DHTML Menu, (c)2004 Apycom

Work from Home & Save at Home with Frugal Living
Return to Frugal Articles

Spruce Up Your Home Without Busting Your Budget


(ARA) - Ah, summer. Between neighborhood softball games and trips to the community pool, it's the biggest time of the year for moving and home remodeling.

While many of us turn our thoughts to upgrading our homes, our budgets may already be tapped. Here are some simple do-it-yourself ideas to spruce up your home, specifically the kitchen and bath, without breaking your budget.

Jazz up cabinets with snappy new drawer pulls.

One of the simplest ways to add pizzazz to the kitchen is to install new cabinet hardware, says home improvement expert Don Vandervort of www.hometips.com. "At your local hardware store you'll find a wide array of drawer pull designs - from painted ceramic or metal knobs, to whimsical designs shaped like knives and forks. Simply unscrew your existing cupboard hardware, replace with the new, and presto, you've completed a quick an inexpensive update for your home."

Pour on the charm: upgrade the faucet.

A beautifully designed faucet can change the look of your sink area and the way you feel about your drinking water. Simple faucet design lines can make a clean and modern addition to the kitchen or bathroom sink, while some faucet models can even improve the taste of the water coming from the tap. "Not everyone likes the taste of their tap water," says Vandervort. "For those who choose the filtration route, an attractive, yet practical solution is the ClearTap Water Filtering Kitchen or Lavatory Faucet, made by American Standard. It removes contaminants, retains fluoride, and produces clean, good tasting water with the turn of a faucet handle."

Kids climbing the walls? Try scrubbable paint.

Ketchup, food, scuff marks, mud all these things can just be wiped clean with some of the new high-performance paint finishes available today. "Interior paints have a scrubbability rating, established through standardized testing," Vandervort says. "Though this rating may not be posted on the can, a paint retailer should have information on the rating."

"One problem with using a flat paint on interior walls is that it doesn't take kindly to scrubbing," he says. "If you scrub it with a damp cloth, you'll remove the dirt or smudge, but the exposed pigment particles can ruin the finish. To avoid this, choose a high performance paint (not flat), that can stand up to a good washing."

Expand space with drawer organizers.

Is a small-sized kitchen or bath cramping your style? Try adding drawer organizers to increase your storage space. These days, you can find a nice range of inexpensive racks and slide-in baskets at discount and hardware stores. Whether you store cleaning utensils, Grandma's vintage pie pans, or your favorite bath salts you can create new nooks and crannies for all of your stuff, and get the clutter off the counter.

Gain a foothold on more attractive flooring.

Flooring makes a huge difference in the appearance of a kitchen or bath. "Oftentimes vinyl flooring is dated and worn," Vandervort says. "But the good news is that you can go ahead and lie new vinyl or laminated wood material right over the old flooring. Many of the items available today give the look of ceramic tile or natural wood at a lower cost."

Brighten it up.

For an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up a kitchen, install under-the-counter lighting. A small purchase at the hardware store is all it takes to completely change the way the light hits the surfaces of a room. You can also save energy dollars by choosing the right lighting. "Switch from incandescent light bulbs to highly efficient compact fluorescents, and you'll use about one-quarter to one-third less energy to produce the same amount of light," Vandervort says. Another tip: move natural light further into rooms by bouncing it off the ceiling. A window located close to the ceiling works for this, as do louvers or operable blinds that can help direct light.

Make a tiny bathroom look larger.

Even a bathroom the size of a phone booth can look larger with a little ingenuity, according to www.americanstandard-us.com. Try using lighter, cooler colors: they feel airy and trick the eye. Wallpaper with a smaller pattern also helps expand the space. Try some on the ceiling, or emphasize horizontal lines with a coordinating border. Or try installing bath tile that contains a subtle pattern and then repeat it onto the floor. If your bath is really petite, try using a trim pedestal lavatory or wall hung fixtures - both free up valuable floor space. Also, remember to go heavy on the lighting and choose reflective surfaces, such as a shiny marble vanity.

For more easy and inexpensive tips on sprucing up your home, visit www.americanstandard-us.com or www.hometips.com.

About The Author

Courtesy ARA Content, www.ARAcontent.com; e-mail: info@ARAcontent.com