‘Tis the season for celebrations and hosting holiday gatherings, a time of year when those home improvements you have pushed to the back burner return to the forefront, as you prepare to entertain family, friends and neighbors.
Of course, the idea is not to begin major renovations leading up to decking the halls, so we have compiled a few more manageable tasks you can easily take on to spruce up your living space in time for the festivities. Before diving into any home improvement projects, however, it is important to consult with a professional to be sure you have the proper materials needed, as well as a plan of action.
The kitchen is typically one of the most high-traffic areas in your home during the holiday season. A simple change, such as updating your backsplash, can instantly give an outdated kitchen a refreshed look without the hassle, and expense, of replacing cabinetry or appliances.
The first step to what can generally be classified as a DIY project is to obtain the proper measurements of the existing backsplash, making sure to purchase about 10 to 15% extra supplies to allow for waste and breakage. Before removing the old material, take care to switch off the power feed to the neighboring sockets as a safety precaution.
Once the area is clean and you have confirmed there is no resulting damage to the drywall, it’s time to begin installing your new backsplash. It’s advisable to sketch out a plan prior to beginning, outlining the precise placement of the design you have in mind. If you are using tile, be sure to allow the mortar to dry thoroughly before grouting.
Clean any excess grout from the tiles using a damp sponge, followed by a dry cloth, to give the surface a final shine. Your kitchen is now primed for entertaining, courtesy of a minor facelift!
The fireplace or mantel area of your home is sure to be a prime focal point during the holiday season, so why not take the time to update it before hanging the stockings by the chimney with care? This process can be as elaborate as resurfacing the entire structure, or as simple as refinishing hardware or painting over outdated brick.
To give your mantel a new look, start by cleaning the existing one, using oil soap to remove any accumulated dirt. Once the surface is thoroughly wiped down, use a stripper to remove any paint or preexisting finish. If the surface is particularly delicate, as in the case of certain antique wood products, a piece of sandpaper and a wire brush may be the safer option.
A wood filler will come in handy to seal any holes, cracks or visible imperfections. Once dry, be sure to go over the surface once more with a damp cloth to remove any leftover residue. It's recommended to use several coats of an oil-based product to refinish, allowing each to dry completely before proceeding with the next. Top off the refinished surface with a few coats of polyurethane for good measure, then wait for the mantel to dry before replacing any items you may have removed.
To maintain this refurbished look and prevent future damage, be sure to wipe your “new” mantel down with oil soap periodically.
If you are planning to have company for the holidays, space is likely a prime concern. Between extra decorations, dining room setups, and perhaps even additional sleeping quarters, it is essential to maximize your layout before the guests arrive. Since time is of the essence, simply converting existing living spaces may be just the quick fix you need.
There are few who will complain of having too much storage, which is why selecting furniture that doubles as a space for odds and ends can be ideal. Objects like ottomans and end tables are often available, or can be custom-built, with additional shelving or compartments perfect for storing miscellaneous items that would otherwise add clutter to the main living quarters.
Additionally, creating built-in bookcases within the walls of a closet can serve a functional purpose, while not compromising what limited floor space you have. Shelving and cabinetry can be installed almost anywhere, including at the ceiling level, leaving the area below more open and available for entertaining.
Looking for suggestions on how to customize your living quarters? Contact Burt Lumber for guidance. We've got the ideas and interior materials to help prepare your home for winter, the holidays, and every season!