My family has lived in our house for almost exactly 7 years. We moved here when I was pregnant with our daughter. We wanted a bigger house, and to get that we had to move further away from Dallas.
The house was 3 years old when we moved in, but no walls had been painted. Everything was the builder’s grade off-white.
In the first month, we (well, mostly my husband) painted each of our kids’ rooms. Blue, darker blue and lavender. Eventually, we painted our master bathroom and guest bathroom.
A few months after we moved in, we paid an interior designer to recommend paint colors for the rest of our house. She picked out great colors for each room, and even suggested a new color for our front door. Our plan was to paint some rooms ourselves, and hire someone to paint our main rooms with 20-foot ceilings.
As many of you probably understand, stuff happens. Life happens. Expenses come up, priorities get shifted, and we never seemed to have extra money for painting.
My husband has talked about painting the inside of our house every year since we moved here. We had been so close to doing it a few times, and then an emergency would come up. Medical expenses, car repairs, and maybe a “vacation emergency”.
The Yin and Yang of Home Improvements vs. Travel
I have written before about the struggle my husband and I have with home improvements vs. travel. As a kid, I grew up in a family that didn’t invest much into our house or nice things. But, I have many great vacation memories.
My husband, on the other hand, grew up polar opposite. His family didn’t go on trips together, but his house always looked updated and maintained. He is more used to spending money on things vs. experiences.
It’s hard to change something that is so ingrained in you as a child. However, I think that our different philosophies on these things complement each other and help us balance out our household.
This is the year I promised my husband we would earmark funds for painting. We made it happen, and I’m so pleased with the results!
More Than Just Painting
I looked for painter recommendations on Facebook. I’m a member of some local business networking groups, and I found some solid choices on the Frisco Area Business Moms page. (Side note—if you have a local business, these Facebook groups are a real boon!)
When one of the companies came out to give us a painting estimate, we started talking about other stuff we wanted to do someday. This included putting up crown molding in our master bedroom and closing up our upstairs loft area that overlooks the downstairs family room to make it more of a room by itself. (If you have noisy kids, you will understand why this is important!)
As it turns out, Family Man Handyman said they could do all of that work in a jiffy along with the painting. I was skeptical that it would cost a fortune, but I was pleasantly surprised when we got the estimate. We were really going to do this, finally!
I have to say that getting the inside of our house painted feels like we moved into a new house. Seriously! It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a house! They re-painted our doors and baseboards as well, so our house looks really clean right now. (We have kids, it won’t last).
We added color to the office:
Our upstairs lookover was turned into a true wall, giving us a sound barrier and more of a separation.
We also added an accent color to one wall in our family room.
The biggest change, and the one I’m most pleased with, is our master bedroom.
It used to look kind of drab. Now, it’s a beach! Blue walls, beach painting above the bed, new bedspread and seashell lamps.
Even though we can’t always be at the beach, having this reminder of the beach in my bedroom brings me some serenity. My husband thinks we should also decorate our house with other things that remind us of our vacations. We are contemplating buying a Disney Cruise Line painting from the onboard art gallery on our upcoming cruise.
Miles and Points and Home Improvements
Getting back to the point of this blog…miles and points for travel. Since we had saved up cash for this expense, it was easy to apply for a credit card to charge the expense and pay it off right away. We were easily able to meet the minimum spending to trigger the 100k bonus points on my husband’s Amex Surpass Hilton card.
Before you commit to a vendor for a big home improvement project, check to see if the company accepts credit cards, and if there is an extra fee. Many companies will accept Paypal. Depending on the cost, it may be worth it to pay a small fee to reap a large sign-up bonus from a new credit card.
As much as I hated to spend the money on painting instead of another trip, my husband was right on this call. It was totally worth the investment! Many people in our neighborhood are selling their houses and buying bigger upgraded houses. We are not ready to sell our house any time soon, so making these small improvements is worth it to us.
Ok, can we now go back to planning vacations?
Do you have a home improvement project you’ve been putting off for a while? How do you prioritize travel vs. home improvements? Do you decorate your home with souvenirs from your travels?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.