Budget Renovations

Farnoosh Torabi renovated her kitchen in 2004, paying roughly $12,000 for the whole job, including the contractor, new cabinets, recessed lights and granite counter top.  Now, with home values dropping and houses staying on the market longer, it’s a great time to concentrate on getting your home in tip-top shape for when the market picks up.  But if you don’t want to pay thousands for a huge job, here are Torabi’s thoughts on how to give your place a facelift on the cheap.

Problem: Spots and Stains on Walls
Solution: Dry-erase sponges. For under $4.00, buy a pack of dry erase sponges to get rid of markings on your walls, cabinets and dry wall surfaces. They’re usually available at your local grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Problem: Kitchen Counter Needs a Facelift

Solution: Tiles. Create a great backsplash for your counter to liven up your kitchen with a more professional, crafted look. All you mainly need is a tile adhesive (called tile mastic) and enough tiles to suit the length. You can find tiles for under $1 each at IKEA.

Problem: Pantries and Cabinets are Messy
Solution: Plastic storage containers with airtight seals
are a fantastic solution for storing and organizing your dry foods. They come in various sizes and start for as little as a few dollars each. A sturdy Lazy Susan also helps under the kitchen sink or in cabinets to hold pots and pans, kitchen supplies and other heavyweight items in an accessible and neat way. The Container Store has a number of solutions.

Problem: Cabinets Look Out-Dated
Solution: New knobs for cabinets and drawers
are a simple way to spruce up a plain look. Peruse flea markets to find rare and unique knobs. Home Depot, Lowe’s, IKEA and offer up an affordable selection as well.

Problem: My Carpets Look Tired
Solution: Foam shaving cream.
Besides a deep vacuuming, foam shaving cream is a tried and true home-remedy for most common stains from spills to dirt and grime. Let the foam sit on the stain for about a half hour before blotting away. Next, rinse the spot with a mixed solution of water and vinegar.

Problem: Bathroom Blues
Solution: Replace faucets and handles.
A new shower curtain and towels can also help change the room’s color scheme. It’s best to pick something neutral and easy on the eyes. Brighter light bulbs can also give a bathroom a more chipper look. If you’re willing to spend an extra few hundred dollars, an acid wash and tile and tub reglazing can do wonders for giving your old bathroom a brand new shine.

A final note: For all your rooms, cleanliness and organization can go a long way, and they can be achieved practically free. It just takes letting go of the clutter, pushing appliances back against the wall or tucked away neatly inside cabinets and making sure your walls, floors and cabinetry shine.

Farnoosh is currently on the new show by Real Simple Magazine on TLC called REAL SIMPLE, REAL LIFE.