Little things, big difference

If you're like me, there are many things about your home that you love. But likewise, there are probably certain things about your home you are dissatisfied with. Perhaps your home was remodeled to someone else's taste before you took ownership. Or perhaps it is in dire need of remodeling and you don't have the time or the money (or both!) to do so. Or perhaps you remodeled it years ago and your tastes have since changed. Whatever the case may be, you probably live with the dissatisfaction like you would a housefly: trying to ignore it but no matter which way you turn there it is buzzing in your ear.

With all of the home improvement/remodeling shows out there these days, we get the impression that you have to knock down walls or take a room down to the studs in order to improve it. But that is simply not the case. I can't tell you how many people who after seeing their home staged for sale kick themselves for not making those simple changes sooner so they could have enjoyed the improvements themselves while they still lived there.  

Here are some simple improvements that most stagers make to prep a home for sale, that you can do to get more enjoyment out of your home TODAY.

1. Paint (with professional input) 

Paint is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to refresh any space in your home (duh), but here's my twist on this home improvement gimme: enlist the services of a color consultant or interior designer to help you select the colors. Because the only thing worse than living with an outdated wall color is spending your precious time, energy and money to end up with a color you hate even more. And if you can't afford the professional advice and still want that updated look, Benjamin Moore has some guidance for you (click on picture to go to article):

Note: If you're a perfectionist like I am, you probably want to hire a professional painter to do the work as well, otherwise those unsightly jagged tape lines of your DIY job will haunt you. 

Note: If you're a perfectionist like I am, you probably want to hire a professional painter to do the work as well, otherwise those unsightly jagged tape lines of your DIY job will haunt you. 

2. Update light fixtures

This easy upgrade is an opportunity often overlooked by homeowners but seldom missed by stagers. Perhaps homeowners view it as an intimidating or expensive undertaking because it requires the services of an electrician. But I assure you, the payoff is huge and the cost is a lot more reasonable than you may think. And I urge you to think beyond just updating the chandelier in your dining room - the foyer, bathroom sconces, bedroom flush mounts, stairway pendants and even outdoor fixtures are all very visible areas worth investing in. And thanks to the internet age, we have access to fixtures that satisfy every design style at just about every price point. Here are a couple I have used: 

Selection to satisfy all tastes and all price points

Selection to satisfy all tastes and all price points

Selection to satisfy more modern and more expensive tastes. 

Selection to satisfy more modern and more expensive tastes. 

3. Update plumbing fixtures

I had a recent experience with this which is why it made the list. We purchased our current home after it had been completely remodeled to someone else's taste. I really couldn't justify making any changes because everything was new and in working order. That is, until the plastic spray button on the kitchen faucet broke off and I finally had a chance to put my mark on our kitchen - woo-hoo! And what a wonderful difference it made. Not only is it an aesthetic improvement, making the space feel more modern and to our taste, but the faucet actually functions better too. The nozzle is higher up, making more room for large dishes, has a greater radius, making more of the sink more usable, and the water pressure has actually improved. My husband and I can personally attest - this small change has made us like our kitchen so much more! Here is the faucet I chose (click on image to go to retailers website): 

This is not an inexpensive fixture, but I saved money by installing it myself. 

This is not an inexpensive fixture, but I saved money by installing it myself. 

4. New house numbers

Another easy but often overlooked upgrade - get new house numbers! I've even seen homes that have been lovingly remodeled and painted inside and out, with dingy and outdated house numbers. Here are a couple of great sources:

For a modern look, these numbers from Design Within Reach are gorgeous and come in three colors. 

For a modern look, these numbers from Design Within Reach are gorgeous and come in three colors. 

For a more traditional look, you can't beat the selection and quality at Restoration Hardware. 

For a more traditional look, you can't beat the selection and quality at Restoration Hardware.