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    Easy DIY Kitchen and Bathroom Updates

    Did you envy your neighbor’s updated kitchen while visiting for a potluck? Or did some time off over the holidays lend time to binge watching home improvement shows, and now you're pumped to tackle your own kitchen and bathroom projects?

    When DIY inspiration hits, we often dream up far more upgrades than our budgets can handle, but there really are ways to spruce up these spaces without investing thousands of dollars.

    Take a look!

    Easy DIY Kitchen and Bathroom Updates

    Easy DIY Kitchen and Bath Updates

    Ideas for the Bath

    Work With What You Have 

    Bathrooms easily align themselves to simple updates if major renovations aren’t in the plans. Think about it--the room is relatively small and likely there is a tile, tub, or floor coloring that is just not going to change easily with a limited budget, meaning upgrades will have to coordinate with existing pieces. 

    Start simple by choosing colored towels, bath rugs, and shower curtains to add interest. If your bathroom happens to be rocking the old school blue, pink, or green tiles, go with it and match new linens accordingly. When all else fails, new, fluffy, white towels always add a spa feel to a small space.

    bathroom unsplash


    Accessories make a big statement inexpensively if creatively placed or grouped on shelves or on repurposed small piece furniture like night stands or painted chairs. Wooden crates and baskets are easy to come by and serve as storage for towels or other bathroom necessities. 

    Reuse cleaned glass jars for holding cotton rounds or swabs. Guest bathrooms benefit from Mason or candle jars holding travel size toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss for visitors.

    bathroom plants

    If you’ve ever wanted to add plants to your home decorating, the bathroom is the place to try out your green thumb. For bathrooms with access to sunlight, even low light, the options are plentiful because many plants, especially tropical varieties, thrive in regular humidity. 

    Check out these options perfect for bathroom living:

    • Golden and Neon Pothos
    • Spider Plant
    • Tillandsia (Air Plants)
    • Peperomia

    The best case scenario is to have natural sunlight, but there are ways to work around a windowless bathroom. Depending on your level of dedication, it's possible to display house plants in the bathroom, but you’ll need to transport your low light thriving plants into the sunlight on a regular basis to get their fix or invest in artificial grow lights. 

    And last, but not least anymore, is the option to purchase fake plants. Their quality has improved vastly over the last 5 years and have lost many of their kitschy bad features. High-end fakes serve their purpose to add life in an otherwise drab room, but are also PCS friendly for the military homeowner.

    Bump Up the Upgrades

    Water resistant wainscoting adds character and depth to any bathroom in need of an update. It’s best to use this type of wall covering with the thought “less is more” in mind. Too much plastic looking material detracts from the overall look. This Old House shows how attractive wainscoting appears when done proportionately.

    If you have a little more time and money, wooden or even linoleum floors in bathrooms are dramatically updated with paint. The key to success here is in tracking down the best products from primer to paint and sealer; for example, Floor & Patio Latex Enamels by Benjamin Moore.

    Add New Life in the Kitchen

    Because kitchens are used every day, they can be a source of unhappiness for many people. We spend so much time in the kitchen that we notice every. little. thing. we hate about the space. Like bathrooms, major renovations are costly, so the small updates help with the overall aesthetics.

    Soft Lines

    Soften the hard lines and angles in the kitchen with rugs. They make standing easier and the space a little more comforting. Experimenting with multiple small sized rugs may work better than attempting to use one large piece in the middle of the floor. Choose a large print to hide messes and attract the eye away from other unattractive focal points. Window coverings will achieve the same effects.

    kitchen rug

    Hard Lines

    Installing decorative brackets in the kitchen takes eye interest up a notch. Often seen below breakfast bars, they are also attractive mounted in doorway corners. They are found inexpensively at home improvement stores, but great deals are also uncovered at your local Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

    The granite countertop craze is still popular, but waning. Homeowners are looking for something different that contributes to the unique look of the kitchen. Changing out a countertop seems expensive and labor intensive, but the options have grown substantially and are much more accessible. This DIY Network tutorial makes a concrete counter seem doable in a weekend.

    Concrete counters are around for the long haul, but what if you prefer a temporary fix perfect for a rental home? Peel and stick countertops are affordable and removable. Most are vinyl based with a print that mimics real stone such as granite or marble. For the best outcome, choose a product made from high quality vinyl, and don’t expect too much flexibility in the way of wear and tear. Peel and stick products have a limited lifespan. 

    open kitchen cabinets

    New cabinets in a kitchen can easily break the bank, so alternatives are likely a better place to start. Changing the looks of existing cabinets is as easy as removing doors and painting either the inside, outside, or both. This does mean open spaces have to be well tended, or the kitchen begins to look cluttered. If there is a lot of dead space, hanging shelves in available areas above the counter adds storage as well as a display space for heirloom china or a collection of stoneware.

    For more inspiration, take a look at Easy Home Decorating Updates for Every Room.

    Weekend Project

    kitchen backsplash

    The weekend is the perfect time to update or add a backsplash. Tiles are an inexpensive purchase because the square footage for a backsplash is small. There are endless options, especially if a high gloss paint is added to the project. Online tutorials offer advice, but attending a “How To” class at a local Home Depot or Lowes might be a better place to start.

    Stop putting off these easy and affordable kitchen and bath fixes that drastically improve your state of mind! It's time to put in the DIY effort and actually enjoy your bathroom and kitchen spaces. For home improvement and design tips, trust MilitaryByOwner to provide current and classic decorating suggestions for your home, whether you’re a renter or homeowner.

    Home Decorating Toolkit for Military Families

    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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