These are the Top 5 Home Improvements that I have personally witnessed in the last year. I wanted to show you two exterior updates, one at the front of a house and one at the back. I also wanted to show you three different types of kitchen updates. All three options were affordable and all three looked fantastic, but none were replaced with brand new kitchen cabinets.
These improvements were all in different homes, but they all have a lot in common.
All of these projects…
● Were done on a budget ~ in my opinion, those are the best kind!
● Were done with the advice of professionals, but with the hard work and hands of the homeowners. Not everything needs to be done by tradespeople ~ we call this sweat equity.
● Were inspired by Pinterest and their favourite HGTV shows.
● Were not just done to improve their homes, but also to improve their lives, and they all took into consideration what a future owner may appreciate, which, in turn, appreciates the value of the home on a more rapid scale.
● Have helped the homeowners to sell for top dollar.
#1 Paint the Front Door a Fun Colour (Before on Left and After on Right)
This home in the East Ward is a real Charmer. Everyone wants to make a house their own. If you’re thinking of painting your front door, make sure to choose something that complements the brick or siding. This particular choice is Caribbean Blue Water 2055-30 by Benjamin Moore. It takes a guts to go with something bright, but I don’t think anyone who goes out on a limb has any regrets. Notice how the casing above the door in the left photo is barely noticed, but it stands out on the right. It also helped to take the storm door off to uncover the natural beauty of the original door behind it. It took only a litre of paint to transform the exterior of this quaint home. What a great first impression this front door makes!
#2 Reface the Kitchen Cabinets (Before and After
I rented my first apartment in 1989. It was brand new and had the same style of cabinets as shown on the left, only they weren’t painted. They were white melamine and on the edge was a strip of Oak. No handles or knobs on these old cabinets; simply open and close the doors and drawers using the strip of Oak that slightly protruded from the white melamine material. This style was cutting edge at that time, the introduction of European frameless cabinetry in North America. They may not look quite as old as they really are after a few coats of paint on them, but anyone my age knows what’s under that paint and we know it has been through over 3 decades and it’s time for a change.
If you’re happy with the overall layout and want to save about 40%, you can reface the cabinets. This means that you work with the layout, use the current cabinet boxes and drawers simply replace the old doors and drawer fronts with new ones. For less than $3,000, this kitchen looks much more up-to-date. Notice that the narrow upper cabinet to the left of the sink is now a wine cabinet. The previous cabinet not very functional anyways, so this was a smart change. The homeowners decided to leave the countertop and paint the backsplash. There are other updates that could be made at any point over the years, but sometimes just a few updates that brighten things up change the whole look and feel of the kitchen. #3 Paint the Kitchen Cabinets
Before and After
I have to admit that this looks like much more of an extensive (and expensive) renovation than it was. But, these are the same cabinets with a few coats of white cabinet paint. Most of the homeowner’s budget was spent on new Quartz countertops. They also purchased new stainless steel appliances to replace the old black ones, and they added a new backsplash. The tile flooring looks brand new against the white cabinets but they’re actually the same as the tiles on the left, but the Oak cabinets were not much of a contrast with the flooring.#4 Replace the Kitchen Cabinets
Before and After
This 1970’s kitchen in this Semi-Detached in Waterloo was an original and was ready for a revamp. It looks like they got a new kitchen, right? Not officially, but it was new for them. Before moving in, the homeowners got a lead on a custom kitchen that some other folks were about to post on Kijiji, but they grabbed it first. A bunch of their friends helped them install the previously owned cabinets, and they got new counter tops, flooring, lighting and appliances. The only think they needed to hire a professional for is to add a few touches (i.e., trim at the top and bottom of the cabinets, open shelves and the bar top). All of the wooden touches really warmed up the space.#5 Replace the Old Deck
Before and After
I do realize that decks usually look more inviting when the snow melts, but the one on the left looked better when it was covered with snow so I am not even showing you that old deck at its worst. Replacing an old deck would not have been a high budget item pre-Covid before the lumber prices sky-rocketed but there’s always ways to try and keep the costs down. Shop for sales, make choices that are not quite as expensive (such as the skirting around the bottom rather than choosing solid cedar. Another great idea is if you live in a Semi or Townhouse, you could ask your neighbour if they are interested in doing a project together and you could share the cost and work on it together. Dress it up with seasonal flowers, pick up a nice set of tables and chairs (perhaps a second-hand metal piece that can be freshly spray painted), and consider this exterior space an extension of your Living Room in the warmer months.
When there’s a lot in your home that need attention, don’t fear. Just get inspired and do one project at a time. You’ll be thankful at how your house will be transformed into a home over time. It’s a very rewarding process seeing it all come together.