Remodeling tips for every room in the house

Terence Loose

Are you ready to remodel your house, but not quite sure which projects will be most beneficial?

Not to worry, a few minor renovations can have major impact.

"I think there are simple things you can do in each room to make your home feel and look more modern, as well as give you a better lifestyle," says Lisa McDennon, an award-winning interior designer in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Want to give your home a sleeker and simpler look? Check out this list of home improvement projects to spruce up every room in your house.

Room #1 - The Bathroom

Ever been to a cocktail party and heard, "Have you been in the bathroom? It's marvelous." Yep, people notice. And if your bathroom is leaving you with more of a "meh" feeling, there are a few things you can do about it.

Bathtub Refacing: Is your porcelain bathtub looking more yellow, stained, and grimy than you would like? If so, you might consider refacing your bathtub, which is essentially the process of recoating your old tub with any number of bonding and coloring agents to give it that new-tub look.

It's a great alternative to replacing a bathtub as it saves time and money.

New Floors: What goes along well with a new tub finish? A sleek and shiny new floor. Of course, you'll want to choose a new floor based on more than just looks.

[Planning to remodel your bathroom? Click to find the right contractor now.]

In fact, one important feature to think about is the floor's slip-resistant factor.

"Watch slip factors on flooring materials," says McDennon. "You can contact the manufacturer and get all the specifications on the slip factor."

Room #2 - The Kitchen

It's the gathering place in many homes - for parties, dinner, and that morning coffee. But too many times, the kitchen can be more oppressive than impressive. So here are a few ways to bring new life to the heart of your home.

New Countertops: McDennon says that replacing your countertops is a great way to reinvent your kitchen with a relatively inexpensive budget.

And if this is something you're considering, McDennon suggests focusing on the thickness and the design of the countertop. For a contemporary look, for example, she advises sticking with a clean square edge. On the other hand, "If your kitchen is traditional, the sky's the limit. You can really play around with different edge profiles and details."

[Planning to install new countertops? Click to find the right contractor now.]

Cabinet Refacing: As with resurfacing your bathtub, refacing your cabinets - instead of replacing them - can really save a lot of time and money, says McDennon. Refacing usually includes replacing all the doors and drawers, while keeping the underlying structure.

By doing this, the aesthetics of your kitchen can change dramatically. "A good reface can make a huge difference, even without new countertops," says McDennon.

To top it off, McDennon says cabinet refacing can be installed in just days.

Room #3 - The Bedroom

Sure, you're mostly sleeping and dreaming when you're in the bedroom, but that doesn't mean it can't be dreamy while you're awake. That's why you should consider these two projects to help make your bedroom more exciting to the wakeful eye.

New Flooring: Think of floors as the foundation of any great room. It creates an ambiance for the bedroom and dictates the type furniture that will adorn it, says McDennon. And when it comes to flooring, there is one big decision to make: whether to go dark or light.

To help you decide, here's some insight from McDennon: With dark wood floors, "Every little thing shows up on it: dust, dog hair, lent, scratches. You will have to sweep and dust and mop every day." When it comes to carpet, however, a lighter color is more inclined to show stains.

So, if you're not a fan of cleaning floors, you may want to go with a light wood or a patterned, dark carpet.

[Want to install new floors? Click to find the right contractor now.]

New Bedding: Your bed is likely the biggest piece of furniture in your bedroom, and the way it's dressed is a major factor in the look and feel of the room.

So, what's one quick way to give your bedroom a facelift? New bedding.

To get started, McDennon says to first coordinate your bedding with your window coverings. That will tie the room together.

Second, consider making a custom duvet, because off-the-rack duvets and bedspreads don't always fit your bed, says McDennon. She adds that they're not much more expensive either, considering how much of a design difference it will make.

Room #4 - The Family Room

Family rooms, living rooms, great rooms...whatever you call them, you want them to resemble the place of sanctuary they're designed to be. Here are a few tips to get to that level:

Update Your Lighting: "Lighting makes or breaks a room. That's why I think it's important to mix up different types of lighting and have fun playing with it," McDennon says.

Her recommendation to the remodeler is to include different types of lighting, such as recessed, mood (which includes decorative fixtures like pendants and sconces), as well as floor and table lamps. This way, you can change the mood of your family room for whatever occasion you want - from Friday night cocktail hour to football party Sunday to family movie night.

"You can do a lot and create amazing effects just by changing your lighting," McDennon says.

Replace the Entertainment Center: Now that you've shed some light on the subject of your family room, you might notice how distracting some of your video and audio equipment is, or how outdated that huge entertainment center is.

Good news: Today's thin, wall-mounted, widescreen TVs and special, speaker-hiding drywall can conceal all that clutter, says McDennon. She says that a common trick now is to put all the video and audio equipment in a closet, with only a small receiver and remote in the family room. The result will be a sleeker look that totally reinvents your space, updating it for the 21st century.