Before moving in to our new place, I insisted on making it “move-in ready.” While one could have argued, quite strongly I’ll admit, that the house was already good to go, I maintained that a few elements required a refresh before settling in.
Demolition began soon after we received the keys. Tiles were lifted from the kitchen floor, carpet was ripped up from the bedrooms, laminate floors were pulled up plank by plank, and dated lighting fixtures were taken down.
And though it was absolutely horrifying to see our Forever House in extreme disarray for nearly a month, when all was said and done, I was thrilled with the upgrades. Based on our budget and preferences, we prioritized the following renovations before moving in. These fixes not only offered the most bang for our limited bucks, but most importantly, made the place start to feel like our own:
Move-in Ready Renovation #1: Paint, Paint, Paint
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a space. While the lemony hue that the previous owners chose for the interior was pleasant, I desired a more calming, neutral color. Enter: Revere Pewter. We used this universally adored “greige” throughout the house, minus the bedrooms. I love how Revere Pewter provides a warm canvas, with just a hint of personality, for future art and furniture decisions.
In addition to painting the interior walls, we also painted the kitchen cabinets bright white. Far less expensive than a brand new set of cabinets, giving the dark cherry wood a fresh coat brightened up the entire space, making it feel more open and welcoming.
Move-in Ready Renovation #2: Hard Wood Floors
One of the easiest decisions we made was to get rid of the shaggy carpet in the bedrooms and the tiles in the kitchen. What to replace them with was another matter…
We considered matching the existing laminate floors, but worried about their durability and longevity. We also briefly hoped to salvage the home’s original wood floors, but nixed the idea when we saw how worn and rickety the floor was. Ultimately, we chose to have pre-finished solid wood oak floors laid down, and we are happy with the decision. I love how we can refinish the floors in a few decades, and then again after that. This is my Forever House, after all.
Move-in Ready Renovation #3: Recessed Lighting and Electrical Details
Another no-brainer was to have recessed lighting installed in place of dated fixtures throughout the house. Good bye, Boob Lights! And in the case of the kitchen, hello, School House Electric pendant light.
We also had the light switches, electrical plugs, and plate covers replaced throughout the house. This was a small fix in the grand scheme of things, but the uniformity lent a nice sort of polish to the place.
Move-in Ready Renovation #4: Fireplace Refresh
Perhaps the most gratuitous upgrade was tiling the fireplace. Though it was dull and soot-stained, I seriously considered keeping the original brick hearth and surround, because there’s something to be said for maintaining a piece of the home’s heritage. After a lot of hemming, hawing, and stalking Pinterest, I ultimately chose to give the fireplace a bright and fresh makeover with matte hexagon tiles. And I haven’t looked back since.
There were also a few miscellaneous fixes, like patching up a doggy door and adding an additional shelf to the living room’s built-in book shelves, but that about sums up all of the major and minor upgrades we made to the house before moving in.