In this photo, the wallpaper is paint, and the microwave counter used to be an IKEA bookcase door.
Looking at the local real estate ads, it’s easy to see how people keep it simple and boring. Ripping out antique kitchens is common. Panel and plaster walls are replaced with drywall. No old sinks need apply. Everything must look new.
Find opportunities to use what you have when updating your home
When we rip that old stuff out, we are adding more waste to an overburdened environment. We spend more money and cause needless energy loss by manufacturing and shipping unnecessary products. Taking a step back and rethinking design with more reuse can save us money while increasing style and charm.
My current home renovation has an extremely modest budget. I’ve recycled materials I already have and lowered labor costs by learning new skills on YouTube. Originally, I planned to rip out the stainless kitchen sink and put in a new one. But by banging out a dent with a hammer, I saved hundreds of dollars in labor and materials.
In the upstairs bathroom I also reconsidered replacing the vanity. It was missing a drawer, and the area around the drain was stained and showed some wear. Paint, nail polish and a wood scrap did the trick and saved me from purchasing a vanity and hiring a plumber.
Many people see discolored or bumpy walls and think they need to repaint and re-plaster everything. But often it’s not at all necessary. The wallpaper you see in these photos has been painted on top of existing surfaces.
Some inexpensive materials can improve your project
Gorilla glue is amazingly strong. It dries in 2 hours and works better if you use a clamp to hold materials in place. If part of your sink base is rotted, you can cut it out, and replace it with new wood. Nail polish can be used for designs on wet areas like the bathroom sink. But it does need to be renewed once or twice a year. For flooring and stair treads, you might consider ¼ inch 4 x 10 recycled rubber gym mats. Walmart has a good selection of acrylic paints in their crafts section including iridescent and metallic colors. A small container can go a long way. Make it work :)!
by Linda Kaidan