Decorating Your Home: Do it Yourself Renovations

Decorating Your Home: Do it Yourself Renovations

Almost two -thirds of households in America live in a place they own. Owning a home is a central goal concerning the American dream and surveys show that about nine out of ten Americans achieve this goal during their lifetime.  However, the house that suffices for a newly married couple may not be big enough for a growing family.  It is then common for a family to look into moving into a bigger home.

They meet the needs of families of all sizes. For those wanting to spend less money, Zillow and Craigslist advertise beautiful older homes. For the families who need a larger place to live but are on a tighter budget, there is yet another alternative. Nowadays, more and more people are buying cheaper, older homes, with the goal to fix them cosmetically to their own taste. They buy the materials and do the work themselves.

Some of the best new construction projects currently in the works are in the city of Chicago.  Condominiums such as the Bentham Chicago are perfect for a larger family.   Other new construction sites are being built in Streeterville, one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Chicago.

Two of the main ways of redoing a home are through painting the home and changing the flooring. We’ll explore both here below!


Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to completely transform a house room by room.  It should be done before changing the flooring. Painting requires serious planning, but the result is definitely worth it! Some things to consider are:

  • Consider the gloss level. The shinier the gloss, the easier it is to clean. The kitchen and bathrooms should have a heavy gloss. Flatter paints work best for large walls and ceilings.
  • Darker colors require rooms with lots of windows and natural light, as they tend to make a room look smaller.
  • Lighter colors make a room look larger.
  • Complementary colors work well when adjacent rooms are open to each other. Two shades of the same color work well together. When crossing a barrier like a door, using bold contrast makes for a majestic look.
  • Choose colors that you love, but keep in mind that you may want to sell the house down the road.
  • Sponge painting gives the look of wallpaper without the intensive work involved in wallpapering.
  • Plan the budget. Choose mid to upper-grade paints. In addition to paint, be prepared to buy brushes, rollers, pans and tapes.

Zillow has come up with suggestions on which colors to choose and which ones to avoid.  For kitchens, light blue to soft gray work better than yellow. Blue/purple work better in bathrooms than white/cream color. Although many people choose light pink for a child’s room, light to cadet blue work better for bedrooms in general. Blue also gives a better look to a dining room as opposed to red or rust. Colors from the brown family; light beige, pale taupe or oatmeal, are easier on the eye than blue, gray, silver or periwinkle for the living room or den.


Everyone has their own idea of what makes for a beautiful floor, but there are other things to consider before making a final choice on flooring. Here are some flooring options based on looks, function, and lifestyle.

Main Bedrooms

Carpet is the most chosen flooring for the most private rooms in the house: the main bedrooms. Carpet dampens sound and feels softer than other floor coverings. Plush pile is more comfortable to walk on, while Berber gives a firmer feel underneath, making it easier to keep ones balance.

Guest Bedroom

Wood flooring or laminate can be a great alternative to carpet for the guest bedroom. Choosing a warm color works to give the room a cozy look. A premium underlayment gives the best sound reduction.

Kids Playroom

Safety and sound issues are the most important element for the children’s room. Carpet is the best choice for this. It cushions all falls and keeps the noise level to a minimum. Stain guard added to the carpet allows for stains to be cleaned up easily.


The entryway is a high traffic area. Ceramic tile works well in both looks and function. When dirt is brought in from the outside, it will clean easily.


Wood flooring and tiling are popular choices for the kitchen.  Vinyl sheet or tile is the easiest to keep clean but is not as pretty. Tom Jennings, technical advisor and former chairman of the world floor covering association, recommends cork for those who cook a lot. He shares that cork has a similar finish to laminate but has resiliency, which matters if you’re going to be on your feet a lot.  Cork is nonabsorbent and moisture proof and it will not burn. It comes in many patterns, making for a unique look.

Dining Room

The dining room is usually attached to the kitchen, so it makes sense to extend the flooring from the kitchen to the dining room.

Living Room/Den

Any flooring works well in a living room, but hard wood is timeless. Dark, rich colors exude a sense of elegance. If on a budget, laminate is an alternative to the real thing.


Laminate and hardwood floors, which absorb moisture, are not recommended for a bathroom. Carpet makes the floor difficult to keep clean. Neither ceramic tile or vinyl sheet/tile are affected by the moisture and humidity. Both are good choices.

Ideally, one would be able to buy a house exactly the way the owner would want it, be it new construction or other. Because of today’s economy, many people cannot have that, but people can fix the house the way they want it, by themselves.

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