20 Remodeling Ideas You'll Wish You'd Thought of First

There's always time to get inspired by creative remodeling projects. These clever space transformations combine family-friendly practicality with good looks for homes that work hard and charm well.

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  • 1 of 21

    Build In Seating

    They're used a lot, and for good reason: Banquettes are a great way to add seating and storage to the kitchen, dining room, bedroom, and more. This banquette -- integrated with a tall storage hutch -- offers plenty of seating for a long table yet works well with the shelves for color contrast, too.

  • 2 of 21

    Mix Up Materials

    A white kitchen demands white or stainless components -- right? Creative remodeling can turn that on its head, with an inventive use of materials that adds trend-forward personalization as well as warmth and visual interest. This distinctive vent hood, crafted from rustic wood, picks up on the tones of the island and floor, even as it adds its own perfect imperfections to the room's mix.

  • 3 of 21

    Improve Architectural Detailing

    Strategically placed details can enhance existing elements in your home or complement new ones during a remodel. For very large ceilings and traditionally styled rooms, consider a series of symmetrical beams. They help to break up large expanses as well as direct the eye and add visual relief.

  • 4 of 21

    Conserve Your Floor Space

    Doors are a necessity, of course, but doors also take up valuable floor space, disrupting traffic flow. A sliding door -- here, a repurposed barn door -- is an inventive remodeling solution to add cool materials and function.

  • 5 of 21

    See Details in a New Light

    Creative remodeling doesn't necessarily mean tearing out walls and adding spendy new windows. Sometimes it's reimagining and repurposing found things. Case in point: An old wood arch piece got a new life as a base for a diminutive but practical entry table. Simple molding picks up on the door's details to help create a fun chalkboard message board, too.

  • 6 of 21

    Create Your Own Charm

    Remodeling should, by its very nature, make a room both more livable and more beautiful. This porch redo does just that, with selective upgrades that enhance the usefulness and charm. Screens help maximize living hours in the space, while textural linen curtains add rustic elegance. Upgrades such as fans and integrated sound systems add amenities the whole family can enjoy.

  • 7 of 21

    Focus on Molding

    A quick way to dress up plain-Jane walls: Add slender molding in a repeating pattern. On their own, these floor-to-ceiling cabinets would overpower the room. But with graceful molding, the doors offer an elegant, artful display.

  • 8 of 21

    Create a Family Center

    Built-ins and furniture can cleverly combine to create a multipurpose area that serves a variety of family needs. Here, a desk stars as workplace central, with storage and cool, contemporary detailing on a message center. An adjacent oversize table offers loads of flexible space that can be used as needed.

  • 9 of 21

    Include Distinctive Storage

    Ask any family what they want more of, and the answer is likely "storage." But storage doesn't have to be boring: Creative remodeling can add beauty, too. Here, a pretty mix-and-match of storage types results in an expansive storage wall that also offers display space. Another benefit of glass doors: Light bounces around, and the rich cabinet color doesn't become overpowering.

  • 10 of 21

    Go for Unexpected Color

    Creative remodeling encompasses many things, including new uses of color. This eye-catching bookcase and storage assembly does two things very well: Interesting alignments and angles give the shelves unexpected visual drama, while a pop of hot pink offers a striking backdrop to a storage-smart collection of books and other treasures.

  • 11 of 21

    Add Elegance with Trim and Angles

    Trim doesn't always have to be right angles: Molding can work wonders to soften a room with slight yet surprising curves. Here, the delicate line draws the eye up toward the ceiling and also points into the next room for a combination that's all understated elegance.

  • 12 of 21

    Try Multiple Functions and Details

    Creative remodeling is at its best when it solves several problems -- design and function -- at once. This storage-and-detail-packed family room is a good example. Several different types of storage -- drawers, doors, open shelving -- help keep family room items in good order. On walls and cabinets, different configurations of moldings add texture and variety to walls.

  • 13 of 21

    Connect Spaces in Unexpected Ways

    Light does a lot to make small rooms feel big, but new windows aren't always a possibility without major rejiggering of spaces. This clever remodel carves out a little bit of both for an ingenious kitchen solution that adds a window with a view to a light-filled staircase.

  • 14 of 21

    Steal Work Space

    You may not want or need a dedicated office space, but a little creative remodeling can get you flexible surface area that melds perfectly with the room around it. To save space, reduce the width of the work surface, and pick up on any details -- here, hefty base trim -- to tie the spot into the rest of the room.

  • 15 of 21

    Utilize Lost Space

    We often lament the spaces that seem awkward and unusable, but those spaces may have more hardworking potential than you think. Corners are a good example for creative remodeling solutions: Their depth may be slimmer than usual, but that makes them a good fit for storage of a single depth of lesser-used items. This kitchen’s combination includes a daily-use appliance garage as well as additional higher-up spaces for vases and serveware.

  • 16 of 21

    Bring In Light

    Very narrow rooms make it difficult to include all the extras, including storage, windows, and just plain usable square footage. One way to carve windows and wall space from the same spot is to scale down the dimensions of both -- here, a transomlike window tops a half-wall to fill the narrow space with lots of light.

  • 17 of 21

    Mix and Match Walls and Ceilings

    There's no reason for color and pattern to be exclusive to walls and floors. A deft melding of details can be both unusual and unifying. Here, wood repeats in both floor and ceiling, while planks appear on walls and ceiling, albeit with a bit of visual texture.

  • 18 of 21

    Make Use of Narrow Spaces

    Creative remodeling means eking out the very best details, as well as rethinking what would have been throwaway space. Here, curved brackets on narrow shelves provide pretty spots for display while dressing up what would have otherwise been a boring wall.

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    Add Pattern

    Just because a room starts out as a plain space doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Clever patterning puts a new twist on wainscoting in this small dining space, helping tone down the exuberant turquoise.

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    Boost Color and Pattern

    Many people think that remodeling projects have to be spendy to make a difference, but that's not always the case. Kitchen cabinets are a great example: Color and pattern are good ways to boost visual interest while banishing dated finishes. A restrained geometric wallpaper inside these cabinets picks up on the energetic turquoise fronts and sides for a cheery visual uplift.

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