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How to Update a Home Without Remodeling

We all desire the look of an elegant, well-designed home. While there are a lot of do-it-yourselfers out there who work tirelessly on their homes and seem to be updating or renovating constantly— this is not possible for those of us who don’t know the distinction between a table saw and a drill.

Of course, the latter-mentioned group of people could hire someone to renovate their homes, but then that comes with messy and costly renovations. Anyone who has done a significant renovation can testify to the unanticipated costs and massive mess that it creates. How can we update our homes while avoiding significant renovations? We want updates that all of us can do, not only those handy do-it-yourselfers.

Well, we have just the answers for you. Rather than embarking on expensive and time-consuming renovations, here’s how to update a home without remodeling!

Create Open Space In Your Home

Open floor plans are becoming more and more popular. A vast large and open space is at the top of most home buyers’ lists. Most homeowners want an open floor plan where the kitchen, family room, and dining room share one expansive open space. It’s important to note, too that formal dining rooms seem to be going out of style. Here is your opportunity to create space in your home, making it more appealing to you and to your visitors.

Eat-in kitchen boasting an acorn stained wooden dining table with a set of gray wishbone chairs in an open concept kitchen/dining room space.
Photo Credit: Studio McGee

But can you create an open space without getting out a sledgehammer and tearing out your walls? Making your home seem open and airy can be more uncomplicated than you think. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting rid of more extensive, bulkier furnishings or moving items around the room to see what placement gives the most open space.

White plush sectional sofa is surely a place to relax and unwind in an open concept, transitional living space. An industrial coffee table on a gray jute area rug under a truss ceiling faces a large glass sliding room door viewing into a backyard patio.
Photo Credit: Esq Design
Brown vintage leather chairs an oval black dining table illuminate with modern brass three-light pendants in an open concept dining room design.
Photo Credit: Cortney Bishop

If you are attached to the vast armoire, cupboard, or another bulky furnishing that takes up a lot of space, then consider painting it a warm off-white color. This will help it disappear into the room, fooling the eye to think the space is more airy and open.

Suzanne Kasler Morris Lanterns over a center kitchen island topped with a white quartz countertop and farmhouse sink. An open floor plan view features lovely dining room decor with a large brick fireplace accent wall.
Photo Credit: Janet Gridley

Another eye trick that gives the illusion of open space is mirrors. Mirrors, when placed opposite windows, reflect light into the room and make the room appear more open.

Contemporary living room furnished with a dark blue velvet sofa and pink swivel accent chairs surrounding a hoof coffee table on a jute rug.
Photo Credit Amie Corley

If you have a formal dining room that you don’t use, contemplate turning it into a cozy den, home office, crafting room, or library with a reading nook. This will make the existing space you have more usable and creates a whole new room in your home that you never had before and without undertaking any messy renovations.

A wine cooler and dishwasher is placed side by side in a kitchen peninsula with a dual sink and gooseneck faucet. Somerset Bay Carmel Arm Chairs frame a dark wood dining table in an open concept kitchen and dining room. A dining bench branches from a kitchen peninsula making good use out of a small space. A white scroll chandelier completes the lighting added as a fixture to the dining room decor.
Photo Credit: Balding Brothers

Bring in New Lighting

Appropriate lighting can indeed bring a room to life. A badly lit room looks small, dark, and cramped, while a brightly lit room seems open, airy, and inviting. There are countless ways to illuminate your home with lights. Some of the more straightforward methods are as easy as buying table lamps and floor lamps for your home.

