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Weekend Warrior Projects That Will Bring Your Home Into the Twenty-first Century

Our fireplace is a slowly evolving work in progress. It's not quite there yet, but we're headed in the right direction. For a before shot keep scrolling. Also, just realized the TV isn't as centered as I thought it was...

Our homes here in Fountainwood may have been built back in the 70's, but that doesn't mean they have to stay there. I know it can be tempting to leave well enough alone, "if it ain't broke don't fix it", right? This mentality may be great for your wallet, but it can leave your home feeling dated and uninspired. So if you are someone who is feeling the renovating itch but you want to keep it simple and thrifty, here are some small changes that pack a powerful punch. We reached out to professional designer Mari Deno of 8 Day Design for her top DIY projects that'll have your home looking sleek and chic by the end of the week!

  • Paint. You knew this was going to be on the list. What else can change a space faster than a fresh coat of paint? Nothing. Want new cabinets but can't afford a kitchen remodel at the moment? Get out your paint brush. Hate your front door? Paint it. Stair banister looking rough? Paint. Tired of your rock know that's right. It's inexpensive and easy to do, all you need is a weekend locked away in your home, a little manual labor, some vision, and the possibilities are endless.

"Painting will change your life. It provides the biggest bang for your buck and it is something you can easily do yourself. Apply a fresh coat of paint to kitchen and bathroom cabinets, add new hardware, and see these spaces instantly revitalized." -Mari

As promised, the before picture of our fireplace

  • Change out the hardware on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Hardware is a relatively inexpensive way to keep up with the current trends without having to make major, more costly changes to your home. Tie in your bathroom with your kitchen for a cohesive look throughout your home by using the same or complimentary hardware.

"Kitchens and bathrooms are some of the most used and important spaces in our homes. I always recommend starting renovation projects here, it'll make the biggest impact on your day to day life." -Mari

  • Change out bathroom mirrors. As per Mari, mirrors with a thin iron frame are so in right now, chunky frames are out. You know what else is out? The signature 70's 180 degree mirror situation many of our homes here in Fountainwood are sporting. Yes, the bathrooms in my home are still suffering from these awful, mind bending inception mirrors. They are nice for when you want to see what the back of your head looks like, but...indeed, my next major reno project will be the bathrooms. Stores like HomeGoods often have great mirrors at bargain prices if you're not picky, but if you have a specific look in mind stores like Lamps Plus or Living Spaces have vast collections and the newest styles.

The 70's called, couldn't answer because I couldn't find my way out of the bathroom mirror

  • Replace interior doorknobs. Find a style that ties in with the rest of your home and grab the screw driver. This is a smaller change, the impact of which may not be quite as noticeable as our other suggestions, but you won't regret it. Those original gold knobs have got to go.


Update old light fixtures and ceiling fans. Consult with an electrician before starting on this one. I am a firm believer that updating your lighting fixtures is one of the very best things you can do to inexpensively update and add value to your home. Our home was original everything when we moved in five years ago. We are in the two story model, so the foyer chandelier makes an important first impression for the rest of the home. We switched the old one out for a simple black metal lantern style, and replaced the dining room chandelier with a similar look. Again, Lamps Plus is a great place to kick off your light fixture shopping. I promise I don't have any secret vested interests with them, they just have a huge selection of fixtures and a great clearance section so I shop there frequently for work and personal life. We picked up our entry way chandelier for just $200 and I love it, it is exactly the look I wanted and it has single handedly changed the feel of our foyer from drab and dated to fresh and modern.

The evolution of our chandeliers

It is important to remember that at one point in time these older chandeliers were the in look. Unfortunately for them, unlike Dolly Parton not all things age well. It was time to move on.

Our homes are our sanctuary, and I know you will find more peace and happiness with yours as you do these little projects to freshen it up. Far too many people wait until they are preparing to sell to update, but you deserve to live in a light and modern home too, so don't put it off! Good luck with those projects!

We would love to feature some of your home renovations! Let's share ideas and inspiration. If you've done a remodel and have the before photos to prove it, send us an email at

Written by:

Jessica Carter, REALTOR DRE#01490419


Amanda Runge, little sister and head writer of this fine blog

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