Best ideas to update a home

Best ideas to update a home

Oh guys, do you ever have too many ideas and not enough time? Lately we have been making some big-ish plans fore our home, operation get a bigger kitchen and designated office is underway. However, I am all over the place with ideas, from building a new home, to purchasing an old home and redoing it, to renovating this one majorly. We are in the season of change and transition in our life and home. I am not sure which way our decisions will take us right now, but it is fun to day dream. I realized change can always feel so refreshing in a home, small or big; changing things up has such an impact on the home. So I decided to share the Best ideas to update a home. I have learned a few things, made a lot of mistakes in my journey to making our house into a home.


Myself and a few home decor blogging friends had a discussion on what works, what does not and the best course of action to take when updating your home. Of course we all dream of the massive kitchen renovation, adding that much desired luxury bathroom, and many other big-time renovations. But, there is a lot that can be done to update a home on a smaller scale, the realistic everyday kind of situation that we all can do. I have done a lot with my home since we purchased it, making it feel more “us”. Some of them have been big time updates, others smaller. Each time I see something that needs tweaking or improved upon, it always changes my home and turns it into a closer semblance of my perfection. No, no house is perfect… but…. BUT…. I can keep trying and get as close to that as possible.

I don’t mean perfect, clean, picked up and pretty 24/7. I mean livable, relaxation inducing, hiding from the chaos, enjoying life, and happy with the home we have. Whatever that means, from changing the pillows to major kitchen renovations. Updating the home can bring on that perfection.


The biggest way to ever update a home is with paint! Brenna from Domestic Charm  said –  The right paint color can change an entire house and it is definitely the most affordable option. This is so true! The above picture is my living room when we first moved in and today. Other than new hardwood floors (which are an amazing but big and expensive update) the only other change in the picture is paint. I even have the same two book shelves on either side of the fireplace, simply painted!

I painted the fireplace mantel, and we painted the living room a very light gray. Our coffee table is even the same dang coffee table. I put wood planks on it and painted them. The transformation is pretty amazing between the two. Yes, I have some different decor items, which most people change out through the years. But for the most part, the largest impact to this living room is paint.


The next big change in our home using paint is the wood trim. We had fake wood trim everywhere, with a light maple faux finish on it. The home screamed 90’s in the most obvious way. It took a lot of time, a lot of removing of the baseboards, a lot of sanding, and three coats of white paint. But it was sooooo worth it! The last room to get the white wood trim makeover was in my bedroom. I turned it into a multi-function room which was a big undertaking. But the basis of the room transformation was the paint colors. I painted the walls a light blue and the trim was finally painted white!

In this room I also simplified the items within the room. Taking out the cluttered pieces. Emily from Eleven gables had this top say about clutter – Remove accessories and knick-knacks as much as possible to let your eyes rest on what is most important. I admit I over decorated when I first went all-in with decorating my home. I wanted a completely “done” look to the house and I interpreted that to be me needing all-the-things! I have been dialing back on the knick-knacks, even pictures on the wall. Letting my home breathe a little more, feel less cluttered. Me removing some items has done the opposite of what I was worried about. I worried the home would look not done, but it looks more done and thought out with less clutter.

Removing a lot of the clutter when you are feeling the need for an update is a great way to figure things out. You have what feels like a fresh start. Keep the staples of furniture, any must have family heirlooms and then slowly layer in the new pieces. Simplifying the update into steps becomes very doable. Maybe you end up back with a fully cluttered home, but with new items and that might be your happy place. Or perhaps the uncluttered way the home is feels so right that the direction of your updating alters slightly. Removing the “noise” in a home can help fine tune what it is exactly you want to focus on and update.


Another great place to focus on updating is in the kitchen. Of course you can go big and put in new counter tops, stainless steel appliances or keep it small scale. I updated mine by painting the cabinets, adding hardware, and a subway tile back splash. All simple stuff, relatively low cost with a big impact on the final room! Kim from Exquisitely unremarkable had this to say about updating a home – I say think about what you want carefully. Updating can be overwhelming and expensive, but don’t settle on things “for now” if possible, the chances that you will go back later and fix them is remote. Kim shared on her blog a few regrets she had when she redid her kitchen, you can see that here. 

This is great advice to keep in mind. We redid our kitchen 5 years ago, the color and style of the kitchen still feels fresh to me even now. Aside from my dream big home overhaul, this kitchen will not change much. Eventually getting new counter tops,  and a new sink. There is no point in decorating or doing any kind of renovation “for now”. You design for now and possibly the whole time you are in your home. Of course keeping in mind smaller things like door hardware or even lighting can be changed as your style progresses.


Before updating a home in anyway be sure to live in the home first. A lot of people purchase a home and renovate everything before they move in. I see the appeal of that for sure. But, each home has new needs, issues and a life of it’s own. The much loved formal dining room might not be used and could transition into an office. The laundry room may need more storage. All of this will only be discovered with time.

If you are looking to simply update your home with it’s decor, maybe the color scheme feels old to you; start small. In the above picture is with my pillows I had on the sofa for about 5 years, I purchased them and never looked back. I liked the busy pattern but was nervous to mix in more colors, not trusting my decorating instincts enough to really make a statement.


Cut to last year when I grew some cajones and got some amazing new throw pillows! I explained the process here, and even shared some of the links to these pillows. The new pillows brought in some drama and became a bold statement. I was always wanting a bright and lively home, but needed to work up to mixing a bunch of patterns and colors. I needed to go slow, take my time and really feel out our home, family, dynamic and my decorating style. I settled into a bold and coastal happy place. It took time, and time is what will make that eventual home update work long term.


