Create Space with These Simple Summer Home Renovations
After a prolonged economic slump, according to an article on Forbes.com, home improvement projects are back in a big way. The second annual Houzz & Home survey gathered responses from more than 100,000 Americans who reported that this will be the year renovations make a comeback. The trend is driven by people staying in their homes longer and needing more space or to redefine the space they currently have.
If you’re among the growing number of folks who want to spruce up their digs and eliminate clutter in the process, you’ll be happy to hear it doesn’t have to mean a major remodel, costing tens of thousands of dollars. There are lots of simple projects you can do yourself or hire out on a budget.
Kitchen Space Makers
If the budget doesn’t permit a total remodel, there are several small renovations that can make a big difference. On the pricier-but-won’t-break-the-bank side is the addition of a kitchen island. It adds surface space for food prep and service, as well as extra storage room to keep seldom-used equipment handy but off the countertops and out of sight. If your kitchen is ample, BobVila.com writer Rebecca Thienes Cherny says, “Chicago-based kitchen designer Rebekah Zaveloff of KitchenLab believes two kitchen islands are better than one…. While one island acts as a workhouse, housing a sink and faucet and offering ample work space, the other allows family and guests to sit and stay awhile.”
On a smaller, do-it-yourself scale, Remodelholic.com suggests the following clever kitchen projects to increase storage space and decrease clutter:
- Make use of the wasted space between your refrigerator and wall with a narrow, roll-out shelf to hold canned goods.
- Replace the false-drawer fronts on kitchen cabinets with tilt-out storage bins.
- Use inexpensive café curtain tension rods to make vertical dividers in cabinets to keep baking sheets and pan lids upright.
Check out websites and storage specialty stores for other easy-to-install space savers, such as in-drawer inserts and freestanding dividers that let you stack plates and glassware.
Bathroom Bonus Space
Whether your bathroom is big or small, chances are you can always use more storage space. Farima Alavi of HGTV.com suggests these great ideas.
- Make use of vertical space and add wall cabinets or shelving. If you’re on a tight budget, wooden fruit crates can be painted and hung on walls for a clever, inexpensive storage solution.
- Install peg rails around the perimeter of the bathroom for hanging towels.
- Put a homemade skirt around a pedestal sink to stow toilet paper and other supplies.
- If you have room, consider a built-in storage tower or a free-standing storage shelf.
- For a more dramatic (and more costly) solution, have a carpenter create storage niches over your vanity using the space between wall joists.
If you have absolutely no money to spend, consider turning an unused tub or shower stall into closet space. Just put up a pretty shower curtain on a tension rod, and you’ve found several cubic feet of free storage.
For many people, simply cleaning out the garage (or attic or basement) can be a major project that, once done, yields vast amounts of storage possibilities. HouseBeautiful.com writer Christine Pittel documents the garage makeover of Annie Selke, who turned an ugly, cluttered space into a functional home office and storage room. Solutions included:
- A track-channel, wall-storage system that enables the hanging of brooms, mops, rakes, bicycles and baskets for random items
- Tall cabinets that take advantage of vertical space
- Wheeled cabinets for flexible storage.
Shelterness.com offers 55 bright ideas to make use of overlooked storage space in mudrooms and hallways, including
- Creating storage cubbies in the joists under stairways
- Adding a built-in or freestanding storage bench
- Installing shelving and hooks.
Luxe Laundry Rooms
Many newer homes now include a dedicated laundry room. With a few inexpensive additions, you can make this space more functional and better organized according to Hubpages.com contributor Linda Cee.
- Add a folding station. This can be a simple board that drops down on a hinge and folds up to the wall when not in use.
- Install a bank of shelves or upper cabinets for storing laundry products.
- Install pullout hampers under the counter, designating one hamper for colors, one for whites and one for delicate items.
- Hang a wall-mounted drying rack for delicate items.
- Install a wall-mounted ironing board; instead of a clunky floor-standing model, you’ll have a board that stows away neatly when you don’t need it. Some models include shelving to hold your iron and ironing supplies as well.
With a little elbow grease and a bit of imagination, you can find or create additional storage space without breaking the bank.
If, after renovating your home, you still find yourself with insufficient space, find a storage facility near you to store infrequently needed items. Good luck with your summer home renovations!
 Houzz, contributor to Forbes.com, “Home Improvement Projects are on the Rise,” Forbes.com, http://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2013/04/10/home-improvement-projects-are-on-the-rise/
 Rebecca Thienes Cherny, “12 Outstanding Kitchen Island Options,” BobVila.com, http://www.bobvila.com/seeing-double/11977-12-outstanding-kitchen-island-options/slideshows
 Farima Alavi, “12 Clever Bathroom Storage Ideas,” HGTV.com, http://wwwhgtv.com/bathrooms/12-clever-bathroom-storage-ideas/pictures/index.html
 Christine Pittel, “Home Makeover Part 8: Annie Selke’s Garage,” HouseBeautiful.com, http://housebeautiful.com/decorating/home-makeovers/garage-makeovers-design-1010#slide-1
 Shelterness, “55 Mudroom and Hallway Storage Ideas,” Shelterness.com, http://www.shelterness.com/55-mudroom-and-hallway-storage-ideas/
 Linda Cee, “Ideas to Renovate the Laundry Room,” HubPages.com, http://www.hubpages.com/hub/ideas-to-renovate-laundry-rooms