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5 Easy Home Improvement Ideas Approved by an Expert Home Renovator

5 Easy Home Improvement Ideas Approved by an Expert Home Renovator

The process of making a home your own doesn’t end when you sign the deed. In fact, that’s when the process really starts.

A house becomes your home once you customize it to your individual, distinctive taste and lifestyle. Home improvement projects can bring satisfaction to homeowners at all stages of the game: whether they just bought the house, have lived there for quite some time, want to increase its resale value, winter is coming, or they just want to be creative.

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Whatever the reason for the upgrade, one of the most important first steps is to take a good look at your bank account.

It’s important to resist the impulse to dive into a long list of home improvement projects. I spoke with a design-build contractor, Aquarian Renovations, a company that specializes in custom homes, to create a list of aesthetic fixes and budget-friendly overhauls for your home.

Here are the best home makeover tips plus clever hacks and ideas from this expert home renovator and increase the functionality, value, and happiness quotient of your home.

1. Start with your Door

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    Because first impressions matter, invest in enhancing the look of your entrance. Your door can make or break the look of your house. If you really want to convey a welcoming vibe to your guests, remake the exterior of your house to keep your visitors intrigued of what else the inside has to offer.

    • Consider purchasing a new front door with a vivid color and contemporary fittings or locks.
    • On the other hand, a solid door in good condition only needs little DIY fixes like a new paint color or switching out a new handle or knob.
    • For a more inviting look, spruce up the porch with potted plants, a welcome mat, stylish new house numbers, and outdoor lighting to highlight the beauty of your walkway.

     2. Brighten up with Lighting

      A simple tip from our expert is to use lighting to make any room look bigger and warmer.

      • To create a brighter and happier space, ditch your old lighting fixtures for new, modern lamps and energy-efficient bulbs.
      • A fresh light fixture over your dining table is a surefire way to brighten up mealtimes. As a safety precaution, turn off the power from the breaker box before connecting any electrical wires.
      • Update your existing fixtures to match your decor. You can spray paint your old chandelier or the blades of a ceiling fan to breathe new life to them.
      • To achieve the feel of a designer home, you can install a dimmer switch or cord to add more accent and versatility to your rooms without having to buy more light bulbs. You can use incandescent bulbs or fluorescent light with dimmable bulbs. By adjusting the slide switch, you can get the perfect warm ambient lighting you want every time.

       3. Power up with Paint

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        There is more to painting your walls than just covering them with thick layers of colors. Whether you go for paint or paper, changing the color of your room can also change its appearance.

        • No matter how small a space is, when you focus your home improvement plans on the walls, you can create an illusion of a wider and bigger room.
        • No room is old nor drab when you choose a paint color that adds a burst of brilliant depth to it. If you opt to go for a bold tint, use it to paint just one wall in a room. Aside from the fact that it’s less costly, it’s also a quick fix compared to painting the entire room.
        • If you go for a faux finish or a decorative wallpaper, a small room is a good place to experiment with fun patterns and designs. Self-adhesive wallpapers work like an easy-to-apply sticker, where you can peel the paper off its back and stick directly to the wall.

         4. Make a Statement with the Flooring

          Give your eyes a reason not only to focus on what’s up on the walls, but also to look down underfoot. Quality flooring drastically changes the overall look of a room – much like your walls.

          • Those hardwood floors hidden under the carpet are nothing but beauty concealed in a dark cave. Let them shine to bring out their natural appeal.
          • Meanwhile, hardwood floors that are not in good condition require refinishing. If you have the money, it wouldn’t hurt to invest on good sanding or refinishing.
          • For more eco-friendly and affordable options, choose bamboo or cork. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can easily update the floor space using the ever-dependable home makeover partner – paint.
          • If it’s time that’s keeping you from updating your flooring, start with an easy, fast fix that’s also decorative, like sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles. These will also make your space look better and can hold up to heavy use.
          • One nice-to-know tip if you’re annoyed with the squeaking sound from floors of old homes is to sprinkle on talcum powder and sweep it into the cracks to stop those creaking floors.

          5. Spice up your Window Treatments

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            Although you might not want to cover up the natural light coming in through your windows, windows are worth your attention when it comes to home improvement. Windows can make your home more energy efficient which, in return, can help save you dollars off your electric bills.

            • If you’re planning to build a new house, consider placing a window that does not face the winter winds.
            • If you don’t want to use blinds or curtains, you can just install shades in the form of window films. These act like room sunglasses and are an inexpensive way to make your home energy-efficient. At the same time, it gives you more privacy and stylish opacities and patterns.

            Featured photo credit: Yellow door, Turned on black torchiere lamp, Black paint roller, Person in black shoes on deck, Caribbean architecture door via Pexels

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            Last Updated on August 15, 2018

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

            Video Summary

            Why is it important to train up our core strength?

            There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

            This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

            Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

            In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

            One Exercise, multiple benefits

            There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

            By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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            When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

            Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

            In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

            What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

            What will happen when you start doing planks every day

              1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

              Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

              • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
              • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
              • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
              • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

              2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                  Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                  4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                    Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                    A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                    A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                    On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                    5. You’ll improve overall balance

                      Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                      6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                        Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                        7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                          Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                          How to hold a plank position

                          1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                          2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                          3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                          4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                          5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                          6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                          7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                          Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                          Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                            How to improve your plank time gradually

                            1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                            2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                            3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                            Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                            Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                            You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                            • Prolapse
                            • After prolapse surgery
                            • Pelvic pain conditions
                            • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                            • Previous childbirth
                            • Overweight

                            Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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