When we first moved into our new home, it sorely needed some updating. It was built in the 1980s, which is newer than a lot of homes, but it looked like nobody had bothered to do much by way of updates.
In the first couple of months, we didn’t have a lot of extra money to start on any of the big renovation projects we had planned, so we tackled a bunch of small, inexpensive projects that immediately made our place look fresher, and more modern.
1. Replace outlets and switches with new hardware.
After years of use and messy paint jobs, our existing outlets and switches were grimy, paint splattered and underneath it all, that sort of odd putty color. So we headed to our local home improvement store to purchase new outlets, switches, and cover plates for $2-3 dollars each. We chose the flat kind square edged outlets and switches and the outlet covers that matched them.
Swapping the actual outlets and switches requires less electrical skill than you might think: with minimal electrical wiring skills (honest, it’s dead simple) we were able to swap each outlet in about 5-10 minutes each. The hardest part is wrestling with tiny wires in a tiny space.
2. Change out cheap light fixtures.
Yes, you know the ones – the hallway fixtures, the stairway fixtures, the laundry room fixtures, and the ceiling fans that have too much brass and false wood. Swapping these out is relatively easy (set aside a couple of hours – ceiling fans can take longer) and doing it gives you a big bang for the buck.
3. Add crown molding to rooms without.
Crown molding instantly makes any room look more finished and luxurious. It’s one of those things you that almost always see in high end houses.
And, even if you have lower ceilings, you can choose a smaller crown (3″ instead of 5″ or 6″) and get the same effect. Installation just requires a miter saw and a finish nailer (both rent-able from your local hardware store) and you can tackle rooms individually and over time to make the process easier.
4. Replace brass door hardware with darker bronze or black.
Nothing says cheap like brass doorknobs and hinges
This one is a no-brainer. Nothing can change the feel more dramatically than a couple of gallons of paint.
We are eventually planning to resell our house, so we choose relatively neutral colors through out the house – a tan shade for all the main living areas and a mid-tone blue/grey for the bedrooms. White trim makes the slightly darker colors pop.