Home improvement projects can be both exciting and stressful.

Making “improvements” to your home means making changes that will make your life easier, more efficient or in some way better. Unfortunately, they can come at a scary price if you don’t stick to a plan.

Before embarking on a giant renovation project that could break the bank, consider these simple, but worthy, home improvements that will provide all kinds of enjoyment without straining your budget.

Embellish the Elevation

window shutters

What better place to start than the front of your home? Step out to the street and take a good look at the front of your house. Add some character to front facade with these reasonably priced updates:

Window shutters—match your architectural style with louvered, raised panel, combination louver/panel, board-n-batten, arch-top board-n-batten, framed board-n-batten, or flat panel shutters. Available in wood, composite and architectural PVC, these designer features come pre-finished or primed for your own custom colours.

Door hardware—elegant and functional, a new stylish lockset will enhance even the most subtle entrance. Choose from traditional lever handles, round beaded, oval knob or crystal handle sets, then select a trendy finish like brushed or polished nickel, burnished antique, lacquered brass or oil-rubbed bronze.

Decorative trim and millwork—this is a great opportunity to bring the indoors out. Weather-resistant polyurethane door surrounds, crossheads, keystones and dental work create design elements to showcase the front of your home. Finish with classic white or a coordinating hue to complement your design.

Light fixtures—a simple update to your exterior wall lighting will provide a bright, inviting entryway to visitors. Many styles offer safety features such as motion detectors and automatic dusk to dawn sensors, energy-efficient LED bulbs or matching post lights to illuminate driveways and walkways. Available in a variety of styles and finishes, these new outdoor lights will refresh the entire look of your home with a minimal cost.

Paint—while it may take a little time to select and apply a new colour to the front door, columns/posts, shutters and trim, it’s one of the top ways to improve curb appeal. Make a statement with a vibrant colour scheme or select a more subdued hue for the greatest appeal.

Flooring Re-Finished

hardwood flooring with new windows
Natural hardwood is as popular a flooring selection today as it was years ago. The versatility and warmth of a wood floor is undeniable, but as it ages and is exposed to heavy foot traffic, it will become worn, damaged and dull. Refinish your hardwood floors to create a like-new look. Rent a commercial sander from a home improvement store to remove the old finish and smooth it to a natural state. Apply a beautiful stain and top coat of polyurethane to protect its finish.

Don’t have hardwood flooring yet? A trip to the home improvement store give you the tools to install your own floor and can save thousands over the cost of a professional contractor. Pick from traditional oak or maple or get a unique look with birch for a sustainable, green product.

Maybe your hardwood floors have been protected under that area throw rug or the finish is just a little dull. Discard the old rugs and let the beauty of wood shine through. Polish your wooden floors at least once a year or every four-to-six-months in heavy traffic areas.

Heart of the Home Upgrades

backsplash countertop faucet
More than ever, today’s kitchens are becoming the central hub of the house. Open and airy designs mean more kitchen space so homeowners can spend more time with friends and family. Consider these simple, inexpensive upgrades to transform your old, outdated space into the place everyone wants to hang out in:

Hardware—new cabinet hardware will immediately change your look from old and drab to new and fab. Check your local improvement store or shop online for thousands of selections. Be sure to measure the handle hole distance before ordering to ensure proper fit. Choose a finish that coordinates with your appliances for a high-end decorator touch.

Paint—an interior designer’s best friend, giving your kitchen walls and cabinets a fresh paint job will give your room the boost it needs. Two-tone cabinets are the latest trend so have a little fun by painting the main cabinets one colour and the island cabinets a coordinating shade.

Backsplash—”everything old is new again” when it comes to kitchen backsplashes. Keep it simple and vintage with white subway tile or show off your personality with a dynamic metallic finish. It will look great and protect your walls from splatters.

Countertops—no need to spend a fortune to make your countertops stand out. Man-made high-definition laminates and marble-look products come in a wide variety of colours, patterns and edge treatments.

Faucet—with so many reasonably priced, innovative styles available, you’ll definitely want to replace your old chrome kitchen faucet. Choose from an array of styles like single handle, touch-activated, pull-down and high-neck. In addition to the traditional polished chrome, you can opt for decorative finishes such as polished brass, oil-rubbed bronze, matte black, brushed nickel and brushed stainless.

Lighting—save money by replacing your old incandescent bulbs with high-efficient CFLs and LEDs. The initial expense is easily offset by reduced energy use and long life. Pendant light fixtures are a very popular choice over an island workspace or sink. You might also consider a vintage-style statement fixture for over a dinette table as a beautiful upgrade to your old, outdated one. Under-cabinet utility lighting is a must if you’re a cooking enthusiast. It helps keep your workspace brightly lit and provides a little ambiance when you turn off the overhead lights.

Extra storage—you can never have enough shelving, slide-out drawers or cabinet space in the kitchen. Minimalistic open shelves instead of upper cabinets are all the rage for keeping dishes and cookware within easy reach. Install sliding shelves inside cabinets to keep hard-to-store cookie sheets and cooking racks organized.

Wallcovering with Style

Believe it or not, wallpaper is making a comeback. It’s not to say that you’ll want to go overboard with printed damask but adding an ultra-stylish print to one wall to add a personal touch is a great idea. It breaks up the neutral tones you’ve chosen throughout the house and helps give your home a unique feel.

Bathroom Brilliance

Bathroom window
You can’t think about worthy home improvements without including a mini-makeover for the bathroom. Whether you’re doing an update to your powder room, main bathroom or master bathroom, you can do a reasonable job at a reasonable cost.

Vanity top—with a smaller countertop space than the kitchen, you can afford to add a luxurious granite vanity top pretty inexpensively. Home improvement stores offer standard size slabs with under-mount or vessel sink options in a variety of colours and patterns.

Faucet—just like the kitchen, a new faucet will enhance the look of the new granite countertop with a pretty small expenditure. Choose from single-lever, dual handle, touch-activated and wall-mount models with all the popular finishes. Don’t forget the shower/bathtub faucet. Get a matching design and finish plus add a rain shower head with built-in Bluetooth music and hand-held massager for the ultimate morning wake-up.

Mirror—ditch the old, standard mirror and install a new decorative style. They come in flush-mount, picture-frame, built-in medicine cabinet, traditional, contemporary or frameless varieties.

Vanity hardware—cabinet handles and drawer pulls, just like the kitchen, are easy to replace and don’t cost much. Check online for thousands of style and finish choices.

Paint—a fresh coat of mildew-resistant paint with a satin finish will brighten up the room and provide a durable surface for your moisture-laden room. Use it on the walls, ceiling and trim for long-lasting, washable surfaces.

Lights—it’s time for a brand new fixture over your mirror. Match the finish on your faucet and make sure you have plenty of light for every time of day. Add a dimmer switch to avoid those blinding moments in the middle of the night or as you’re waking up in the morning.

The End Result

Even though completing a major renovation project at your home provides a huge impact when it’s completed, even small, inexpensive changes can seem huge.

Take your time and decide what areas of your home need revamping. Tackle one small project at a time to achieve the best satisfaction with the greatest return.

Remember, if you decide it’s time to do a larger window or door replacement, call the friendly agents at Ecoline Windows for a free assessment and quote.

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