Spiff Up For Spring – Transition Your Home’s Decor From Winter Style To Spring Appeal

The weather is getting warmer and the flowers are blooming, but your home may still look and feel as though it is stuck in the winter holiday season. Most homeowners dread spring cleaning and the expensive home improvement projects that may accompany it, but freshening up your home this season should only account for a fraction of your time and budget.

These home improvement tips will help you create a comfortable living environment that will not only improve your home’s value, but welcome the quickly approaching spring and summer seasons.

Hardwood Flooring

After the ambush of holiday visitors, your carpet probably looks like it has seen better days. Instead of trying to save your dingy carpets, opt to install hardwood flooring.

Hardwood flooring has maintained its popularity for many years due to the high resale value it adds to a home, its durability, its ease of repair and its luxurious look. Hardwood flooring’s flexibility allows homeowners to refinish and stain their floors in a variety of dramatic colors. In order to create a fresh spring look, stick to the lighter hardwood flooring stains. A lighter shade of flooring will bounce light throughout the house, while a darker floor tends to absorb light.

Rugs

Rugs are great for camouflaging stained or worn flooring, yet they often times act as an overbearing touch to a cluttered room. Stash your dark and ornate oriental rugs and instead choose bright floor coverings. A few strategically placed area rugs in light, colorful shades will help hide stains, while incorporating a clean, spring look for your home.

Removing area rugs completely is another option that will create a streamline look throughout your home. This small, subtle change will not only help save the wear and tear of your rugs, but will also help create a simple, fresh look.

Lighting

During spring, days are longer and the sun seems brighter, creating the opportunity to use natural light. Take advantage of this opportunity and install window treatments that will allow the maximum amount of light into your home. One way to utilize natural light is to install plantation shutters, which are a popular window treatment trend this season. Plantation shutters’ versatility makes them appropriate for both traditional and contemporary home styles. This window treatment style provides a sophisticated beach feel to your home while adding to your home’s value, insulation and light regulation.

Good Planning Makes For a Great Home Improvement Project

If you’ve been dreaming of a home improvement or remodeling project, it’s time to make it a reality. As with any project, good planning is the key to saving you stress and money and achieving the rewards that can come from a newly designed space.

Begin fulfilling your dream by clarifying why you want to do this. The majority of remodeling projects begin as a result of the need to make changes because the house no longer meets the needs and desires of the family. For example, having a baby or growing children can result in a need to expand your space. Or perhaps you have lived in your home for more than 10 years and you are getting an itch to update and modernize. Whatever the reason, it is best to make clear what you hope to accomplish from this home improvement project.

Brainstorm about everything you would like to have included in your remodel and then categorize each item as a “necessity or must have”, “amenity or nice to have” or “definitely not”. In order to organize your thoughts and ideas, create a notebook. This will allow you to keep pictures, color samples, fabric swatches, material specifications, reference phone numbers, budget information and project records in one concise area.

Now that you have answered the why and the what, it is time to take a look at the numbers. Spending time on the budget early on in the project plan, as well as reviewing it at every step of the process, is essential to its success and your sanity. Don’t forget to take into consideration the payback you hope to achieve from this home improvement. Typically a kitchen or bathroom improvement offers the highest payback when it comes to resale. Talk to a trusted real estate agent if this is a major consideration.

Being realistic with what you can afford and when you can afford it will allow you to put together a realistic timetable for the project as a whole. The schedule should be created with the help of your “construction team”, which may include an architect, interior designer, loan officer, and general contractor, to name a few. Areas that typically can cause a ripple in your timetable are the design phase, getting permits and the actual time for construction. Make sure that you have “padded” your schedule to account for these factors.

Identifying reliable competent contractors to work on your project can be as stressful as the project itself. This can also take the most time, so be sure to account for it on your project schedule. The simple answer to getting the best person for your project – research! Begin your search by asking friends and neighbors who have completed their own home improvements who they used. The county building department and Yellow Pages are also places to look. Then do your own homework by verifying their license and insurance, check references and reputation, and view previous and current jobs. Plan interviews that will allow you to assess their personality, approach to problem solving and their understanding of your dream. They may be the best at what they do, but if they don’t “see” your vision of the completed project, then helping you make it reality is going to be difficult. Plan to evaluate up to three bids before you make your final selection.

Through careful planning, the ground work should be completed which leads you to the exciting and nail biting phase of the project – construction. Pay attention to the work as it progresses without micromanaging of your construction team. Walking this fine line can make the difference between a good remodeling experience and a nightmare. Having pre-arranged work review meetings in your project plan can help. Use these to go over any issues that have come up, re-evaluate expectations, monitor progress and maintain positive communication with your contractor.

Post construction, before the celebration party, make sure that the punch list (final “to do” list) has been completed to your satisfaction and that your home owners insurance is updated to reflect your remodel.

It can’t be said enough – good planning will make for a great home improvement project.

Quality Home Improvement Ideas for Budget Bathroom Remodeling

When homeowners want to start a home improvement project around the home, whether it’s in the kitchen or it’s a major bit of bathroom renovation, they tend to get sticker shock once the research begins. Budget remodeling is key, but that’s doesn’t mean you have to settle on the cheapest goods, materials and labor. It just means smart home improvement. You can use some tried and true home improvement tips to shave money off the cost of your next remodel that will still turn a simple bathroom into something truly unique.

Of course the best way to eliminate budget problems is to plan appropriately. Nothing will blow your home improvement budget faster than going at it without a plan. A general contractor will help you plan accordingly but if you’re doing it alone you definitely need to take the time to develop a game plan for your bathroom renovation and remodeling. Get the big problems drawn up first, figure out your dislikes and target those things that you’d love to update. Here are some great tips to update your bathroom without breaking the bank:

Home Improvement Design Challenge One – Ditching the same tired color scheme

Updating the colors in your bathroom is easy, and there’s really no cheaper way to go about giving your bathroom a new look during the home improvement process. Too many bathrooms are a drab white or come with contrasting “safe” colors that contractors use in the building process. The problem with stark white or contrasting blacks & whites is that they don’t often match the personality of the homeowner. Use softer tones, earth-tones and other simple palette choices to quickly transform your bathroom into a room you’ll find most comfortable.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Two – Shrinking the Vanity

The vanity is the focal point for most bathrooms. It’s not uncommon to have a lot of counter space in master bathrooms with plenty of storage. A small vanity is common in smaller bathrooms. If you can get away with it, don’t replace this with another big cabinet system. Instead, purchase a pedestal sink and open up the floor plan. The style and extra space will definitely enhance the comfort of the room.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Three – Originality in the Flooring

This is where a lot of homeowners try to save money by installing cheaper material like a vinyl floor or cheap replica tile. Instead of getting cheap on the material, do something a bit more unique. If you decide to splurge in one area, this is where you should do it. You want your floor to be durable and last, while also standing up against the moisture. A great idea (and easy to install) is a pebble floor using smooth natural stones or larger glass beads.

Bringing Your Bathroom Remodel Together

If you’re concerned with how budget remodeling will look in your bathroom, remember that decorating and some additional improvements can really accent the remodeling you do in the rest of the bathroom. Custom moulding isn’t expensive, especially in a small bathroom space and it can really flesh out your color in the paint. Likewise, linen shower curtains can help the reach of your linen curtains. It doesn’t take much to create a beautiful new bathroom and you can still get a custom, luxury look even on a budget.