House-hunting on a budget usually means that being able to see a home's potential is just as important as seeing all the bedrooms, but it's not always easy to find the incredible beyond the iffy. Photographer and real estate agent Joshua Deaner wowed us last year with the transformation of his Rhode Island home and he offers a few simple and inexpensive tips for making a so-so space more livable.
1. Paint, wallpaper, and cut molding. As obvious as it seems, a fresh coat of paint will freshen up any room. I had the walls painted prior to moving in, which I recommend if possible. I added molding to many rooms which gave them some much-needed character and painted it in a gloss which gives the room depth. I recommend using a paint with no VOC fumes especially if you have children. I also added some interest to our small half bathroom by installing a fun wallpaper and retiling the floors.
2. A new home is a new beginning. When I moved in I carefully organized closets, dressers, and cabinets, to maximize storage. Keeping your space free of clutter will help make your home feel bigger and more inviting.
3. Rethink a room's function. Sometimes you can make a house function better for your needs. Just because a master bedroom was a master bedroom when you looked at the house doesn't mean it can't be an office or guestroom. Let your style and lifestyle decide how the house will function.
4. Refinish, reglaze, and retrofit. Instead of purchasing all new kitchen cabinets I had my kitchen cabinet doors painted glossy white and I replaced all the knobs. My bathroom had an old green bathtub which I had reglazed white. I kept the original bathroom vanity base but installed a new countertop, new faucet, and hardware. Some homes have carpeting with finished beautiful wood floors beneath. Don't be afraid to look under the carpet and consider refinishing damaged wood floors. This is a great way to make a room feel new and up to date.
5. Lighting. The mood of a room can easily be changed through lighting. By simply adding dimmers to most light switches it conserves energy and adds atmosphere. I added recessed lights to my living room which had no overhead lighting and I replaced outdated lighting fixtures with new contemporary designs.
Images: Joshua Deaner