5 Indoor Things to Update When Buying a Project House

After renovating our 4-year-old house to prepare for selling it (and looking forward to buying a project house), I compiled a list of things I believe to be worthwhile for updating.

These five things add value to a property because:

  • They stay with the house so the buyers feel like they’re purchasing good design that they get to keep. While a beautifully decorated and well-staged house is imperative for selling it for top dollar, buyers don’t get to keep the home décor; it simply gives them ideas of how to use each space.
  • They can make a tract home stand out from its neighbors, increasing the value and desirability of it. For example, high-end light fixtures are much more appealing and desirous than the “builder standard.”
  • They are often “labor-intensive.” This is a fancy term, meaning that it’s costly to hire somebody else to do the work. However, if you’re willing to put in some sweat equity, the materials are relatively affordable, so you can save a bunch of money on labor – and hopefully make some money too!

With that being said, let’s get to the top 5 things to improve on your next project house!


This is the number one improvement for just about any house! And it’s relatively affordable if you paint the house yourself. Buyers like color, so paint a few feature walls, lighten the walls of a dark room, or completely update the kitchen colors.

Hire a color consultant or interior designer if you need help and paint samples with a small roller before committing to a color in question. Also, buy the right tools (e.g. Purdy medium-stiff bristle brushes) to do a great job. Buyers will be impressed!


Nobody likes old, worn-out carpet, so tear it out! Most people like hard flooring, such as tile or wood because it’s easier to clean, so consider replacing carpet with one of these materials. Installing flooring is labor-intensive, so if you learn how to do it, you’re likely to save some money and give the house a great refresh!

Shop closeout details and overstock sales in search of high-end flooring that will usher in buyers and contrast nicely with your updated paint colors.

Light Fixtures and Hardware

Ceiling fans, light fixtures, faucets, and door and cabinet hardware can all update a house pretty quickly at a relatively low cost, compared to the perceived benefit. Just be sure that the style and colors are cohesive between throughout the house. Most lighting lines, for example, include styles for the kitchen, vanities, dining room, and entry way.

Swapping out “builder standard” bathroom mirrors for beautifully framed mirrors is another great way to update a space with little effort.

Textural Accents

This is one of my favorite additions when renovating a house because it’s where design creativity and uniqueness to a space truly shine. Textural accents include crown moulding, beadboard, shiplap, tongue and groove, shelving, chair rail, board and batten, picture rail, and any other types of wood-based embellishments you add to the walls.

These additions are desirous because they are custom to the space and stay with the house. But they can really give a high-end feel to an otherwise humdrum tract home! In fact, if a buyer falls in love with your textural accent style, they may overlook the negatives of the home. Add these in thoughtfully, and make them shine in the photos!

Window Coverings

Window coverings are often those things that you don’t pay much attention to until they’re not there. Long, stunning drapes frame large windows and provide a balance to a room filled with furniture. They may also support the overall design style, anchoring the space. So grab some simple curtain rods and choose drapes that aren’t too heavy or dark. Neutral colors will appeal to more buyers, however, they must stand out from the wall color to get the full effect.

Or if you prefer...

Homes with plantation shutters are coveted throughout the country. Yet again, these lovely window coverings bring a sense of prestige and pleasant adornment that many buyers love, yet few will install themselves. But the handy-dandy fixer-upper can save loads of money by purchasing the shutters and handling the installation. The effort is well worth the ooh’s and ahh’s from buyers touring the house!

Whether you choose to hang drapes or install shutters, framing the windows and providing privacy will attract buyers without them even knowing that it’s a thing! Yep, it’s a thing! :)

In Summary

Now you’ve got a checklist of 5 things to update when renovating a house. Begin with these as you work through your reno budget, and include others as money allows. Rest assured, these 5 things will spruce up any outdated and boring house, exciting buyers who want a beautiful, well-designed house. Happy shopping!

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