for a polished, easy to clean floor opt for ceramic. For more traction choose unglazed, but keep in mind that these tiles will require sealing to prevent stains.
3) Linoleum ($4 to $10 per sq. ft. installed) has lost favour with many homeowners, but this very durable and fairly easy to install flooring system can last up to 40 years. It’s also easy on the feet and a cinch to clean.
SPICE UP YOUR WALLS WITH A NEW BACKSPLASH: In our last house, my husband bought a sheet of stainless steel and used this as the backsplash behind our gas stove (also stainless steel). Not only did it look classy, it was a breeze to clean and it was so much cheaper than most other backsplash options. For those who want a bit more character than simply installing a stainless steel sheet, look at your local hardware store for peel-and stick tiles. Often these can come in a brushed metal (at $21 per sq. ft. at Lowe’s) and can add a rich texture to your kitchen.
REPLACE THE COUNTERS: Unless you have an exceptionally large kitchen with ample counter space (and let’s face it don’t we always need more counter space?) a great way to change the entire look of your kitchen is to change the countertops. Granite can get pricey ($48 to $120 per linear foot installed) but for smaller kitchens – like mine – the $1,750 cost is well worth it. You can also look into wood countertops, which add tremendous warmth to the room ($150 for just under 6 feet of counter, uninstalled). But be forewarned these counters can get water logged (if you have careless kitchen users) and can mold. Still that’s an extreme case and as long as you’re disciplined about oiling the wood about twice a year the counters should last a decade or more. Other options include laminate, stone and polished concrete. Laminate is cheap but can also look cheap. Stone can chip and break and often leaves the kitchen feeling cold. Polished granite is an easy counter to maintain, but installation can be quite tricky and this type of counter really best suits kitchens that are industrial or modern.