Are you sick of being stuck at home, or just sick of your home?
As more and more Americans look to spruce up their lockdown abodes on the cheap, new solutions to home improvement problems are in order. Luckily HGTV’s very own home renovation guru Ty Pennington has breezy and inexpensive ideas for giving your space a fresh feel.
“Some of the small things really have a huge effect,” Pennington told The Post.
The carpenter, designer and former “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” host is bringing down the house once again in HGTV’s latest series “Ty Breaker,” which premieres on Jan. 11. It pits Pennington against one of three network design experts, including Alison Victoria from “Windy City Rehab,” to see whether conflicted homeowners prefer an overhaul of their current pad, or to move into a new one, customized to their needs.
For those of us at home — inspired to take on DIY projects due to pandemic doldrums — Pennington and Victoria have tool-belt-friendly tips as well. Move that bus!
Make an entrance
Keeping a console at your entryway for keys and wallets and a mirror to check yourself out before heading out is practical enough. But, for Pennington, it’s just as important to show a bit of flair in the front.
“I love to see anything that says, ‘This is who I am,’ whether it’s dancing shoes hanging, whether it’s a cowboy hat on a wall,” he said. “I like to … immediately feel their personality.”
Even if you’re not a ballerina or a Texas oil tycoon, a photo that strikes emotions – say a family portrait, a pic of a beloved pet or even one of your favorite album covers – can give guests a sense of your preferences.
Pennington said he keeps a starburst design made of old piano keys near the door of his California home, which he said is a signal that someone handy lives there.
Everything but the kitchen sink
Renovating a kitchen can be an expensive undertaking. But if you’re looking to cook with a new look, there are cost effective ways to get it done.
“I think people have fear around painting their cabinets, but it’s so easy — and if it’s done right, you can really make a difference,” Victoria told The Post.
To get started, pop your cabinet doors and drawer fronts off — most hinges will release easily — and sand them down with sandpaper. Brush on a fresh coat of paint to set a new tone.
“Bring in a bright, happy color — whatever that means to you,” she said.
Chalk paint, which provides a matte, vintage look, is a great option, and you can even extend the color down the sides of the kitchen island, if you have one. The whole upgrade should use only a gallon or two of paint, which won’t break the bank. (Behr offers chalk paint quarts for under $20 at Home Depot).
For an even simpler solution, just switch out cabinet and drawer hardware.
“That really is the accessory of your kitchen, like jewelry is to any man or woman,” she said, noting that brass and even weighty stone are trending (she uses mother of pearl and brass cabinet pulls in her own kitchen). “It’s whatever you really love.”
For a supersimple swap, measure the size of your existing handles and match them, so you don’t have to patch old holes and drill new ones.
SHOP: CB2 offers a number of pulls in trendy bronze, including these sleek “Damon” cabinet handles (from $10.95). Anthropologie, meanwhile, offers the popular curvy “Constance” handle in brass (from $14), as well as chic knobs with mother of pearl inlay ($28).
Popular neutral-colored living room walls — whether they’re white, off-white or gray — require pops of color for balance. Consider something as small as getting new covers for your throw pillows.
“I think that’s a great place to bring in lots and lots of color,” said Pennington, noting that Pantone’s 2021 color of the year is a cheery yellow called “Illuminating.” “Yellow is the happiest color in the world,” he said. “It can work really well to liven up a space.”
If yellow isn’t your look, pattern and texture can also level up your room.
“You can also take old [colorful] blankets and sew them yourself into pillows,” he said. “When you do something yourself, you have this euphoria that you’ve created something that nobody else has — you pulled it off and at that moment you’re so proud.”
SHOP: Shila Square Pillow Cover, $38 at Wayfair.com
Into the woods
Retro wood-paneled walls are back, baby. “When I do accent walls in rooms, I don’t do a paint color,” said Victoria. “I think it’s so noncommittal … let’s bring texture in, let’s bring depth and color and contrast — and I think there’s no better way to do that than with another material.”
In the bedroom, Victoria suggests fully lining a wall with wood, which isn’t as daunting as it seems. There are companies that sell thin-cut reclaimed wooden strips with adhesive backs, which can be measured, cut and stuck onto any wall like decals. Not only does this add a dose of coziness to the bedroom, but it can also be used as a fun riff on a classic headboard.
“The headboard wall is a really great place to have some fun because you don’t have to spend a ton of money to buy a new bed, and you plop those nightstands back in and it makes it look so different.”
SHOP: Brooklyn-based Woody Walls peel-and-stick wood panels (also available at Wayfair) can be stuck on various surfaces. They come in packs of planks totaling 19.5 square feet. A new addition is the “Grey” finish ($159) although other popular options include finishes in “Whitewash” ($149) and “Original Rustic” ($119).
Art and soul
Home is where the art is — and if you’re fed up with endless online gallery searches for statement paintings to hang, look no farther than your own family.
“While you’re home with all your kids, why not create artwork and find a really cool place where you can hang it up?” said Pennington. “The one time I can really get on a [kid’s] level — and it’s also the one thing my mom would do when I was a kid to keep me calm and quiet for a while — is just doing art.”
The resulting piece can be beautiful and more important; it reflects the character of the people who live in the home. Pennington said that on one episode of “Ty Breaker,” two families with kids had merged when the single parents got together. He suggested that as a way to mark their new beginning, they should all work together on a creative piece to hang up in their shared space.
“It really does go a long way,” he said.
Powder your room
A full bathroom reno can be daunting, especially if it’s a spot that gets everyday use. But if you’re lucky enough to have a guest bathroom — or a “powder room,” which is a half-bath without a tub or a shower — that’s a great place to refresh, said Victoria.
“The powder room is such a special space and a place for your guests to go, ‘Well this is memorable!’” she said.
A fresh coat of paint can make any room sing, and a bathroom is no exception, she said. For an extra splash of personality, Victoria recommends taking a trowel to the wet paint and making freehand windshield-wiper motions, to add some waterfall-like shapes to the wall (she did this in her home).
Also, think about sprucing up bland finishes — such as the mirror or sconces — and replacing them with glam ones. For her own quick bathroom makeover, she added an antique mirror and inexpensive reclaimed lights, which gave the room an instant upgrade.