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When the holidays arrive, you can prepare a scrumptious feast, present ideal gifts that are perfectly wrapped and decorate the house like something off a magazine cover. However, your mother-in-law is still going to focus on the stained upholstery in the family room, the tacky and dated wallpaper in the dining room, and the guest bedroom carpet that looks older than she is.
This year, you can spare yourself the in-law-inflicted shame with some budget-friendly do-it-yourself projects that will take just a weekend (or less) to achieve. Your home will be holiday ready, and as a bonus, you'll get to enjoy the improvements throughout the New Year.
Before you begin, remember: you can save time, money and storage space by renting the tools you need for holiday DIY projects. Renting means you always have access to the items you need, and when your project is done, cleanup is as easy as returning the items to your local rental store. To find a rental store near you, visit rentalHQ.com.
Easy, high-impact projects
First, focus your efforts on high-traffic rooms where guests will spend the most time. For example, tackle improvements in the kitchen, living room and guest bath, but skip projects in less trafficked areas like your master bedroom. Next, pick projects that are fast, easy and low cost, but will have high impact.
You've undoubtedly heard it before, but it's worth saying again -- paint, paint, paint! Repainting a room is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to make it look better. Most rooms can easily be painted in a day or less, even if you're going all-out and doing the ceiling and trim as well as the walls. Score bonus points by using a rented texture sprayer to add a unique, professional look to walls.
Speaking of paint, a fresh coat in an eye-catching color can make your front door look new and inviting. While you're working on your entryway, remember to power-wash sidewalks, steps and trim, and wash sidelights, transoms and other windows near the door. A polished entryway will make your holiday decorations look even better -- and wow the in-laws before they even ring the doorbell.
In kitchens and bathrooms, replace dated or worn faucets. Install a new showerhead in the bathroom, and add a new shower curtain. A new light fixture in the dining room can brighten the space and enhance the festive atmosphere. Rent a steam cleaner to freshen up tile floors, carpet and upholstery. Score bonus points with your scent-sensitive in-laws for using a cleaning method that's hypoallergenic and chemical-free!
A little more effort
Some projects may take a little more effort, but their payoff can be even higher. For example, remove that tired dining room wallpaper or 80's-style wallpaper border in the powder room with a rented wallpaper steamer. The steamer will make the job easy as possible and that little extra investment of time will give you a fresh, blank slate for updating the room's decor.
Adding molding to a dining room or family room creates an air of quiet elegance. Whether you opt to add crown molding at the ceiling or decorative molding and wainscoting on the walls, you can rent the measuring and cutting tools you'll need to do the job well.
If you're feeling ambitious and are eager for a project that will really knock the in-laws' socks off, you can get rid of that old grungy carpet. Whether you choose to refurbish the wood floor under the old carpet, or install new carpeting, you can rent the tools you need, such as a floor sander or carpet stretching tool.