Buying a Home
Buying a house is exciting but expensive; from saving for that big down payment to lawyer fees and property taxes. While Vancouver might be among the lowest rates in Canada for residential property tax, calling for approximately $2.55 for every $1,000, it’s still an added expense. For many Canadians, this means buying a brand-new house is out of the question.
So, what can you do to make your “new to you” home not only livable, but a place you’re proud to call your own? Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable solutions to turn even the most run down and mundane dwelling into a shiny picturesque abode. Here are 10 ideas to brighten, freshen, and update your home without breaking the bank.
Spruce Up Your Kitchen Cabinets
The heart of a home is its kitchen, but this is an expensive room to redo because of the costly appliances. If you don’t have the funds to buy a shiny new stainless-steel fridge and stove, you can still change the look by sprucing up your cabinets.
For a kitchen roughly 10 x 12, new laminate cabinets will run about $3,000. Sanding and painting wooden cabinets by hand will take some serious elbow grease, but only cost you the price of sand paper, primer, and a can of paint; approximately $60. Add new hardware for $2-$16 per door handle, and you’ve got yourself a fresh set of cabinets at a fraction of the cost.
Swap Out Your Lighting Fixtures
Some homeowners never think to change the lighting fixtures in their homes, which means you could be buying a house with the lighting it was built with in the 1960’s, 70’s, or 80’s.
Most hardware and furnishing stores carry light fixtures, including Ikea, Canadian Tire and Home Depot. A simple light fixture will run you anywhere from $30 to $80 on average, with a ceiling fan costing around $90-$100. Whether you choose flushed, pendant, or chandelier lighting, you can completely customize a room based on your style and taste.
Install A Dishwasher
The dishwasher became a common household appliance in the 1970’s, although still a tad expensive for some Canadian families. This leaves many older homes without a dishwasher. If you don’t have the money to completely overhaul a kitchen, you can modernize it by adding this useful appliance.
A new dishwasher ranges in price from $320 to $700 with more advanced models selling for as much as $1,000. More expensive than painting the cabinets, but cheaper than an entire kitchen makeover, a dishwasher will increase both the aesthetics and convenience of the room.
Add Crown Molding
Crown molding is a beautiful style of layered edging, which runs along the top of the wall where it attaches to the ceiling. This is a small accessory which can turn a plain uninteresting room into an architecturally appealing one. To professionally install crown molding in a room of 16 x 20, you’re looking at paying about $800 to $1000. However, if you buy the molding yourself, you can install this upscale look for roughly $1 to $6 per linear foot. We spoke with Erica, who arranges mortgages in Vancouver BC who noted that “crown molding is a highly sought after feature as it really modernizes an aging home.”
Add Some Area Rugs and Runners
Whether your home has hardwood, laminate, or tile, you can completely change the look of any room by adding an area rug. For an 8×10 area rug, you can spend as little as $100 to $500. An area rug transforms a cold room into a warm and homey one and can be used to tie other colors in a room together. Add a matching runner along the stairs or hallway for an added touch of class for $50 to $300.
Refinish the Deck
Freshening up the exterior of your house not only increases personal comfort, it also increases curb appeal. Refinishing an old and tired deck creates an outdoor space you’ll want to spend time in. To strip the wood, rent a power washer for $35 to $140 per day, or a floor sander for $30 to $40 per day. A tin of primer and paint at about $60 will finish the job, giving you a beautiful new place for a patio set, barbeque, and potted plants.
Replace Your Doorknobs
Doorknobs can be surprisingly dating to a home, particularly if they’ve been painted over during a past remodel. Changing knobs, not just on the external doors, but internal doors, will freshen your house immensely. Swap out plain solid knobs for a polished crystal or intricately designed brass knob for as little as $10 to $30 per handle.
Recycle A Closet into Office Space
To turn a closet into a small personal office space, remove the door and hinge and insert shelving into the closet. One of these shelves should come to the edge of the doorway and sit at waist level to act as a desk. Above the desk shelving is added for storage and doesn’t require as much depth. Decorate to your taste with framed photos and office supplies and slide a chair under the desk for a built-in compact office.
The cost of your new office depends on your choice of décor but can be as little as the cost of some floating shelves and a desk chair. A visit to Ikea, Walmart, or Staples will do the trick at anywhere from $100 to $300 total.
Increase Storage with Floating Shelves
Floating shelves are affordable and change the whole dynamic of a room, creating storage without the clutter of brackets or stands. Hang them in the bathroom packed with toiletries, the living room loaded with pictures and knickknacks, or use them to change a spare bedroom into a library. Many home furnishing stores sell floating shelves in a variety of colors, or you can paint your own. Floating shelves are priced by size and cost anywhere from $20 to $100.
Change Your Faucets and Fixtures
Your kitchen and bathroom are the hardest working rooms in your house, and all that wear and tear can wreak havoc on faucets and fixtures. Dull, dated sink and tub taps are more easily swapped than you might imagine and cost an average of $99 to $300. If you don’t have the money to put a new tub in the bathroom or add a double sink in the kitchen, new fixtures will create the appearance of new plumbing without the price tag.
Final Thoughts on Updating Your Home Without Breaking the Bank
DIY can be affordable, innovative and turn a house into a home. While you may not be able to afford the newest house on the block, this doesn’t mean you can’t have one of the best-looking spaces around. Use mirrors to reflect light which makes rooms appear brighter and larger, add wall art to emphasize aesthetics, and never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint.