How to Fix (or Get Used to) 3 Things You Don’t Like About Your House

You can make your home feel new again with a quick remodel or by adding the right lighting.

U.S. News & World Report

How to Fix What You Hate About Your Home

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If you're not getting enough natural light in a room, consider swapping out heavy curtains or blinds for a lighter, sheer fabric that can help brighten up the space.(Getty Images)

You may be ready for a change and considering moving to a new home, but either the cost or work involved in the move itself makes it impossible.

Alternatively, you may be a prospective homebuyer considering a home that's not living up to its potential.

Most of the common complaints and issues that homeowners want to change or improve about their home (other than wanting more space or location) include:

  • Needing more light.
  • Ready for new construction or a renovated home.
  • Looking for a new floor plan or room configuration due to a lifestyle change.

In many cases, the issues at hand are fixable. Following the typical playbook of a professional home stager or a savvy real estate agent is a great guide and an easy fix when tackling issues for both the current homeowner and the prospective buyer. Here are some simple solutions that can transform how you see your home without breaking the bank.

Make Your Home Brighter

Not every home has great natural light. With the exception of an avid art collector, most homeowners crave light, sunny rooms. This is not always a given, especially in a big city like New York where vertical living dominates and not every building has unobstructed views with the sun pouring in. This is also true in many neighborhoods throughout the country, such as Highland Park in Dallas, where homes are built close together and light comes mainly from the front and back of the house.

The first line of defense against a dark room, which may sound obvious but is often underutilized, is to maximize artificial lighting. Most homes do not have enough overhead lighting or lamps with high enough wattage, and low ceilings can make a room feel darker.

Mood lighting sets the tone for the evening but might feel gloomy during the day. Add a dramatic floor lamp if need be. More light fixtures go a long way.

Next on the list is another game-changer to improve light flow: Evaluate the window treatments. Removing or replacing existing curtains or shades will impact the tone of the room especially if they are not modern in design. Unless privacy is compromised, perhaps the window doesn’t need to be covered at all.

Next, a fresh coat of paint in a light shade cleans up space and instantly brightens up the room. Colorful accessories like new throw pillows or contemporary art perk things up as well. House plants or greenery improve the overall ambiance. These simple decorative tricks will transform a space and lighten it up.

Renovate to Make Your Home Feel Like New

Perhaps the kitchen is 15 or 20 years old and needs a refresh without a total redo. Painting the cabinets with a fresh coat of white paint or a chic new color, along with changing the hardware and countertops, may be the quick fix you need. A smaller remodel in a key room like the kitchen can also be perfect preparation for putting it on the market – mirror the kitchen backsplash and cover up older, traditional tiles to create a modern, fresh look.

In the bathroom, reglazing a tub and subway tiles can be transformative. Fresh paint or wallpaper as well as new towels, bathmat and shower curtain can do miracles in perking up a bathroom without spending a fortune to renovate. It is the equivalent of a mini facelift for your home.

Create a More Functional Floor Plan

Most homeowners prefer more space over less space, but that comes at a premium. When looking to create rooms or live more freely in the same home, the most obvious room to evaluate is the dining room. Depending on the flexibility of the floor plan, it may be repurposed as a family room or to enlarge the kitchen.

In addition, many homeowners are looking for a home office. Turn a large closet into a workspace, or add flexible wall units that unfold to house storage areas and a desktop for a computer and printer. Clever decorating hacks can improve usage in a room.

These easy, relatively simple fixes are helpful for homeowners who want to improve many of their home’s shortcomings without moving, or provide a road map on how to put their best foot forward in selling their home. For prospective buyers, perhaps the idea of these easy fixes provides another lens when evaluating a prospective property that is not living up to its potential or functionality. Either way, you never know, you might fall in love with your home all over again. Or if you're on the market, you could uncover a diamond in the rough.

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