The First 7 Upgrades to Tackle in a New Home

happy couple in new home planning repairs on a computer
  • 1-200 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-5,000

Whether you’ve swapped out apartments across town or recently purchased your twentieth home, moving into a new space comes with a long to-do list.

Once you have the utilities and the mail transferred, it’s time to make your priority list for improvements and upgrade for your new space. It can feel overwhelming, but prioritizing helps beat down that feeling while providing a workable plan to focus on.

1. Safety

When you look at your list, any items pertaining to safety should rise to the top.

Replace or install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Tighten or replace stairway railings inside and outside the house. Repair any falling or tripping hazards. Deal with electrical issues that cause a risk.

2. Repairs

man repairing leak under sink

Next on your list is repairs. Some tasks may be minor and not need your immediate attention. For example, a broken screen door can be removed and replaced at a later date

Broken appliances, damaged entrances, or leaking plumbing need to be addressed immediately. Perhaps even before the move. Replace or repair the broken garage door. Deal with unsafe decking in the front or the back of the home.

Mend leaks from the roof or under sinks. Remember that some issues can lead to much bigger problems in the future, so fix the leaks, eliminate mold, and get rid of rodents before moving on to the interior design.

3. Paint and Other Wallcoverings

Start at the top of each room and work your way down. Whether you plan to paint, wallpaper, or shiplap the surfaces, choose your colors and materials early on.

Unless you plan to coat the entire interior with the same paint, you’ll be working on one room at a time. A fresh surface brings new life to any space and draws together design elements as well. It’s also one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make.

4. Move to the Flooring

man installing board of wood flooring

With your wall design in place, it’s time to make necessary or desired upgrades to the flooring. This might require pulling out the 1970’s glue-down carpet or refinishing the 1800’s hardwood floor.

You might be installing vinyl, Marmoleum, tile, carpet, luxury vinyl planks, or wood. For a rental or budget upgrade, you may be selecting the right size and color area rug instead.

Consider the function of the space in addition to the overall look you’re going for. If you have kids and pets, you may want easy maintenance. If you’re older, carpet might be a good choice for protection in the case of falls. Think about allergies, durability, and budget in your decision.

5. Window Coverings

Shades and curtains offer protection from hot summer days and insulation against cold winter nights. But they also add to the interior design theme through color and texture.

Because window coverings are both functional and hold the power to set the tone for the entire room, consider all your options before making a decision.

Think about whether you want a soft, flowing texture in your curtains, a natural vibe like that offered by bamboo or wood-slat blinds, or a streamlined look from Roman shades. Decide whether your window coverings will add color to the space or be part of the neutral backdrop.

6. Work on the Curb Appeal

beautiful front garden with pink tree and bushes outside the front of a house

When you move to a new home, arriving at the end of the day should bring you joy. Nothing says ‘Welcome Home’ like an inviting entryway.

Even if you live in an apartment, a friendly mat and a potted plant can make the space more welcoming. For a house, you can do a lot to improve the space. Swap out house numbers and install new porch lighting fixtures.

Paint the front door and stain or paint the front porch. Plant flowers in baskets, planters, and in the ground. Improve the long-term look of the landscaping by replanting the lawn, planting bulbs, herbs, and trees, creating a water feature, and developing a sitting area.

7. Cabinets

Because cabinets often take up a large portion of the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, or garage, they are the first place the eye moves to in a room.

Depending on your budget and preferences, paint, resurface, or replace cabinets early on so you can enjoy the look while you’re still unpacking boxes and organizing your space. Inside cabinets and closets, consider methods of organization in your upgrades too.

This can include a DIY closet organizer, or simple shelf helpers in the kitchen cupboards.

Welcome home!