This article was contributed by Mandi Gubler, a DIYer and home decor blogger, who writes “Vintage Revivals” and believes “your house should look like you and no one else.”
Whether you’re a new homeowner, on the hunt, or a current homeowner, we all want our space to feel like us, right? Nothing compares to the sense of relief that comes from feeling like you’re home. But how do you create that feeling?
I have nine tiny fixes any homeowner can tackle that will make a huge difference in your space. Adding plants or a splash of color can completely transform a room without heavy construction. Let’s go.
1. Paint Something
I mean, I know that you’ve probably heard that painting is one of the easiest and quickest ways to update a space, but, you guys, PAINTING IS ONE OF THE QUICKEST AND EASIEST WAYS TO UPDATE A SPACE!
Before you start throwing heaps of money around and/or hauling everything you own to the thrift store, pull out your paint roller. You’ll be amazed at the new perspective a different color can bring. Lightening up the current color can make a space feel larger; adding a bold accent color will change the entire mood.
2. Update Your Kitchen Backsplash
Did you know that you can buy fantastic tile in stock at big-box stores? I used this white hexagon tile in my kitchen, and the entire project cost less than $200. Keep in mind that your kitchen backsplash and countertop go hand-in-hand with one another. Make sure the materials coordinate as in the picture above!
3. Add a Wall Treatment
Nothing says, “This is my space, hear me roar!” like a focal wall. Rock that shiplap board, batten, stencil, or my personal favorite: Use a Sharpie paint marker to draw wallpaper on your walls.
Covering every wall might not be the best idea for some rooms, so consider addressing a single wall to create a focal point. I bet looking at the picture below, you’d never believe that it wasn’t wallpaper.
4. Bring in Some Plant Friends
Look at all your favorite home magazines. I guarantee that every single one of them has some sort of living vegetation bringing color and life to the space.
If you’ve got a black thumb, cacti and aloe vera plants will put your mind at ease. They’re easy to keep alive with very little maintenance. As you can see above, I’ve included some cacti on my plant shelves.
5. Mix Up Your Metals
If your house is looking a little less than stellar on the decor front, make sure that you’re checking off all the boxes below:
Wood. Steer clear of the furniture store showroom style. Don’t be afraid to use different wood tones in the same space. A vintage mid-century dresser with its warm tones looks fantastic paired with natural wicker. Something moody like matte black shiplap needs a counterbalance like natural maple. Different wood tones make a space feel collected and curated, not purchased in one trip.
Metals. A little metal goes a long way. If you’re feeling flashy, use something large like an end table. But even simple things like hardware on a dresser or nailhead trim on a chair will give you just the right amount of metal.
Glass. Using glass objects is a great way to fill space without creating too much visual weight. Mirrors on the wall, a glass vase with flowers, or a lamp with a seeded glass base are easy ways to incorporate this material.
Textiles. Let’s look beyond the throw pillow for this one — ‘cause we all know about those, right? Bringing textiles into a room adds some serious character. Hang a weaving or rug on the wall, add a throw to the end of your bed, hang curtains, find a killer rug. All of these things will add depth and interest to your space.
This is a fail-proof way to bring warmth into your space and up your design cred.
6. Add Shelf Liners to Cabinetry and Closets
Shelf liners will keep your possessions protected and add style that can be swapped out easily. It makes your space look extra custom too.
My favorite is heavy-duty vinyl liner that’s easy to take out and clean. There’s a whole slew of patterned contact paper that will make a statement every time you open your cupboard.
7. Hang Stuff on Your Walls
Growing up, my mom never let me hang anything on the walls. But there are few things that make a space look more loved than walls with art and shelves full of treasures.
And there are many great products that can help keep damage from nails to a minimum. For lightweight art, adhesive strips are perfect. They stick to your wall and can be removed without any damage.
If you’re hanging something heavy, you typically have to use wall anchors, which usually leave huge holes when removed, or mount your piece on a stud, which is great until you realize that studs are very rarely in the right place.
Monkey hooks will be your best friend. They’re a little strange looking, but trust me when I tell you that they will change your life. One end of the hook goes into the wall. (You don’t need tools, just a little arm strength.) Then you feed almost the entire length of the hook into the hole and turn it so that just the small end is poking out of your wall. They can hold up to 35 pounds. If you need something even heftier, Gorilla hooks will hold up to 50 pounds.
8. Swap Out an Outdated Bathroom Vanity
Changing out big fixtures, like a bathroom vanity, might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some really fantastic options that aren’t pre-assembled, which allow you to customize them with different legs, drawer fronts, and hardware. This entire bathroom renovation cost less than $1,000!
9. Update Flooring
Let’s be honest, nothing shuts down all the happy, warm design feels like dirty, stained, and worn-out carpet. Flooring is definitely more of an investment of time and money, but if you find something that’s durable and gorgeous, you’re giving your space some serious TLC for years to come.
Depending on the space, you’ve got loads of options:
- Tile is ideal for places that have the possibility of water damage, like a kitchen, bath, or laundry room.
- Solid hardwood is great as a long-term investment because it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Engineered hardwood is typically more durable, costs less than solid hardwood, and from the surface, you can’t really tell a difference.
- If you’re a little bit rougher on things, luxury vinyl tile is virtually indestructible. It’s not made from wood, but some options have wood patterns that can be very convincing. The image below shows luxury vinyl tile that isn’t wood patterned.
Whether you’re a homeowner or hoping to be one soon, these DIY options for customizing your home will keep your budget on track and give you a great way to fill up your weekends.