My wife and I are not home improvement experts and, as a result, we really haven’t made that many changes to our house. However, our kids haven’t been using their playroom nearly as much as we anticipated and, because of that, we decided to turn it into the dining room she has always wanted. And, since entertaining guests in a new dining area wouldn’t mean that much if the kitchen didn’t at least compliment it, we, at the same time, are doing some remodeling in there too.
The biggest problem we had with our re-design plans was money. We both work. But, most of the money we make goes toward bills and we are left with a pretty limited budget that required us to keep the costs down. However, thanks to three major steps, we were able to do this and will be able to complete both rooms for less than $1,000 total.
The first thing we did was use shelves instead of cupboards. When we first started out with this, we wanted to add additional cupboards to our kitchen. But, we discovered they were much more expensive than we could afford and, mostly because of our limited expertise, we were also concerned we would have to hire someone to help us install them properly.
As a result, instead of cupboards, we put in shelves. We have a cabinet-like pantry we purchased for around $150 and use that for our canned goods and dry foods. But, the shelves work great for decorative glasses and even some of our cookware. The material for the shelves cost us only about $40.
Another thing we did was re-purpose items. In order to create some space in our kitchen, we removed one of our counter tops (we replaced it with a bargain-priced island instead). However, instead of getting rid of it completely, we moved it into the dining room. This gave us a nice serving area in there plus a work space for my wife’s sewing and other projects. Keeping the counter (and, more specifically, the cupboards underneath it), also gave us additional storage space.
In addition to that, we took apart an old wooden television stand that had been collecting dust in a corner and used the wood for some of our shelves and to create a stool for a corner breakfast nook in the kitchen. This, along with re-using the counter top, saved us hundreds of dollars.
Last, we decided not to be picky about flooring. When we first started this job, we decided we wanted to go with hardwood floors. Then, after getting over the initial sticker shock from that, decided the type of floor didn’t really matter all that much as long as it looked decent. We ended up buying wood-colored vinyl tiles (from Family Dollar of all places) and the result was flooring that isn’t bad to look at, is easy to maintain and cost us about $100 per room. Long term, we might ultimately go with the more expensive flooring. But, short-term, this proved to be a great choice.
As I said before, we aren’t home improvement experts and are a bit limited when it comes to things we can do to improve our house. However, by taking these steps, we will have a beautiful kitchen and dining room, did not have to hire an outside contractor and kept the overall cost well within our budget.