8 Areas of Your Home That Can Benefit From an Upgrade

May 29, 2020
by Charlie Priest

Whether there’s an area of your home you’re just tired of or you really do need to take care of a repair, you can radically upgrade your space in a short time. There are several DIY changes you can make to your home that will brighten the space. Start with the big stuff and work down to small updates to increase your enjoyment of your house.

The Roof

When it’s time for a new roof, you have a lot of decisions to make. You need to choose materials, pick colors and figure out your budget. Consider investing in a product that will give you the most worry-free time for your dollars. Stone-coated metal roofing has become popular in recent years. The color options are nearly endless, and you can enjoy worry-free protection for years.

Kitchen Cabinets

Updating your kitchen cabinets can run the gamut from a complete tear-out to a simple cleanup. Carefully review your existing cabinets to see if they are built-in or made of simple casings mounted to the wall. If your house is more than 50 years old, you may be working with stick-built, constructed-in-place cabinets. Removing them will be labor-intensive, and replacing them could be a challenge as they probably aren’t a stock size.

A simple way to change the look of your kitchen is with paint. Remove the doors, sand them with fine sandpaper, and wipe them down with mineral spirits. Prime carefully with a foam roller, and, once dry, add a top coat. Change out the hardware to complete the fresh look.

Flooring and Carpet

Updating flooring and carpet gets easier by the year. You can easily update an old vinyl with peel-and-stick tile flooring. Take care to start in the center of the floor and work out so you can custom cut along the edges. In general, you should use the most visible wall as your straight edge. You can make things easier by marking out a grid on the old flooring before you start.

If you need to tear out old carpet and have to move all the furniture anyway, consider painting the walls while you’re at it. Then you can move all of your belongings back into a brand-new space without the hassle of finding a new house.

The Blinds and Window Treatments

Window treatments only need to fulfill a couple of requirements. You need to block direct sunlight to reduce heat build-up, provide some thermal protection on cold days, and increase privacy, particularly at night. After you’ve met those basic needs, you’ll have a lot of options. If you have blinds but want a bit more color, you can add a valance or pelmet to increase visual appeal. Long drapes can be created from thermal-lined products to keep out the cold, or you can simply hang lace or sheer curtains to let in filtered light.

Built-In Bookcases

You can turn bargain bookcases from a big box store into classic built-ins with a bit of extra lumber, some molding and a coat of fresh paint. The biggest challenge you’ll face is that the bookcases won’t fit snugly against the wall because of the trim.

Rather than cutting away the baseboard, which can be fiddly and destructive, build a short base for the bookcase to allow you to push the bookcase back against the wall. Add flat or crown molding to the top to get the bookcase flush against the ceiling. Once it’s in place, paint the bookcase to match the trim in the home and paint the backing of the bookcase to match the walls.


A few sheets of narrow-striped paneling and flat trim at the top and bottom can turn a boring dining room wall into sharp looking wainscoting. This treatment can be especially nice against a dining room wall if you need to better define the space.

Start from the center of the wall and make a mark 30 inches from the floor. This will be your starting point to draw a level line across that stretch of wall. Once you’ve got the line drawn in, match the top of the paneling to that line and nail or glue it in place. Set the bottom of the paneling on top of the baseboard. Take care to hook the edges of the paneling together or add wood to secure it to the wall. Then, add the trim of your choice at the top and paint everything the same color as your trim.

New Backsplash

New metal tile options make it possible to update your kitchen backsplash in a weekend. Carefully clean the old backsplash so that the adhesive will cure. New peel-and-stick wall tile can be affixed directly to the wall for a clean, fresh look. Mark a level line as your starting point and try to align the tiles so that you’ll have to cut the bottom and the top row. If you have to adjust the height of any tile, you can easily camouflage any leveling problems with these cut tiles.

Make Basic Storage Beautiful

The act of de-cluttering is quite popular these days, but we all have to store some things in our homes. However, storage containers can be quite lovely. Keep an eye out for baskets at thrift stores and yard sales. Look for robust construction, preferably with metal frames. Be aware that square baskets will provide more efficient storage, and round ones offer more flexibility.

When you get the baskets home, get out the spray paint. Paint all your baskets to match. For instance, if your kitchen is yellow and your cabinets are white, paint the baskets white and add a yellow fabric liner to fold over the front edge. Use a sharpie or other permanent marker to add descriptions or tags so that you know what’s in each container. Put an old bookcase to work as a storage center and show off your new baskets.

Updating your home doesn’t have to take a great deal of money. Put your time to work at the beginning of the process by carefully studying the changes you want to make and why. Carefully review what you have to re-purpose and personalize the space with changes you love.

If you’re updating your home and you need an inspection, we can help! Contact us to get a quote.

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