Occasionally the smallest changes can make the most significant impacts.
So you want to make a change to your home but can’t fathom the possibility of a significant remodel. Not only is a complete overhaul out of your budget, but it’s also something you can’t deal with right now. Well, the good news is you don’t have to make extensive changes to achieve an entirely new look. Several “small” things you can do that will make a tremendous impact on your home.
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize
To give an old outfit a new look, many times, you can change the accessories. The same is true for any room in your house. From rearranging your furniture to hanging pictures to displaying collectables, you can have a new look and fresh feel without spending money on new things. June Price, ASID, is an interior designer and owner of Anew Global Influences-Searching the world over for design inspiration. This revitalization company specializes in one-day home makeovers. “One of the biggest mistakes people make with their accessories is that they purchase things that are too small, especially when they’re on trips and vacations,” she says. “So you have to group these smaller things in odd numbers to give them better scale and balance, so they don’t look lonely by themselves.”
Before and after: Custom built-in bookshelves can make a dramatic statement in a family room.
Sometimes, something as simple as custom bookshelves can make a dramatic change in a room. After all, when they are built right, they can instantly become the room’s focal point. That’s precisely the case with these custom shelves built by Rick Gosk, owner of Custom Wood Cabinets. The homeowners wanted to brighten and update the space, but they also needed extra storage to hide their children’s toys. The red birch cabinets and wainscot over the brick fireplace façade also helped brighten the space tremendously.
The kitchen is the room in the house most often improved, but it’s also the most expensive. That high cost can frequently scare homeowners away from making changes. But you don’t have to gut the space to give it a new look. Allen Appel, the owner of Kitchen Fronts of Georgia, specializes in providing cabinets a quick and easy facelift. By simply replacing the old doors and drawer fronts of this Roswell kitchen with new maple ones. And re-facing the existing cabinet structure to match the maple, the homeowners ended up with a truly modern space. The couple installed new stainless-steel appliances and used roof flashing for a one-of-a-kind backsplash to top off the look.
Before and after: A dark brick hearth that once dominated, this family room replaces a cherry mantel and bright marble surround.
It’s a given that if a room has a fireplace, it will be the focal point. But if your fireplace or mantel is outdated, that look can detract from the room’s style. Luckily, there are several ways to transform your fireplace. For example, in its family room, Steve Patterson, owner of Living Metamorphosis, removed the 70s-style veneer chimney and firebox. He framed out space above the mantel and a doorway to the left of the fireplace for the new look. That gave him the freedom to install a much wider stacked Tennessee fieldstone surround. “It helps the room feel much bigger and not so tall and narrow,” Patterson says. John Meunier, of Mantels by Meunier, also specializes in fireplaces. In this project, he added Sheetrock and marble over the existing brick façade, installing a custom-made cherry mantel. The new marble surround helped lighten the space and gave the room an entirely new look.
Do you have that one wall in your house that has the blahs? Faux painting is a great way to mimic marble, wood, plaster, or just a new finish to give a wall depth without wallpaper. There are various faux painting techniques, including ragging or sponging (using a rag or sponge to apply glazes) or marbleizing (replicating the look of marble). For a more realistic touch, try a mural like this one by artist Kay Hughes of the Knott Garden. Here, the homeowners wanted to sparkle in an otherwise busy and dingy hallway leading to the backyard. The mural of inviting skies and climbing vines puts zest and colour that also enjoyed the dining room and kitchen.
Before and after: architectural accents such as crown moulding, columns, ceiling medallions, and wainscot can take the look of a room to the next level.
Treat your windows
The right window treatments can make a dramatic statement in any room of the house. They are ideal for creating a more formal space, accenting colour or themes, and providing privacy. Best of all, you can choose from custom draperies, blinds, sheers, or plantation shutters to achieve the exact look you want.
Sometimes, one small architectural accent like wainscot, chair railing, crown molding, or a ceiling medallion can make a huge difference in a home by adding decorative style. This homeowner wanted to take their existing doorframe and do something exciting with it. They decided to widen the door, and enhance the opening with columns and ornamental moulding, transforming it from mundane to magnificent.
There’s no debating that an old counter can make the entire room look outdated. Finishing Touches Interiors took this more antique marble sink and replaced it with modern tile. The chiselled tile and darker grout are perfect for adding a little zing to dull bathroom tile while remaining functional. After changing the faucet and adding a ceramic sink, this bathroom got a new lease on life.
The right ideas
Let’s face it. Just about all of our homes could benefit from a makeover, but how do you know what small change can make the most significant impact on your home?
First, consider your needs. Are you looking for ways to remove clutter from your family room, or do you want to add some details to your bedroom or bath?
It’s also important to take note of your family’s living habits. If everyone spends most of their time in the family room, focus on finding the right way to enhance that favourite space.
You can also peruse books and magazines for simple ideas on improving your home. Why go through the trouble of even minor construction when a fresh coat of paint and new drapes will do?
And finally, consult with a few interior designers to find out what simple things they recommend. After all, they’re trained experts and will probably have several ideas you may have never even considered.