Our new home felt a bit dull. (See Chateâu Enginerd, Month 2.) The items we asked to be customized where done 95% correctly so we had to finish some items ourselves because the builder was taking forever to get to them. Because of this the house was not move in ready, and well, adding more construction dust to it as we move in wasn’t going to hurt much. Some of these add ons may require permits and expert crews to pull off but they are worth every penny.
1. Remove cabinets and replace with open shelving.
As long as the shelves you are replacing measure the same length and width of the ones inside the cabinets, you will not loose storage space. This is a great alternative to store plates, mugs, cups or glassware that gets used all the time and is meant to be seen. The shelves can be wood, metal or any material combination you can think off, and if you are not sure what matches your kitchen check our HGTV and home good store catalogues for hints. The cabinets should come off in 5 mins or less and may require two people to accomplish.
2. Add cabinetry to the laundry room.
Instead of adding floating shelves or open storage, we installed the removed cabinets to the laundry room on top of our utility sink. Since the cabinets were the same it was a no brainer. Most Pinterest ideas have shelves on top of front loading washers and dryers, with a few cabinets on top of the shelf/shelves. Add a nice light fixture or update to recessed lighting and you can make a laundry room functional and charming. Check Pinterest for ideas.
3. Add Bluetooth speakers to the shower heads or vent fans.
I like to listen to music when I am in the shower and either solution gets the job done. My husband was skeptical but he loves to use the speaker and found practical applications beyond making and receiving calls – which we haven’t tried to do, yet – like hearing TV and radio content beamed from his cellphone. You can enjoy audio books or programming while you clean or complete your grooming routines. Kids will love hearing stories and signing along. Fun for the whole family. It’s a braggable solution too. 😉
3. Install LED dimmable Edison/vintage style lightbulbs.
Costco sells the Feit electric lightbulbs very cheaply and so does Home Depot/Lowes. Makes sure that you get the correct light tone output (some are yellowish some have white light). Pair it with industrial looking mason jar or lamp shades to give it an old school industrial or farmhouse look. They even sell bulbs for desk lapms and floor lamps. Have fun with this idea.
4. Paint rock, tile or flooring to brighten or tie in a room.
Concrete floors can be painted and sealed easily which is a good way to update a garage but did you know you could paint over laminate and wood? You can sand down and restain a floor or you can use special interior paint to achieve a similar result. Some design firms will paint and distress the work to give it an antique feel to it. Vinyl tile is easy to update as well and there are a ton of videos and Pinterest ideas to choose from for inspiration. Check it out!
5. Replace wire shelves with wood.
Change out pantry, linen and room closet wireframe shelves for wood planks. Depending on the budget you can do common board, pine, oak or plywood. Be aware that the harder the wood the more expensive it will get per linear foot. Use contact paper, paint or stain to tie in the look with existing color schemes. Check out the DIY pantry makeover blog post for ideas.
6. Use ship lap to accentuate a wall.
Ship lap is not just for Farmhouse style homes anymore. Make any wall pop in a room by adding wood planks that fit your style. If you don’t have the budget and like the look, you can use ship lap paneling. Vertical or horizontal, it doesn’t matter, as long as you like it. Leave it unstained or paint it bold colors for a unique finish.
7. Replace or add a chandelier in the main entrance area or room.
Chandeliers don’t have to be 8ft tall to amaze guests and find a place in your home. Mini chandeliers are making a splash in the interior design scene and transcend the plain light fixture trend. Use pendant lights when possible if the chandelier is too much. Improved lighting can make a house seem bigger so it is important to choose fixtures that have multiple light bulbs and illuminate the space well.
8. Replace existing ceiling mounted light fixtures with canned lights.
There are a few LED canned light replacements that do not require a can light fixture to be installed; they are self contained units. Ranging from $25+, these lights can make an old school kitchen look modern in a matter of minutes. If you already have canned lights, you can update them to LED and add the color changing fixtures for effect.
9. Revamp the front porch
If you have craftsman style colums around your porch, you can cover them up with real stone or veneers. If you don’t have columns, you can easily add them too. A nice railing in wood or wrought iron can look nice if you need to make sure kids and pets are secured while enjoying the space. In some cases a screened in porch can be ideal to avoid mosquitoes and insect bites. You can also turn it into a four or three season room to help keep the heat or cold out while enjoying the area.
10. Update the mailbox
If your house has a rural or on post mailbox you can get creative with this piece. Get a unique mailbox, like a Star Wars themed one, or wrap the post in stone. Include the mailbox as part of the gate or fence, if possible, to amp up the security of your mail. There are models that include package drop boxes to thwart package thieves. The sky is the limit as long as the box is postmaster approved!