Stunning statuary quartz waterfall island fitted with backless ghost saddle stools finished with brass feet under a set of conical drum light pendants. Wall to wall glossy white lacquer cabinets frame the perimeter kitchen wall showcasing a statuary quartz cooktop backsplash under a long stainless steel vent hood. Wood floors warm up the light cool tones in the kitchen and balance a large, open concept kitchen design.
Photo Credit: Northworks
Hudson Valley Lighting Washington Pendant illuminates a white kitchen boasting off-white quartz countertops, white shaker cabinets, and polished nickel knobs. The custom kitchen island features a glass front beverage fridge along with a sink and polished nickel gooseneck faucet. Yellow accents deliver a cheerful, fresh appeal along with lush greenery.
Photo Credit: Digs Design

Strategically place a couple of tall floor lamps in dark corners and watch your room come alive. Layer this lighting with lamps on side tables, making the room feel welcoming and restful. Then, if you want to get adventurous, you can replace all those outdated ceiling fixtures with the stunning modern masterpieces that are available on the market.

Three glass globe lanterns illuminate a blue x trim island topped with a white quartz countertop surrounded by white shaker cabinets and white backsplash tiles.
Photo Credit: M House Development

Of course, this last part may require you to hire an electrician for installation, but if you’re handy, replacing a ceiling fixture is not too complicated. Whether you keep it simple with floor lamps or go all out and replace all your ceiling fixtures —update your home with plenty of bright lights.

Kelly Wearstler Rousseau Large Oval Chandelier above an oval black dining table fitted with a set of white kimonos chairs above a tan vintage rug in transitional dining room.
Photo Credit: Erin Gates Design
Clean, neutral bedroom with a custom Schumacher bolster and beautiful Circa light fixture. Custom drapery and a custom headboard complete the look. A dream for rainy days and breakfast in bed.
Photo Credit: The Pankonien Group

Update Drawer Pulls and Door Handles

Nothing dates your kitchen and bathrooms more than old-fashioned, worn, dirty handle pulls and knobs. There is no reason not to update all your cabinet and door handles when it is so easy to do, and there are so many ways to modernize your cabinetry.

Brass beaded knobs accent white kitchen cabinets fixed under gold leaded glass cabinets.
Photo Credit: Establish Design

There are numerous finishes to choose from, such as bronze, brushed nickel, aged copper, and shiny stainless. With so many modern choices on the market, it may be difficult to decide what best suits your home. Don’t stress too much about the overload of options; after all, you could buy one or two different styles to see what works best in the room.

A small picture window is located in a light gray kitchen over an apron sink with an antique brass gooseneck faucet mounted to a marble countertop finishing light gray shaker inset cabinets with brass hardware.
Photo Credit: Collective Studio

There are not any steadfast rules to choosing cabinet pulls and knobs. A country kitchen can look chic and updated with very modern stainless knobs, while a modern kitchen can look cool and eclectic with more vintage-style knobs. The design choice is up to you, so get out there and start updating your kitchen and bathroom cupboards. You will be so impressed with the difference this makes.

Blue-gray shaker kitchen cabinets are topped with a quartz countertop and complemented with vintage brass pulls.
Photo Credit: Darci Hether

Update Window Treatments

Windows seem to be missed a lot of the time. Homeowners often have difficulty deciding what style would fit the room best, leading them to give up and leave the windows bare or install simple blinds for privacy.

Living room features a white boucle chair with live edge coffee table and tan curtains.
Photo Credit: Amber Interiors

But here’s the truth — your windows want to be dressed! By leaving your windows bare, you are missing out on a sensational layer of decorating. While those who are fortunate enough to enjoy ocean or mountain views may argue this fact, even the best of views could be framed by stylish window panels. Windows can be dressed to suit your style and taste completely.

White molded plastic dining chairs sit at a blond dining table in front of windows covered in white pleated curtains.
Photo Credit: Collective Studio

You can go bold and graphic with geometric curtain panels, simple and light with gauzy white sheers, or minimalist with bamboo shades—-the options are endless. If you are worried about all the options, then take a cue from the color schemes that you already have in place. Sometimes the most effortless option is to simply match curtain panels to the color of your walls— doing this creates a look that goes with any style.

Bedroom features a tan wooden platform bed with pink and gray abstract art, gray curtains and a gray and white rug.
Photo Credit: Ashley Montgomery Design

Add Easy to Install Wallpaper

With all the unique new removable wallpapers that are currently hitting the market, there’s no reason not to use them to update your home! The new lines of removable wallpaper come in striking patterns and graphics that will make your room look like you hired an interior designer.

