Top 6 Easy & Affordable Ideas to Modernize Your Home
If you ask me, it should be the Top 50 things to update your home as there are SO many ways to save money when redecorating and updating. However, for the sake of short attention spans, the BEST bang for your buck, and the amount of time it takes me to polish off a bottle of wine, I’m going to stick to the Top 6.
The ONLY things that changed in this huge kitchen were the light fixtures and painted cabinets, yet it looks like a whole new space!
To make the list, these ideas need to be as follows:
- affordable (buck)
- impact (bang)
- easy (peasy)
Are you ready Betty?
1. HOME UPDATE IDEA – INTERIOR DOOR KNOBS & HINGES
APPROXIMATE COST: If you do some smart shopping you should be able to do each door for under $50 (hinges and handle).
It’s shocking how many homes have been fully renovated yet the homeowners didn’t think to change the door hardware…CHANGE YOUR DOOR HARDWARE PEOPLE!
I’m going to give you a few examples below. And if you like the STYLE, but not the finish, still check it out as most handles have different finish selections.
HOWEVER, watch out for this particular one…
I actually don’t mind the style of it this door handle. However, you won’t be updating your home; you’ll be backdating it. This style was WAAAAY overdone in the early to mid-2000s and can look a bit dated compared to cleaner-lined options (especially in an oil-rubbed bronze finish).
Black is a SUPER trendy choice of door hardware. However, you can also get this style in different metal finishes. Clean and simple…
This one has a slightly more traditional vibe, with a modern approach…
If you’re shifting your home from outdated to updated, but don’t want too modern, this is a good transitional style…
Read about my experience with SCHLAGE HERE
2. HOME UPDATE IDEA – CHANGE YOUR CABINET HARDWARE
APPROXIMATE COST: $200 (approx. $5-6 per handle). Average 30 handles per kitchen. Of course, you can ALWAYS spend more or less, but there are enough options out there, and that price range should satisfy most styles.
WHERE SHOULD YOU SHOP FOR AFFORDABLE CABINET HARDWARE?
I’ve got some great hardware ideas from Wayfair in this blog post HERE. However, even Home Depot and Lowe’s have some great ideas.
WHAT’S THE BEST METAL FINISH TO UPDATE CABINET HARDWARE?
There is no ‘best metal finish’. Sure, there are TRENDY ones, but they’re irrelevant if they don’t actually suit your kitchen. The best metal finish for your kitchen should complement the colour or stain of your cabinets, as well as the surrounding light fixtures (keep reading for a few more specifics).
WHAT’S A TRENDY HARDWARE STYLE?
The trendiest hardware style is the one that SUITS the style of your kitchen cabinets. There’s nothing worse than a country-style arched cabinet door with sleek-lined modern hardware. Check out this blog post for hardware ideas to suit your door style HERE.
make sure to measure the distance between the holes, so you get hardware that is the right size
if you have knobs, consider handles instead. Buying a template like this one from Home Depot will make your life ten times easier
- and don’t just focus on the kitchen, do the bathroom, laundry room cabinets and CLOSET doors as well!
HOW DO I PICK THE BEST METAL FINISH FOR MY HOME?
Look to your existing metal finishes – light fixtures, cabinet hardware and metal stair spindles, as clues for what finish to choose. If none of those is updated (in other words, they’re probably brass), then choose black. Black is great as a transitional finish when you have gold or antique brass. This works great if you’re on a budget and can only replace a few things at a time.
Black is the most flexible hardware finish if you’re transitioning from an outdated style to an UPDATED one, but can’t afford to replace everything at once.
I WANT TO CHANGE ALL OF MY HARDWARE AND DON’T KNOW WHAT FINISH IS BEST
This is where trends come into play, especially if you’re concerned with resale. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a new metal finish for your home…
- Do you like high contrast or low contrast? If you have white cabinets or doors, black or oil-rubbed bronze will create a high-contrast look whereas polished nickel or gold will be lower contrast.
- Does your home suit curved, rounded lines, transitional lines or a more sleek, straight profile? The style of your bedroom doors and kitchen cabinets can give you great clues. If your doors have arched or curved lines, your hardware should pick up on this or at least be transitional (in the middle). If your doors have square, 90-degree angles, you might go for a transitional or more sleek style.
- If you change your door handle, you will want to change the hinges, so they match. There are several different hinge profiles, so be sure to take one of your original hinges to the store with you to get the right size.
- Black and gold are currently the trendy, popular hardware finishes for cabinets and plumbing fixtures.
- Black is the most popular finish for bedroom door hardware, followed closely by polished nickel.
- Black hardware is the most popular metal finish for wood doors (bedroom or kitchen cabinets).
- Don’t forget to update your closet door knobs too!
3. HOME UPDATE IDEA – PAINT A FEATURE WALL
Approx cost: $100 (paint, brush, roller, etc…)
Paint is one of THE least expensive ways to change your space! On a small scale, you can choose to do a feature wall or nook. On a larger scale – the whole shebang!
