Wouldn’t you love to freshen up your home? Even if you’re happy with your home, invariably there will be an area that you feel needs a little more love. That kitchen island you ambitiously installed is never used anymore. The dining room feels messy. Or every time you walk past that imposing brick fireplace, it is always so there.
Often, the best home remodeling ideas are easy to do and inexpensive. Paint, new fixtures, and thoughtful re-organization figure heavily into many of these ideas. A few dollars for a self-installed thermostat saves hundreds in the long run. Brick and cabinets can be painted. Or you can spend a bit more for a pantry unit that wraps around your refrigerator or for an all-out bathroom makeover with a frameless glass shower and a drop-in bathtub. The Best Home Renovation Apps of 2021
- 01of 24Before: Half-Sized Closet Ramshackle GlamMost of us want to have a larger bedroom closet. One problem is that apparently, closets are boxed in on all three sides with walls. Walls cannot be moved. Or can they?
After: Double-Sized Closet
This homeowner studied her closet and realized that it, like many closets in bedrooms that share a wall with another bedroom, is essentially one closet. A single non-load-bearing divider wall cuts the large closet in half and turns it into two smaller closets. By taking down that middle wall, she instantly doubled her closet space.
- 03of 24Before: Neglected Kitchen Island Murray LampertIf no one is interested in using your home’s kitchen island, it might be because the island is not interesting. Except for being a place to drop the mail and set down groceries, this kitchen island had no redeeming qualities, nothing to draw people to it. On top of it all, the dark kitchen cabinets and pendant lights made this outdated kitchen feel gloomy. San Diego builder and designer Murray Lampert was tasked with turning this kitchen around and making it a showpiece.
- 04of 24After: Lively Sit-Down Breakfast Bar Murray LampertWith the kitchen island converted to a sitting/eating breakfast bar, guests have a reason to congregate in the kitchen. An added countertop overhang allows guests to sit closer to the bar. The cook’s needs, too, are addressed with a sink installed in the kitchen island. Dated pendant lights have been stripped away in favor of unobtrusive recessed lights. And clean lines are preserved with the counter-depth side-by-side refrigerator.
- 05of 24Before: Energy-Wasting Thermostat Influx Productions/Getty ImagesOld-school dial thermostats such as the classic Honeywell Round do have a certain vintage appeal. But looks count for nothing when it comes to saving money. Manual thermostats are notorious energy- and money-wasters because they rely on you to physically adjust the temperature.
- 06of 24After: Smart Programmable Thermostat Smith Collection/Gado/Getty ImagesIf you’re looking for a quick remodel idea that you can accomplish in less than an hour, install a programmable thermostat. These digital smart thermostats can be programmed to turn your heating or cooling system on or off at specific times throughout the day and night. Most have a holiday mode, which allows you to reduce the need for the HVAC system during long periods of absence.
- 07of 24Before: Unappealing Accent Wall Driven By DecorThis living room had so many issues that design blogger Kris barely knew where to start. The lurid red felt imposing and the ceiling seemed too low. Everything was disorganized and in need of a serious update.
- 08of 24After: Crisp, Organized Accent Wall Driven By DecorTwo important remodeling ideas are at play in this living room. First, the owner imposed clean, grid-like lines on the accent wall, so that everything works off of straight horizontals and verticals. The grid implies order and organization. Second, by painting over that red wall color to match the ceiling color, the eye is now encouraged to view the room as higher than it really is. Eliminating these horizon lines is a surefire way to promote height visuals. The light is a Ganador 9-Light Shaded Chandelier.Family Room Reorganization from Driven by Decor
- 09of 24Before: Storage Opportunities Wasted Eating Bird FoodThat lonesome refrigerator is good for keeping food cold. But it sucks up a lot of floor space, plus there is plenty of room above and to the side that could be used for storage.Continue to 10 of 24 below.
- 10of 24After: Fridge With Integrated Pantry Eating Bird FoodThe brilliant solution for space-wasting refrigerators is to install pantry units to the side and above the fridge. This expanded storage wraps around the fridge and produces a clean, integrated look. Slide-out pantry shelves aid in reaching food items since refrigerator pantries tends to be very deep.Fridge Wrapped in Pantry From Eating Bird Food
- 11of 24Before: Kitchen Wall Cabinets The DIY PlaybookIt’s a familiar look in so many kitchens: wall cabinets hanging over your work surface. Wall cabinets definitely have great utility. Items are right there, within arm’s reach. And wall cabinets’ doors hide items that are less than attractive. Yet wall cabinets can loom over your work area, casting a shadow and generally creating a ponderous look.
