Part 2--Small Jobs that Update your Home and Increase its Value

Several projects listed below can be DIY projects. However, some of the suggestions (eg: Crown Molding) are often best left to the pros. Consider your skill level and know your limitations when doing projects. A poorly done project can decrease your home’s value and leave you regretting doing the project.

Several projects listed below can be DIY projects. However, some of the suggestions (eg: Crown Molding) are often best left to the pros. Consider your skill level and know your limitations when doing projects. A poorly done project can decrease your home’s value and leave you regretting doing the project.

In Part 1 of this 2 part series, we talked about many little projects that you can do around your home to update its look. You don’t always need to do a complete renovation to feel like you’ve done some “work” to your home. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference.

In Part 2, we talk about more small projects that you can do which will increase your' home’s value and refresh the look. If you didn’t read part 1, click here to check out 10 great projects you can do in your home.

  1. Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Scraping the popcorn from the ceiling can be a messy job. Be prepared and cover all surfaces below.

Scraping the popcorn from the ceiling can be a messy job. Be prepared and cover all surfaces below.

Those stucco (popcorn) ceilings from the 70s and 80s were popular back then but I don’t know too many people who like them now. They are such a dated look and most people hate them. Not only do they look unattractive but they are a health hazard. No matter how clean you keep your house, the popcorn in the ceiling traps dust and lint. Most people with asthma or breathing conditions find their health improves once the popcorn has been scraped from the ceiling. And…it definitely improves the value of your house and is a selling feature, especially if your neighbours haven’t done this reno.

To scrape the popcorn finish, lightly spray the ceiling with warm water. Using a metal scraper and a drywall hawk, lightly scrape the popcorn off onto the hawk. This is a time consuming and messy job so if you’re not prepared to get a little dirty then hire a pro who does this all the time. The end result will be worth it.

Once the popcorn has been removed, you will need to skim coat the ceiling with drywall compound. Once it’s all smooth, you just prime and paint.

This gorgeous door can be found at Lowes. It makes a great door for a bathroom or office.

This gorgeous door can be found at Lowes. It makes a great door for a bathroom or office.

2. Interior Doors

What do your interior doors look like? If you have flat panel doors, particularly those old mahagony doors from the 50s and 60s, then it might be time for an upgrade. Even upgrading to simple 6 panel doors is an improvement and helps to refresh the look. There are so many door styles out there today that you could really go to town with some stylish doors in certain areas of your home.

One of our clients selected their new doors from Don Lea Lumber in Ajax. It’s one of the retailers for doors that we deal with a lot. They opted for a gorgeous wood framed 3 panel door with frosted glass inserts for their bathroom and similar doors without the glass for their closets and basement entrance. Once the new door handles were installed, this completely changed and updated their main floor. It’s amazing the difference new interior doors can make!

3. Crown Molding

Decorative crown molding makes an especially dramatic change to a room which it’s in white and the walls are a rich colour.

Decorative crown molding makes an especially dramatic change to a room which it’s in white and the walls are a rich colour.

This one’s a no brainer! Adding crown molding to any room in your home will completely change the look and increase your home’s value. We love the options from Peacock Lumber in Oshawa. Click here to check out their catalogue.

Be careful when selecting crown molding for your room. If your ceiling are 8’ or less, you don’t want a large crown trim. Also if the room is small like a powder room, keep the crown molding smaller too. If you’ve got high ceilings and large rooms, go for a larger trim. Too small of a trim will be lost and ineffective.

4. New Vanity or Pedestal Sink

Even if you’re not ready for a full bathroom renovation, you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference changing out the vanity will make. Take out that old honey oak, worn out vanity and replace it with a simple, classic white shaker style cabinet with a bank of drawers and you will have updated the look, opened up the space with a lighter coloured vanity and created great storage with the drawers. To keep your cost down, be sure to replace the vanity with the same size. If you increase or decrease in size, you might have to rework the plumbing to accommodate it.

5. New faucets

Gorgeous black matte fixtures are becoming very popular

Gorgeous black matte fixtures are becoming very popular

If you’ve still got the builder’s grade faucets in your kitchen or bathroom, then it’s time to upgrade them. There are so many great styles and colours available that you could completely change the look of your kitchen or bathroom just by changing the faucet.

