Here are a few simple home improvement projects that can make your home feel more finished. Most of these ideas are simple and inexpensive, but they will definitely make your home stand out. You would be surprised how many home shoppers notice these little things in every home we walk into, both when done right and wrong.
Switches and Plugs and Covers, Oh My
First off – WARNING – If you are not electrically inclined, don’t go playing with wiring.
Take a quick look around the room you are in and you will notice any switches or plugs that is discolored from age or just a little crooked. Maybe some are not flush to the wall or they have been painted over. I have done this little fix in every home I have personally owned, and it definitely makes a difference.
The good news is this is a really easy and really cheap fix. Make sure when removing any plug or light switch covers that you have opened the appropriate breaker to secure power. After that, it is as simple as reconnecting wires like to like. Note what color (black or white) comes from each location on the new one BEFORE you disconnect them. Three way switches are a little more complicated, but not much.
You can find a ton of how to videos on YouTube. Again, if you aren’t comfortable with it, DON’T PLAY WITH ELECTRICITY! Here are some inexpensive options:
Door Handles and Hinges
This is a little more expensive, but can make a big difference. This doesn’t usually need to be done in newer homes, but some older homes have mismatched knobs and hinges because of replacements over time. They look better if they match throughout the home. I personally do one hinge at a time so that I don’t have to pull the door down. If you have white frames, a Magic Eraser is great for getting rid of the black marks from hinge wear while you have them off. This is also a great opportunity to fill stripped holes with wood putty so that the door hangs correctly and doesn’t rub the frame.
Faucets and Showers
Some new home builders are catching on to this and you can get some beautifully appointed kitchens and baths. However, there are still a ton out there with uninspired clear plastic handles that scream builder grade. They may be perfectly functional, but you might want a more personal touch. Changing out a shower head is relatively easy. Make sure when you get one you also get some plumbers tape for the joint. This can be done in the time it takes to screw the old one off and the new one on.
Faucets are a little more involved, but easy once you have done it once or twice. For these you will want a bucket, plumbers putty, and the appropriate size wrenches for the hoses. Always verify that the valves below the sink shut properly by turning on the faucet and making sure it stopped before pulling hoses off. Sometimes they may have build up on the seat that doesn’t let them shut all of the way requiring them to be replaced at the same time. This would be more involved requiring shutting off water to the house. Just be sure to check. For kitchen faucets the most difficult part will be reaching behind the sink. The hose connections can be made above the sink and then the whole thing can be lowered in then tightened down. This will save a lot of bruised knuckles and frustration.
For either of these, make sure you turn the water back on slowly to check for leaks and avoid spraying water everywhere.
Energy Efficient Upgrades
These simple upgrades not only make your home look better, they can also save you hundreds per year in electricity costs.
- Switch standard lights out for LEDs. LED lighting has gone through a lot of changes recently and you can get lighting that looks very natural compared to some of the earlier versions. They use 75-80% less energy than an incandescent bulb, so this can add up. On average this can save $200-400 per year.
- Install a “Smart” thermostat. There are a couple of companies that make these, but it is a similar premise. You can schedule when you are away for work, sleeping, and home. Sensors will also notify the system when you are not home or a room is unoccupied. Depending on region and settings this can net you $200-800 per year in savings.
- “Smart” plugs! These will stop unused electronics from taking power they don’t need. They are relatively new, but they promise to save $140-250 per year. This just reduces idle energy use.
- Occupancy sensor for your water heater. This little device will stop your water heater from making hot water when you aren’t home. This can save 30-50% on water heater energy costs. These are a cheaper alternative to a tankless heater.
If you have any ideas on how to upgrade your home in a simple and inexpensive way, just drop us a line and let us know. Every little bit helps when you are talking about Your Home.