- 12of 24After: Open Shelving The DIY PlaybookOpen shelving replaces the former wall cabinets in this kitchen. Open shelves clear the kitchen of that dark, heavy look and make everything feel lighter and brighter. The owner cautions that it’s a move to be made with great thought, though. Be sure that you already have storage in place for items that will lose their home. Another idea is simply to thin out much of the unused, unloved junk from the wall cabinets, reducing the need for alternate storage.Kitchen Open Shelving From The DIY Playbook
- 13of 24Before: Ugly Brickwork House of HepworthsShould you paint brick or not? What makes this such a lively debate is that once you paint brick, it is largely irreversible, since completely removing paint from brick is nearly impossible. But what about when you have brick so ugly that you can’t even stand looking at it? And for this homeowner, the sheer size of the fireplace only made things worse.
After: Fresh Brick Paint Job
Painting brick does not have to be difficult. This owner barely did any prep work, and she confined her painting to anything could be rolled out. The result is a fresh looking fireplace that is easy on the eyes.
Before: Tired Bathroom Nook
For small bathrooms and powder rooms, a bathroom nook arrangement is inevitable. Tight walls and limited floor space dictate that the bathroom vanity and mirror should be wedged into this space, if only because this is the only space available. In this bathroom, the yellow wall was garish and dirty, and the cabinets were chipped. This nook needed some help.
After: Inspired Bathroom Nook
It doesn’t cost a bundle or take much time to refurbish your bathroom nook. For less than you might spend for a nice evening out, you can paint the bathroom cabinets, install new hardware, paint the walls, replace the vanity light, and put in a new rug, along with other pretty decor.
Before: Neglected Patio
If you ever gaze longingly at your shabby patio and wish that it were different, you are not alone. Patios are central gathering points. They bring friends and family together in the great outdoors for barbecues, drinks, dog dates, or whatever your heart desires. But when the patio is far from beautiful and overrun with neglected plants, no one wants to be there.
After: Remodeled Patio
Lay down new concrete pavers to define a sharp, new patio area and add a portable firepit as a focal point. Above all, pruning back overgrown foliage is the lowest cost method of sprucing up your patio.
Before: Random Dining Room
It’s always best when your dining room has a cohesive design plan. But for this owner, the dining room felt random, with lots of mismatched furniture that reminded her of college dorm rooms.
After: Dining Room Makeover
With this stunning dining room makeover, the color scheme ties together so that everything now works in harmony. Pieces have been specially chosen for the new space, from the inexpensive molded plastic chairs to the mid-century modern sideboard. Just one item from before remains: the bar cart. What really makes this refurbished dining room work, though, is the introduction of a focal point: the statement chandelier.
Before: Cramped Bathing Area
What worked in the past doesn’t necessarily work today. The bathtub planted within a truly cramped alcove, plus the lack of a shower, made using this bathroom a dreary affair.
After: Drop-In Tub and Frameless Shower
The owner opened up this bathroom, making it airier and more open, by removing the alcove bathtub and ripping out the claustrophobic alcove. Then she installed a drop-in bathtub. To cater to today’s needs, she also added a frameless glass shower. Frameless glass enclosures make bathrooms feel larger and less imposing.
Vintage Bathroom Remodel From Homebody in Motion
Before: Old Kitchen Cabinets
Shaker-style cabinets are a classic staple of so many kitchens. This owner loved them for many years until she felt it was time for a change. Given the high cost of kitchen cabinets, removal and replacement were out of the question. Even two low-cost solutions, ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets and cabinet refacing, can be out of reach for many homeowners’ budgets. But there is one solution that is very inexpensive.
After: Painted Kitchen Cabinets
When you need a rapid style change and money is an issue, painting your kitchen cabinets is nearly always the best way to go. Painting leaves structurally sound cabinets in place and is considered eco-friendly since it reduces landfill to zero. Avoid using the type of standard interior acrylic-latex paint that you might use on walls. Instead, pick a cabinet paint that gives you long-lasting durability.