Keeping it Green at Home

Upgrade Your Home for Little Money

For many, the thought of home improvements can bring about worry. Between costly and lengthy projects, updates can often seem like they’re not worth the hassle. But not to fear! These cost-effective home upgrades can easily be done by yourself and can also increase the overall value of your home—a definite win-win!

Paint the kitchen cabinets.
New cabinets are costly. But a few coats of paint can transform both your cabinets and the kitchen itself for less than half of the cost. Simply remove the doors and hardware, sand, and paint a color of your choice.

Replace hardware.
Weathered cabinet handles can drastically age your home. Swap out the hardware in the kitchen and bathroom for modern knobs and handles. Your local hardware store will have a variety to select from.

Update light switch plates.
Did you know that you can replace a light switch plate for less than one dollar? You can even take it one step further by painting them the same color as your walls.

Add moldings to walls.
As long as you have the proper tools, DIY molding is relatively simple. You can choose from two popular types—crown molding and panel molding—each will give your house an elegant ambience.

Give the outside of your home a facelift and increase curb appeal.
A pop of color can take the outside of your house from drab to fab. Easy do-it-yourself projects like repainting your front door, adding new shutters, and planting bright flowers in window boxes can add a welcoming effect. Updates like adding trim to flower beds, modernizing outdoor light fixtures, and repainting your mailbox will not only be easy on the eyes, but will also increase the overall curb appeal.

Revamp indoor light fixtures.
Instead of spending your money on a brand new fixture, consider giving your current one a makeover. Transform the fixture cover either by adding a fresh layer of high-heat paint or replacing the glass.

Repaint walls with neutral colors.
Although bright colors are fun, a neutral palette can make your home feel more clean and act as a blank canvas. Try to stick to timeless colors—cream, gray, and tan.

Frame your bathroom mirror.
Does your bathroom have a plain plate-glass mirror? Adding decorative baseboard trim around it can make a world of difference.

Hang curtains high and wide.
Help a small window out! Hanging drapes high and wide will give the illusion of a larger window, along with making the room more spacious.

Add visible storage.
Is there anything better than extra storage without having to open either a door or cabinet? Floating shelves are both a simple and aesthetically pleasing solution.

Give your air grilles a fresh look.
Since a return air vent is a necessity, why not make it look its best? With just a quick trip to your hardware store for a can of paint, you’re able to transform an eyesore into something that’s worth looking at.

Brighten Up Your Dark Space

Have friends and family compared your home to a bat cave? If it seems like no matter what you do you just can’t seem to make your space feel like anything but a dungeon, there are a few steps you can take to illuminate both your interior and exterior, and up the value of your home in the process.


Mirror, mirror
The power of reflection can make all the difference in a home that gets very minimal sunlight throughout the day. Identify the areas where light peeks through, and place mirrors on an opposite wall so the light can bounce around the room. You might think this tactic would create an annoying distraction (or cause temporary blindness) but you’d be surprised at the maximum amount of brightness you can generate. And don’t just stop at one. Mirrors can add a touch of elegance and charm to any room, so experiment with a gallery wall of mirrors or one large piece over furniture to really make a statement.


Shine a light
When it comes to brightening up the outside of your home, it doesn’t take that much effort. Sometimes a single light is all you need! Have a tree in your yard that stands out? Try placing a spotlight behind it to illuminate and make it stand out even further. Spotlights also look wonderful when thoughtfully-placed in the front of a home to give your space a charming glow and add instant curb appeal. However, if you aren’t a fan of the spotlight approach, lining walkways with ground lights (you can even get solar-powered ones to save energy) will also do the trick.


Bigger is better
Even if you aren’t a fan of huge, crystal chandeliers—or don’t want to dish out the time and money to install them—your space could likely benefit from a few carefully-placed light fixtures. The majority of homes are actually significantly under-lit, so installing larger lights or adding light to areas that feel particularly dark can make a huge difference. Also, be wary of how long your bulbs are intended to last. Even if a bulb hasn’t burned out completely, it will fade overtime. If your fixtures are all full of dull bulbs, they might as well not be turned on at all.


Throw away the shade
If your design scheme leans toward darker, richer colors but you’re tired of living in darkness, it might be time to reevaluate. This is not to say you have to completely throw away your personal style, but room darkening shades and deep paint colors could make a glass house feel dim. Swap out shades for breezy linens and brighter hues that are guaranteed to reflect the light coming in, not absorb it. Believe it or not, this shift can make your home look brighter from the outside, too.

Ready to let in the light? Follow these tips for brightening your home and you’ll see a change almost instantly!