Ways to Spruce Up Your Home

Small Changes, Big Improvement: 4 Ways to Spruce Up Your Home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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As a homeowner, you know that a small change in perception can turn up big differences in the real estate sales market. Most people who are looking for spruce-ups and fixes aren’t looking to put thousands of additional dollars into updating their homes, but rather want some relatively quick, relatively inexpensive projects that will help the home show well and sell fast. 

To get the most customized ideas for sprucing up your home, your real estate agent is an excellent resource, but in general, many homes will benefit from the following projects as stepping stones to a more beautiful home that shows to great effect with potential buyers.  

Change Lighting and Change the Whole Energy of a Space

Older, dust-gathering light fixtures or chandeliers with odd or dated materials are going to stand out even if the rest of your room is staged with modern looks and furniture. Opt for a minimalist, modern style of lighting and then strategically pick the light bulbs that give your room the best look. Many homes show well with a warm yellow-white light, but others make enough use of whites and neutrals to look particularly good under a bright white light. 

If you’re not sure what kinds of lighting would provide the most dramatic glow-up for your property, start by looking at other homes recently sold in your San Francisco neighborhood. Note the lighting in each listing photo, and note your own reaction: does the lighting look dated or does it seamlessly fit into the up-to-date looks that made those homes sell successfully?

Remove Some Furniture and Arrange Strategically

While you may end up with a customized staging plan from your real estate agent, you can start the process by noticing which of your rooms have just too much furniture in them and moving some of it to storage. Many of us accidentally accumulate some eclectic pieces that, when viewed by outside eyes, just don’t quite match. By spreading the furniture out in the room and only keeping a few pieces that really match, you convey a positive about the size of the rooms while also avoiding a scattered, garage-sale style that can distract from the best of the room’s features.

Not sure how to remove/rearrange furniture? Consider downsizing the amount of chairs around the table, removing one or more side tables in a living room, and moving a dresser to storage for the duration of your home’s staging process. 

Change Out Window Treatments to Bring a Room Together

It’s amazing how much dust can gather in certain older styles of drapes and window treatments. While some styles hold up over time, others really do start looking dated after even only a decade or two. An inexpensive way to adjust your room’s look is to use the color that will most match or accent the rest of the room and update the window treatments. Picking the right kind of window treatments can impact the room in many other ways - if you choose soundproof or darkening curtains, you can downplay traffic noise, and these same curtains often keep the room cooler or warmer and let less expensive HVAC leave through the windows. 

As with other features, check out recently-updated home photos or well-designed home photos to get inspiration for what kind of curtains offer the wide appeal that would bring together the other elements of your rooms.

Update Hardware and Faucets in the Kitchen

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do a full kitchen remodel, updating the hardware and faucets doesn’t take very long and has the added benefit of being quite inexpensive compared to bigger processes. There are quite a few older finishes that have lost their appeal, and a great real estate agent is likely to be able to show you examples of how a non-updated kitchen looks more modern just because the drawer pulls and handles have been updated to a modern finish and design. 

Of course, you can also opt for other in-between updates to the kitchen: repainting the cabinets is a DIY project that, while work intensive, doesn’t cost much and if you pick a popular type of paint and kitchen color, can really add wow factor. You can also opt to replace one or two appliances that were a little older or clashed with your other appliances, rather than updating everything at once. A great real estate agent will have suggestions for the best spots in your kitchen to direct your attention.  

The important factor to consider is how your spruce-up impacts your wallet, your time, and the rest of the home - you don’t want an update that accentuates that which isn’t updated, but rather one that makes everything look better and more harmonious. When you achieve that ideal, you can really make an impact for very little time and money. 

Image source: blakelyinteriordesign.com

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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