Turn the house you like into the home you love

By Brandon Neff

Guest Contributor

Lately, more homeowners are staying put, rather than moving on, moving up or even trading up, according to the San Diego Association of Realtors. And with current building costs and supplies at historic lows, now is the time to throw some much-needed stimulus toward our economic doldrums and think about turning the house you like into a home you love.

We know that this slump we’re in will eventually turn around, and sooner than you can say, “Holy recovery, Batman,” we’ll all be standing around the water cooler commenting on the booming housing market, yet again. Mark my words, people.

As leading real estate expert Barbara Corcoran puts it, “By the time you notice the market bottoming out, it’s already climbing again.” Don’t wait until prices for improvements and property start to rise, and take advantage of the great opportunity to add value to your home now.

It’s no secret that kitchens set the tone for the value of any home. It doesn’t matter how great your home’s location, if the kitchen doesn’t show well, neither will the house. And, as most Americans spend more than 70 percent of their time while at home in the kitchen, shouldn’t they be surrounded by a space they love?

Enough said. Here are a few affordable tips to refresh “the heart” of your domain and ease you into the Home Improvement Renaissance to come:

1) Reclaim, reuse, recycle: Tired of those dated dining chairs or that hand-me-down buffet? Give them a face-lift. With just a can of spray paint and a couple yards of fabric, you can transform those chairs in less than an hour. Try switching out old drawer pulls for stylish new ones on that old server for an easy, modern update.

2) Use mirrors to open up the room: Hang inexpensive groups of mirrors on windowless walls to double the look of your space. It works great with matching framed mirrors, or mix and match for a salon look. A mirrored backsplash instead of stone or porcelain can make even the smallest kitchens seem spacious.

3) Create molding with paint: Paint a 4-inch-wide band of a darker or contrasting paint color on the walls at ceiling height to instantly add the look of crown molding for pennies. Low tack masking tape helps to keep the lines crisp.

4) Make it shine: We all know that stainless appliances are the new standard, but if you can’t replace … reface! Check out the latest in stainless steel sold off the roll - peel ‘n’ stick sheets that can be cut to size and applied directly over your old “harvest gold” relics.

5) Rethink: Instead of expensive natural stone slabs for counters and islands, consider using stone tiles. Tiles give you the same luxurious look and are available in all the marble and granite options, but at a fraction of the cost. Keep the tiles large-scale and have your installer set them closer than standard flooring tile - I recommend 1/16-inch of spacing.

Now, get out there and show your home some love.

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