Those shows make me laugh. You know the ones I am talking about, shows that draw you in with their promises of inexpensive ideas and cheap remodels that will make your neighbors green with jealousy and your wallet happy. Remodel a room for under $5,000? Who has that kind of money? In this economy, one just has to suck up their gumption and get down to business with a crowbar and a splash of paint for an under-budget remodel.
My husband and I just recently moved into a home that was in bad repair, and minus the electrical and plumbing corrections, we have done everything ourselves. I mean everything. The last owner had covered every surface of the house with something they just found laying around in the garage, from floral wallboard that decorates the dining room to using vinyl siding for window treatments. We were appalled, but excited to get our hands dirty with sawdust and paint, and even more excited when the first sight of oak floors peaked out from under the mildewed carpet.
We were on a tight budget, a budget that couldn’t afford the expertise of a paying tradesman or contractor, so we spent countless hours perusing the internet for inexpensive ideas and how-to videos on drywalling to working and un-jamming a nail gun. Folks, your nail-gun will jam, that is just a fact. We had four layers of wallpaper covering every wall in the house, but instead of buying drywall and covering it up, we spent the time and saved the money scrapping off every inch of it, with just water, a sponge and a scrapper. We even rigged a makeshift scaffolding for the higher ceilings, out of two ladders and a long piece of wood.
One project in particular where we saved money and time on was our spare bedroom. This bedroom was a peach, from its salmon colored walls to a sticky tiled floor, everything screamed…”Fix ME”! The walls were an easy fix, going with the whole white themed walls and dark walnut colored floors, every ounce of color in your accent furniture will pop, but the floors had a mind of their own. The tiles would not budge, and after many hours of laboring over them, with stoops in our backs and only a few inches of wood showing, we scratched our heads and went to the internet. Nothing we found worked, and the tar that stuck the tiles to the floor had started to rip and splinter our beautiful wood underneath. So doing what I hated most, I said goodbye to the old wood and bought sheet plywood. Cheap inexpensive plywood cut to look like standard wood planks, we fit them into the floor with only a nail gun. Plywood can be sanded down and stained to look like real hard wood, and is a great alternative to other fake wood flooring.
We are still hacking away at our home little by little, but here’s a few more ideas for cheap designs…
- Why buy new appliances, when you can paint your refrigerator with antique green chalkboard paint, a steal at less than twenty dollars a gallon. Not only is it on trend, but fun for all ages.
- Rent a drum sander at your local lumber store.You can rent these sanders for only a few hours or for days on end. These handy machines save you time and energy of stripping your hard-wood floors, and work like a charm.
- Your kitchen looking old and outdated? Put in open shelves instead of cabinets. Check your local salvage yard for steals on wood and shelf brackets that can be reused in your own kitchen.