How to Make Your Fixer Upper Look More Modern

Buying a fixer upper home is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. If you have ever watched HGTV, Chip and Joanna Gaines from the TV show Fixer Upper make the process of buying an older home, breaking it down, and building the home of your dreams look like an easy thirty minutes of transformation. But the reality is, fixer upper homes take time and money to transform. Finding and buying the home, applying for permits to alter the house, taking the time to break down the old and build the new; each of these steps can take months. But, if you are up for the challenge, it can be a highly rewarding experience. Here are our tips for investing and modernizing your fixer upper home.

What Do You Want to Keep?

Fixer Upper for less

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First, take photos of each room and spend time looking at the details that you would like to keep as part of the character of the fixer upper home.

Questions to ask yourself include:

  • What is the style of the home?
  • What is the style of each of the rooms?
  • Do you like the flooring?
  • Do you like the wallpaper, wall paneling, chair rail?
  • Are there any features such as the lighting or crown molding to the ceiling that you like?
  • Can the cabinets or any fixtures to the home be upgraded with simply painting over them?
  • Do you like the amount of lighting in each room?

How Can You Upgrade for Less?

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Think about ways in which the home can be upgraded simply by making small changes. Sometimes all you need is a small upgrade to make a big difference so consider making simple changes before you spend more than is necessary.

Good options to think about are:

  • Fresh coats of paint: Remember that neutral colors open up a room, soft colors warm a room and bright colors give a home character.
  • Shop smart: Buy essential items first and build up one room at a time starting with the most used areas such as the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, living room.
  • Consider using recycled or lightly used materials: check your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, and local salvage and resale shops.
  • Add lighting: Bringing in natural or well placed lights will instantly brighten and modernize a home.
  • Simplicity is key: Your fixer upper home will feel brand new if you keep each space simple and organized.
  • Personalize your space: Make it your home by adding a family monogram or favorite quote to frequently visited rooms.

Take photos of the process and share them with others to see the transformation!

Shop Smart and Compare Prices

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After your large purchase price of a new home, the best thing you can do is shop smart. Compare in-store and online shops and look for monthly or seasonal deals to pick up large items at discounted prices.

A few of my favorite stores to check out:

Shop In-Store 





Hobby Lobby

Online Only Stores

Rugs USA

Joss and Main



H&M Home


Other Options

Thrift Stores

Antique Stores

Garage Sales

Barn Sales

Updating a fixer upper home to look more modern is a personal process. Think about what you want to keep and what you want to upgrade, find ways to upgrade costly projects for less, and shop smart to fill your home with items that you will love for a lifetime.

Written with care by:


Brianna Wielebnicki

Real Estate Agent for StartingPoint Realty

(630) 885-4663

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