5 mi­nor projects that look ma­jor

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - REAL ESTATE -

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.

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