Unexpected Spaces: Surprising home upgrade ideas

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(Family Features) Not all great things come in big packages, and home upgrades are an example of the truth in this wisdom. Unexpected, smaller spaces may not get the same attention as high-traffic areas like kitchens, bathrooms and living areas, but their impact can be just as powerful.

Get inspired to make improvements to the lesser-used areas of your home with these tips from the home decorating experts at Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.:

Entryway
It’s the impression that welcomes guests into your home, so even if the space is small, your entryway warrants some TLC. Focus on making it open and inviting by removing any unnecessary furnishings. Some functional storage, like a bench with integrated coat hooks, can serve a practical purpose, and if you have the space, some built-in cabinetry with an eye-catching countertop can incorporate stylish storage.

Laundry Room
Getting motivated to do chores like laundry is easy when you have a beautiful setting for getting to work. Introducing pops of color in nontraditional places, like the cabinetry, adds a high-end elegance. Water-inspired and earthy hues like Midtown Matte Tidewater or Arcadia Chiffon Cypress are perfect for the laundry space. Both are options in Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.’s Aspire Series, which features concealed hinges with self-close functionality and matching interiors for a high-class look, even when the doors are open for business.

Closet
A cluttered closet may not be the first thing a guest notices, but it’s a space you visit daily. Improving the organizational features can streamline your morning routine and put you in a more positive frame of mind to start each day. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to closet design, but using cabinetry in place of open shelving and rods lends a more luxurious feel. Plan for adequate hanging and closed storage, and if space allows, be sure to plan for shoes and accessories since these items can easily contribute to a closet’s disarray.

Mini Bar
If you fear you don’t have room for a mini bar, you may be surprised. Reimagining a larder cabinet, like the ones Wellborn Cabinet, Inc. offers in 30-, 33-, 36- and 42-inch widths, can create an instant bar out of just about any wall space where you can fit a cabinet. Install it as a coffee bar or traditional bar, or add the optional Appliance Pullout shelf for more versatility.

Pantry
Guests may not find themselves in your pantry very often, but you likely use this space every day. Transform your pantry for heightened utility in simple ways like using clear plastic bins for small boxed foods or stylish wicker baskets to hide away snacks. For a more permanent solution, take advantage of unused space on the back of the pantry door with thin shelves for items like seasoning packets and smaller canned goods.

Guest Bathroom
Swapping out a tired vanity and countertop is a relatively affordable upgrade that can completely change the style of a secondary bathroom. Be sure to also update the fixtures for a more contemporary look and, if budget allows, replace the flooring. Finish the project with a fresh coat of paint in a light, airy shade and add new textiles and a few decorative touches to complete the job.

Find more ideas for updating unexpected spaces in your home at Wellborn.com.

Hideaway Storage Spaces

One feature that enhances virtually any space is more storage. Having convenient places to tuck away all your stuff makes rooms feel more open and inviting. Hidden storage solutions are often better because you can enjoy the functionality they add to the space without interrupting your design aesthetic.

Here are some clever ideas for keeping necessary items tucked out of sight but within easy reach:

Built-in Step Stool: If you love the look of tall cabinets but struggle to reach the top shelves, a practical addition is a hidden step ladder in a pullout caddy. Specially designed ladders that fold down extra narrow and feature nonslip rubber treads make this a handy addition you’ll reach for again and again.

Paper Towel Pullout: Keep paper towels hidden but close by hiding them in a pullout cabinet such as Wellborn Cabinet Inc.’s 12-inch-wide model, which features a built-in paper towel holder and bottom shelf ideal for organizing cleaning products. There’s also a space behind the paper towels that’s perfect for storing sponges and other kitchen supplies.

Drawer Dividers: While you can find many after-market options to organize the insides of your drawers and cabinets, choosing organizers designed to work seamlessly with your cabinetry creates a more polished look (and saves the headaches of measuring and guesstimating the fit). Tray dividers are useful for sorting cookie sheets and baking pans, while you can find dividers in a variety of heights to match drawers below the oven or where you store your cutlery. Another option that serves a similar purpose is pegs, which keep fragile items from shifting when drawers are opened or closed.

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