Friday, January 20, 2017

5 Tips for Updating Your House on a Budget

I wanted to talk a little bit today about buying older houses that need updating when you really don't have a huge budget to do so.

We've owned a one hundred year old farmhouse for almost 1 1/2 years now.

It still needs SO much work.

When we had it inspected prior to closing, the man doing it was surprised by how excellent the condition was, plus it had new windows and a new roof. All bonuses. But, this house is ugly. It wasn't kept up. It was not clean. Animals destroyed most of the woodwork.  I sat here, as someone who loves to decorate, unable to make a decision. It needs an overwhelming amount of cosmetic changes. Also, I have my own mish-mash of style and really am not gung ho about full on farmhouse. I know. Everybody loves the farmhouse style. I just like it in small doses.

I feel like a lot of people would have come in this house and gutted it right on down to nothing. This isn't an option, financially. I'm being real here. I don't think most people can realistically do that.


You can have a beautiful home. If you are careful with your choices. Do a lot of the work yourself. And, be patient.

Here's how...

1.  Evaluate What you Already Have

Take a look at what you are tempted to rip out and see if it can be saved. When we first moved here I was adamant that the original cabinets had to go in the kitchen.  They ended up staying because they are well built and sturdy. But, we updated with paint, hardware and counters... (P.S. This allowed us to splurge a little on a huge sink and faucet.)

Budget Friendly Kitchen Reno

A new fridge isn't in the budget at the moment so I painted our old dated one. (Full post next week once I get the DIY handles on).

Vintage Scrabble Letter Message Board

2. Have Patience and Shop a Sale

I don't even have a picture of our new microwave yet, but I still think this is important to talk about. We had a wish list micro and even on sale it was more than we wanted to spend. We held off, but checked in at the store often and were rewarded with a 50% open box discount one day on the exact one we wanted. (It had been returned because the wrong color was purchased.)

I'm currently pining over this light fixture for our upstairs hallway. It isn't an absolute necessity so I'm waiting for a good sale before I pull the trigger.

bell white flush mount lamp

3.  Do the Labor Yourself

This would be so much easier (and quicker if we could just hire out). But, if we did that we would blow all our budget on one small area, and, like I said, this house needs major help. Before we are done, I know I will have painted every square inch of this house (probably multiple times). And, anything that needs building and installation, like this new floor and shelves in our mudroom will be tackled by Darrell.

This room literally just got a new floor and paint!

Modern Farmhouse Mudroom Reveal

(He's done all the kitchen reno, like building an island out of an old sideboard and retrofitting the cabinets to accommodate the farmhouse sink.)

4. Come up with Low Cost Options for a High End Look

Here's a little glimpse into my current project for example, (our very narrow and dungeon like stairway and hall). I cannot place any furniture in this space so wanted a really fabulous wall treatment. Wallpaper would have been amazing, but way out of budget, so I measured, taped and painted a plaid wall. And, I love it! (Full reveal in the coming weeks).

Other options: Stencils or fabric.

Image may contain: stripes and indoor

5. Shop Tag Sales, Flea Markets, Etc...

This is a passion of mine. First of all you can get great deals. And, secondly, you can find truly unique items that give your home personality and depth. Don't get me wrong, I love. Seriously love. Target and Homegoods. But this mixes it up in a really interesting way. And, if you are going through the effort of renovating your house you want it to look pretty in the end!

With the exception of the couch, chair and a few accessories everything in this room was found second hand. (All the furniture was painted by me).

Bits of Our Winter Living Room

I even sourced this mantel from a local Facebook sales site I belong to. We filled the opening with bead board, attached it to the wall and painted it.

Rustic, Modern, DIY Barn Quilt

I truly hope you all found this post helpful! I realized recently that I was unhappy with where I lived because I was waiting for major changes to take place. There is no need for that. Even if you paint a room and accessorize to make it your own, do it! Why leave something ugly for years waiting for that maybe remodel? Also, something else happened the other day. Darrell commented that I am making this house into a home. That really made me happy. It shows that I am surrounding us all with my creativity and love and a desire to grow in a beautiful setting.

Happy renovating!

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