There are some home improvements that we all know are important for improving the way your home looks, but there are also some that most people overlook that can actually make a big difference. Here are some of our favourite easy home improvements that a lot of people don’t think about.
When it comes to the changes we’ve made around here, I’ve been really surprised by how often the little changes we’ve made are the things that have taken our home from feeling outdated to feeling fresh and well-cared for. It’s entirely possible to paint a room, install new flooring, buy all-new furniture and still have it feel outdated. I think it’s because there are certain things that are often overlooked in typical older home renovations. Remembering to take care of these little details is the thing that takes a renovation from looking like just a basic surface-level cosmetic update, to a fully-executed home upgrade. These easy home improvements really are the little things that make a difference. Here are some of our favourites!
Easy Home Improvements: Switch Out Your Hardware
This is probably the easiest, funnest upgrade you can do around your house. Hardware styles change a lot over the years, even as cabinet door styles stay pretty much the same for much longer. New hardware can really make your whole house look a lot more current in its style almost instantly.
Apply this idea to kitchen and bathroom cupboards, pieces of furniture, closets, and doors around your house for an instant, mess-free upgrade.
Updating Interior Doors
Basic door styles tend to stay the same for quite a while, but if your house is as old as ours, then you’ll probably end up with some outdated doors here and there. Doors are mostly pretty basic, and often just painting them can be a huge improvement, but why not install new ones altogether? I was so happy at what a difference our new interior doors made in making our whole house feel so much more well-cared for. I didn’t notice it, but our old flat panel doors were pretty banged up and they really did make our house feel kind of sad and tired, even with fresh paint on them.
Changing Electrical Fixtures: Outlets and Light Switches
It’s amazing what a difference having new light switches can make in a home. We had mostly the old standard-style switches in that yellowy off-white color all around our house when we moved in, but some were kind of a scuffed-up black as well. Changing those out to the newer Decora style switches in clean, bright shiny white is one of the final touches that always makes a room feel brand new. And changing outlets does the same thing! We often don’t think of these things as part of our home’s decor, but they make a big difference.
Upgrading Trim: Windows, Doors, Baseboards
Trim styles have changed a lot since the 70’s and 80’s and having the old, flat, thinner baseboards and doorway trim is something that immediately makes a home feel really outdated. Changing your trim is pretty easy and fairly low-impact in terms of the mess you’ll make around the house, but just a word of warning: If you happen to like big, old-fashioned style baseboards like we do, they can get really expensive if you’re trying to do your whole house. We’re always caught a little off-guard at the end of a project when we go to install the trim work and find that our taste in mouldings is going to add another few hundred dollars onto the budget of a project. Still, it’s worth it!
Adding New Vent Covers
Again, these are another thing that we don’t typically think of as a part of our home decor, but they really make your home feel freshly updated. If you have the in-floor type of vent covers, you can easily lift them out and just drop a new one in. We also have quite a few of our vents that are in the wall, similar to a cold air return, so for those you’ll usually need to unscrew the cover to replace it with a new one. Still, easy peasy!
For a really affordable freshening up, you can spray paint your vent covers like I did quite a few years ago when we first moved in. We’ve since replaced pretty much all of our vent covers around the house, but spray painting them when a pretty great solution too!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.