The New Year is almost upon us! Is your house ready for the big event? Now is a great time to invest in a few simple home upgrades, with help from Fred. These updates are quick and relatively non-intrusive – and can revitalize your house just in time for 2014.

    1. Spruce Up a Tired Kitchen.Chances are you’ll be logging quite a few hours in your kitchen in 2014. How about adding a little gloss to your surroundings? Between prepping, priming, and painting, you can brighten the walls with a fresh coat of paint in no time.

      Another easy fix: changing your light source. Replace the old 2×4 florescent light fixtures in your kitchen with six to eight new recessed lights. Be sure to use CFL, Halogen, or LED bulbs for better illumination.


    1. Add a Touch of Class with Some Crown Molding.Crown molding is a simple way to really improve the cosmetic appearance of your living or dining room. If the room is large enough, consider spending some extra time installing two-piece crown molding, for an extra bit of oomph. Finish by painting the molding to compliment the existing trim color.


    1. Update Your Closet Doors.Like your cabinets in the kitchen, closet doors tend get a lot of use – which leads to wear and tear, especially if you’ve got troublesome old bi-fold doors. Fortunately, removing and installing closet doors is a relatively straightforward job. Think about installing new raised panel solid core sliding doors in your bedroom or spring for new French doors to really brighten your space.


    1. Dress Up a (Clean) Fireplace. There’s nothing better on a chilly winter day than a crackling fire. Get your fireplace looking great by installing a new mantel and surround, or by covering the existing brick front with granite or tile.

      Another option is to install built-ins on either side of your fireplace. It will not only brighten the entire area and add focus to the room, but will also give you extra storage space.

      Of course, whether you upgrade or not, you need to make sure that your fireplace is clean before using it again this season. If used often, wood burning fireplaces in particular need to be inspected and cleaned yearly by a professional. Gas burning fireplaces don’t require as much upkeep, though you’ll want to investigate any odd smells, as they could be the result of problems with the burners (or worse yet, a gas leak).


  1. Install Outdoor Lighting.Welcome guests to your home by installing low voltage step lights or walkway lights. They’re attractive, relatively inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and take less than a day to install.In addition to welcoming friends and family, outdoor lights serve a very important second purpose: security. Add floodlights, activated by a sensor (or programmed to be on from dusk until dawn), and frighten away these would-be vandals.