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Five Daring Home Improvement Ideas for 2013

Home improvements usually don’t top the list of New Year’s resolutions, as most of us looking to start a new and beautiful life this year tend to stick to the years-old adage about changes beginning from within ourselves.

However, as all of our newly made commitments start to fade away, we often find ourselves in desperate need for inspiration and there’s no better way of boosting our “out with the old” attitude than by attempting some daring transformations of our living space. Here are five home makeover ideas for this year.


Image by Konstantin Zamkov

#1 Tear Down a Wall

“Nothing comes from nothing and nothing goes to nothing” is something that you’re quite likely to have learned at school (now, you didn’t skip physics classes, did you?), yet even if you can’t physically stretch out your living space, you’d be surprised at the difference that taking down a wall can make. Sure, there are other methods like choosing the right colour schemes or furniture to visually open up rooms, yet (unsurprisingly) nothing has managed to beat an actual wall removal yet.

Living rooms and dining rooms/kitchens are likely the most common rooms to be merged, yet nothing is stopping you from trying out more unusual combinations. An opened-up bathroom might be a bit trickier but hey – even New Yorkers used to bathe in the kitchen back in the day! Just remember to consult an architect to differentiate stud-partition walls and structural walls as the latter should never be taken down without compensating its supporting function.

Image by Jocelyn Durston

#2 Liven up Your Walls

If your house already feels spacious enough or taking out just another wall would likely result in its inevitable collapse, you can still use them to freshen up your interior by re-designing your walls. And no, I don’t mean just sticking new wallpaper onto it. Turn to murals for a rougher edge to your dwellings or, if you’re not sure what to get, why not try installing a blackboard wall instead as seen on J. G. Levitt’s apartment on 500 Days of Summer to scribble down your thoughts, jot down shopping lists or draw an amazing city skyline on?

For a more refined and elegant look, backlit glass walls are a great idea which, given you possess a certain level of handiness, you can actually install yourself.

#3 Gloss up Your Ceiling

Should we believe fashion experts, shiny and glossy accents are bound to rule the catwalk for 2013, so why not bring some of that lustre into your home by swapping that traditional matte look of your ceiling for something more up-to date? High gloss ceilings will instantly bring that high-end look into your house and it goes well with wooden furniture.

There are two means that can help you acquire that polished-off look for your ceiling – paint or ceiling panels. When painting, try not to go overboard as due to its reflectiveness, high gloss paint can cause too much glare, and secondly, because it will emphasize every imperfection your ceiling may have. Also, make sure every next coat of paint gets applied whilst the previous one is still wet to  make the paint lines less visible.

Image by Joanna Penn

#4 Hammock in Your Living Room (or Bedroom)

So the holiday season is gone and you start to feel the winter blues creeping on you… Complementing (or replacing) your sofa or bed with an indoor hammock, you can swing through the darkest time of the year on the most summer-like of furnishings there is.

Hammocks may be a manifestation of simplicity but it takes some work to be properly installed indoors as, in the likely event of you not growing any trees in your living room, you’ll need to hang it from a ceiling beam or a room stud by attaching heavy-duty hanging hooks.

#5 Piano Bookcase

Speaking of grand home improvement projects, we can’t miss out on one of the latest repurposed furniture trends of turning your old and unwanted grand piano into a sturdy bookcase, shelf even a minibar. So if your musical endeavours have ended in vain (and your kids would rather play piano on their iPad), this is the way of letting your piano see better days instead of leaving it to gather dust in your living room.

Having said that, be prepared for some DIYing as you’ll not only need to remove the lid, strings and hammers but also install some shelves, to make it capable of actually storing something.

Finally, you have to decide on its location – you can either flip it to the side and keep it on the floor or hang it up on the wall to save space for your walnut sideboard and other furnishings.

What’s the most ambitious home refurbishing project you carried out last year?


Estelle Page is a self-employed interior designer with great resolutions for hers and her clients’ homes this year. She blogs for Oak Furniture Superstore

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