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DIY Home Updates: Make an Old House Look Like New

September 10, 2020

There’s nothing more magical than a home full of character. It’s the reason we choose to buy older properties or stay in the same house for decades. The problem is, the more history your house has, the more likely it will need some DIY home updates. The good news is that you can give your home a facelift no matter how much time, money, and effort you have to spare!

From smaller jobs like changing out light fittings to larger projects like redecorating, read on to find out how you can make your old house look modern.

How to Modernize a House on a Budget

If you bought an older house because it was a more affordable option, the last thing you want to do is to pour all your savings into costly home improvements. Similarly, if you’re in love with your home’s special charm, you may not want to give it a complete overhaul. No matter whether you’re trying to keep to a budget or stick to a subtle refresh, these are the DIY home updates for you.

Do a Deep Clean

Dirt can build up over the years without us really noticing — even when we clean on a regular basis. If you have an older home, one of the best ways to spruce it up is with a thorough cleaning. 

Rent a carpet or tile cleaner to give your floors a seriously good wash. You can take your curtains to the dry cleaners and use a professional service to get your furniture cleaned. The cleaning shouldn’t be limited to inside your home, either. If you have vinyl siding on the exterior of your house, use a power washer to remove any moss, mold, and mildew. This may not be the most glamorous of DIY home updates, but it’s certainly effective.

Buy New Linens

Updating your linens is a great way to modernize your home on a budget. Replace graying towels and shower curtains with designs that make your bathroom pop. Choose bed linens that bring your bedroom decor together. Buy a new tablecloth that makes you proud to host a dinner party in your home. 

Another way to make an old house more modern is to switch out heavy window treatments for light drapes. This will also allow more light into your home, which brings us to our next DIY home update.

DIY home update with modern light fixture

Let There Be Light

Nothing makes an old house look more modern than good lighting. You can easily tweak the lighting in your home by adding modern table and floor lamps to the darker areas of your home. Consider replacing old-fashioned fixtures and light shades or even installing recessed LED lighting for a truly modern feel.

You can also update the light switches and plates around your home for another simple DIY home update. The same goes for power outlets, door handles, and drawer pulls, as these can become damaged and outdated over time.

Prioritize Your Paint Jobs

Painting your entire home is a huge project that requires a lot of time and effort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use some paint to modernise your home on a budget

Select key items in and around your home that will really make an impact with a fresh coat of paint, such as cupboards and doors. You can also repaint the fence around your property and go bold with a new front door color to increase your curb-appeal.

Freshen Up Your Yard

Don’t forget about exterior projects when making your old house look more modern. If your yard has been left to do its own thing for a long period of time, it probably needs some TLC. 

Start by pulling out the weeds from your front and back yard as well as from the sidewalk in front of your home. You should also cut back hedges, trees, and creepers. Remove any dead plants or junk. To make your garden look extra fresh, replenish the mulch and keep your lawn in check. 

Couple making DIY home updates in yard

More Ambitious DIY Home Updates

Ready to invest more time and money into modernizing your home? Take a look at these tips for the ultimate makeover for your older home.

Create a Cohesive Decor

After years of being updated here and there, older homes can end up looking a little mis-matched. The best way to make an old house more modern is to opt for one simple decor style. That means you should remove the wallpaper that has become dated, damaged, and dirty, and choose a new color palette.

Not sure how you want to redecorate your home? Take our quiz to discover the right interior design style for you and your home!

Redo Your Floors

Just like your walls and decor, your flooring should also be consistent throughout your home if you want to make your old house more modern. Consider removing all of your carpets and updating your floors to match (with the exception of the bathroom, of course). Contemporary interior designs favor hardwood flooring for its sleek, natural look. 

To incorporate some cozy texture into your rooms, add patterned area rugs or luscious sheepskin rugs. If you’re lucky enough to have hardwood floors already, be sure to refinish them for a fresh look.

Take On the Big Ones: The Kitchen and the Bathroom

The two rooms that usually need the most DIY home updates are the bathroom and the kitchen. They’re subjected to heavy daily usage, grime, and humidity, which means that hardware and decor can quickly deteriorate. If you have a larger budget, plenty of DIY experience, or the chance to get some professional help, improving these rooms is the best way to make your old house more modern.

DIY home updates to prioritize in an older bathroom include:

  • Installing a modern one-piece toilet
  • Replacing the bathroom vanity
  • Retiling the floors and walls

In some cases, you may want to recreate your bathroom from scratch with a new and more modern tub, shower, and basin.

When it comes to an older kitchen, focus on:

  • Updating old appliances
  • Installing a new sink (or even just the faucet)
  • Retiling the backsplash

These DIY home updates will give your kitchen a clean, fresh, and functional vibe that goes hand in hand with modern living.

Modern Southern Motion sectional

Invest in the Right Furniture

Once you’ve thoroughly updated your home, you’ll want to make sure your furniture fits with the new aesthetic. While you can give tables and wooden chairs a lick of stain, you may not be able to fix a lumpy, patterned couch so easily.

A new furniture group can make your old house look more modern and reinforce your interior design style. Top-quality furniture manufacturers combine the latest innovations and styles, which means a new sofa or recliner won’t just look better, it will also feel more comfortable. What’s more, if you choose furniture in stain-resistant and easy-to-clean fabrics, you can keep them looking like new for longer!

See how the right furniture can take your home to the next level in our infographic.

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Southern Motion / Fusion Furniture is committed to the health and safety of our employees. We are taking all CDC-recommended steps to ensure a safe working environment. We continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and use other “best practices” to help protect our team members. We are continuing to produce and ship orders to customers around the country as quickly as we can, however, please expect some production and shipping delays. Due to several factors - including extreme furniture demand, delays in our raw material supply chain, and shipping delays, we are experiencing extended lead times.

Thank you for your patience and understanding in this unprecedented time.