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Many of us live in homes with builder grade finishes and if you are like me you probably had planned to upgrade as soon as you had time. Then life got busy and those plans got pushed off. Now you have decided it is time to make some upgrades.

Maybe you’re selling your home and paying to upgrade is not in the picture but you realize that making some needed visual changes will help your home sell faster and for more money.

Or maybe you just want to make some changes to update the current look of your home and you are interested in learning some new skills and upgrading existing finishes is a great place to start.

Here are a few great ideas that will update the builder finishes while not costing you a lot of time, effort or money to get done.

There are different levels of skill needed from very easy to more difficult so if you feel it is a bit over your skill level ask a handy family member, neighbor or get a referral for a reasonably priced handyman.

Starting at the top…

#1.Any light fixture in your home that is metal can be painted. Taking a fixture from chrome or a brass plated light fixture is a good solution for making it look much more expensive. Make sure to get the correct spray paint for the material the fixture is made of (just ask someone in the paint department) . There are some great choices for metal fixtures from hammered to metallic and glossy to matte finish. I have spray painted many fixtures over the years and have never even taken them down (I did my ceiling fan too) – I know I don’t recommend it for but in case you are not wanting to take it down just start taping the wall around the fixture and using a box around the fixture with one open side (the side you paint into– if you are going to try to risk this make sure you are painting in a well ventilated room.


Bob Vila

#2.Framing out standard bathroom mirrors with no personality is an easy way to update the look. You can use tile like Censational Girl has done here.


Centsational Girl

#3.or use wood as in this DIY which you can even do without a miter saw if you purchase the corner pieces described in this tutorial from HGTV.




#4. I have also always painted my cabinets because they were either in bad shape or the faux oak looking pretend wood – it takes time and patience but it is worth it. My DIY tutorial using chalk paint will be posted later this month but if you need to get going now here is a good tutorial.



#5. You can even spray paint your hardware, door knobs and hinges. Again ask your paint person and make sure to get the right product for your hardware and follow all the manufacturers’ suggestions and you will have great results. I spray painted all our kitchen hardware 11 years ago when we moved into this house and now I am redoing the kitchen cabinets I am spraying them again but for the most part they still look great.


Salvaged Inspirations

#6. Nothing makes a tile floor look newer like clean like nice clean grout. I spent almost a month on my hands and knees cleaning our kitchen grout and resealing it and wasn’t looking forward to the bathrooms so I repainted the grout in three bathrooms and did all three in one day. My choice is now repainting hands down.


The Yellow Cape Cod

#7. Cheaper dated lighting can quickly date your room. Painting is one option for chandeliers and metal lighting fixtures but what to do with ceiling mounted lights – well add a shade. This DIY shows how to make it happen quickly and easily.


Young House Love

One valuable tool to have is a miter box and a good saw or if you are an advanced DIYer you might want to invest in an electric  miter saw. I am much better with tools that can’t remove appendages if used improperly so electric sanders and a small jigsaw is the most daring I become and I like that I can take the miter box and saw to the location I am working. Molding adds character to a house and makes it look more custom. Here are a few ideas if you happen to be good at miters.

#8. Making more substantial baseboards definitely adds some weight and interest to a room.


The Idea Room

#9. Molding can even be added to doors.


A Well Dressed Home

And cabinets.


#10. Adding glass to a cabinet lightens up a kitchen but make sure you only add glass to one or two or your prospective buyers may not be keen on having their disheveled dishes show.


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


Well I hope you got some ideas for either yourself or sellers if you are a Realtor®. If you would like more tips and classes just head to and check out past blog posts or if you are selling don’t miss the virtual class on DIY Staging!

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