If you have lived in a home for a long time, chances are that you feel it needs an update. Often though a huge renovation can be hundreds of thousands of dollars and the thought of this can be overwhelming. You end up going around in circles and then not achieving anything. I have 10 simple ways to improve the look of your home though which you may feel is enough for you to fall in love again with where you spend so much of your time.
Colour of the walls
Usually if you haven't decorated for a while, one of the first things to consider is repainting your walls. It may be that the colour you have selected still works and it just needs a freshen up. This is one of the easiest ways to update the look of your home and I always recommend this if you are selling.
Colours do date though, even whites and neutrals, so it may be time to reconsider your colour scheme. Without much investment though you can usually just tweak the wall colour to make it more contemporary. If you have a white that is very creamy, you can choose one that still has a warm yellow undertone, so that it works with everything else in the home, but you can just make it a little fresher. For example, walls that were painted Dulux Chalk USA, which was very popular about 15 years ago, can now be painted in Dulux White Dune Half.
Be careful about changing the look dramatically though. If you opt for pale grey tones, this may not work with your kitchen colours if the underlying tone of the white is warm.
If you have exposed brick walls that you are not fond of, these can look great if you paint them. Good quality, recycled bricks can look fabulous inside, but often interior bricks are the ones that you also want to cover up outside. I can't stress enough how much of a change this can be and everyone who has taken this advice has loved the outcome.
Related: Painting bricks white
Add some wall panelling
The big thing for feature walls now is wall panelling. There are various types to select from and this is a relatively simple way to add a whole new look to a room. V groove panelling is very effective in bathrooms and laundries and also works great as a feature behind bookshelves or a bed. It can be painted the same colour as the rest of the walls for a very simple approach, or can be painted a feature colour.
Adding wainscoting to a room, particularly a hallway and staircase, can transform the space. If you paint this white it brings in a fabulous contrast to the wall colour, even if it is a soft neutral, and this can look very effective.
Related: Tonal contrasts in interiors
Or you can introduce a neutral by just painting the wainscoting and leaving everything else in white. This can introduce a whole new look.
I have a detailed post about the different types of wall panelling and how to use them in your home in the link below:
Clean paint on internal doors
Often the paint on internal doors, architraves and skirting boards is much more durable than wall paint and sometimes all it needs is a good clean. Just some warm soapy water is often enough to give the paintwork a new lease of life. If you do feel they need a paint after this though you should tie this in with your wall colour. So, if you have updated the wall colour to a more contemporary white or neutral, ensure that you keep the same undertone for the white of the door. You can either use the same white or one that is a half or quarter strength of the white on your walls.
Related: How to select the right white
Update door handles
Door handles do date and also corrode over time. Often this isn't something that you notice, but when you do replace them, the change is very noticeable and really updates the look of your home.
If you do not plan on painting your doors, then you must look for a replacement handle that has the same size or larger backplate to the original one.
Door handles now come in a range of finishes and it is a good idea to match these to tapware and other accessories in your home. Ensure that you purchase the right type of handle; privacy for bathrooms, passage sets for internal doors and dummy sets for cupboards. Many suppliers will also sell sliding door handles and door stops to match too.
Update kitchen cupboard handles
This is another handle in the home that will date too. They also corrode and get damaged over time so this can be a good opportunity for a relatively inexpensive facelift. Again, you must ensure that any replacement has the screw points at the same place. With some joinery handles, you can also purchase a backplate which is very useful for covering up existing holes in the joinery.
Simple knobs are very easy to change and again, come in a range of colours. Ensure that you do consider changing tapware and other accessories if you opt for a statement colour.
Related: How to choose kitchen door handles
Replace the kitchen splashback
Trends come and go and it is likely that even if your kitchen cabinetry and benchtops are fairly neutral and still look good, that your splashback is out of date, or if tiled, looking a little worse for wear. This can be a relatively easy project and one that can transform the look of your kitchen. If you don't want to undertake jobs that are a little messy, you could always just paint splashback tiles in a simple white to get a whole new look that is clean and streamlined.
The major hardware stores have special paints for painting tiles which are very effective.
If you have dated upper cupboards in your kitchen, you can remove these and replace with open shelving. Combined with a simple splashback, this can really update the look of your kitchen.
Replace grout in bathrooms
This can be a DIY job, but you need to be very careful not to chip the tiles. I usually recommend that you hire a professional to do this job. Regrouting a bathroom does not take a long time and the transformation with lovely fresh clean grout is amazing. This is a relatively simple update that will give your bathroom a whole fresh look.
If you do this yourself, remember that grout needs to be sealed. This is also a good opportunity to replace silicone to ensure that your shower area is watertight.
Again, this is a relatively simple and inexpensive exercise that can transform the look of your bathroom. Styles come and go and tapware also corrodes over time, so a new shiny mixer can look great.
Remember to consider the other metals in your house in door furniture and kitchen cabinetry so that you get a cohesive look.
Change the flooring
This may end up being too much of an investment, but if you really don't like your outdated tiled floor, you could consider going over it with a floating floor. Looselay boards work well over existing floors, but you may find that you need to do some work to the floor to ensure it is completely level. This really can transform a home and is worth considering if your budget will allow.
Assess the lighting plan
Nothing looks right in a house if the lighting isn't right. Outdated florescent lighting absolutely has to go. This can be replaced with strip lighting that has moveable spotlights.
Kitchen pendants make a fabulous design statement and these can change the look and feel of your space. As the kitchen is often in an open plan living/dining area, this is a way to update the look of the whole area. If you are changing tapware or handles throughout the home, particularly in the kitchen, you will need to consider this with your choice of pendant if it is metal.
Something inexpensive like these rattan pendants can change the look of a room. With new kitchen stools to match, you get a whole new style.
I have a detailed post about how to choose kitchen pendants in the link below.
Related: How to choose kitchen pendants
If you can, replace old halogen downlights with LEDs. Where a halogen sends down a spotlight of light, an LED downlight spreads out the light over a larger area so that you don't get that awful ‘in the spotlight' feel. The lighting is far softer and also much more economical.
Rather than make a big investment in new statement ceiling or wall lights throughout the house, introduce softer lighting with table and floor lamps. I never recommend just overhead lighting in a house as this can be too clinical, even with dimmer switches. A combination of some dimmable ceiling light with table and floor lamps, lights a space perfectly and gives a much more homely feel.
I hope you have enjoyed my 10 simple ways to improve the look of your home. I would love to hear your comments in the section below.
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