5 minor projects that look major
Quite often, our tolerance for outdated home interiors wears thin faster than our remodeling budgets expand. If you’re looking for an affordable, demolition-free solution to your design woes, try one of these five high-impact projects. They’ll make your guests wonder, “How’d they manage to remodel their home so effortlessly?”
Countertop cover-ups: You can make a drastic change to your countertops without the drastic effort and cost of replacement. Use one of many official countertop paint kits to get the look of granite, marble and other stones over surfaces made of Formica, laminate and solid surface. Or, apply a concrete overlay, which works over Formica, laminate, solid surface, ceramic tile and stones like granite and marble. You can also get custom-fabricated quartz overlays that fit over almost any material.
Think twice: Self-adhesive paper is an option, but it’s less durable for daily use. Use it on decorative surfaces, but be wary of applying it in the bathroom or kitchen.
Zero-demo flooring: Removing old flooring can be difficult and time-consuming. If the old floor isn’t warped, cracked, uneven or damp, you may be able to install new flooring right on top of it. You can either use floating or secured flooring, depending on your materials. Floating flooring locks together over stable surfaces like concrete, tile, wood, linoleum and vinyl without an adhesive. Secured flooring requires an adhesive, such as a thin-set, glue or nails.
Think twice: Be mindful of thickness if you use a hardwood for this project so that you don’t have issues with floor height around doors, cabinets and trim.
Like-new cabinets: You can make it look like you have an entirely new set of cabinets with a quick refinishing. For this project, the existing materials are sanded, cleaned and given a fresh coat of paint or stain. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, it will cost much less than new cabinetry. And you can completely switch up the color and design. While you’re at it, upgrade your hardware for a totally “new” look.
Think twice: If the cabinet surfaces aren’t in good shape, consider refacing. Refacing costs more, but the cabinets get brand-new doors and a matching veneer to cover blemishes.
Fresh-faced tile: If you’re living with garish, old-school tile, here’s some good news: You can paint tile if you prepare it thoroughly and use the right paint. For preparation, you have to clean, sand, repair and prime the surface. Then, you finish it off with a specialized paint. Tile paints come in a range of colors and can even imitate stone. To complete the transformation, consider adding a fresh layer of grout.
Think twice: There is a correct paint for each application. For moist environments like bathrooms, there is tub and tile paint. For high-activity applications like flooring, there are acrylic tile paints.
Trim and molding upgrades: Adding little details like trim and molding can really take your home’s interior to the next level. You can either add flourish and height to existing trim and baseboards, or you can create interest where there is none. Install molding on cabinet door and drawer fronts, around windows, on walls in a frame style, or on your ceiling in an intricate design. The possibilities are endless!
Think twice: Typically, homeowners use either wood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or polystyrene molding and trim for these projects. Keep in mind that MDF doesn’t resist moisture well.
Simple details like frame molding on the walls can add elegance and improve the design of an entire room.