If you’re going to spend money on your home, you’ll get no better bang for your buck than in the kitchen. Whether you’re an avid cook or more likely to order takeout on your way back from work, you use the kitchen for eating, drinking and storage. Even minor upgrades there, such as updating light fixtures and hardware, will add value to your home.
There’s no doubt that heavy-duty cleaners get the job done. But for light daily cleaning, it’s not really necessary to bring out the serious chemicals. And since most natural cleaning recipes can be made using just a few simple, inexpensive ingredients — like distilled water, white vinegar, Castile soap and baking soda — you’ll breathe easier and probably save a little cash.
A few easy cleaning solutions to try:
- All-purpose cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of vinegar and water at a 1:1 ratio and use a microfiber cloth to clean. This works on windows, mirrors, bathtubs, tiled floors and more.
- Marble, granite and quartz cleaner: Fill a 24- to 32-ounce spray bottle with water; add 4 to 5 ounces of rubbing alcohol, six drops of Castile soap and several drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or rosemary.
- Stainless steel polish: After cleaning the surface with an all-purpose cleaner (see above), spray it lightly with coconut oil cooking spray. Rub in the oil with a clean dish towel or paper towel.
If a place to store tools and work on projects is on your garage wish list, this space from Gladiator is a well-outfitted example. Sturdy rollout chests hold up to heavy tools and supplies, and you can move them right where you need them. A power strip makes it easy to keep tools charged up, while wall-mounted storage keeps frequently used tools and supplies within reach.
5 Quick Tips for a DIY Living Room Refresh
1. Make a list of the top three challenges in your living room. Is the furniture arrangement working? Does the color scheme need tweaking? Where’s the problem?
2. Pare back. Simply removing clutter and excess can help you see your living room in a different light.
3. Take photos of your space. This can help give you some psychological distance, allowing you to identify what needs to change more easily.
4. Try out some design tools. Make a floor plan (on paper or online), put together a Houzz ideabook, or cut and paste your own design board. Seeing your ideas all at once can be a huge help.
5. Focus on textiles. Swapping out a rug, reupholstering a chair or getting new throw pillows for the couch (or all three!) can point your living room in a new style direction.
Many contractors want a full drawing set before they’ll bid on a job. Others will be willing to do a walk-through and give you some rough numbers, nothing line-itemed or detailed. I recommend doing this with an experienced contractor. A novice may underestimate or overshoot the budget by a wide range. Ideally, having some basic space, electrical, mechanical and lighting plans will help a contractor get you a more accurate estimate.
This is only the first phase of pricing. You’ll want to reestimate based on detailed, finished plans before signing a contract. Otherwise you run the risk of having to get change orders down the road, which can be pricey.