Looking back 10 years ago I would’ve never thought I would’ve enjoyed sheetrocking, painting and cleaning. I would’ve thought I needed to be checked into a facility. However, it’s true, I’m making it publically known…my name is Brandi and I’m a Do-It-Yourselfer. There is nothing more rewarding to me to look at something ugly and turn it into something cool, beautiful, fun, modern. I love the way paint can transform a room or an old piece of furniture. I love finding new ways to use old things, repurpose once loved items so they will be loved again. It’s an addiction. The joy is in the journey. I don’t claim to be an expert in any of these things such as tiling, painting, etc. but I do them for my own pleasure and reward.
Guest Bath Before - Yikes!
Where am I going with all of this? Well, in 2008 when we had our house up for sale (yes, during the economic downturn-when time stood still) we were up against some pretty stiff competition. One block over from us, a house that was priced lower than us, had granite countertops, maple cabinets, hardwood floors throughout, beautiful tile in the bathroom, stainless appliances…yeah, ALL the things we did NOT have. I felt so defeated. I didn’t know how we were going to update our home to show the same if not better than this house without spending a small fortune and putting ourselves in the hole financially.
If you’re a DIY-er like me, you’re in luck. Just taking on a project by yourself, when simple (leave the complicated stuff to the experts), you can save yourself a ton of money. On to the project, from the bottom of the financial scale. The biggest and best thing you can do to freshen and update, if you haven’t done it already is clean. It’s amazing how dirty things can get and you don’t notice. Try cleaning your wood cabinets with Murphy’s oil soap and follow up with car wax. They will shine better than brand new. Personally, my favorite tool to clean with is an old toothbrush. Gets all the nooks and crannies and you only have to do it a few times a year, if that.
Guest Bath After - Better!
I’m not joking when I tell you that they literally have paint for EVERYTHING right now. Countertops, tubs, sinks, appliances, metal, plastic…I could stand in the paint aisle for hours letting my head swim with ideas. Nearly every color of the rainbow too. For me, it’s like a candy store. Paint freshens and renews just about anything. I had a 70’s harvest gold stove hood I painted almond, looks brand new. Easy, inexpensive, fast – enough said.
What if you don’t want to paint? The next step would be to update the little things. Knobs and pulls in the kitchen. You can find them in packages for less than $1 each and they come in modern finishes. Replace old light fixtures. Brass fixtures can date a room so fast it is close to miraculous. If it’s an ugly fixture anyway, I wouldn’t bother painting it. You can find inexpensive light fixtures at Lowe’s that look great and fit every price point. Replace faucets in baths and the kitchen. Again, another item that you can find at just about any price point. They can update a bath or kitchen quickly with a small investment. Our faucets we bought for our bathroom cost around $20 each. Bath mirrors. One of my pet peeves is going into a $500K plus house and seeing the standard old plate mirrors in the bathroom. Really? The contractor couldn’t spend an extra $20 for a great mirror? It’s worth it, believe me. Updates the bathroom fast and makes it look very high end plus it’s inexpensive but you have to shop around. Mirrors at Ross are around $30-50 dollars each or get creative. I saw a plate mirror once where someone put a frame right over it, not around it, on top of it. It looked very cool and modern…great idea.
What about old furniture? Give it new life with paint or recover it. Recovering furniture may seem intimidating to some but it really isn’t that hard. I mean really, can that old rundown chair look any worse? For smaller accent pieces you can have a lot of fun with colors and patterns but on larger pieces, it’s better to stay more neutral with your main colors.
If you have to shop for anything big, try your local salvage, pawn, thrift, or Habitat re-store. You’ll be surprised at the fun things you’ll find. Garage sales can be great places for “treasures” too. Look at the shape of items not the color. Does it have any interesting shapes, curves or quirks? That’s what makes a piece unique and loveable.
So, what happened with our house? Well, after I took my Staging course (through StagedHomes.com) I painted all my crazy colors neutral, changed out the mirrors and faucets in the bathrooms, cleaned my heart out, added knobs to all bath and kitchen cabinets, rearranged the furniture, painted the deck, cleaned the patio, etc. We only spent about $300 but man did we stretch it out. Most of what we spent was time and elbow grease but it was worth it. Our house sold for more money and faster than the competition one block over.
Remember, it’s not about how much you spend to get your house ready to sell. It’s about the value of what you spend it on. It takes research, lots of it, to find high quality items at discounted prices. Looking back, if I were to bid on what I did to Stage our house, I would’ve charged the homeowner about $250 to get it where it was. Think about it $550 to sell our house for close to $10,000 more than our fancy competitor. As an ASP Stager and a DIY addict, I love helping homeowners, whether they are selling or not, to make improvements to their homes at the highest value. Most Stagers do. So, if you have a room that’s “bugging” you or you are stumped by a space, call an ASP Stager today.
by Brandi Minshew ASP, IAHSP owner of Centre Staging in beautiful Bozeman, MT. Visit us at www.CentreStagingStar.com for more info!