Home Improvements on a Budget: Floors, Walls, and Fixtures

Annie Lindgren
North Forty News

I can’t say the home was love at first sight. It felt more like getting blasted by the ’70s. There were various carpet colors and textures in every room, tacky window coverings, brown and gold colors engulfing the kitchen, smatterings of colored wallpaper, and bathroom carpet. But, it was full of potential. It had been well cared for and had updated windows. The bulk of the needs were cosmetic, which was a project this perpetual do-it-yourself-er was ready to take on. With the help of my adult son, five weeks’ worth of work transformed the house into my home.

That 70’s house, the before pictures. Photos by Annie Lindgren
Team of helpers ready to tear out carpet, Terri Thompson, Cody Lindgren, and Annie Lindgren

We started by tearing out all the carpet and replacing it with vinyl flooring. A trip to Home Depot and long conversations with the helpful employees taught us everything we needed to know. The Home Depot credit card is great at offering 18-months no interest on big purchases, so I planned to get everything at once. I chose a product and color that would last, go with anything, and be easy to install. There were a few tools to purchase along with and pre-painted white trim that meant I didn’t need to rush and paint all the trim. It took four full weekends of work to complete, but the cost was under $4000, and the hours of bonding with my son were priceless.

Before and after pictures of the bathroom, photos by Annie Lindgren
Cody Lindgren and Terri Thompson, working on floors in the office

For the walls, I picked up samples and spent hours debating options before deciding on a color scheme that tied into the 70’s vibe of the house. I purchased ten cans of colors that first trip, including a light color for the trim and windowsills and a darker aqua for the cabinets. I admittedly repainted a few walls over the months that followed, but am happy with the final product (for now). I did two colors in each room, with cool temps vs. warm temps and dark colors vs. light colors, depending on the size and use of the room. The dark aqua paint in the bathroom and kitchen cabinets tied in nicely with the existing bronze flecked counters and mustard yellow sink. I painted light switch covers, outlets, and cabinet knobs a bronze color to match and installed bronze hardware in the kitchen sink. The cost for paint and painting supplies was around $300.

Before and after photos of the kitchen, photos by Annie Lindgren
When painting cabinets, it is best to remove all the hardware, clean the surfaces, and seek supervision from the dog. Photo by Annie Lindgren

The last step involved updating the curtain rods, window coverings, switch coverings, sink hardware, and sconces. Again back at Home Depot, I personalized each room while still keeping the theme matching a more retro style of decor. Doing this allowed me to keep some of the original ceiling lights, as they didn’t look out of place. Curtains ordered from Amazon.com provided the final touch. Over time as budget allows, I will continue to update light fixtures and knobs. This work cost around $700.

After photos, by Annie Lindgren

Finishing touches included filling the house with the already owned, hand-me-down, or purchased used furniture and decorations that pulled each room together into ‘my home. The projects go on, of course, but the cosmetic work improved the floors, walls, fixtures, and coverings, transforming my 70’s house into something fun and homey. All the above work, completed by my son, me, and a few helping hands, cost around $5,500. It was a lot of work but filled with learning experiences, memories made, and a genuine feeling of pride with compliments.

After pictures of the kitchen, with new floors, wall and cabinet colors, photo by Annie Lindgren
After photos of the office, with new floors, wall colors, and window coverings, photos by Annie Lindgren

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Home Improvements on a Budget: Floors, Walls, and Fixtures