Medium Bedroom and Hallway Upgrades

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Medium upgrades cost between $900 and $4,000 and can be completed in two to six days. Whereas many of these projects can be completed by a handy homeowner some may require the help of a professional. For example, you may need to have a professional cabinet maker construct cabinets, although you may be able to install them yourself.

Replacing Hollow-Core Doors

Solid wood doors have several functional and aesthetic advantages over hollow-core doors:

They sound better when they close, they improve privacy between rooms because they are dense instead of hollow, they last longer because they are far less susceptible to damage, and they lend a look of quality. Although replacing hollow- core doors with solid wood doors gives a better-quality look and feel to any house, this upgrade is especially cost- effective for homes in medium- to high-priced neighborhoods.

Hollow-core doors, narrow trim, and inexpensive door hardware are just a few of the shortcuts commonly used to cut construction costs in modestly priced housing. All are easy and cost-effective to upgrade.

In most cases you can hang solid wood doors without changing the door frame, since the frame material used for a hollow-core door is usually strong enough to hold a solid wood door. You can stain rather than paint solid wood doors, even if the existing frame is painted; this combination is considered acceptable even in the most expensive homes.

Pine doors are far less ex pensive than those made from other woods. If the door will be painted, pine may prove to be the most cost-efficient material.

Installing Glass Doors

In a first-floor bedroom, a sliding glass door or a single French door installed in place of a window allows more natural light to enter the bedroom and offers a better view. It can also invite the prospect of additional improvements, such as a small patio or deck just off the bedroom—a quiet place to en joy the morning or to unwind before retiring in the evening.

The most cost-effective way to perform this project is to install a door that's equal in width to the existing window. In most cases, you must re move the exterior wallcovering surrounding the window in order to extract the window. You will also need to remove the interior wallcovering and the framing below the window in order for the new door to fit properly. If you have to relocate an electrical outlet, this is an ideal time to add a light fixture to illuminate the area just outside the door. Such a light may be required; check with the local building department. In addition, you may need to add an exterior step.

Once you have installed the door, patch the interior and exterior wallcoverings to match the existing ones.

Although aluminum sliding glass doors are by far the most common and least expensive type, wood-sash sliding glass doors lend more elegance to a home. Most have snap-in mullions to create the look of a true divided-pane door. Wood-sash doors generally cost between 50 and 75 percent more than aluminum (which qualifies them as a medium to large up grade), but with clad aluminum or vinyl exteriors they can be as maintenance free as aluminum. The result is a more attractive door with a slightly better payback.

The complexity of installing sliding glass doors makes this project a likely task for a professional.


Building a New Closet: Remove soleplate after wall is nailed in place

Installing Built-in Cabinetry

Built-in cabinetry has become an increasingly popular feature in today’s bedrooms. The uses are as varied as the designs and configurations. The most popular built-ins include the following.

+ A full wall unit from floor to ceiling is ideal for storage of all kinds.

+ A low unit beneath a window offers compact storage without interfering with wall decoration.

+ A headboard unit combined with modest electrical features serves as book storage and a central location to control a radio and lighting over the bed.

+ A freestanding divider can break a large room into more functional areas, perhaps a bed room shared by two teenagers.

+ A wall cabinet hung well off the floor is an excellent way to gain storage space without losing floor area.

If you choose built-in cabinetry that takes up a lot of floor area, it will limit the use of other furniture in the room, so make sure that this project is thoroughly planned. A good place to start planning any built-in is by appraising your needs for space and organization. Once you have established what is to be stored and how much space will be required, you can determine the cabinet configuration.

Although an architect or other design professional can draw up the design for a built- in, it's more cost-effective to have the design prepared by the person constructing the storage system. Even small cabinet firms may offer computer- assisted design. The plans produced by these systems are extremely detailed, yet are easy for the consumer to understand.

If you want to design and build the cabinets as a do-it- yourself project, start with a scale floor plan of the space. Show all existing windows, doors, and electrical wiring in the plan, so that you can integrate the built-ins into the space without creating any problems with traffic or furnishings. Next, cut templates of the furniture and the proposed cabinets to scale from construction paper and place them on the floor plan to determine how the room will work. Expect to have to try several different arrangements and configurations to find the best one.

Although this project is listed as a medium upgrade, it could qualify as either a small or a large upgrade depending on the size and complexity of the built-in.

Adding a Closet

If you have installed a closet organization system and there still is not enough closet space in a bedroom, it’s time to consider adding a closet.

Building it into the existing bedroom floor area is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain a closet, if enough space exists. Most codes require that bed rooms have at least 70 square feet of open floor area, excluding closets and built-ins. Some local codes may require more space. You might want to consult a designer or space planner to en sure that this project will be an improvement in the long run.

The simplest version of this project involves adding a 2- to 3-foot-long nonbearing wall and installing a pair of bypass doors. You can create a more elaborate closet by adding more than one wall of varying length and installing a hinged door. This is also an ideal time to add a closet organization system and mirrored closet doors.

Relocating a Closet Door

An inconveniently located closet door can interfere with the furnishing of a bedroom. For example, a hinged closet door that's located in the middle of a wall can prevent that wall from being used for a bed, a long dresser, or a system of built-ins. A practical solution to this problem is to relocate the door to a more convenient spot.

Moving the door a foot or so in one direction or the other may create enough continuous wall space to accommodate a sizable piece of furniture. You may even be able to relocate a closet door around the corner, freeing up an entire wall.

This is considered a medium upgrade due to the multiple tasks involved—rough and finish carpentry to frame the new door opening, seal off the existing opening, install the new door, patch the flooring where the new door opening was cut in the wall, and reconfigure the closet shelving system; electrical work to relocate an existing receptacle or electrical wiring, or to install a new receptacle and wiring; wallboard patching at the opening where the closet was removed; and paint touch-up.

Although this may seem like a complicated project, it's probably one of the least disruptive construction projects that you can perform in a bed room; at the same time it's one of the most rewarding in terms of convenience.



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Updated: Saturday, March 12, 2011 6:51