Inexpensive Ways to Modernize Your Home

Painting WallWhen we were house hunting for our home a few months ago, before we landed where we are, we saw a whole bunch of houses. We saw brand new homes, newly renovated homes, and ones that were old (and looked their age). Some had never been updated in the time that they had been standing (we were open to a project).

We saw these two homes back to back on a Saturday afternoon. They looked similar in the listings online, so we wanted to see both just in case we liked one. Both were around the same age (built in the 70’s), within 5 kilometers from each other and had similar layouts, like many houses built in that era did.

One had never been updated at all. It still had the brown carpet, wood trim, and same old yellow toilet and sink. One had been barely updated, but it was a thousand times better than the previous.

When we saw the house we ended up buying, the updates weren’t extensive, but the they were enough to make the house look way newer, and it wasn’t expensive, either.

Here are some things that we saw really updated the house drastically, with little work and little budget:

Give it a Fresh Paint Job

It’s absolutely astounding what fresh paint will do to a room. It can brighten it up, make it look larger (or smaller), and change the dynamic. It makes it look cleaner and newer.

Make sure to paint the house a color from this decade, and hopefully something that will tie the color scheme in. If you are looking to sell your home and that is why you need to update it, make sure that the paint color you choose is something neutral and universal.


The lighting in a home is really important. It can make a huge difference. Replace the fixtures to modernize a home. Try to go with a fixture that is timeless and classic. You’ll be able to get some inspiration at lighting stores and in design magazines and look-books. Focus on the photos of rooms that don’t focus on funky light fixtures; these will go out of style and date the home when they do.


You’d be surprised at how modern you can make your home just by getting rid of some old junk that you have lying around. If you can’t part with it, put it in storage. Open, clean spaces make the space more modern and enjoyable to be in.

Clutterless homes are timeless.

Replace Your Handles, Knobs and Hardware

I once was helping my dad work on updating a home that was really, really outdated. The owners were on a strict budget and he was helping them out.

He took the home from out-dated to more modern just by going around and replacing the door knobs from those old, gold color knobs to brushed steel ones, which he got for less than $15 at the hardware store.

He also replaced the handles on the cabinetry, taking the plain white cabinets from 1992 to 2010 (at the time).

Closet doors also got a hardware face lift, as did the towel hanger and toilet paper holder in the bathroom. Each and every tiny change really helped refresh the space and make it look more modern, and it only cost a couple hundred dollars.


This may not be the least expensive option, but updating your flooring can be one of the most beneficial things you can do to update your home. If you still have 70’s shag carpet, even just replacing it to a cheaper laminate or neutral carpet will make a huge difference.

Everyone wants to live in a nice, updated home, but sometimes you just don’t have the money to do so. These tips may give your home that breath of fresh air that you crave without breaking the bank.

So, have you made any upgrades to your home? What did you do?


Inexpensive Ways to Modernize Your Home — 8 Comments

  1. We recently painted the house too, it is the cheapest thing you can easily do yourself to feel like the place got a complete makeover. With rolls and a “beginners” paint that was a bit more expensive but left no traces it was really a simple task. We also put some plastic tiles on the roof to make a sort of skylight that made the place feel bigger. That was a bit more complicated but worth it.

  2. We bought our home a few years ago, it had pretty much been gutted and renovated. Even with the renovations we have found plenty to do/change. When we purchased it the laundry was at the end of the kitchen (in a not-to-big galley kitchen to boot) – I refuse to do laundry in my kitchen, so we had an addition built on, now we have a nice sized mud room/laundry room off the kitchen that goes out to the back porch. I’m sure we could have saved a ton of money by doing it ourselves, but we are not even remotely handy people (we can tackle little things – not an entire addition). We also redid the stone on our patio, replaced the carpet in one of the bedrooms with engineered hardwood as we use it as an office, we also painted that room. We just finished having a new roof installed – when we purchased the home they gave us a credit of $4,000 to have the roof replaced but we managed to hold out for two years before having to finally replace it (which ended up costing us only 2k more than the credit we received).

    We are getting ready to replace the light fixtures in a few of the rooms – as we had builder grade “boob lights”, I will be sooooo happy to see those go. Hopefully one day soon we will be able to replace the builder grade carpet that is looking incredibly sad (three dogs do not equal happy carpeting). I have a “to-do” list for our house that will last us for years.

    It seems like a lot but we got a great deal on our house – $68,000 – for a 4 bedroom 1 bath ranch on a nice sized lot in a good school district,with brand new everything and after the addition we are at about 1400 square feet. We were incredibly lucky to be able to pay cash for our house (due to an inheritance my husband received)and we also plan on living in this house till they have to cart us off to the nursing home, so we have no concerns/worries/issues about spending money for upgrades, we don’t worry about “resale value” we think more about how useful it will be for us.

  3. Freakin’ great list. All except the lighting and handles/knobs are on our list. Right now we are just going berserk on the decluttering and having a ball with it.

    The damn floors are irritating. We hate our carpeting, but we don not want to break the bank, so it looks like laminate will have to do. It will sound better when I practice guitar too;)

  4. When I moved in my house I pretty much did this exact list. Took out the 1970s burnt orange carpet, put new knobs on the cupboards, painted, got rid of the weeds and left behind clutter,and replaced some lighting fixtures. Totally redid the look of the place for not a horrible amount of money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I appreciate your readership and really enjoy hearing your thoughts on different topics. Thank you for contributing to the discussion.