We Love Our Frugal Renovation

home renovationRight now, the hubs and I are staying next door to his parents. We’re living in a house that belonged to his sweet grandmother before she passed away.

I think it’s actually kind of nice for the hubs and brings back a lot of memories.

He loved his grandmother so much and spent a lot of time in this house growing up. The thing is, for the longest time, this home was a museum and storage room of sorts.

Every time one of hubs’ siblings would move or have an over-stuffed apartment, they’d store their belongings here.

So, when we found out that we’d have about 5-6 months in between moving home from Grenada and then moving to the next location, we asked my in laws if we could stay in the house since no one was living there.

Of course, they had quite a bit of work to do renovating it and really worked hard to ensure the house was clean and ready for people to live in it. No one has slept in this house for 15 years! We’re so grateful for all the hard work they put into getting it ready for us because now we have a place all our own that we can bring our babies into for the first few weeks of their lives.

My in laws didn’t want to spend extensively on a renovation since we wouldn’t be living here long term, so they used a lot of frugal techniques to get it ready to go. We love what they did for us, and here are some tips for keeping things frugal and under budget when it comes to renovations:

1. Resist The Tendency to Over-Improve

Although my in laws went back and forth over whether to add a second bathroom, they decided not to. It was probably for the best since like I said, we’re only going to be living here temporarily, and bathrooms are expensive!

2. Remember That Paint Does Wonders

Cleaning the walls, painting closets, fixing cracks, and in general sprucing things up were all inexpensive fixes that only took a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of time. My in laws even helped me paint the nursery so now it’s all ready for the beans.

3. Refinish Floors By Yourself

My in laws could have hired a professional to refinish wood floors but instead my father in law rented a sander and he and my brother in law slowly but carefully did it all themselves. It was a huge labor of love, and the floors look really, really great.

4. Refresh Cabinets

Although a new home buyer might want to replace the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, they were still in decent, workable condition. My mother in law just cleaned them, put in new drawer liners, and spray painted all of the cabinet knobs to make sure they looked new. After living in less than 300 sq ft in Grenada for almost 3 years, we think this whole living-in-a-house thing is quite the luxury.

Overall, the renovations really helped make this house the perfect home to bring home our twins. (You can see a little sneak peek of the nursery in the picture above!) Plus, if you want to do something similar, I just learned that you can actually get something called a 203k loan which you can use to renovate and refinance your house (usually mortgages don’t allow for a renovation loan.) This is great for people who want to improve a new-to-them home, a foreclosure, or the one they already have. Of course, if you go that route, still try to keep things simple and frugal. Remember, we never really need as much as we think!

Are you interested in renovating your house? Do you plan to do it mostly yourself or hire a professional?

Make Your Home Fancy and Modern On A Budget

Modern DecorI don’t know about you, but back when I had a TV, I could literally spend hours and hours and hours watching HGTV.

I love watching people take their homes and make them fabulous. Plus, now that I’m just weeks away from moving back to the States, I guess I am just feeling the love of writing about budget design again, as evidenced by this post on my DIY tips.

Today, I wanted to dish out some advice about modernizing your home. I feel like a lot of people want to renovate, but they don’t know where to start. Plus, even the word “renovation” sounds fancy and expensive, so here are some tips on how to update your outdated space on a budget.

Start With a Blank Canvas

It’s amazing how a little paint on the wall can make a room feel fresh and modern. You don’t have to hire a decorator; just start from scratch by doing it yourself. If you find layer upon layer of wallpaper stuck to your walls, you can hire a wallpaper stripper if you have to, or just get pumped up and decide to tackle it in one weekend. If it’s just a paint job that you need, get some rollers, brushes, masking tape, put some old sheets down on the floor, and go to town!

Color Coordinate

A fresh coat of paint can give any room an instant makeover, and one part of the room that lots of people overlook is the ceiling. If you repaint the ceiling in a clean bright white, it will make the entire room look immediately brighter. You can even paint it a similar color to the walls, just go one shade lighter. Remember that in order to create a modern and fresh look, bright and light is key. I’m always telling the hubs I want my house to be completely white and neutral (probably somewhat impossible once we have kids, haha!) It may seem boring at first, but there’s something so relaxing, bright, and airy about a crisp, neutral home.

Don’t Forget the Floor

If you live in an older house, it’s definitely possible that beautiful wooden floors are hiding under your carpet. If you’re feeling particularly up for the challenge, you can rip up the carpet and assess it. Just keep in mind that you could be causing more damage if the wood is past repair. At the same time, if it works out, clean, polished floors are a great way to make your house look more modern. To keep it from feeling too drab and cold, try adding cheap jute rugs or some wicker baskets to get some great texture and color in there! I also like really soft, white faux sheepskin rugs to put everywhere too.

Bump Up the Lighting

One thing about old houses is they don’t often have those big, beautiful windows that you see in newer constructions. But, fear not! You can actually manipulate the amount of light in the room without installing a bunch of expensive lights. If you have windows, take away the curtains and replace them with blinds or curtains that are white, soft, and breezy. You can also install a dimmer to your current light so that you can create a cozy and warm feel in the evenings. Oh, and add mirrors both to reflect the light and for checking if you have broccoli in your teeth. :D

Less is More With Furniture

One fun way to renovate on the cheap is to use the furniture you already have. Except, instead of worrying about rearranging everything, just focus on deleting some items. If you want your home to be crisp and modern, embracing a little bit of minimalism will help you get there. Basically, get rid of the clutter (including your beanie baby collection from 1999!) Clean off the shelves, and breathe in and out. Ahhh, that’s nice isn’t it?

Anyone else in a renovating mood? I can’t wait to get my paws on a new apartment! :)

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons