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Home DIY: Indoors and out

Here are some more inexpensive ways to create a bedroom retreat, improve the “heart of the home,” and add to your living space outdoors.

Create a no-stress zone: The master bedroom

The easiest, least expensive way to transform a bedroom is with a coat of paint. It can transform a space.

Which color to choose? That’s often the first and most important question when it comes to paint, and there is a definitive answer, according to the experts.

Gray is the new neutral, according to the National Association of Realtors. It says gray is “here to stay,” the way beige was for years.

Other quick, inexpensive bedroom projects:

  • Curtains: An update here can change the feel of a room.
  • Artwork: This is an easy update that personalizes the room for you.

Enhance the heart of a home: the kitchen

“Open, open, open,” says Julie Griggs of the trend in kitchens—always one of the top two rooms for remodeling. “The open floor plan is continuing with kitchens opening up to family rooms and great rooms. There is less emphasis on formal dining rooms, and having a hearth room is a nice touch,” she says. “The idea is that the family can be together—doing homework, preparing and eating meals, entertaining. Even in a big house, everyone seems to gather in the kitchen, so it makes sense for that space to be as inviting as possible.”

Other kitchen trends, she says, include less emphasis on the number of cabinets and more on kitchen islands with drawers to store big items.

Griggs is president of Griggs Homes Inc. in Lexington, an all-female design/build firm. She says women tend to make most of the design decisions during a remodel, and appreciate the care for detail in their homes and the relationships that form with her project managers and designers during a project.

A total kitchen remodel can be pricey—in the $50,000-80,000 and up range—but there are many inexpensive to moderately expensive ways to update your kitchen, from changing cabinet knobs (one of the fastest ways to make an impact) to replacing the countertop—granite and quartz remain the top two favorites, followed by concrete and other natural materials such as soapstone.

Griggs says a change in paint color or a new light fixture can have a big impact, too.

Other inexpensive projects:

  • Add a backsplash.
  • Replace the faucet and sink—chrome, stainless, and oil-rubbed bronze remain popular; polished nickel and brass/goldtones are becoming popular.
  • Add under-cabinet lighting.
  • Change a dated light fixture.
  • Replace worn-out appliances—black stainless or graphite are the newest finishes.
  • Replace countertops.

Expand your living space

A deck can give you extra space to eat, socialize, and simply enjoy being outdoors.

Bowling Green-area remodeler Rob Jones constructs a lot of decks. He says you can add bar railing to a smaller deck to give it a more interesting design.

Roger Moore, owner of Moore Construction in Grayson, which is served by Grayson RECC, says the most popular railing material is wood because it is less expensive, but he also does some vinyl-clad aluminum.

Projects

  • Add a deck railing bar where families can eat on the deck and enjoy the outdoors without a lot of furniture needed.
  • Replace old wood railing with modern, decorative rails, or vinyl-clad aluminum ones that require less maintenance than wood.
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