Adding Value to Your Home: General “Whole House” Updates

As I finish up my series on valuable home updates, I am going to give a run-down of options that can be used throughout the entire house. It would be repetitive for me to work through updates for the living room, master bedroom, foyer, guest bedroom, etc. because you can simply pick and choose what works for your home and situation and apply them to any room you want to update.


Remember, these updates are not full remodels. I am certainly not a source for how to tear down walls and rip out cabinets, but experienced flippers know that process and have seen the incredible transformations that can take place with a major remodel. For now, I’m going to leave all of that to the architects and contractors. However, these updates do make a significant impact on the appearance and feel of a home. They are perfect if you’re preparing to sell or in the process of buying or finding tenants and want to customize your space to reflect the style you want to achieve. Also remember, you can pick and choose any of these suggestions. You can do them all for a complete transformation or keep things simple and try just one or two of the ideas.


Exchange light fixtures. Similar to what I explained about lights in the post about bathroom updates, the fixtures throughout your house add to both the design and ambiance of the home. Certainly choose lighting that will be functional for you and your family, but also make sure it is attractive and current. Ceiling lanterns are very popular right now in foyers and dining rooms of all styles. They create a cozy, inviting feel that guests and potential buyers will notice right away. One tip: if you choose one for your foyer that has an 8-9 foot ceiling, make sure the fixture does not hang so low that it will become a hazard for guests walking through.


Spray paint or change out door knobs. Over the last couple years, varied options for door knobs have become available. They are indeed created for function, but they also can contribute to the overall “look” of the house. Whether you like an antique/weathered look, a new bronze knob, or a nickel handle, understand that the presence of those door accessories can actually make a nice impact on updating your home. It’s best to stay consistent with the same hardware on every door in the home. Here is a tutorial on how to spray paint your door knobs if you don’t want to buy new ones. (Don’t forget the hinges!)



Paint rooms neutral colors. Once again, this maintains a fresh, current feel throughout the house and allows you to change decor if you choose. It also allows a potential buyer to see options in a room if you are selling. Keep your colors warm, like a butter cream, tan, light blue, or a new favorite “greige”.  Along with painting, take down any dated wallpaper in favor of paint. Wallpaper actually has come back and there are beautiful choices out there, but they are neutral and echo a simple feel, like sea grass or grasscloth. Use these sparingly for impact, like in a powder room or master bedroom.


Crown molding can really give a room that finished look.

Add crown molding. Moving on to a more permanent update, consider putting up crown molding in your main rooms. If you want to invest a bit more, install it throughout your entire main level. It really does add a lot to a room and gives it a finished look whether you choose a molding that is simple or more elaborate. A house does not need to be large or formal to see the dramatic impact of crown molding.


**Crown Molding Tips:**

Based on research I did for my own home’s crown molding installation, you should judge the scale of the molding by first looking at your base boards and window/door trim. Then go by this rule of thumb: “For standard 8-foot-high ceilings, the crown/cornice height should be 2½ to 6 inches; for 9-foot ceilings, 3 to 7½ inches, and for 10-foot ceilings, 3½ to 8 inches.”  For cost purposes, know that crown molding typically runs $2.50-$3.50 per foot to install by a professional, and then you will have to decide whether you want to paint it yourself or have it painted, which would be a separate fee.


Another larger scale update is replacing the floors. Hardwood is at the top of the “wish list” for most home buyers, so if you are considering selling at some point, hardwood really would be a wise investment. Go with something kind of rustic looking so it won’t show as much wear over time. Tile is always classic as well, especially for a foyer, bathroom, and kitchen. Both of these materials will wear well over time and are easy to keep clean. Carpet will never go out of style though. It keeps the house warm and feels nice to walk on or sit on, especially if you have young kids in the family who play on the floor. Just make sure the carpet is a neutral color (not so light that it will attract stains) and durable material. Here is a great article from Lowe’s that offers a carpet buying guide.


Add a fence to your yard. This is probably a better investment if you live in a subdivision or have kids, but a fence is a great update that is both functional and attractive. There are many options ranging from a wood privacy fence to an aluminum fence, and regardless of what you choose for your home, it will provide privacy and security for your yard. In the future, a potential buyer with children and/or pets will appreciate that as well.



I’d love to hear about the great things you’re doing to improve your home’s value and curb appeal!

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