Even if you watch HGTV on the reg, actually committing to doing any home renovations yourself can be overwhelming. But with all the YouTube tutorials and Pinterest how-tos out there, we’ve definitely become a culture that thrives on taking a stab at things ourselves instead of hiring someone to do the dirty work. Seven out of 10 Americans plan on doing their own home renovations and repairs, according to a new survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Forty-four percent of Americans plan on doing a major home renovation. Keeping costs low while making changes that look like a million bucks can be tricky, so we enlisted the help of Liberty Mutual Insurance’s “New Beginnings” expert, HGTV handyman Chip Wade from Elbow Room and Ellen’s Design Challenge.
Easy To Do, Big Impact
Wade has loads of tips for people who want to make a big impact without doing a ton of work. “Rent a power washer to clean everything from the driveway to vinyl siding, the front walkway, deck mildew or patio furniture. Or, if your garage faces the street, create a more welcoming feel by installing sconce lights or a decorative arbor above the doors,” he says.
Another way to really revamp your home is to add greenery. “Add some color to your front entry or rear porch by purchasing some pre-made planter boxes and hanging baskets that are already filled out,” Wade advises. “Look for planters that are the right size to fit an established hanging basket. Place [hanging baskets] on old plastic pots to give them some height, and then cut the metal hooks off top. By resting the hanging basket on a pot, you won’t need to fill the planter with as much heavy soil. This way, the planters are light enough to move around for any backyard entertaining that you may have planned.” Pretty simple, right?
Restoring Second-Hand Furniture
According to the Liberty Mutual survey, the biggest home purchase most people plan to make this year is furniture. Luckily, Wade has a pretty slick tip for making used furniture look lust-worthy: “One simple way to restore the wood on older furniture is with home furniture polish,” he says. “Mix together half a cup of olive oil and half a cup of vinegar. Then, grab a rag and rub the mixture into the furniture. Layer on multiple coats for the best finish.” He also says not to be scared of making your own bed, since beds are notoriously the most overpriced item people buy. “Especially for secondary bedrooms, consider placing a mattress on a Hollywood frame and making your own headboard. Headboards are one of the easiest DIY projects, and plenty of fun and inexpensive inspiration can be found online.”
If you’re renovating your home to increase its value, Wade says the best thing you can do is open up the space you have, making rooms flow easily together. “Right now, spaces that connect indoor and outdoor rooms are becoming more and more popular,” he says. “Extending spaces off of well-used rooms like kitchens, family rooms and basement recreation areas to the outside with planned design that spans the two spaces can add so much versatility to your existing location.” But most importantly, have a master plan and stick to it: “A master plan can increase the value of your home as well,” Wade says. “For example, think about how you could share blueprints with future prospective buyers. You could use these blueprints to help show a buyer your property’s potential — whether it be a future garden oasis and backyard porch, a luxurious master suite or a future basement income property.” (Photo via HGTV)
Mistakes To Avoid
Wade says the number one thing to keep in mind is your budget. The survey shows that three-fourths of Americans worry they may not have enough money to make a change, with 85 percent of millennials expressing high financial concerns. Because unexpected expenses often occur during renovating, Wade says to budget an extra 15 to 20 percent of your projected cost so you have a little cushion. He also suggests clearing everything out of the room you want to redo — wall art, rugs, furniture, everything — and looking at it as just a raw space. It might just make you rethink your renovation plans.
When To Hire A Professional
As DIY-obsessed as we are, even we know that sometimes it’s time to call in the professionals. “Realistically evaluate your skill level and how much time you will be able to commit to your project. If you’re working a full-time job, will you be able to spend evenings and weekends on this project? If you aren’t familiar with building codes and regulations, consult a professional or sign up for a course before you get started,” Wade says. For more information on home renovations, be sure to check out this nifty infographic from Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Are you planning any home renovations this year? Tell us in the comments below!
(Photos via Cindy Ord/Getty, Chip Wade)