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A man’s home might be his castle, but few of us have the funds to live like kings.
“It’s easy to say ‘I’ve got what I’ve got, and that’s that,’” says Stephen Fanuka, host of DIY Network’s Million Dollar Contractor. But just because you can’t splurge on a four-car garage or a private screening room doesn’t mean that you can’t boost your house’s market value (and personal appeal).
Follow this home improvement plan to make your house the envy of your block.
STEP 1: Decorate Your Doors
Swap any old knobs, hinges, and cabinets with finished metal pulls and handles, Fanuka says. You’ll drop only a couple of hundred rand at most hardware stores, and your guests will take notice.
“Instead of sappy, wooden, painted knobs, their eyes will bounce off the metal,” he says. “It’s like putting chrome on your car.”
STEP 2: Refresh Your Tiles
Bathroom renovations can run into the tens of thousands, but re-grouting your tiles is a fast, easy, and (most important) inexpensive alternative.
Scrape out the old grout first, then pick a fresh colour to breathe new life into a tired décor, says Fanuka. “I like to blend the colour as close to the tile as possible, so it appears almost like a clean, solid sheet.”
STEP 3: Single Out a Wall
Re-painting is an easy way to upgrade a room. But if you really want to make it pop, only paint one wall.
“Take the main one that people will see and put your favourite color on it,” says Fanuka, adding that the total cost to you will be the price of a gallon of paint and a roller. “Your eye will immediately jump to it—it’s like putting a giant mural on your wall.”
If you’re repainting a dark wall in a lighter colour, be sure to apply a layer of primer first, and then three coats of top paint.
STEP 4: Lighten Up
Changing light fixtures is easy, and adds elegance on the cheap, Fanuka says. Many stores sell hip ceiling and wall mount fixtures relatively cheaply.
Just make sure the switches are turned off before you start fiddling with wires. (Flip the room’s circuit breaker to play it safe.)
“Also, take a picture of the original wiring with your phone,” suggests Fanuka. That will save you the trouble of remembering which wire goes where, and potentially getting your currents crossed.
STEP 5: Switch Up Your Switches
Replacing normal light switches with dimmers allows you to change the aesthetic mood of a room, says Fanuka. Keep it bright for ballgames and family time, and dim for romantic interludes.
“Changing the light level will also visually change the shade of the paint—something you can’t do with simple on-and-off switches,” says Fanuka.
STEP 6: Give Your Floors a Facial
Dents, dings, scratches, and pet accidents are par for the course for most floors. And in just 2 days you can erase them all.
Here’s what you’ll need: a sander (most hardware shops rent them) , sand paper, wood stain, and two coats of satin finish, water-based polyurethane (it’s less toxic and faster drying than oil-based)..
“Your floors are your house’s unsung heroes,” Fanuka says. “Most people just pay attention to their walls, but a nice job on your floors can give your house a whole new look.”
STEP 7: Illuminate Your Lawn
There are 24 hours in a day, but people can only appreciate your house’s beauty for half the time—unless you illuminate it after dark.
Fanuka recommends scattering several small outdoor light fixtures—under shrubs, and placing uplights under tall trees.
“All it takes is a couple of lights to enhance your home’s appeal day and night,” says Fanuka. “Low-voltage bulbs will do the trick, and they’ll last for 5 years.”
STEP 8: Lose The Bells and Whistles
Gone are the days of old-fashioned doorbells. “Video intercom systems are a classy add-on to any house, and they help keep solicitors at bay,” says Fanuka. “Installing them is easy—it’s just like re-wiring light switches.”
Don’t want to mess with your electrical system? Go wireless.