Don’t want to spend big bucks to renovate, upgrade or enhance your home? Try some small projects that can be completed over a weekend to add freshness and interest to your spaces.
Here’s a list of my favorite easy home upgrades that add instant value to your home and that buyers are looking for. Remember to focus on highlighting features, creating clean lines and interest, keeping things neutral and sticking to a specific design theme, color palette or style throughout your home, for a seamless finish.
- Paint, paint, paint and paint (don’t forget the primer and the trusty green painters’ tape).
One of the simplest and most cost-effective improvements of all is paint. Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. Light colors will make rooms appear larger, whereas darker, richer colours may be used sparingly as an accent against white trim or in rooms that are intended for more elegant and relaxed uses, such as a den or dining room. You can also try an accent wall or cabinets if you’re trying to incorporate on-trend colors; I personally love Benjamin Moore’s 2021 Color of the Year and used it in my downstairs powder room with lots of white, gold and neutral accents to keep things balanced and fresh.
On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths and brushes. Get the whole family involved – kids make great labourers for this project (you can splurge and offer them a few extra bucks or some ice cream as a reward), and they tend to enjoy it. So, buy a few gallons and get busy!
Here’s a great list to peruse for foolproof paint colours that will sell your home fast.
I also love browsing Benjamin Moore’s paint colors and trends for the year, for ideas and inspiration.
- Upgrading the bathrooms
A great room to update in your home, which offers a big bang for the buck, is the bathroom. The two rooms that benefit most from even small renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. One cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of added value and give your bath an updated, modern look. If you can’t afford to update all of the bathrooms in your home, start the with the powder room (as it’s smaller and can be updated relatively easily) and work your way up, focusing on the Master Bathroom – as that’s where most people will want to see the most luxury. Even just swapping out the counter tops in upstairs bathrooms, painting the vanity cabinets, replacing mirrors, adding some light fixtures and repainting, will make it feel like a fresh new space. Here are some great ideas and inspiration for upgrading your bathrooms.
- Kitchen Counters and Cabinets
While this upgrade may be a little more expensive than painting or adding storage solutions, having an updated kitchen is probably the single most effective way to add value to your home. More and more, the kitchen is the central focal point of the entire home. We gather there with our family and friends, we cook, do homework, we have important conversations, and we break bread and share laughs, along with our worries, at the table. The kitchen really is the heart of the home. So, it makes senseto invest (within limit) in upgrading your kitchen. Keep in mind though that you could really go overboard in redoing a kitchen and spend enormous amounts of money in high end finishes and luxury materials – but the truth is – unless you have a luxury home, simple upgrades are best. Concentrate on counterspace, a big beautiful island with options for a breakfast bar or seating, gorgeous updated cabinets in either a neutral or on-trend color, clean and easy to maintain floors, and a great lighting. You can also make some simple changes that don’t cost a lot but that still have a big impact.
Here’s some great tips to think about before starting a kitchen reno and some inspiration for renovating your kitchen or making it truly your own.
I would also recommend hiring a professional contractor to help, especially for replacing counters, cabinets or tiles. And most importantly, ask yourself why you’re upgrading or renovating in the first place – that will give you the direction (and budget) you need to make the right decisions.
- Landscaping and outdoor maintenance
Incorporating some simple landscaping tips can really enhance curb appeal and add value, especially if you’re looking to sell. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on landscaping to make things look fresh, green and clean. You can create a border at the front of your home or along the pathway and use perennials and bushes that are well-suited to your zone and don’t require much maintenance. Clean up garden beds during the spring and the fall, add some mulch to create well defined areas and use planters and baskets to add color and variety.
If you’re looking to add a patio or a deck (for an average sized home this could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000), keep things simple and clean. Adding too many custom features (like a water feature or an intricate stone detail) can end up looking dated after a few years, and may not be to everyone’s taste if you’re looking to sell. A clean simple stone interlock patio with an elegant pattern in neutral colors; a deck that offers a great space for eating, lounging and gathering; trees that offer shade, privacy and beautiful foliage; and well-defined garden areas and beds, are all good ideas.
Check out these resources for a list of the best perennials and trees that are well suited to the weather here in Southern Ontario, and get inspired by these landscaping makeovers.
If you are looking to invest in a deck or a patio, don’t forget to ask friends and neighbors for recommendations and referrals. It’s always better to work with someone who comes well recommended from someone you know – it will save you a lot of headache and heartache.
- Update flooring
Flooring can have a big impact and can really set the stage for a consistent and streamlined design throughout your home. One of the best upgrades you can make in regards to flooring is to swap out old carpet and replace it with laminate or hard-wood. Many home buyers have allergies or are just looking for a clean, modern look which tends to include wood floors throughout. Using one type of flooring throughout the main floor of your home is also a great way to increase value in your home, create consistency in design and enhance an open floorplan home. Some things to keep in mind when thinking of upgrading floors is durability, function and environment. While wood floors in the kitchen are on trend at the moment, they are not that well-suited for the ‘kitchen environment’ so consider other options such as laminate or porcelain tiles which can add a luxurious finish and are easy to maintain and keep clean.
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Abby Shirazi -The Shirazi Group