Be careful which brands you purchase when selecting faucets. We’ve had great luck with American Standard and Delta. We seldom ever get service calls on these brands. In our opinion, there are some brands we suggest you avoid. Kohler is a great fixture when it works but we’ve had tons of problems doing the repairs on Kohler products. Another brand to avoid is Danze. It’s found at Canadian Tire and again, finding parts for repairs can be challenging. Although for the most part, Moen makes a good product, 85% of our service calls and repairs are on Moen products. We also suggest staying away from Aqua Source and Glacier Bay. They are the brand names of Lowes and Home Depot respectively. These tend to be a lower quality product which is why they are usually the cheapest ones they sell.

On the upper end, Riobel, Rubinet, Grohe and Blanco are fabulous brands if you are willing to invest a little more. I’ve always said, “Buy the best quality that you can afford because you’ll likely only have to buy it once!”

This custom made mirror by our carpenter Bill was made using the accent tile from the shower.

This custom made mirror by our carpenter Bill was made using the accent tile from the shower.

Our newest favourite style is the matte black finish. Check out some of the great fixtures available in this unique finish.

6. New Mirrors

Are the mirrors in your bathroom or bedroom the same ones you’ve had there for decades? Then it’s time to splurge and refresh your look. Take a stroll around the home decor section of your favourite Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Home Sense or other bed and bath store. What catches your eye? Do you like a simple framed mirror or do you prefer some bling and sparkle? The right mirror can bring a room to life and even make a room look larger if placed correctly. This is a simple and inexpensive upgrade that can really make a difference.

7. Appliances

Although a bigger investment, this one typically doesn’t require any renovation or skill to do. Replace your old outdated appliances with new ones and it can change the whole look in your kitchen. If you still have a white stove, fridge and dishwasher, replacing them with efficient stainless steel or matte black appliances can update the look and definitely increase the value of your home without doing a big renovation.

8. Artwork, Prints and Paintings

Do you still have that old painting of dogs playing poker? What about that paint by number that your 9 year daughter did 20 years ago? Maybe it’s time to have a look around your home at the items you have hanging on your walls. Are they outdated? Do they still represent your current interests, likes and values? Maybe it’s time to take them down and start from scratch.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive artwork. Try going to your local flea market, antique store or even have a look on Kijiji or Varage Sale. You might just find the perfect piece for your home. You don’t need to have the most contemporary looking artwork around. You just need a new look and one that reflects what you stand for now.

Be creative! Try out a new craft. I recently took a pour painting class and LOVED it!! Each piece is unique and different. You could easily do 3 or 4 prints in the colour scheme of the room you’re redecorating and boom…you’ve got new artwork for that room! To learn more about pour painting or to take the class I took click here.

9. Landscaping

It’s absolutely amazing what a difference great landscaping can make to your mood, the look of your home, and its value. Pull up in your driveway and have a look at the gorgeous flowers, the bushes and trees on your property. Breath in the fresh air and enjoy the view. This is one of those renovation projects that’s worth every penny you invest. But…make sure it brings you joy! If your landscaper wants to plant geraniums and you hate geraniums, don’t do it. Plant what makes you happy!

10. Exterior Home Accessories

This is one area that’s often overlooked. We never think of replacing our mailbox, house numbers or getting a new bird bath. These are things that can make a big difference. Remember those house numbers from the 80s and 90s that were actually words that spelled out the house number? They took up most of the width of the garage if you had a long house number! Well maybe it’s time to replace it with a simple, decorative number near your front door.

Adding additional exterior lighting can also spruce up your home while adding better lighting for safety. Even replacing your existing light fixture can make a big difference. Consider adding soffit pot lights, post lights, or LED lights in the stairs of your rear deck. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make!

You don’t have to do big renovations to make a big difference in the look and feel of your home. Small projects can refresh the look of your home, help you feel better about the space you live in and increase the value of your home while you’re doing it. The best thing about small projects like the ones listed here is that you can pick a weekend, do a project and then not do anything again until you feel like tackling another project. You won’t get overwhelmed with the issues surrounding big renos like your house being in disarray for several weeks. Hope you have found value in this list.