Living room bar nook with blue, orange and pink wallpaper features glass and brass pipe plumbing shelves.
Photo Credit: Kelly Caron Designs

These wallpapers are easily removed by simply peeling them off — without harm to the wall underneath, and most can be reused. For an effortless weekend project, consider covering the main wall of your bedroom with a delicate pattern, or consider a living room update by covering one wall with striking geometric patterned paper.

Contemporary powder room features Schumacher Deconstructed pink stripe wallpaper and white mirror over a white washstand.
Photo Credit: Carbon and Bone

There are numerous online stores where this fantastic wallpaper can be purchased. Just be sure to read the fine print and buy the brands that are top-of-the-line and remove easily.

Exquisite French hand painted wallpaper accents a living room showcasing a gorgeous octagon mirror.
Photo Credit: Lilly Bunn

Spruce-Up Your Bathroom

Bathrooms get dirty and grungy rather quickly. Start a bathroom overhaul with a thorough cleaning. Yes, not a lot of fun, but the shiny result will give you new motivation to spruce up the rest of the bathroom. Once the room is clean, look at the outdated knobs, light fixtures, vanity, faucets, and shower curtains.

Stacked white floating shelves are fixed in a bathroom nook over white cabinets adorned with square drop pulls and mounted against gray chevron floor tiles.
Photo Credit: JK Interior Living

By simply changing out one or two of the most outdated items, you can make your bathroom look modern and new. A coat of paint can go far in a bathroom, as well.

White and gray penny tiles are fixed beneath a gray wash dual washstand boasting a slatted shelf and finished with oil rubbed bronze faucets mounted beneath black Parsons mirrors. The mirrors are lit by white cage sconces mounted against black and white photo collage wallpaper.
Photo Credit: Brooke Wagner Design
White and blue cottage bathroom boasts a blue dual washstand placed on charcoal gray herringbone floor tiles and fitted with shelves holding woven bins. The washstand is accented with polished nickel cup pulls and polished nickel faucets fixed beneath curved nickel mirrors. The mirror are hung over white staggered backsplash tiles and mounted to white shiplap under glass and nickel conical sconces.
Photo Credit: Marea Clark Interiors

Replace Faucets

Old faucets instantly date a bathroom. Not to mention, they can get grimy and gross if they are too old. Faucets are an easy DIY update (no plumbers needed), and they really make a big difference in the overall look of the bathroom. If you have a single-hole faucet, you’ll just need to look for a new single-hole replacement. In other words, you need to replace it with a faucet that has the same hole configuration as your existing faucet.

A brass and glass cylinder sconce is fixed to white and green trellis backsplash tiles beside an arched medicine hung over a brass wall mount faucet paired with a marble top bath vanity.
Photo Credit: Tali Roth Interiors
Contemporary bathroom design features a black oval sunburst mirror and glass sconce on gray wallpaper over a light gray sink vanity with a black faucet.
Photo Credit: Edyta and Co.

Simply Clean and Paint

A deep clean can improve our mood and make our home more livable — and, more notably, inspire us to do more. It seems evident but a clean coat of paint can take a room from drab to fab. Consider adding a punch of color on an accent wall, or touch up your trim with a clean coat of white paint.

A cream lamp sits atop a round end table placed beside blue upholstered accent chairs located beneath a ceiling finished with wood beams.
Photo Credit: Caitlin Creer Interiors

If your home already has a fresh coat of paint, then look to other things that could use a touch-up. Maybe paint your ceiling a cool blue, or bring new life to an outdated piece of furniture with a new coat of paint. A deep clean and a new coat of paint can go a long way when updating our rooms without significant renovations.

