LiveLoveDIY · Apr 2, 2013

10 Home Improvement Ideas: How To Make The Most of What You Already Have!

Three years ago, we moved into our house, a 1970's fixer-upper. I'm sure people thought I was crazy to take on the renovation of an older home. I had a very limited budget, and I had never done any sort of home improvement or home remodeling in my life.
It was as if I had rode my bike 400 miles away from my comfort zone, then lost my map.

Because who can find their way home without a map??

I knew that the only way I was going to make our old house look the way I wanted it to was to learn to do things myself. Since our budget was teeny-tiny, I also knew that I would need to learn to work with what I already had. So, I did just that. Today, I'll share those ideas with you!

Based on the reader emails I get each month, I know there are tons of you in older homes just like me, trying to figure out ways to improve things. I know how it feels. It can be daunting. I was in that daunting place just 3 short years ago. The good news is that YOU can do what I've done. It just takes a little willingness to learn. And I'm here to help you learn! So, here are my top 10 easy solutions to update things you might not like about your house. And the best part is, all of them involve paint.
Because let's face it...when you need low-cost, high-impact results, paint is your best friend.

B.F.F.E., I tell ya.
So, put on your man pants, and let's go.
I always wear my man-pants when painting.

My husband hates that all his pants have paint on them.

#1: Paint Your Trim
We'll start off with the one thing that will give you the most bang for your buck. Painting your old wooden trim. I painted my trim, and it completely transformed my entire house. Nothing will make as big of an impact as painting your trim. All you need is paint and a really great attitude (because although painting trim is fairly easy, it takes forever and you will likely want to cry at least twice. That's just a fact.). You can see a full tutorial on how to do this yourself here.

#2: Paint Your Tile
Have some colorful tile you can't stand? A green bathtub? Pink sink? Well, I found a great solution that allows you to paint all that stuff. I had a smorgasbord of green/black/peach tile, and I could not get rid of it fast enough. Check out how I painted my tile! (This product works on sinks, tubs, and tile!)

#3: Paint Your Old Furniture
After we moved into our house, I realized that it just wasn't realistic to outfit an entire house with new furniture. Not only was it not realistic for our small budget, but a house full of cookie-cutter furniture just wasn't what I envisioned. Instead, I hunted for unique pieces I could make my own. This involved tons of thrift stores shopping, garage sales, and craigslist searching. Oh, and paint. Lots and lots of paint. (See more here.)

#4. Spray Paint Your Doorknobs
If you've been blessed with gross 1980's brass doorknobs like me (high five!), you can easily update them with spray paint. Using the right spray paint will give you a high-end, durable result. And it's much better than paying $20 a piece for new knobs! (See more here.)

#5. Spray Paint Your Light Fixtures:
I have a total obsession with great light fixtures. However, since I pretty much hated all of the ones that came with the house (and didn't have a bazillion dollars to spend on new ones), I found crafty ways to reuse old ones. Check out my $5 chandelier here.

#6. Restore Your Dingy Grout
If you have tile floors with dingy old grout, I found a great solution for that. I've used this product on 3 rooms worth of tile, and it's held up great for a really long time now. It's pretty much awesome. See more here.

#7. Paint outdated Bathroom Fixtures
Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on new bathroom fixtures, we used a few simple paint tricks to completely update our once outdated two-toned bathroom fixtures! It's still holding up over a year later.

#8. Paint the insides of old cabinets
With just a quart of chalkboard paint, we were able to completely update our old kitchen cabinets. It makes our kitchen way more fun, and it looks pretty snazzy, too.

#9. Create an Feature Wall:
Take a boring old room up a notch by adding a feature wall! You can try a simple solid color accent wall, create a nook (painted a different color), or do stripes (seen here and here)!

#10: Paint your boring old walls! I painted our once-boring-peachy-colored walls throughout the entire house. I kept the color palette neutral, but varied the color from room to room. The overall effect is a calm, serene, cohesive looking house! See my favorite paint colors here.

There's my top 10 ways to make the most of what you already have....with paint! I hope I've given you some good ideas to improve your own house.

P.S. Make sure you remember to pin the below picture
so you'll have this info when you need it!!