9 Affordable Starter Home Upgrades

9 Affordable Starter Home Upgrades


Whether your starter home is a townhome, condo or even a small single-family house, there are a few simple starter home upgrades you can do to improve it that will actually benefit you in the long run.

Your starter home is still a place that you’re living – and someone else will likely live there after you, too. It’s important that you take care of it and add some additional upgrades to enjoy while you live there and that the future owners can use, too.

From durable RTA cabinets to a small produce garden in your yard, here are nine affordable starter home upgrades you can get started on today.

  • 1: Incorporate a smart thermostat system

    Your heating and cooling system can seriously impact your energy usage, including your monthly gas and electricity bills.

    Investing in a smart thermostat system is a great idea because most of them use sensors to figure out when you’re home versus when you’re away, so they can adjust the temperature automatically to save you money.

    Smart thermostats can typically be used from anywhere, as long as you have access to the internet from your phone.

    So, ideally, you can adjust the temperature even while you’re on vacation, but if you’re spending time in the middle of the Montana Rockies, you might not have the easiest time accessing the app.

    However, if you’re sitting at your office desk and want to ensure your home is nice and toasty for when you leave work, you can make the adjustment from right there at your desk.

  • 2: Add some outdoor features

    Outdoor entertaining is a popular feature for many future homeowners – and current ones. We’ve all seen the beautiful yards and outdoor entertaining areas on TV or social media and wished we had something similar. This is definitely doable, even for homeowners on a budget.

    Start by adding a deck, a concrete slab or some pavers in your backyard. Make sure you have outdoor outlets and then install some string lights and add some outdoor furniture to your new space.

    Have an umbrella or some other sun-blocking feature on hand for those warm summer days and you should be good to go! Even just adding some simple patio furniture outside can really upgrade the entire outdoor space.

  • 3: Give your home some fresh curb appeal

    Hire a professional to powerwash your front porch, driveway and even the outside of your home to get rid of any built-up grime, dirt and anything else that might be lingering on it (like pesky spiderwebs).

    Then, change out any outdoor light fixtures you have, invest in a new mailbox and add new house numbers to your front porch.

wireless entry door lockinterior door hardware

      some changing of the door ideas to consider      

  • 4: Paint your front door

    Give your front door a fresh, new look by painting it. Go bold with a bright, inviting color such as red or blue. This is especially great if your siding is currently a pale neutral.

    A bold door is perfect if your personality is outgoing and bright. Even if you’re more of an introvert, there’s just something so fun about a bright yellow door, right? Give it a whirl. If you find after a few days you don’t like it, then you can always repaint it.

  • 5: Plants, plants and more plants!

    Greenery is important, and not just because of its air-cleansing qualities. Having lush, green bushes lining your front porch, around your driveway or in your backyard sends a message that your house is lived in and taken care of.

    Incorporate some rotating seasonal florals to give your front and back yard a fresh new look each season. You can also add air plants in your home to serve as decor pieces. Make sure they’re near natural light and that you water them on time.

  • 6: Upgrade the countertops…

    Instead of granite, why not use a more affordable (and durable!) butcher block? Or, if you’re really looking to splurge, go for quartz or marble, both of which look stunning but can make your wallet cringe a bit.

    Changing your countertops – and anything in your kitchen, actually – is a project that will usually be more expensive than others, but you should always do a few upgrades to it before you leave.

countertop appliancescountertop cutting board

      some stuff for the countertops to consider      

  • 7: … Then, upgrade the cabinets!

    Before or after upgrading the countertops, you should also upgrade the cabinets. It’s very obvious when you’ve upgraded the countertops in a kitchen to something more sleek and modern, but never did anything to the cabinets.

    Consider upgrading your current cabinets to all fresh white cabinets. They’ll look much more luxurious. A good idea would also be to use new hardware with the cabinets. That will help them look even fresher.

  • 8: Install a new shower

    Before putting your house up on the market, you should also upgrade some features in the bathrooms. Installing a new shower or bathtub is a great upgrade for your bathroom. Over time, soap scum, mildew and mold can build up on your tub floor, and when bleach no longer cleans it well, it’s time to replace the shower.

    There are plenty of companies that will install new tubs right over your existing one, or you can invest a little more and replace it with an entirely new one. A new shower will be great to use in your home for a bit, especially if you were using the original when you purchased the home yourself.

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  • 9: Remove the chair rail

    Most homes no longer use a chair rail. They can get scuffed up pretty easily and keep you from putting things flush against the wall (not ideal if you don’t have much space).

    Remove the chair rail from the walls in your living spaces and keep the walls a nice, smooth, neutral color, such as beige or light grey. Your living space will feel much more modern.

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Image credit: starter home upgrades by twenty20.com

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