If you don’t know WHERE to do a feature wall or what colour to choose, I have a FULL blog post on this topic right HERE.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE BEST PAINT COLOUR FOR MY ROOM OR ENTIRE HOME?
Okay seriously, that’s an entire book unto itself. Colour is VITAL to the aesthetic and emotional health of you and your home, and any choice should not be made lightly!
If you need help with choosing a new paint colour, I’m here for you and have DOZENS of blog posts related to paint colour, for example:
And many more…
4. HOME UPDATE IDEA – PAINT ANY WOOD TRIMS & DOORS
APPROXIMATE COST: Under $100 (paint, brush, rollers)
This applies to homes built in the 60s – 90s when there was an overabundance of narrow dark wood baseboards, window casings and doors. In some modern or old homes, this look can be striking and dramatic as the quality and scale of the wood is often better. However, in others, this dark wood sucks the living daylights out of a room.
Ummm, is this hard to do? No. Is this labour-intensive? You bet your booty it is!
STEPS TO PAINTING WOOD TRIMS & DOORS
1. Tape off walls and floors and lay down dropcloths – you don’t want to spend more time cleaning up from your paint job than you spent doing it.
2. Fill any holes with wood filler and let it dry.
3. Lightly scuff sand with 220 grit sandpaper – just a basic exfoliation is good.
4. Use a primer like Zinsser oil base primer (I know, it stinks and takes longer to dry but it’s most likely to ensure the adhesion of your paint). Many of these wood trims have an oil finish on top of them and aren’t going to take new paint easily. If you prefer a non-oil primer, I totally forgive you.
5. Apply 2 -3 coats of paint. Brush only where necessary and do the rest with a 10-13mm nap 5″ roller.
AND REMEMBER, paint can take up to 3 weeks to properly cure.
Be kind and gentle. If you hit it the wrong way it CAN peel off, but give it time and with the proper prep work it should be rock solid.
WHAT’S THE BEST WHITE PAINT COLOUR FOR CEILINGS, TRIMS & DOORS?
WHAT’S THE BEST PAINT FINISH OR SHEEN FOR TRIMS & DOORS?
The average home suits satin finish on trims and doors. If you want more thoughts/details, read here: The Best Paint Finishes for Any Surface in Your Home
When painting doors…
always remove the handle/knob before you paint the door, otherwise, you’ll spend many tedious hours painting around handles and end up with a less-than-ideal finish with brush marks
- only use a paintbrush around the hinges (and tape those hinges off).
Keeping your wood trim and doors? Check out this blog post for some great coordinating paint colours –The Best Paint Colours for Dark Trim
5. HOME UPDATE IDEA – PAINT THE INSIDE OF YOUR FRONT DOOR
APPROXIMATE COST -$50
A FEW REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD PAINT THE INSIDE (AND OUTSIDE) OF YOUR FRONT DOOR
In our previous home, the entryway had THREE doors that all looked the same and were all shut 95% of the time (front/garage/suite). This created an opportunity to single out the main door and paint it a key colour. If there is any door confusion at all, then pick out your main door and give it some TLC.
- Your front door is a direct backdrop or in the SAME room as your living room or dining room. This is a great opportunity to add an accent colour and personality and REFINE your entryway, especially if you don’t have a defined entryway.
If you have a back door (not including a sliding door) that leads out to your garden/backyard and it’s located in a major room (kitchen/family room/dining/etc…)
If you have a pantry door in your kitchen that stands out in comparison to your cupboards (ie: you have espresso or wood cabinets and a white pantry door or white surround with a glass insert). Painting your pantry door will reduce the level of contrast in your space which will add to the flow and overall appeal OR it will add visual interest if you have all white cabinets/trims/doors.
To read more about the best paint colours for your front door, check out this post… The Best Paint Colours for the INSIDE of your Front Door
6. HOME UPDATE IDEA – GET RID OF THOSE BOOBY LIGHTS!
I actually wrote an entire blog post on this as I’m so passionate about it (no pun intended with the boobs reference). Boob lights instantly advertise the age of your home and are one of the LEAST expensive ways to update a space – so why not change ’em!
My favourite transitional light fixture is this one…
And it’s hard to beat the price! Click HERE
Is it thrilling and exciting? HELLS no, but it’s affordable and simple and is a great choice for hallways, closets and secondary bedrooms – common locations for ye ole booby light.
Want to read more about boobs? Well, you’ve got the wrong site! Want to read more about updating booby lights? Check out this blog post… Budget-Friendly Lighting Updates
Well, that’s it my funny friends. My Top 6 Update Ideas. If I’d done the Top 50 I’d be about 10 bottles in and flat on my face at this point, so ‘cheers’ to moderation!
READ MORE UPDATE IDEAS
Need help finding your room’s BEST paint colour?
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting, I’d love to help!
Article originally written in 2016, awesomely updated in 2022