Simple Ways to Make an Old House Look New

By Alex Long

Posted on August 25th, 2022
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person doing home renovations

Regardless of your home’s age, there are things you can do give it a contemporary new look without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re planning to sell soon and want to give your home a refresh or you’re just looking for ways to modernize your older property to make your old home look like a new one, these three easy and inexpensive updates will take your home from dated to dashing.

Refinish and Refresh Cabinets

The look of your home’s kitchen and bathrooms can really give away its age. If you’re suffering from dingy cabinets, obviously old color schemes, or dated decor, try this.

Refresh wood cabinetry by changing the finish and switching out-of-style hardware for more modern fixtures. As long as the cabinets still have good “bones,” in that they’re structurally sound with no warping or deep dents, you can easily sand and refinish them with either a fresh coat of paint or wood stain.

Complete the look by adding new handles, pulls, and hinges to bring them into this decade. Not sure what’s on trend? Check out this HGTV gallery for ideas.

The pros over at This Old House estimate this type of project will cost about $200 and take about three days to complete. It does take some elbow grease, but if you follow some easy steps, you’ll be able to update and transform your kitchen and bathroom cabinets without spending a fortune.

Need some help updating your cabinets? Find help for your home projects at

Replace Outdated Lighting Fixtures

Nothing screams outdated more than a home with shiny brass lighting fixtures. To update your space, find modern lights on clearance and get those old fixtures out. For the biggest impact, consider changing out lights in high traffic areas. Focus on the entryway, dining table, kitchen, and bathroom vanity lighting.

Lighting trends — particularly in the kitchen — are currently giving a nod to the 1980s with a heavy emphasis on brass accents. But before you go and stock up on the shiniest metal finish you can find, do some research. Rather than sticking with traditional ultra-reflective 80s fixtures, today’s trends are all about satin finishes.

Shop Eco-Friendly Bathroom Fixtures at

Put On a Fresh Coat of Paint

When looking for cheap and easy ways to update your home, designer Christy Biberich from HGTV’s Brother vs. Brother suggests focusing on “transformative improvements.” The number one improvement she recommends? Paint.

» MORE: See what popular paint colors are trending

Paint is cheap and a fresh coat can really breathe new life into a tired looking room. Biberich recommends neutral tones, but she encourages homeowners to be a little more daring than white or beige. When you choose your colors, think about exploring modern shades of neutral, such as a soft driftwood grey or clay.

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Your home can look more modern with just a few budget-friendly updates. Transform your cabinets, light fixtures, and walls to take your home from outdated to sophisticated and modern.

A fresh coat of paint can be a great pre-sale renovation idea because it'll make your old home look like new. But be careful about big upgrades, like installing totally new cabinets. You only want to make renovations that will make your home look newer and get you a higher home sale than before.

If you need some expert advice as to what you should spend money on and what you should leave, we recommend asking a good real estate agent. Our partners at Clever Real Estate can help you find one.

Clever is a nationwide brokerage that pre-negotiates low rates with local agents who can help sell your house for just a 1% fee, or $3,000 for home sales below $350,000. The company hand-picks and pre-vets agents, so you'll be sure to get a qualified expert.

Most agents charge a 2.5-3% listing fee, so you'll save thousands - in fact, the average Clever seller saves about $9,000. Want to learn more? Plug in your ZIP code below to get started. It's totally free - if Clever can't find you an agent you love, there's no obligation to continue.

All of the savings, none of the compromises.

Our friends at Clever Real Estate pre-negotiate major savings on listing fees. You'll pay just 1% — which translates to $8,000 in savings for a $400,000 home!

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Posted in Home Improvement, Home Trends