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Smart Luxury Upgrades Could Mean Bigger Returns

No matter the design trends that come and go, kitchens and bathrooms continue to sell houses and net homeowners some of the greatest return on their remodel investment dollar.

Still, there are a few guidelines folks should follow before they start tearing down walls and choosing flooring and fixtures.

Writers at The Old House point out that spending $20,000 wisely in a kitchen – painting, upgrading appliances, replacing fixtures - goes much further than a budget-busting redo that could prove too pricey for the neighborhood and/or is too specific to your taste.

Opting for classic finishes and neutral colors and tones will go a long way toward a higher return-on-investment (ROI) even though the days of getting 100 percent of your money back are gone. Still, a well-appointed kitchen – think quality – can net you up to an 82 percent ROI, according to houselogic.com.

Quality is a subjective term but going with name brands with a reputation for quality is really the name of the game, and you can absolutely choose high-end fixtures without breaking the bank.

Brands like Kohler, Delta, Grohe, hansgrohe, and Moen all have instant name recognition and for good reason; these companies have been in the kitchen and bath fixture supply business for years, and customers trust them to provide sturdy products with long-lasting good looks.

Likewise, choosing solid wood cabinets – in both the kitchen and the bathroom – even if they’re painted, going with neutral tile floors and stone counter/vanity tops will net bigger returns than almost any other choice you could make in those rooms.

An annual survey –  the Cost vs. Value Report - shows that for the last 10 years, a modest remodel in the kitchen nets a consistently higher return than full-on redo. It’s not a stretch to think the same math applies in the bathroom.

The home improvement project that nets the highest ROI year after year? It’s nothing you tackle inside your house; it’s your front door. Replacing your front door with a wood-core steel door costs less than most other upgrades but nets back nearly 100 percent, houselogic.com notes.

4 Ways to Add Eat-In Options to Your Kitchen

Having a tiny kitchen is bad enough, but to think you can’t also have a seat and enjoy a meal is worse. We went looking for ideas on how to add an eat-in option to small kitchens so grab a cup of coffee and start imagining how you could put one of these plans to work.

1. Tiny corner = banquette – Adding banquette seating in a small “L” shape to fit an unused corner creates a cozy eating area that doesn’t eat up valuable real estate. Add an appropriately sized round table and now you’ve got the perfect space to sit either alone or even – yes! – with a friend.

2. Fold-away table – A little ingenuity can go a long way. Fasten hinges to one side of the finished – and correctly sized – piece of wood of your choice and drill the other side of the hinges into a wall. Be sure at least one screw is anchored by a stud; the other screw can be anchored with a drywall anchor. You will also need to construct some type of support for when the table is in use (like a small hinged brace). Add two chairs (that can be stored/used elsewhere) and voila!

3. Hide-away table – Take a que from tiny houses and utilize a hide-away table that slides out when you need it and tucks nicely out of sight when you’re done with it. These pieces of furniture are most often hidden in a cabinet with legs that fold down or away and self-storing seating.

4. Garden bistro set – A sweet and small metal bistro set designed from small balconies can be brought indoors and used as a kitchen table. Sure, it’s tiny, but that’s the point; it’s meant to fit snugly in the corner. Add colorful cushions to the chairs and maybe a small circle of glass to even out the tabletop.

5 Bathroom Up-do’s that Look Upscale

If you’ve been standing the doorway of your bathroom wondering what you can do to spruce it up without splurging, let eFaucets help you count the ways. Simple changes can make a huge impact.

1. Curved shower rod and fancy shower curtain – A luxe framless glass shower door would be fantastic, but if you don’t have the budget for it, go instead for a double curved shower rod to use one for the shower liner and the outside rod for a fancier fabric shower curtain. Not only does the curved rod actually increase the elbow room inside the tub, but keeping the liner and curtain on separate rods makes cleaning easier, too.

2. Light matters – Replacing a time-worn light with a new fixture can change the entire feel of the bathroom. From a dowdy space with shadows to a brighter space with the flick of a switch!

3. Paint – One of the most inexpensive ways to brighten up and give your bathroom a new personality is paint. At around $25 a gallon (plus supplies), you can give your room a mini-makeover with all the benefits and very little of the pain. Be sure you’re bringing home paint labeled for kitchen and bath; it’s made to stand up to moisture.

4. Tile – Adding tile to the bathroom can be an expensive undertaking if you don’t plan accordingly. For example, if you just don’t have the money to do the entire tub surround, just do the back wall or half-way up each wall around the tub.

5. Jazz up your mirror – Resale shops, both locally owned and larger operations like Goodwill and Salvation Army, usually have a pretty good selection of mirrors at reasonable prices that could hang above your bathroom sink to replace the plain-Jane thing you’ve got up there now. Don’t let having a medicine cabinet stop you! Find a creative storage solution (bins, shelving with baskets) and then patch that hole and cover it with a fabulous new mirror.

5 Easy Ways to Perk Up Boring Cabinets

Tired of your kitchen cabinets but not sure how to spiff them up without breaking the bank? Let eFaucets help with five easy and affordable fixes:

1. Paint – even though painting might seem like a no-brainer, it’s often not the first go-to for changing the look of your kitchen because painting cabinets is a process, make no mistake. Still, if you dedicate a weekend to doing it right, you’ll have a look to love for years. Virginia over at livelovediy.com offers a 10-step tutorial.

2. New hardware – we know it’s hard to believe that changing out a boring matte knob for a chic and shiny handle can make any difference, but you’d be surprised. We suggest cleaning cabinet doors and drawer fronts thoroughly to remove any dulling residue before you swap out your hardware, but then go to town. If you have more a country vibe, maybe oil-rubbed bronze is your go-to; likewise, if you’re more into chrome, choose the pulls and handles that will give you the most bang for your buck.

3. Remove doors on upper cabinets – not only can you change the look of your cabinets, but if your kitchen is on the smaller side, removing the doors on a few key cabinets can also make your room feel more open and airy. Remember, though, just removing the doors without hiding hinge holes and/or doing anything to the boxes won’t be the fix you need. This plan is usually in conjunction with doing some work on the cabinet box as well.

4. Add crown molding – cabinets that end suddenly but still have a decent amount of space above them can be made to look more luxe by adding crown molding. Go as big and bold as fits the overall style of the kitchen but be sure it matches the tone of the cabinets; white with white; wood grain with wood.

5. Add pops of color – surprise folks with pops of color when they open your cabinets. Using contact paper in the pattern of your choice that you find at any home improvement store, line the backs of cabinets for a little style where you least expect it.

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