When it comes to updating a home in smaller ways, new color and texture is a great way to go! New curtains, throw pillows or a new area rug. I did just that over the summer (you can see the post here) and my home meshed into a fresher look with a slightly modern touch. Before I was leaning towards rustic and country, somehow changing the curtains to sheer white ones and a busier area rug made my living room become a different blend.


As you can see, the differences are subtle. In fact some people coming into my home wondered what I did different, they knew it looked different but could not determine what exactly I did. I love my home and the feel of it. I am not interested in changing that up, so when this was brought to my attention I was doing the home decor happy dance. This is the same dance I do when moving furniture around and the new piece will fit exactly where I want, or my favorite store is having a crazy sale going on. You know, that home decor happy dance.


Another great way to update a home is to help carve out that dream space you want, without moving. I adore those grand entryways, but my square footage will not allow that. I created the feel of a foyer by adding the wainscoting, new lighting, painting of the trim and the front door. It sounds like a lot, but really was done over time. With each new addition I got closer to a designated entryway. 


Talking of the foyer brings me to my next point, changing out the lighting in your home. That is a great update without a ton of work. You can get really creative by upcycling ceiling lights from thrift stores or rummage sales, painting one already in your home, or making something DIY style. All of those allow the creativity and custom look to your home without spending a ton of money. Allowing that money to go to those larger home updates we all dream about.


The last of my ideas to update a home I am going to highlight is the bathroom. Typically if you hear of someone updating their bathroom you think major overhaul. However there are so many great ways to update a bathroom without tearing out the drop in shower and moving plumbing. I updated mine with paint (told you this was a staple), adding a focal point with tile back splash, wall sconces, new cabinet hardware, and a butcher block counter top.


In fact, I did a tiny luxurious update earlier this year by adding new towels. This was more for my benefit and need for being spoiled. It was time for Dale and I to have plush bath towels. Changing the towels gave a little fresh look to the bathroom. Going big or small, a new color scheme or even towels will update things too. I adore our bathroom and all of the work was worth it. We did not touch the flooring or the shower, with plans to get there eventually.

I was lucky in that our home was missing in character, but not in needing any important updates. I have never had to fix the plumbing or update the electrical. All of that is over my head and pretty intimidating. My fellow blogging friend Brooke from Re-fabbed has a great post she shared on tips when purchasing a fixer upper home, you can see that post here.  There is a big part of me that wants to tackle something like that. Then the other part of me realizes that I described painting all of the floor boards and wood trim in our home as a “big job”. Maybe baby steps for even this DIY addict is best.


That is the thing I wanted to highlight when I mentioned the Best ideas to update a home, there is no reason to put on hold what you can do now. If you have been settled in your home, know what you need long term but are wanting to shift things do it now. You don’t have to wait until you can hire Joanna Gaines and her Fixer Upper crew before you update your home. Small updates are possible and have such a big impact on a home. These are the realistic ways to do it. Now, if you are wanting fully updated I can talk that for days too. But, we all have lives and responsibilities so the daydreaming and discussions need to be kept to a minimum. We have only done superficial updates up to this point with our home. I have dreams of what our home can be, and Dale has dreams of doing some serious demo to some walls. We will get there eventually. For now, shifting the style, look and feel of our home in smaller ways gives us the custom dream home we have always wanted. The grand staircase and foyer will have to wait until we finalize our plans, and you know….. win the lottery!

How have you updated your home? Any updates or changes on your wish list? 





  1. I LOVE the colors, so soothing and welcoming.
    The chairs in front of the bed are a great seating group!
    The bathroom is so pretty! The pillows on the couch- love.
    I could move right in! GREAT job!

  2. It’s amazing what a coat or two of paint can do. Your kitchen is totally transformed. It looks brand new and so much bigger and brighter!

  3. I love all your tips Emily! My husband and I are looking for our first home and there is always something that needs to be updated. I will keep this all in mind!

  4. It’s funny how just a few small changes can make a home different. From paint to pillows to lighting. Great tips on how to update a home.

  5. We are making some small changes to our space. We added some new art, added some throw pillows and re-arrange the furniture in one room and it change the whole feel of the space.
    We will be painting just have to figure out what colour we want to use.

  6. Great tips and amazing results that you have gotten with your makeovers.

  7. It’s amazing how much something as simple as painting can make a difference.

  8. Painting really does change the feel of a room. I try to paint the family common-areas at least every three years. I have become a master at rearranging furniture (something that easier to do and less time consuming ).

  9. I just moved into a new home last August, so it is still a work in process. Thanks for the inspiration. I especially like the way all those photos were arranged. Might just be my next project.

  10. It’s amazing how small changes can make such a big difference in appearance! We recently put a house on the market to sell and immediately after repainting a few rooms we got an offer. Could have been a coincidence, but I think the pain matters!

  11. You are amazing, your kitchen has been transformed into lovely trendy one. I love the color of the cabinet so fresh and simple. You have worked so hard and it shows.

  12. You are so right. Paint does change everything! I am in the process of choosing colors in my house. We need it!

  13. Everything looks great so far. My husband was a painter for years so I know what a difference fresh paint can make. Unfortunately I also know how the painter’s wife gets her painting done last if at all LOL.

  14. OMG such beautiful updates. I so love your tip to remove unwanted or too many decoration stuff and let keep only the most wanted ones.

  15. I love how you updated that bathroom! It looks so different!

  16. I always love seeing how little changes can make such a huge impact. There’s nothing like the power of paint!

  17. Love these ideas! And I agree living in the home before updating it lets you know how you will use the home better. Your home is so beautiful.

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