By Erik J. Martin
Major renovations like a kitchen remodel or a bathroom redo can be costly and disruptive, which is often why homeowners only embark on these endeavors every few years. But you don’t necessarily have to engage in a major home improvement project to improve the look and value of your property.
In fact, sometimes it’s the easiest, quickest, and least expensive changes that give you the most bang for your buck. This is where swapping out old minor components can pay off.
“Updating fixtures, appliances, and other areas of your home can help preserve its value and, when it’s time to sell, command top dollar,” says Martin Orefice, CEO of Rent To Own Labs.
Boyd Rudy, associate broker with Dwellings Michigan in Plymouth, Michigan, concurs.
“There’s always something that’s going to need to be fixed around the house – from clogged drains to broken appliances. But we often forget about the little things, like changing out light fixtures or upgrading door handles, which can have a big effect on the overall look and feel of your home,” he says.
One of the simplest and lowest-cost upgrades you can make in a jiffy is to replace the knobs in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry area, and garage – anywhere you have cabinets with knobs, pulls, or handles. You can modernize the room’s look instantly by choosing a different knob shape and material. For instance, if you currently have wooden knobs, replace all of them with metal substitutes that match some of the appliances and surfaces in your kitchen, such as brushed nickel or stainless steel knobs.
“Also, door handles tend to get loose and wear down with age. This is not compatible with people seeking a safe and protected home,” says Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Chicago-based Improovy. “Update your door handles by securing reinforcements around the old door handle and replace the actual handle with a sleeker or more accessible design, taking time to clean and polish the new handle semi-frequently.”
Orefice notes that safety codes have shifted in recent years, which makes lever-style door handles a better option than round ones for many homeowners.
Another surefire way to contemporize your living space with minimal fuss is to add or replace area rugs.
“Area rugs can help define a space, add color and patterns, and protect your flooring,” Rudy notes. “You can find area rugs in a wide range of prices, so it’s easy to locate one that fits your budget.”
Old lighting fixtures and antiquated bulbs can seriously detract from the aesthetic appeal of your living spaces, too. Why not swap out that ceiling fixture with a modern equivalent and implement fresh LED bulbs with a different color temperature for immediate impact?
“Lighting is something that sets the tone of your entire space. Light bulbs often dim over time, giving the space a gloomy vibe. Be sure to change out your bulbs and ensure they are the perfect warm tone to give your space a relaxing ambiance,” suggests Chenise Bhimull, an interior designer with ZFC Real Estate.
Likewise, an outdated ceiling fan practically screams for attention.
“Update your ceiling fan by investing in a new, sleeker model – perhaps a bright and white design rather than dark wooden panels,” Kazimierski recommends. “Maintain your new ceiling fan with constant dusting, and change out the bulbs as well.”
And few measures are as impactful as a fresh coat of paint on walls and ceilings; ponder that paint only costs around $40 and up per gallon.
“Also consider painting your kitchen cabinets. It’s not an easy DIY project, but with the right prep, this project can change the entire look and feel of your kitchen. Dark and outdated cabinets can drag down the feeling of your home,” says Paige NeJame, owner of South Shore CertaPro Painters. “While you’re at it, consider painting your exterior window grids and window frames a darker color, which can give your home more curb appeal.”