By Sheila McGrath – November 29, 2018
Last year, when I moved into my first home, I knew there were quite a few projects I wanted to tackle. I also knew my wallet could only handle so much right off the bat. After careful consideration of both my time and budget, I settled on three projects I knew would have a big impact without having to spend a fortune.
1. Replace Outdated Carpeting With Hardwood Flooring
Now I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that super expensive? Well yes, it can be. To keep costs in check I decided to only replace the carpeting on the first floor with hardwood flooring, where the majority of our traffic and day-to-day living would take place. In addition to restricting the area size, I also saved money by removing the carpet myself and picking up the hardwood from the warehouse instead of opting for delivery. Although both were tedious tasks, the savings were considerable. After hiring a local company to come in and install the hardwood flooring, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the final look. To this day, the medium tone pre-finished oak I chose still complements the furniture I have procured as well as the art I’ve begun to collect.
2. Renovate the Upstairs Bathroom
For someone who had never renovated much of anything, this was a tall order, but I knew with a little help from my friends (actually, my brother-in-law and father), I’d get the look I wanted without breaking the bank. Previous to the renovation, my upstairs bathroom consisted of dark wood paneling, a pink toilet and less than appealing linoleum tiling circa 1975. This had to go. To get started, I removed everything, including the bathroom sink. This gave me a better sense of the space and what I had to work with. I selected a geometric tile for the floor and was able to both install and seal the tiling in under two days. Next came the wood paneling. With one coat of primer and a second coat of white primer/paint, I had what looked like an entirely new space. Finally after installing a new white toilet and vanity purchased from a local box store, I had the calming look I was aiming for.
3. Plant a Garden and Set Up an Outdoor Space
In my previous places of residence, the idea of having a garden and/or an outdoor space was just out of reach. I needed a place to grow my own vegetables and enjoy warm summer’s nights. To get started, I selected an area in my yard that received enough sunlight, but also received some shade throughout the day. When outlining the parameter of the garden, I took into account the types of flowers and vegetables I wanted to plant along with the time it would take to maintain them on a regular basis. Upon completion of planting, I moved on to the setup of my outdoor space. Although this only consisted of a small table and chair set along with a variety of garden string lights, it made all the difference. I finally had an outdoor space of my own.
Whether you’ve just moved into your first home, or have lived in your home for years, sometimes you just need an update. These updates were specific to my wants and needs, but you may have different opportunities for big impact. With that said, don’t feel obligated to renovate everything at once. Sometimes the smallest of changes can be the most impactful. New curtains, couch pillows or even just a new wreath to hang on your front door can do the trick.
It’s been a year since I moved in and I’ve had a chance to appreciate the updates that were made and I can definitely say my house feels like home. Seeing my Jack Russell Terrier fly across the hardwood floor and being able to enjoy my Saturday morning coffee outside by the garden makes it all worth it.