Tips for the first-time homeowner.


Congrats, you bought your first home! And it’s a fixer-upper! And you have no money left! To be fair, there are probably some things you love and some things you’d love to change – but where to start? First step: make a list of EVERYTHING you want to rip out or remodel. It’s just a list, you’re not committing to anything, so dream big. 

Next: prioritize. Get realistic about what you can afford now and what needs to wait. If you’re looking for instant gratification, focus on the things that require minimal effort but deliver maximum impact. 

Change the wall color. 

Just because every room was freshly painted when it went on the market doesn’t mean you can’t re-paint them. The previous homeowner picked a neutral shade that they liked – it’s your house now, what do you like? If you need help picking colors, find a color consultant or interior designer to help narrow down the options. When it comes to the actual work, you can always take the DIY route, but hiring a painter gets it done so much faster. 

Find an interior painter. 

Update the floors.

Unless the carpet is brand new AND you love it, there’s no reason to keep it. Hardwood floors add a designer feel – from the wood to the finish, there are so many options. If the wood underneath is in decent shape, a hardwood installation pro can simply refinish it, replacing a few boards here and there if needed. If you found a floor on Pinterest that you LOVE, your installer can make that happen, too. 

→ Find a hardwood floor refinisher or floor installer. 

Refresh the bathroom.

Paint the walls, change the hardware, add a new mirror and switch out the lighting fixture – these are all quick, easy and budget-friendly ways to give the bath a mini-makeover. If the aquamarine tile from the 70s is something you CAN.NOT. live with, then talk to a contractor about your options. If you’re not changing the footprint, then it really is just a facelift. 

→ Find a bathroom remodeler. 

Paint your kitchen cabinets.

Obsessing about that to-die-for kitchen on Pinterest? Create a board, name it “Someday” and pin all your dreams there. For now, focus on what you can do to make the kitchen feel fresh without the hefty price tag of a remodel. Cabinets are a good place to start – think new paint and updated hardware. This is another place where you could DIY it, but then you’ll have to take all the cabinet doors off and put them back on yourself. Exactly. Leave it to the painting pro. 

→ Find a cabinet painter. 

Let there be new lights.

From the bathroom to the dining room to the kitchen, new lighting fixtures instantly make a space feel updated vs. dated. Go bold with a chandelier, add ambient lighting to walls, replace the pendants over the kitchen island – the right lights distract and draw the eye away from all the other stuff that’s on your to-do-over list. If you bought an older house, it might be good to consult an electrician before you install the fixtures.

→ Find an electrician. 

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