Modern Rustic Holiday Home Tour 2017 Kitchen Partial View of Cabinets

Simple Home Upgrades That Buyers LOVE

A large part of home remodeling is considering how the improvement will impact the value of your home. You want improvements to increase functionality or aesthetic appeal, but also to build equity in your home.

If you’re looking to sell your home in the short term, think “mini” home upgrades that pay off. I like to check out the competition and take virtual tours of the homes in the adjacent areas. Which homes stand out, and why? So my advice when updating your home — make smart decisions, know what the market demands, and consider doing the following home improvements to help make your home more desirable to potential buyers.

Lighten and Brighten with Paint

Interior Paint Projects Stair Railing by SnazzyLittleThings

Don’t underestimate the power of paint! Paint is what helps many of us eradicate the 90’s era look and modernizes our homes. Wall color enables buyers to visualize the home as their own, and dingy or worn walls detract from that. Focus on painting areas such as the kitchen, living room, and bathroom since they’re areas with the most traffic. Stick with neutrals to appeal to the largest pool of buyers.

Here is my whole-home paint palette which made a huge impact when it was time to sell:

  • A neutral wall color, keeping it consistent in our open concept home
  • The stair railings (what a difference!)
  • Our kitchen cabinets
  • Bathroom vanities
  • Interior doors (we painted ours black)

Mini Bathroom Upgrades

Even minor repairs to your bathroom pay off big. If you can’t afford a major upgrade, here are some ideas for a “mini” bathroom refresh:

  • Update your paint colors
  • Clean up any water marks on the ceiling and walls
  • Add a new shower curtain
  • Add standalone storage options
  • Add texture with baskets
  • Update your lighting (I believe lighting is what dates a home)
  • Paint your vanity
  • Frame your bathroom mirror using a kit

Upgrade Energy Efficiency

In speaking with our realtor, buyers want homes that are energy efficient so they’re not throwing money away. In our case we updated appliances after 10 years to more energy efficient versions. Other ideas to increase efficiency:

  • Add insulation in areas that aren’t well-insulated
  • Replace drafty windows with energy efficient ones.
  • LED lighting is another popular option since it doesn’t consume a lot of energy and some bulbs last more than 20 years.

A budget kitchen remodel

As you can see, our budget kitchen remodel consisted of an inexpensive backsplash, new hardware, some trim and paint. All totaled, our entire kitchen upgrade (excluding appliances and the flooring) was under $2000! The kitchen is one of the primary concerns for millennials, who currently make up the largest part of the home buying market. Add a fresh coat of high-quality paint, replace the backsplash, or consider re-doing or replacing the cabinets with a modern touch. Replace your appliances with a set of stainless steel ones to attract more buyers. While granite and quartz countertops are both durable and visually appealing, you can also get away with a high quality countertop paint kit to update your kitchen.

Make Your Home Smart

A large pool of buyers grew up in the age of the smartphone. They want to be able to control as much as possible from one device. Converting your home to smart technology can increase its value from three to five percent.Some smart devices can quickly become outdated, but others are likely to stay in demand. These include a smart thermostat, security systems, lights, door locks, or security cameras.

Remove the wallpaper

Wallpaper can become the biggest deal breaker for many potential home buyers. They simply don’t want to bother with it, and many can’t visualize their own decor in the space. So in order to gain an edge on the competition – do it yourself. I found that it’s much easier to remove using our carpet steamer, a wet sponge, fabric softener. I also use a scoring device allowing the water and fabric softener to penetrate the paper more easily. Once the adhesive is softened, scrape it off with a metal scraper being careful to not gouge the wall.

Open the Space

People are loving open concept design. Keep spaces open as much as possible. If needed, tear down a wall (just like Joanna Gaines loves to do) to make your living room and dining room into one larger room. But you can do simple things too, like removing bigger, bulky furniture.  Pull the furniture away from the wall. and create conversation areas. Consider finishing the basement to make it a large living space. This area can easily become a bedroom, recreation or playroom, or even an office when extra space is needed. Alternatively, you can open up space by reworking your organizational strategy.

Address the Foyer

There are so many simple and inexpensive ways to update your foyer to make your home more welcoming. Painting the front door with a durable, oil based paint is one way. Adding dramatic, beautiful planters always makes a nice first impression. And adding all of the little conveniences as you enter your home creates easier living. A nice rug, a place to hang your coat and keys make life so much simpler.

Making these upgrades sooner rather than later can give you a head start when it’s time to move on. Taking the mini upgrade approach enables you to save your money for larger repairs as needed.


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  1. featuring this weekend on “the week ends.” Love the suggestions for home upgrades! laura

    1. Laura, thank you so much for the feature! Please post the link here once it’s live! Thank you so much for visiting and following along )

  2. This isn’t a precursor to your selling your house is it? Great thought processes whether you’re selling or not!

    1. Hi Sharon, the entire time I’ve blogged I’ve thought about selling my house. This probably explains my “budget” DIY approach so I could make a quick exit if needed :)

  3. I have been upgrading our home for years, and always used the excuse of “in case we move” with my hubby or buying a new piece of furniture was “it’s for staging!” Now that we’re seriously considering moving, a lot of my upgrading needs upgrading! I painted my oak builder-grade cabinets 10 years ago gray before anyone discovered how interesting gray could make your home; and now it no longer is new but the cabinet painting craze is still going strong–at least that’s one thing I don’t need upgrading (I think). Your counter top info was informative as were all the mini upgrades. This will surely aide in making decisions on what to change and what to keep! Thanks, Jeanette!

    1. Susan, I’ve always looked at my home the same way. If for whatever reason I had to make a quick exit, I wanted to choose projects that I know would impact the bottom line! Glad to hear I’m not the only one that thinks this way.

  4. Donna Williamson says:

    Did you take interior doors down to paint?

    1. No I painted them in place. I used an artist brush to paint around hinges, too.

  5. Wow! Your kitchen upgrade looks incredible, Jeanette! So bright and chic! Thanks for linking up with us on Inspiration Monday this week and sharing your fun ideas!