Claire Rainville, Broker Associate, REMAX


Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

When a style is hot, it's hot. You'll start seeing a particular medium, color or pattern everywhere. But once that hype fizzles, you're often faced with a countertop that seems dated and even loud. Unfortunately, replacing a counter isn't as affordable as getting a new hairstyle. 

You're stuck with it for a decade or more. That is unless you use these DIY countertop alternatives to revitalize any surface and bring it into the 2020s without a 2020 new countertop price tag. Here are some easy ways to do it.

Tile Overlay

You can easily tile over laminate countertops to create a beautiful modern appeal. You only need a handful of tools:

  • Your tile of choice (ceramic, granite, stone, etc.)
  • A trowel
  • A sponge
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Grout
  • Spacers
  • First, clean your counters vigorously. Then plan your pattern. Lay the tiles out dry to ensure you have enough. Redos aren't easy, so don't skip this step. Take a picture if needed so you can replicate the pattern. 

    Work in small sections so the mortar doesn't dry while you're working. With your trowel, slather the mortar onto the surface. Then begin laying tiles, placing spacers between them to keep them aligned. Press the tile down firmly with a slight twist to help it find its place in the mortar.

    Once you've laid all tiles, let them cure for 24 hours. Then add grout and let sit for another 24. After that, sponge off the tops of your tiles.

    If your grout or mortar comes with different drying times, use those instead of the ones listed. And if you ever feel that a project is more than you can handle, call a professional.

    Countertop Cover System

    There are several DIY countertop refinishing products on the market. Explore your options before choosing one. Generally, you'll sand your countertop and then "paint" a durable coating onto the counters. This coating may look like faux granite, charcoal, a quartz-flecked surface or even glass. 

    Whether you're redoing the counters in the bathroom or kitchen, a cover system updates your look and may make your surface more durable too.

    All you usually need for this project is what comes in these kits. Follow the instructions on the box to get the best results.

    Rejuvenate Laminate Countertops

    Maybe you love your countertops and want to keep them. But over time, they've developed chips, burns, scratches or gouges. Laminate repair paste can fix these things, making older countertops look new. 

    Wash the surface. Apply the paste. Then smooth it evenly across the surface, working your way out so you don't end up with apparent lines between paste and original countertop. Let it dry. Then buff and polish until it shines.

    For more tips and tricks to revitalize your home on a budget, follow our blog.


    You may take your front door for granted. Maybe you only use your front door occasionally when company comes or you have a gathering at your home. It’s amazing how much more curb appeal you can give to your home with a properly lit front door. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you brighten your front door and the overall appeal of your home. 


    Make Your Front Door Shine Through The Night


    If you want your home to have curb appeal, you may think of the daylight hours. Sure, you want your home to look good during the day, but there are 24 hours! You can find plenty of ways that you can add nighttime curb appeal to your home with correct types of landscape lighting. Some ideas to help you highlight your front door can be found below:


    Put a spotlight on the entryway


    Using bold lighting like this can help you to enhance the features that are already present on the front of your home.     


    Use sconce lighting

    This type of lighting is easily mounted onto the side of walls or the side of your home. You can use these types of lights to add to the style of your home as they come in many different kinds from the stately to the fun and whimsical. These lights also provide quite a welcoming touch to the home.


    Consider Lighting Your House Number


    Wherever your house number is present, you should try to light it. This way, after daylight hours, guests can clearly see what house number is yours. You can do this with a lamp post or a spotlight depending on where you have your house numbers mounted. 


    Use Lighting Variations


    Just as you would on the inside of your home, the outside of your home should use variations of lighting. Use sconces for overhead lighting. Think of the lighting on the outside of your home based on the main types of lighting: task, decorative, ambient, and accent lighting. Using these basic design principles can help you to find where the need for light is in your yard.


    Highlight Your Landscape


    Your hard efforts at landscaping aren’t just for the daylight hours. Use lighting in your yard as a way to highlight the beauty of your yard the whole day and night through. If you have particularly unique trees or bushes, or a nice statue in your yard, use lights to brighten the space and show off the best features that your yard has to offer.

