Is it just me or was January 2016 the fastest month ever?  All of the sudden, it’s February and we’re experiencing Tennessee’s typically wacky winter weather.  Six inches of snow last week… Seventy plus degrees this week.  I love this state of mine, but it’s a bit manic when it comes to the seasons.  Ever the optimist, though, I can make this crazy climate work for me and for you!  If you haven’t tacked those outdoor improvements I suggested in my last blog post, now’s the time!  Get outside and give yourself and your home a little exercise before Mother Nature decides to blow more winter our way!  And, if you’ve already embraced those New Year’s home resolutions, you’re ready for the next step!

So, you’ve helped your home lose weight by purging and organizing and you’ve given it a good workout routine in the form of outdoor maintenance.  Now it’s time for the fun stuff… a makeover!  Unfortunately, home makeovers can be a bit more pricey than a personal makeover, but the rewards are so, SO worth it.  In fact, investing wisely in an interior home makeover can increase your home values by a significant amount.  Even if you’re not planning to sell your home, upgrading and lightly remodeling can make you fall in love with your home all over again.  Sound good?  Let’s get going!
Before you decide where you’re going to spend your time, money and energy, do me a little favor… take some “BEFORE” shots of your home.  They won’t necessarily help you figure out what to tackle first, but you’ll be so glad you have them when you’re done with this makeover.  So… where to begin?  Whether you’re remodeling to get your home “sale ready” or you’re making improvement for your own family to enjoy, you’re going to get the most bang for your buck by focusing on your kitchen, bathrooms and common spaces.  And, you’re going to want to use high-end materials, but remember: these materials don’t have to break the bank! 

Let’s begin with the kitchen.  Everyone agrees that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s a gathering space and should be warm and inviting, but not kitschy and cluttered.  It’s time to think about repainting those honey wood cabinets and replacing the laminate countertops.  Countertops are one of the easiest ways to improve your kitchen and there are a myriad of choices.  Most budget conscious homeowners choose to install granite (there’s a huge difference in price points, so there really is a good granite for everyone), but soapstone, quartz and even concrete are popular choices.  No matter what you choose, going from laminate to stone is going to make a huge difference in your kitchen.  Replacing cabinetry can be labor intensive and very expensive, but painting your old cabinetry and replacing hardware is a great alternative when you’re working on a budget.  Lastly, if there is money left over in your kitchen re-do, consider upgrading appliances to sleek, stainless steel.  They looks great with any palette and scream “high quality” to potential buyers.
Bathrooms… I’ve seen great home sales go down the tubes because of icky bathrooms.  A clean, tidy and “like new” bathroom tells home buyers that you’ve paid attention to details and that you’ve maintained your home – and hopefully their new home – well.  Like the kitchen, you can make big improvements in your bathrooms without taking out a second mortgage by focusing on flooring, countertops and lighting.  If you still have vinyl flooring, now’s the time to replace it with ceramic tile.  The choices are endless, but I especially love the plank tiles that look a bit like hardwood, but are hardier and provide easy cleanup.  Similarly, if you’re going to hire a tile installer, ask him about lining tub/shower walls in tile, too.  Ripping out an old fiberglass tub and replacing it with a sleeker option and extending tile to the ceiling makes a huge difference and a terrific impression.  Last, but not least, please, please ditch the dressing room style lights that Every. Single. Builder. used in the 90’s.  For less than $100, you can replace those lights with stylish new fixtures that help showcase your bathroom in the best possible light… see what I did there?
Still with me?  If you’re really ready to take the plunge, take a good look at your home’s flooring.  Hardwood floors are the gold-standard for most discriminating buyers, but they’re not always the best choice for every room.  Yes, you want that rich foundation on most of your main level, but you absolutely can save some money by installing clean, fresh carpet on your home’s upper level, in secondary bedrooms and recreation rooms.  This is the time of the year to buy new carpet, too as sales are aplenty!  If you plan to replace old flooring with hardwood, take time to look at all the choices.  Again, wide plank flooring is very popular, but you might be able to sand and re-stain old flooring to make it look fresh and new. 
I know this is a lot and certainly these suggestions aren’t something you’re going to just decide to tackle on a whim.  But, if you’re serious about these New Year’s home resolutions, giving your home a great makeover is the next logical step.  Oh, and hey… remember those BEFORE photos I asked you to take?  After you’ve repainted, re-stained, replaced and reworked those ever important rooms, walk around with the old pics and do a home-happy dance.  You (and your home) have earned it!