Your house might be a little older than some of the others in your neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean you take any less pride in it. Upgrading your home can be an excellent way to make it more livable and raise its value — which should be of particular importance to those who are considering selling their houses in the near future.
The following nine DIY projects are all easy, relatively low-budget ways to improve the way your home functions and/or increase its market value. Use these to live more comfortably, or to help sell your home for a greater profit when the time comes.
Paint the Front Door
The front door is something every visitor will see when they enter your home, so it can almost always benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Using warm and vibrant colours such as darker red will create a more welcoming environment for only about $25 — the cost of a gallon of high quality paint.
Repaint Old Tile Backsplashes
Backsplashes tend to wear out faster than other surfaces because of their frequent exposure to moisture. Fix yours by using sandpaper to scuff the surface a little, then putting on two coats of adhesion primer and another two of semigloss paint — just make sure it’s oil-based! This whole project will likely run under $100 and take only a couple of hours.
Update Stairs with Decorative Brackets
Connect decorative brackets to the exterior of your stinger on your stairwell, just underneath the treads. Doing so will give your old staircase a new look, and help it fit in better with the rest of your upgrades.
Install a Dimmer Switch
The lighting in older homes can be a significant source of wasted energy, but upgrading all the bulbs in your home to LED can be expensive. Installing a dimmer switch gives you excellent control over the mood you set in a given room, while allowing you to save power by dimming the lights as well.
Upgrade to Double-Glazed Windows
Double-glazed windows reduce the amount of heat that is lost by using a vacuum or gas-filled chamber to effectively insulate the space between the panes. Replacing your current windows with double glazing is often expensive, but retrofit solutions for existing windows are also available, and these tend to be much more cost-effective.
Build Extra Door Trim
Many older homes have foyers where guests are intended to take off their shoes before venturing deeper into the building. Using applied moldings is an excellent way to create a more substantial casing for the entry door that leads from the foyer into the rest of the dwelling.
Paint Old Vinyl to Look Like Stone Tiling
Vinyl looks ugly when it gets old, but replacing it with stone tiles can cost a fortune. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to paint older vinyl to look like stone tiling — just choose two similar colours to represent the “stone”, and use plain white paint to create the impression of grouting. Use a few coats of polyurethane to seal your work, and you’ve just given your kitchen or bathroom floor a brand new look for around $60.
Strip Old Paint off of Door Hardware
This one’s very easy. Purchase a cheap crock pot from a secondhand or dollar store, then fill it with water and add two teaspoons of laundry detergent (liquid, not powdered!). Place the old, paint-caked door knobs, hinges, and escutcheons from the doors in your older home inside the mixture, and put it on medium heat overnight. By the next morning, any remaining paint will simply slide off the metal, refurbishing it and making your doors look much more modern.
Install a Cross-Handle Faucet
If the bathrooms in your older home don’t already use cross-handle faucets, you might want to think about installing one. Far from looking outdated, it will provide a warm vintage aesthetic that complements the rest of your home and makes its age seem like a deliberate stylistic choice. These kinds of faucets can also be an excellent way to preserve space on the top of your sink, adding value to your counter.
Owning an older home doesn’t mean you can’t still flaunt your style and charm. Use the ideas above to help yourself get started — who knows where your inspiration might take you after you’ve finished the tasks on this list!