2020 is here – another new year with new possibilities.

Most of us see the beginning of a new year as a clean slate – a chance to make positive changes to our current lifestyle and reach our personal goals.

Perhaps you’ve already started ticking off New Year’s resolutions from your list: being more active, following a healthier diet, and maybe even quitting your smoking habit.

As you focus on your goals, though, don’t forget your environment. One of the best ways to get invigorated in the New Year is to give your home a face lift. After all, you spend a lot of time in your house—so why not change it up a bit to keep pace with other changes you’re making this year.

If you’re hesitant to take on home improvements due to budget constraints, then it’s time to reconsider your options. There are plenty of ways to spruce up your living space without breaking the bank.

So, without further ado, here are 3 simple, cost-effective renovations that will not only improve your home’s appeal, but also increase its value:

1. Update Your Front Door

Update Your Front Door

(Image: Flickr / Philip Whear)

The exterior of your home makes that all-important first impression, and few things can increase your curb appeal as much as updating your front door. If you’re not ready to replace it with a new one, you can give it new life by adding a fresh coat of paint. Just follow these easy steps below:

Step 1: Pick your color

If you want to make a statement, then bright and bold colors are the way to go. Just imagine how many heads will turn to look at your new red, yellow, or turquoise door.

Step 2: Remove hardware such as locks and knobs

Though you can use painter’s tape and paint around them, the best approach is to remove them. That way, you’ll be able to paint the entire surface of the door without missing spaces around the hardware—or accidentally painting the locks and knobs.

Step 3: Prep the surface

The details of this step will depend on the current finish of the door. If it still has a layer of varnish or old paint, you’ll need to sand it down. Ensure that you’re left with a rough enough surface for the primer to adhere to, but also that there are no loose pieces of paint or splinters sticking out. Once you’re done, remove all dust and other particles with a dry cloth.

Step 4: Apply a priming coat

Before you paint your desired color, it’s important that you apply a primer. This will prevent staining and ensure that the new paint adheres better. The color of your primer will depend on your choice of topcoat, so be sure to ask your paint supplier for advice. Once you’ve applied the primer, allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Step 5: Apply your paint

Now that your primer is dry, you can start painting your door. Begin by using a smaller brush to paint the trim details and edges first. After that, you can use a high-density foam roller to apply a smooth, consistent base coat across the flat surfaces of the door. Then, apply your final coat with a larger paintbrush to give it that personal touch. Allow drying time as prescribed by the manufacturer.

Step 6: Re-attach the hardware

Once your door has completely dried, you can re-attach the old knobs and locks or replace them with new ones. This is also a great opportunity to add a door knocker if you don’t already have one.

2. Give Brass Fixtures an Antique Look

Give Brass Fixtures an Antique Look

(Image: Flickr / spstyle)

A popular trend among homeowners these days is antique-looking brass fixtures. By aging all the brass fixtures in your home, you can bring it up to date and increase the appeal of your entire interior. Though there are ways to achieve this with everyday household items, the quickest and easiest way is to purchase an antiquing solution and follow the steps below.

Step 1: Ensure that the fixture is brass

Before you start aging your brass fixtures, you should make sure that they’re authentic. Other metals are often used to create brass-looking objects, but they may corrode if the wrong treatment is used to age them.

Use a small magnet to conduct this test. If it sticks to the object firmly, then chances are that it’s not made from solid brass. Because authentic brass is only slightly magnetic, it should only respond to a more powerful magnet.

Step 2: Prepare the surface

If the brass is protected by a lacquer finish, remove it by applying nail polish remover that contains acetone. You can also use paint remover or methyl alcohol to get this job done. Once the lacquer has been stripped off, rinse the object with hot water and use a hair dryer to remove excess moisture.

Step 3: Follow the correct safety measures

Brass darkening solutions usually contain chemicals that can be harmful if they come into contact with your eyes and skin. Make sure to put on your rubber gloves and safety goggles and ensure that the room has good ventilation.

Step 4: Read the instructions

The application process will vary across different manufacturers, so be sure to read the instructions carefully before you continue. Some solutions can be used as-is, while others may need to be diluted first.

Step 5: Soak the entire fixture

Place your aging mixture in a ceramic container to ensure that it won’t be affected by the acids in the solution. Place the object in the solution and ensure that it is entirely submerged. Move the brass fixture back and forth to get rid of any air bubbles.

Step 6: Rinse and dry

Once the desired color is reached, remove the object and rinse it with hot water. Use a soft cloth to buff it dry. Keep in mind that some of the color may still rub off.

Step 7: Apply a finishing treatment

To preserve the new color of the brass, apply a layer of lacquer or wax – especially if the object will be handled frequently.

3. Low-Cost Landscaping

Low-Cost Landscaping

(Courtesy of decorathing.com)

A beautiful garden is not only nice to look at, it’s also a great investment that boosts your property value. Keep it interesting by adding a few colorful plants and shrubs that are native to your region.

You can also create a low-cost garden feature using succulents. These plants are water-conserving, so they’ll also save you some time and money in the long run. You can go crazy with creativity on this one, but here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Replace the water in your garden fountain with succulent plants.
  • Mount a few small potted plants to a wall in your backyard.
  • Grow a few succulents in an old birdcage and hang it from a tree in your garden.

Conclusion

And if you do have a little extra cash to play with this year, consider upgrading your kitchen and bathroom countertops to strong, durable materials such as granite. Granite makes for a beautiful and long-lasting investment and it may be more affordable than you think.