10 Unique Home Remodeling Ideas That Are Anything But Basic

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Reviewed by Robert Tschudi
Updated April 12, 2022
Father and daughter painting
Photo: Marko Geber/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Break away from the ho-hum for your next home remodeling project

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So, you’ve got that remodeling itch—but Pinterest is giving you a lot of “been there, seen that.” There are tons of home remodeling ideas for outside-the-box thinkers that go against the basic grain. Best of all, many are DIY-friendly, doable any time of the year, and don’t require a huge commitment of time, dollars, or elbow grease. Here’s some inspiration to get those creative juices flowing.

1. Convert an Unused Closet

Closet converted to bar
Photo: @OrganizedDwelling

Got a closet that only serves as storage for those coats you haven’t worn in five years? Drop them off at Goodwill and start brainstorming creative ways to convert the space into livable square footage. Emily Joosten of @OrganizedDwelling converted an unused dining room closet into a built-in bar, complete with a glazed subway tile backsplash, classy modern barware, and decorative feathers for unique flair.

“We had a client who was replacing a hot-water heater with an exterior-mounted tankless water heater,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert and Raleigh, NC-based general contractor. “We converted the space where the old hot water heater was into a cubby with a beverage cooler under a small granite top. It was found space that actually added to the total square footage of the house.”

2. Build an Under-the-Stairs Hangout

Dog nook under stairs
Photo: jaredplatt/Adobe Stock

The space beneath the stairs often goes unused—but it’s absolutely teeming with potential. Consider transforming it into a comfy hangout nook. Build up a cozy alcove for the furry members of your family, or convert it into a playhouse for the kiddos. You can also add a bookcase, lamp, and plush seating to create a quiet space to catch up on your reading.

3. Paint It Dark

Room painted in dark color
Photo: nicolamargaret/E+/Getty Images

One of the cardinal rules of home remodeling is to avoid painting a room in a dark color, as it can make the space look a lot smaller. No shade to the lighter shades, but dark colors can actually have a striking impact when they’re done right. Consider contrasting dark walls with bright colors, metallics, and unique art pieces for a one-of-a-kind look. This design features dark, moody walls paired with ornate Baroque accents and eye-catching bursts of raspberry.

4. Stack Your Cabinetry

Kitchen with stacked cabinets
Photo: LUGOSTOCK/Adobe Stock

Cabinets that reach the ceiling make the most of the space, offering more storage instead of an unusable gap. If you’re ready to take on a cabinet overhaul, consider stacked cabinets for a modern look that’s next-level functional (and may even increase your home’s value). The smaller cabinets on top offer perfect out-of-the-way storage for your charcuterie board, punch bowl, and other dishes you don’t use as often.

5. Turn a Closet or Nook Into a Home Office

Closet converted to home office
Photo: The Crazy Craft Lady

Now that work from home has become the new norm for many homeowners, finding a separate workspace is a necessity, but this can be tricky if you don’t have the square footage or extra room to spare. If you’ve got a nook or unused closet, you’ve got space to create an area for working or crafting. The Crazy Craft Lady’s home office in a closet fits a desk and plenty of extra storage for books, office supplies, and anything else you’ll need while you’re working. 

6. Rethink Your Kitchen Seating

Built-in banquette seating
Photo: Sprucing Up Mamahood

The kitchen table is the heart of the space—and the heart of the home for many of us. Changing up its look can transform the atmosphere of your kitchen or dining area. Rachel Hoback of Sprucing Up Mamahood’s built-in banquette seating is a DIY build that creates the perfect restaurant-style banquette table. Custom sizing offers the perfect fit, with a top layer of shiplap for a classic yet versatile design. 

7. Get Creative With Your Stair Risers

Faux tile stenciled stair risers
Photo: Dawn Nicole

You might not pay much mind to your stair risers, but adorning them with colorful accents can make a bold statement. Consider lining your indoor stair risers with patterned wallpaper for extra style and flair. You can also paint them a contrasting color or use stencils to create a unique design—indoors or outdoors. Dawn Nicole stenciled an ornate pattern for DIY faux tile-painted stair risers that recreates the look of Spanish tile (without the large project or price tag!).

8. Contrast Cabinet Colors

Contrasting kitchen cabinet colors
Photo: Chris/Adobe Stock

While there’s nothing wrong with a universal espresso brown throughout, who says kitchen cabinets have to be that black and white? Enter the unexpected black and white kitchen remodeling trend: high-contrast colors. In this setup, the cabinets near the kitchen sink and prep area have a stark white that contrasts beautifully with the black cabinets on the outer edge. The dark wash on the breakfast island ties the whole design together.

9. Build a Backsplash Tile Mosaic

Mosaic kitchen backsplash
Photo: Construction2style

Switching up your tile backsplash can transform your kitchen, but a uniform look throughout isn’t your only option. Mixing and matching tiles can create a style that’s all your own, whether it’s for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Sketches, color mood boards, and samples can help you experiment until you find your distinctive design. Construction2style’s custom kitchen tile backsplash seamlessly marries different tiles to create a beautiful mosaic that’s anything but ordinary.

10. Add a Creative Room Divider

Shelving room divider
Photo: @Margaux.Dawn

The open home layout is still going strong, but it can sometimes make a space look empty or cluttered. If you’re interested in adding separation, you’re not confined to basic drywall (which can close the area off a little too much). Shelves, art pieces, and furniture can all add the delineation you’re looking for without a huge project. @Margaux.Dawn used open-back shelving to define the kitchen space without totally cutting it off. Books, plants, and colorful decor add tons of extra visual flair.

“There are so many ways to creatively enhance a space,” says Tschudi. “We replaced a closet door in one place with a bookcase, making the closet a ‘secret’ entrance and also providing space for five shelves of books.”

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