Sometimes as a homeowner, you may realize you’re not going to get your money’s worth on a renovation before you have to sell. Still, if you just can’t live with that mid-20th century pink bathtub or those hideous countertops, a DIY renovation may be in order. Here are some DIY home improvements that won’t break the bank, won’t take forever, and will make you like the house you’re living in (for now) a whole lot more.
Retiling and replacing inset tubs is an expensive and time-consuming process. That said, if your bathroom tile colors make you cringe every time you go into the room, you have to do something about them.
Luckily, both tubs and ceramic tiles can be painted. You’ll still have to be prepared to have your bathroom out of commission for at least a weekend, and if you’re painting a shower area, you may have to do touch-ups in a few years, but the cost and skill required to paint is infinitely less than replacing.
Just make sure to follow all the manufacturer’s directions for surface preparation, priming, drying time, and sealing. Also, be certain you seal your paint can properly so that you have leftover paint for touch-ups.
Replacing a vanity and a sink can be another expensive project requiring more DIY skills than you might have. Unless your sink is chipped, consider living with it as is and upgrade your taps instead.
If you have a mock-oak vanity, painting it a rich, glossy espresso will make the vanity pop and say 2020 rather than 1990. Replacing hardware is almost effortless, and doing so will complete the update. If you enjoy doing weekend home DIY improvements, consider adding a backsplash or framing a flat mirror.
If you have an integral basin and countertop, some time and patience, you can update the look of your bathroom by about 30 years for very little money. Try using new products to concretize both countertop and sink. Note that you’ll have to allow at least a week for drying time since you’ll need to apply several thin layers of concrete product and sealer.
To conquer bathroom clutter, consider installing rollouts in your vanity. You can have one for beauty products and another for cleaning supplies.
If you can’t afford the time or money for a complete kitchen renovation right now, there are lots of things you can do to make the heart of your home both more functional and more attractive.
You can use the same concrete products on your kitchen countertops that you did in your bathroom to get the modern industrial look that’s been in vogue for the last couple of years. If you have linoleum floors that haven’t worn well, paint them in vibrant stripes rather than ripping them up and replacing them.
Painting your cupboards (especially if they’re particularly dated) and investing in new hardware will make a huge difference. Alternatively, you can replace just the cupboard fronts.
Adding kitchen rollouts to your bottom cupboards has two huge benefits: first, it will make items at the back accessible without having to unpack the entire cupboard. Second, it should let you get rarely used appliances off your countertop. Does the toaster you use for 15 minutes every morning really need to live on your countertop all day?
If you have any wooden valances above the sink, get rid of them and consider reframing the window to update its look.
The money you save on cosmetic changes rather than structural renovations can be spent on upgrading your appliances to the most energy-efficient ones you can find. Then you can apply your energy savings to your future renovation fund.
If your home didn’t come with wire shelving systems in the closets, this is one of the cheapest, simplest, and best investments you can make. These systems are available at home centers and are infinitely customizable. Unless you own a heritage home with tiny closets, the organizational possibilities they provide are endless.
Take a look around your bedrooms and think about the things that could be stored in your closets rather than on display. That can include both low and tall dressers if you have a double closet and plan your shelving around it. Losing a dresser frees up a lot of floor space and might let you create a seating area in your bedroom. If you discover you don’t actually need a dresser after you’ve completed your bedroom closet renovation, you can always repurpose it as a portable kitchen island.
Other DIY Home Improvements
Even though kitchen and bathroom renovations have the biggest resale return on investment, dated living rooms can be depressing. If there’s already a contrasting color, designated feature wall in your living room, consider modernizing it by creating a pallet wall, wallpapering just that wall, or painting to match the room color and then creating a wall-encompassing stencil.
If you’re lucky enough to own a heritage home with high ceilings, consider investing in a specular central light fixture and paint the ceiling a vibrant color while leaving the room’s walls neutral.
Whatever DIY home improvements you choose to do, customizing and updating your home will help you love it — until it’s time to leave it.