An off-white sofa sits on an off-white rug facing off-white dual coffee tables flanked by side-by-side off-white upholstered chairs lit by a brass floor lamp. A modern white rippled fireplace is flanked by mirrors lit by brass picture lights and hung over white built-in cabinets donning brass pulls.
Photo Credit: Olly and Em

Here is a list of things in your home that you can give a fresh coat of paint to that will help update your home without spending a ton of money: 

Kitchen cabinets

You’ve all seen the fantastic makeovers of people who painted their kitchen cabinets, right? No doubt about it…painting wood-tone cabinets a fresh new color is a fantastic way to transform your kitchen completely.

Bath vanities

Just like with kitchen cabinets, paint can bring new life to your outdated bathroom vanity. Take a look at this pretty little bathroom makeover – the vanity looks fantastic!


Changing out your front door can be expensive, so painting your exterior door is a great way to save money and give your exterior a more modern appearance. Painting the inside of your front door is also a great way to add a little drama to your entry. We are big fans of painting interior doors, as well, to add a bold pop of color and some character to your home.

Baseboards and Trim

There has been a long-standing debate about whether or not you should paint stained wood baseboards and trim. Many people adore the classic wood trim look and would never consider hiding its natural beauty by painting over it. Others prefer the fresh, clean look of bright white trim throughout their homes. There is no correct answer because it’s your home, and you should do what you like to create a place that reflects your style.

We will say, however, that painting your wood trim white will totally change the look of the space. So, if a change is what you’re after, painting the trim might be the right thing for you.


Built-Ins can be a stunning feature in a room. But, there are plenty of built-ins out there that contribute to the overall dated look of a home. Your first instinct might be just to rip them out, but before you go down that path, consider painting them! If you have high-quality, sturdy built-ins with an excellent, clean design, a fresh coat of paint might be all that’s needed to bring those built-ins back to life and update the total look of the space.


Most dated homes come with ugly and somewhat colorful tiles. Pink tile in the kitchen and aqua tile in the bathroom are certainly not uncommon in homes from the 70s and 80s. Changing out your tile can be a big, dirty job, so if it is in acceptable condition, think about painting over it. You can even paint your tile floors and completely change their look of them.


Painting your floors is yet another way to transform your home with paint. With patterned tile being such a hot trend right now, it’s fantastic that you can achieve the same look with paint for a fraction of the price.


Most people think there is nothing they can do to change their ugly countertops. But there pretty much is paint for everything! There are plenty of countertop paints on the market that will take your drab dated countertops and give them a total refresh!


If you have an older home, chances are you have a brick fireplace. If your brick fireplace is making the whole room feel dark and heavy, then go ahead and paint it to brighten up the space. Tons of people paint over their brick fireplaces, and it’s straightforward to do.

Looking for a different option? Consider whitewashing or limewashing the brick to brighten it up while still keeping some of its character.

Light Fixtures

If replacing your light fixtures isn’t in your budget, you can also paint dated ones to change their look. Just grab a can of spray paint and tape off any areas you don’t want to be painted. No prep work is needed, and you’ll be astonished at what a little paint can do to modernize a light fixture.

Door Hardware

Like with light fixtures, updating your door hardware can help your home look like it belongs in the current century. Replacing your door hardware with a new style and finish is an easy DIY project, but you can also spray paint your existing door hardware to change its look.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Timeless design is quietly understated, simple and sophisticated. This style is designed to be highly functional yet not bland. Your timeless style is subtle, adaptable, and outlasts. It’s a style that belongs to both its space and its environment.
Timeless design specifically can be defined as an interior design that will never go out of style, it has a staying power, and it is created not to be temporary. A timeless design will last for years and can be brought up to date with changes in accessories and accents.
Neautral hues will never go out of style. These classic hues include blacks, creams, and beiges. These timeless interior design colors never seem to go out of style and are very safe choices for an ageless look.

If you need more design inspiration, take a look at these articles:

Holly Antoine
Holly Antoine is a Home, Lifestyle and DIY content creator. After leaving behind an 11-year career in the dental field to pursue her passion for design and decor, she developed her own branded site, HollyGrace.ca, where she shares her love of home design, decor, DIYs and inspires others to get creative and build[...]

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