Small Projects Add Up to Big Appeal

In this economy, homeowners are watching every penny. Just because money is tight doesn't mean every renovation plan has to be cast aside. Smaller projects can revitalize a room without a big investment.

Homeowners who don't have much to spend still don't want to compromise quality with smaller improvements. Therefore, they're often thinking of big appeal, albeit on a smaller scale.

To get started, homeowners should look at the rooms they use the most and begin there. What's the point of starting in a guest room or renovating the basement if it's rarely used? Put available funds to work on the rooms that get seen.

For example, the kitchen is a popular room in many homes. If budget doesn't allow for a rehaul of appliances or cabinetry, think about less expensive ways to modify the space. A new faucet can give the room a different look, as can replacing cabinet hardware and hinges. Revitalize the appearance of the room with new flooring, such as laminate that mimics the look of stone, wood or other natural surfaces. Change the accessories in a china hutch or hang some different artwork for an instant change.

Bathroom makeovers are often high on the list of improvements. But many improvements can be budget-busters. Think about improvements that change what is disliked. Maybe outdated wallpaper can be removed and replaced with paint. Clean up the grout around a bathtub by redoing to freshen the room. Go with a new color scheme achieved by replacing the old linens, bath mat and shower curtain.

Living room re-dos can be achieved with some accessory changes and perhaps a new piece of furniture. Change a glass coffee table for an earthy leather ottoman that can also store toys or throw pillows. A simple swap of window treatments can dramatically change the look of the room. If seating has seen better days -- but a new set is not an option -- form-fitted slipcovers are a quick, and generally low-cost, fix.

Kids' rooms often can be improved with some much-needed storage space. Clear up clutter from the floor by installing a closet organizing system, which can hang clothes within reach for children. Older children may appreciate a room that reflects their maturity. Now is the time to change princess prints for bolder graphics or dump trucks for sophistication. All it often takes is a little paint and some new bed linens to achieve the look.

For a dramatic change in a home with hardwood floors being hidden by carpeting, take the weekend to pull up the carpeting and reveal the floors beneath. A little sanding and resealing is often all it takes to bring out the beauty of the wood. And that will instantly provide value while increasing aesthetic appeal.

Another simple and very inexpensive way to renovate a home is to reduce. By removing clutter and items that are simply collecting dust, homeowners can breathe new life into spaces. Rearranging furniture is also another option.