Don’t Believe TV: Real Tips for Home Renos

Renovating a home is a lot like biting into a jalapeno pepper. You might like it. But it can also make you cry. To turn your home renovation into an Instagram-worthy success story, read on about how to do it all without too many tears. From staying on budget to opening small spaces and cozying up large ones, here’s to realizing your real-life home reno dreams.

Stay on Budget

Many home renovators are tempted to go all in too quickly, but resist the urge. The truth is, research and patience are your best defenses against turning your fixer-upper into a real money pit. First, create a master plan of all the renovations you want done, then get bids from several general contractors. These will give you an idea of the max you’ll spend. From there you can pare down on the list of projects, do some things yourself and/or wait to do others for some time down the road.

Open Up Small Spaces

To revamp a small space, the first trick is to empty the space of every piece of furniture and decoration. And we mean Every. Single. Piece. Paint the walls, doors, trim, moldings and even light switch and outlet covers the same color for a seamless look. Install recessed lighting if possible so that every corner of the space is bright and usable, or use a combination of accent lighting like wall sconces, under-the-cabinet lights and table lamps. A large mirror and other shiny fixtures will reflect light and make the room seem larger. Then, return only the furniture you love to the room. For the pieces you don’t want to use but don’t want to part with, Austin storage units let you keep valuables safe while still freeing up the space.

Cozy-fy Large Spaces

To keep a large space from feeling cavernous, carve out smaller zones. In a large living room, some built-in bookshelves and window seats will add some extra magic. Lighting is also key, so add more accent lighting in every corner to keep the creep factor to a minimum. To create a comfortable conversation zone, consider adding a large area rug and floating the furniture close together in the middle of the room. For walls, you can afford to be bold with a large space. Try a glamorous wallpaper, install crown molding or paint the walls a dramatic jewel tone like navy blue.

Restore Original Flooring A home renovation isn’t complete without restoring some glory to original floors. Older homes often have beautiful heartwood covered up by layers of ill-advised carpeting or linoleum. Remove those layers, strip it down and refinish the wood underneath. Or, if you’re lucky enough to find them intact, restore historic ceramic tile floors.

Invest in the Right Upgrades

Don’t go overboard on the fancy upgrades. Vinyl window, siding and garage door replacements have a much higher return on investment than a major kitchen remodel, according to real estate professionals. But if you must add a little frosting, opt for new cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in brushed nickel or bronze for an updated look.

Keep Everything Organized

If you’re undergoing a whole house makeover, things will be in disarray. You’re likely to find a box of stray screws in the bathroom cabinet and drop cloths in the linen closet. If that is the case, your first line of defense is movable storage. Invest in several transparent storage boxes with lids to organize materials by project — paint pans with rollers and tape, tile with grout and calk, etc. Next, get a couple of five-gallon buckets with aprons to organize tools. Add a sharpie and painters tape for labeling and you’re good to go.

Have Courage

No one ever said it was easy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Armed with a little savvy to tackle the budget and organization woes, and with a few ideas on maximizing the space and making it all cozy, you can conquer your home renovation with as little pain as possible.

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