2010 was our “Year of the Money Pit.” In the middle of a major (read: expensive) master bathroom remodel, our home’s HVAC system ceased to work. Just shut right down. This unexpected, LARGE expense was followed closely by another surprise: our septic tank was failing and had to be immediately replaced. They say when it rains, it pours; well 2010 was our monsoon season.
Consequently, I was put on a remodeling and redecorating diet for 2011 and 2012. No big projects allowed. I was relegated to painting, wall paper removal, and mulching the flower beds. For most of 2011 I behaved myself and kept the projects to a minimum. However, come 2012, I started to get “antsy.”
Husband Greg eyed me warily as I cautiously brought up ideas for home improvements, perusing all my shelter magazines (affectionately referred to as my “house porn”) and looking for ideas for upgrades and makeovers.
“Just remember,” noted Greg, “we’re still on that diet, right?”
I had been itching to remodel the powder room off the kitchen. I wondered: could I be happy with just a little bit of a facelift and keep the cost under $500? Kimba’s Budget DIY Challenge was born.
PHASE 1: Wallpaper stripping and painting
There is something very therapeutic about pulling down wallpaper. Oh, don’t get me wrong; it’s messy and time consuming, but the process can also provide a great sense of accomplishment when finished. The trick is that you must use a “paper tiger” – a cool little perforating tool that allows you to really soak the paper. I saved quite a bit on this phase by doing all the work myself and using leftover paint from another project.
- 1 gallon of vinegar – $3.25
- Paper tiger – $7
- Spackling – $4
- paint tray liner – $1.5
- Painter’s tape – $3.75.
**GRAND TOTAL SO FAR: $23.25**
PHASE 2: Hardware and Accessories
I was unable to find a new medicine cabinet that would fit into the existing tiny space above the sink. In order to circumvent the need to cut a larger hole in the wall, I went with painting the medicine cabinet mirror frame. It turned out pretty well; all it cost was a can of spray paint for $6!
Cost of hardware and accessories: $113.
**GRAND TOTAL TO-DATE: $136.25**
THIRD AND FINAL PHASE: Faucet and Lighting
Scored a great lighting deal online for just $45. The faucet from the big box store, with the military discount, was just $98. Cost of faucet & plumbing & lighting: $166.
God love my husband; five trips to Home Depot but he finally got the faucet installed… and dripless!
So, what was the grand total for Kimba’s entire DIY challenge?
- Paint and supplies: $23.25
- Hardware and accessories: $113
- Faucet, plumbing, and lighting: $166
- Last minute artwork splurge: $37
**GRAND TOTAL (drum roll…): $339.25… $160 under budget, even with the last minute artwork purchase for over the toilet!**
This little experiment has convinced me that it is possible to update a room on a limited or small budget. I’m thinking about shopping a new show to Home and Garden Television or the DIY Network : Kimba’s DIY Challenge. What do you think? Anyone out there have a distant cousin over at the networks who can get me a meeting? In exchange I’ll gladly update their laundry room for them; just let me know!