Acrylic urethane has many properties that make it a perfect primer for cabinets. First, it sticks tenaciously to almost any surface. You could even paint over plastic laminate cabinets with acrylic urethane. Acrylic urethane also cures to a very hard and durable finish. You can use acrylic urethane primer and cover it with your choice of paint. Or you can use acrylic urethane paint as the final coat too. Insl-X Cabinet Coat (not shown) is one brand of acrylic urethane paint formulated for cabinets.
Custom framing, sewing, upholstering and other skilled labor can add a bundle to the bottom line. Instead, stick with stock items whenever you can: Buy off-the-shelf frames and mats, and trim non-valuable art prints to fit them. Buy standard blinds that are a bit larger than your windows and mount them outside the frames. Snap up stock cabinets and finish them with moldings for a custom look. Order that sofa in a neutral, ready-to-ship fabric and use the money you save to splurge on colorful throw pillows.
Look at your countertops next. “Limited counter space is always problematic in tiny bathrooms,” Maykut says. Often, you're left with nowhere to set a cup of tea or lay down your curling iron. One creative solution for gaining space is choosing a custom countertop. While most bathroom configurations place the vanity next to the commode, Maykut suggests “extending a narrow ledge of countertop along the wall behind the toilet.” This otherwise wasted space is just right for a supply of tissues or an assortment of toiletries.
If you want to upgrade your kitchen without spending a lot of money, knowing how to paint kitchen cabinets is the perfect DIY solution. New types of water-based cabinet paint like acrylic alkyds and acrylic urethanes have made it much easier to get a durable, professional-looking job. These finishes can be cleaned up with water and don’t make your house smell like a chemical factory. And quality tools like mini rollers and good consumer-grade sprayers allow even beginners to get pro results.
Before you even call a remodeling company for your bathroom remodel, you should first talk with everyone who will be using the space. Try to have a discussion about the fixtures and finishes you are supposed to use and how much of a budget you’re willing to shell out. As you plan for your budget, it’s important to have a little extra, because you never know if there will be some unexpected problems that will increase the cost later on.
Unfortunately, when it comes to bathroom remodeling, a lot of homeowners tend to neglect this aspect. What they are not aware of is the fact that proper ventilation is very important, especially if you want to ensure that your bathroom renovation project lasts for years to come. A bathroom that’s not properly ventilated could contribute to a number of problems, such as the buildup of mold and mildew. This could wreak havoc and ruin some of the expensive upgrades made in the new bathroom remodel, such as the floors, walls, and even the cabinetry.
Pros take a "load and go" approach to painting. They load the bottom 1-1/2 inches of their brushes with paint, tap each side against the inside of their container to knock off the heavy drips, and then start painting. By contrast, homeowners often take a "load and dump" approach of dragging the loaded brush along the sides of their container and wiping off most of the paint. "It doesn't do you any good to dunk your brush in paint, then immediately wipe it all off," a 16-year veteran painter says.
Knocking down may not be as costly as rebuilding, but you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself—as long as you proceed with care. "If a homeowner wants to demo a deck, well, I am sure they can handle that," says Michael Winn, owner of Winn Design, in Virginia. "But when it comes to interior spaces, I would dissuade them from doing it unless they have done it before." The reason: A reckless wrecker might unwittingly take out a load-bearing wall or, worse still, plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing. (For tips on how to do demo right, see our October 2005 feature, "Before You Construct, You Have to Destruct.")