I think everyone has one room in their house that is just plain ugly. It could be a den, or sun room, or a laundry room, or just an ugly bedroom that isn’t used. Our ugly room was ugly when we moved in. Actually there were a lot of ugly rooms in our house when we moved in, but it was the den that was truly hideous. It had dark wood fake panel boards along the walls up to about three feet, then a brown carpet going up to the ceiling. The ceiling was a standard office drop ceiling with white tiles and a four-foot fluorescent fixture. Over the years we have updated the fixtures, lights, and such, installed hardwood flooring, and generally spruced up our house inside and out. The only room we did not touch was the ugly room, the den.
Fast forward to today. We are building a new house and getting ready to sell our current one. Over the last fourteen years or so we have done absolutely nothing to the ugly room. In fact, when our kids were teenagers some destruction was done to the aging cheap-o wall panels. The rest of the house is quite nice, neat and tidy with neutral colors and updated fixtures. But the ugly room remained. I decided to tackle the room this last weekend to see what I could do to bring it to a point of being, well, less ugly.
The problem is that I had to weigh the cost of improving the room vs. the benefit I would gain when the house sold. It was obvious to me that it could cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to bring this room up to the look of the rest of the house. New drywall, ceiling, paint, etc. would be expensive and time-consuming. Since the house is already nicer that what a first time buyer would pay for in our neighborhood, I decided to be rather pragmatic about it and just replace what was broken and move on. Any money I put into this room was just gone, there was virtually no chance of getting my investment back.
It only took about fifty dollars in materials and about eight hours of work to bring the room up in relative value. And I do mean relative. I managed to change the look of the room from late sixties mid-western single wide trailer, to a late seventies basement dorm room. But that is as good as it will get. Now the room is basically just as ugly as it was before, but with no broken fake wood panels. Believe it or not I actually felt good about my work, I transformed broken dirty ugly into neat and tidy ugly.
I asked my lovely wife to take a look. I feared that she would take one look and decide that it was neat and tidy, but needed to be done over anyway. She followed me down stairs with Gimli close behind. In the room everything was cleaned up and neat and tidy except my brad gun which was lying in the middle of the floor. My wife basically said that I did a fine job and we shouldn’t do anymore work on this room. I took it that it was still ugly, but not the dirty and broken kind of ugly, I was off the hook. Gimli was more honest. He peed on my brad gun.