Five easy upgrades to add luxury to your home / by Mark Schmidt

Luxury doesn't have to cost a fortune. Oftentimes, all it takes is one small renovation to make all of the difference in our homes. Add instant luxury to your home with one or a few of these easy upgrades.

Make a splash. Adding a backsplash to the kitchen or bathroom is one of our favorite ways to add instant and luxurious life to a room. Make a big splash with a dramatic pop of color or stick with a traditional neutral that will stand the test of time. Average cost per square foot to install? Between $20 and $35. 

Let there be light! Ever wonder why something you bought looked so good in the grocery store and not so hot after you carried it home? Chances are it had to do with lighting. Under cabinet lighting is the perfect way to illuminate your kitchen. Even your burnt chicken will look oh so delicious! Adding light will also make your kitchen space appear a bit larger than it actually is in reality. Average cost to install per fixture? About $235 to $315. 

Replace old flooring. The ground we tread on can date the place like a rubber stamp. If you’ve got carpets, they’ve got to go. Linoleum? Yeah, that too. Open up your space and freshen it up with new tile or hardwood flooring. Not sure how you’ll like it? Start with just one room and see what you think! Installation costs? Most homeowners spend between $1,550 and $4,500 on installation per project. Installing tile is your less expensive option over wood flooring. 

Top it off. Let’s all take a moment to look up at the place where your walls meet your ceilings. Want to get fancy? Step it up with crown molding. This just might be the pizzazz your home needs to bring out the traditional and sophisticated element your house is missing. When selecting the type of molding you’d like to add to your home, consider the height of the ceiling and current architecture of your home. If your ceilings are fairly low, you may not want to add wide crown molding that could make your space appear smaller than it is in reality. And whether the architecture of your home is traditional or contemporary, typically, you’d want to match the crown molding with the style of the house. Installation averages around $5.50 per linear foot. 

Spark a fire. Yeah, it’s hot out there right now. But come October, you’ll be wishing you had added a fireplace with gas logs to your living room or master bedroom. Nothing beats the sultry, homey feeling of a fire stoked during the fall and winter months, even if it’s not your traditional real wood-burning fireplace. (Who has time to chop wood anyway?) Installation averages around $3,000 and may help save on heating cost during milder months just prior to and after winter.

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