You love your old home because it reflects the unique architectural designs of the past. But those beautiful antique details come with outdated kitchens and bathrooms, and cracking or peeling paint. Updating your old home — and all its old outdated structural components — can create an individualized space with a unique design and modern conveniences. Of course, the scale of your updates depends on your budget and time constraints, but here are several important – yet easy – ways to update your old home.
If the kitchen is truly the heart of the home, it makes sense to start your updates here. You can completely create your dream kitchen if you have the means. But even homeowners with more realistic dreams can still attain a pleasing kitchen makeover. A few hundred dollars can pay for easy upgrades like new energy-efficient light fixtures, new cabinet door handles and drawer pulls, and a new kitchen faucet set.
One easy way to upgrade your kitchen is to consider matching appliances. Many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other, so updating the face panel can be as simple as removing a couple of screws, sliding the panel out, and flipping it over. Or, contact the appliance manufacturer to order new doors or face panels.
Another way to give your kitchen a fresh look is to upgrade the cabinets. Many old homes sport kitchen cabinets that were built with the house. Give your cabinets a new look without installing a whole new and expensive system. Depending on the materials, you can usually paint the cabinets or apply decorative onlays. Or consider refacing your existing ones: find a company that will remove the cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes, and add brand-new doors and drawers. While more expensive than painting, refacing is still less than a brand-new cabinet system.
Home contractors warn that major bathroom remodels can cost a pretty penny, but you can still improve your bathroom space through simple updates. For example, a new toilet seat and an attractive pedestal sink are fairly easy do-it-yourself install projects, they but can make a huge aesthetic difference. Or for a completely new look, you can update your flooring. Many homeowners just apply vinyl tiles or sheet vinyl directly over the worn-out floor.
Bathtub maintenance not only improves aesthetic appeal, but also safeguards your home from mold and damage. So give your old tub some deserved TLC by recaulking. This simple, inexpensive task will help protect your walls and floors from water damage down the road. (Consider the cost and health implications if toxic mold develops!) At the same time, regrouting the tile (and replacing any individual damaged tiles) will help brighten up the bathroom. Or bring in a professional to install a complete one-piece prefabricated tub and shower surround. You’ll pay a bit more for the installation, but it’s less expensive than hiring a contractor to retile or refinish your shabby tub.
3. Just Paint
You’ll be amazed at what a new coat of paint will do for your home! And the options are essentially endless, limited only by your imagination. Opt for contrasting colors for paint and trim. Or choose different shades of the same color family to paint one room or even one wall. Just don’t forget the ceiling – fresh paint on the ceiling adds another fresh dimension to further brighten up the space.
Painting your old “wood” paneling can also have remarkable results. You’ll probably need a few coats, but this is a great way to rejuvenate this tired style. Many types of wallpaper can also be painted, if you’re not up to the challenge of removing it. You can even buy special products to paint tile and grout, including moisture-resistant and mold-blocking paint for damp areas like kitchens and baths.
When planning your paint project, remember your home’s exterior! Paint protects your exterior cladding, and blistering, cracking, or peeling of this protective finish can cause woodwork to rot. Windowsills and other protruding surfaces are particularly vulnerable because water can pool and cause extensive damage. Repaint those surfaces as soon as you notice any excessive wear, otherwise you could shell out a couple hundred dollars (per window!) for a professional replacement. Scrape, sand, prime, and repaint all trim that has a worn finish. Dig out any minor rot damage until you get down to a solid section, then fill the holes with an epoxy before refinishing. Houses built before 1978 most likely used lead exterior paint, so take special care during the paint removal phases to protect yourself, your family, and the environment from toxic lead dust.
This blog post is sponsored by David Tripp, owner of A Better Tripp Moving & Storage.