If it's time to replace that dingy 1970s-era mantel, choose one with enough depth to let you display pictures or other decorations. If you buy a ready-made mantel, don't be afraid to paint it or add moldings. To quickly and easily rehabilitate your existing fireplace, a gas or wood-burning insert adds energy efficiency to your home -- without tearing apart your hearth and mantel.
Nothing delivers as much instant remodeling gratification -- and budget happiness -- as a fresh coat of paint color. Don't forget to prime, and use a low-VOC paint if you're unable to open a window in the early season.
Create a smooth transition between levels with a beautifully detailed staircase. Architectural salvage and reuse centers are hot spots for ideas and materials to replace your staircase railings ~ or you can just add color with a new paint job.
Create extra storage in a snap with bookcase or shelving kits that you assemble yourself. Try a cabinet and open-shelving combination for the perfect blend of storage and display space.
Rent a floor sander to remove scratches and scuffs from wood floors. You'll make multiple passes by using a finer-grit sandpaper before finally achieving a smooth, like-new surface. Finish by staining or sealing. Depending on the thickness of the top wood layer, some wood-ply floors may be refinished only a limited number of times, so take caution.
A few tiles can add new interest and drama to a kitchen backsplash. Because of the relatively small areas involved, such projects are perfect for do-it-yourselfers new to tiling. To stretch your budget, sprinkle a few high-dollar, high-impact accent tiles among lower-cost field tiles. Show off your handiwork with some low-voltage undercabinet lighting.
Pulls and knobs are like jewelry for your home. Accessorize your kitchen and bath with a new collection of cabinet hardware. Through home improvement centers, catalogs, online stores, and architectural salvage shops, you can match nearly any budget and look. Bonus: This is a fast fix with instant results.