Question by O: How do you make home improvements? Any ideas, please?
My husband and I wanted to remodel our 1988 mobile home inside. The outside looks great (new vinyl siding was put 3 yrs ago before we bought our home). So we already stripped the master bedroom walls and the old insulation is still there (there was a leak from the roof and it got wet in 2004 with one of the Florida hurricanes). Do we have to replace the whole insulation? What can we do with the walls: paneling or sheet rock? Then we wanted to re-do the whole walls in the house as they have ugly patches that can’t be removed. We also wanted to lay laminate floors down. How can we do that: room by room? Or all walls and floors on a section of the house first ? Can you also tell me any ideas to make the rooms look bigger — colors, mirrors? Also the windows all need to be replaced (they are still original windows and are very britle). We are so confused and we don’t have a lot of money to start with, so we have to work as our budget permits. If you guys have good ideas/experiences on that, would you like to share with us? Thanks!!
Answer by Ellie B
If you want to increase resale value, steer clear of paneling. Most buyers hate paneling and it will decrease your home value. If you like the look of paneling, you could do it as a wainscoting (meaning put it halfway up the wall *often times this is done over the sheetrock, but I dont think it has to be* and then finish it off with a chair rail) and paint it a color that works with the color of your walls. Wainscoting will increase your resale value, if done in the right spaces (dining rooms and bathrooms are the most popular areas, sometimes sunrooms/family rooms work well with them, and certain living rooms would as well).
As for the laminate, talk to the company you buy from, if you dont want them to install it, they can at least instruct you on the best way to do it. Personally, I’d tackle it all at once.
As for the insulation, when you rip out the walls to replace them, you can check the rest of your insulation. If it looks good, dont worry about it. If it looks like it needs replacing, then replace it. And if it’s settled over time, stuff some insulation in the areas where it’s settled.
To make a room look bigger there are a few tricks:
1. dont put furniture right up against the wall *except in the cases of bedrooms*. Even if there are only a few inches between the sofa and the wall, it will give the impression that there is room to spare.
2. get smaller furniture. I’m not saying completely downsize, but go for something that’s a few inches narrower and shorter than your current set up. It will make the room feel more to scale.
3. put a dark flooring down. It sounds counter intuitive, but a dark floor with light walls makes the room seem more expansive, and it grounds the room more.
4. pick lighter colors for the walls. When looking at paint strips, pick the first 1 or 2 to focus on.
5. dont go with white walls. again it seems counter intuitive, but picking a light color that isnt white will make the room seem more airy.
6. only use small mirrors and put them behind things. Larger mirrors tell people that you’re trying to make it seem bigger, and it’s also very dated. Smaller mirrors hidden behind things (like on the back portion of a book shelf with vases or small things in front of it so it’s not completely hidden) will reflect the light, but also wont draw attention to it.
7. Window treatments that reach the ground. It lengthens the wall, which makes the room seem larger/more substantial.
8. Paint the ceiling a light color. It will make the ceiling feel higher, therefore making the room seem larger.
9. bring in light. Whether it’s natural light through windows and skylights/suntubes, or artificial light through floor lamps, table lamps, recessed lighting, sconces, etc. The more light you can bring in, the larger a space feels.
10. Use reflective surfaces: glass tables, shiny metal for lamp bases, glass tiles, glass vases and bowls, etc. They dont have to be mirrors, just things that bounce around light.
As for the windows, Pella and Jeld-wyn are both good companies that have fairly decent prices.
Feel free to ask me any more questions (shoot me an email) if you found this helpful. I’ve been around remodeling since I was a baby and I’m going into architecture, so I may be able to help you.
I forgot, try to stay away from semi-gloss/gloss paints. It is harder to paint over them in the future, and it also makes a space feel more enclosed.
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