    When thinking of lighting your yard keep safety as your first priority and design as your second for a great outdoor lighting scheme.    



    There’s a lot of design trends that you’ll want to keep up with as a homeowner. What are people doing to their backyards to make them more beautiful? What types of countertops are buyers looking for these days? Some trends are beneficial. However, there’s a lot of trends that can be detrimental to your home. You want your home to be an expression of who you are, however, there are some trends that just aren’t attractive to buyers. 


    Bright And Bold May Not Be Beautiful 


    While that lime green room may look really attractive to you, it probably won’t look as good to anyone else. The best colors for paint inside of your home are the neutral colors. These include beiges, grays and soft whites. The most important thing is to keep your paint color consistent throughout your home. Not that you can’t change shades from room to room, but don’t make the paint change too drastic.  


    No One Really Likes Shiny Things


    As much as you may like shiny accessories throughout the home, it’s not going to be everyone’s thing. Although people will be decorating your home on their terms once they buy it, it’s important to note that busy isn’t always better. People need to be able to see past how you have set up your home to see the potential it holds for them.  


    An Open Floor Plan That’s Too Open

    You can take the idea of an open floor plan to an extreme. There are certain rooms in the home that just deserve privacy. The bathrooms and the bedrooms need walls surrounding them to give people the space and quiet that they need. If there’s no good way for you to fix this issue, you may want to find some room screens before your open house in order to keep buyers interested.  


    Converted Rooms Squash Vision


    If you have a third bedroom that you have converted into a home gym, that’s great for you. It may be hard for other people visiting the home to realize what the room could be used for. You may not have to move everything before an open house, but try to keep the room open for possibility.     


    Carpeting Kills Buyer’s Dreams


    There’s not many more terrifying things to buyers than walking into a home and seeing wall-to-wall carpeting. Their minds race, thinking of the possibilities of how to get beloved hardwood floors into the picture. If there’s floor under your carpet and you know you're going to sell soon, you’d be wise to tear up the carpet and polish up those floors. It will attract more buyers and sell faster because people will know they have that much less work to do once they move in. 


    The Takeaway

     The important point here is that when you’re getting ready to show your home, you’ll want to take your personality out of the picture. Buyers need to have space to get the vision to see how they can make your former home their own. Reversing a few of the personal upgrades that you have made to your home can help you to make it a more welcoming place for new owners to begin a journey.


    Many times, it’s the quick projects around your home that make the biggest difference. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of your home. Without the right lighting, the entire mood of a room can be offset by the poor ambient quality. Lights are practical and help work on our emotions in the most subtle ways. Here, we’ll show you some of the updates that you can make to the lighting in your home that you may have never thought of. Kitchen Many kitchens have only one source of lighting. If the kitchen is short on windows that bring in outside light, this single-source lighting can be an even bigger problem. Try under cabinet lighting to illuminate countertops and preparation areas. This is great for not only safety, but to bring more light into the room in a unique way. Bathroom There's nothing creepier in the bathroom than strange shadows. That’s where recessed lighting comes in. You also don’t need to apply makeup in the wrong way due to poor lighting. Having lights available in several areas of the bathroom will make getting ready in the morning easier. Proper lighting will also make showering safer and less like a horror film! Bedroom The bedroom is perhaps the simplest room of the house to light. You’ll need lights by the bed for reading and other tasks. Usually wall mount fixtures work best for these purposes. They make great task lights and also look fantastic on the wall as part of your bedroom’s decor. As a bonus, lights on the wall will create less clutter in the home. Dining Area Look for task lights and lamps for your buffet to brighten your dining room. Try adding lighting fixtures in places where you’ll be doing a lot of task-focused activities. Aim for more recessed lighting over the dining table so guests won’t feel that they have the spotlight on them. Living Spaces In shared environments, lamps that are easily made portable can work best. This is simply because people tend to forget a lamp that’s tucked in the corner somewhere. It’s also a plus to put your lamps on timers. If you know that you get home at 7 PM every evening, set the timer so that you walk into a bight, inviting home and not a dark one. Highlight Things In The Room It’s always a great way to light a darker corner by placing lights over a plant or a painting. This helps to highlight the decorative aspects of the room even in the dark.