Judy Kuhtreiber, Realtor | Shrewsbury Real Estate, Marlborough Real Estate, Southborough Real Estate


If you want to buy the perfect home, the price may not be budget friendly. As such, buyers can opt for old houses and plan towards making the house look new. There are several options to make an old home look fresh and attractive. An aging home can be renovated to look brand new and appealing to buyers. 

Changing the look of a home through an all-around renovation is not a cheap or straightforward process, but the overall advantage is worthwhile. Here are some easy ways to give new life to an old home:

Clean and Replace the Carpets 

An excellent way to change the appearance of your home is by cleaning the old carpets or replacing them if they are no longer in good condition. Cleaning or replacing your old carpet will make your home feel fresh, adding a new look to the interior of the house.

Repair the Walls of the Old Home

Another way to make your old home feel new is by repairing the old walls. Call on a painter to get the blemishes and the nail holes fixed. A beautiful coat of paint will make the wall look like new drywall.

Get Rid of Dated fixtures 

Replacing dated and builders-grade light fixtures, as well as the hardware, can make a home look several years newer than it is. You can also make use of hanging lights and LED bulbs to give your home a nice glow.

New Doors

Change the doors to upgrade the facade of the home. It is ideal to change the doors leading to the outside as well as the inner doors. A new front door can enhance the curb appeal of your home. You should consider replacing your old doors with a six-panel or shaker door. A beautiful mailbox or artsy knocker on the front door will also make a difference.

Paint 

Painting a house will not only beautify an old home but, it will make it appear new and attracts the attention of passers-by. So, if you want your old home to look as if you just built it, replace the old paint with a new one. Also, it is advisable to paint both the exterior of the house with weather-resistant paint.

Refinish the Hardwoods

Another part of the house to consider is the hardwood. To refinish your hardwood floors or trim, you must select the right stain to give it a new appearance.

Call a local contractor to help you with home renovations to ensure a proper job.


You've moved into your vintage home with grand plans to update it as you go. Some renovations must wait for your budget to improve. But here are some budget-wise ways to update the family room and move your home in the direction you want by giving your fireplace an update or upgrading your mantel.

Freshen the fireplace

Arguably the focal point of any living space, a complete fireplace renovation may be part of your overall plan, but meanwhile, give it a fresher look with one of these ideas.

  • Add a screen. Fireplace screens come in a plethora of styles, sizes, shapes, and metals. Dress up the room with a lattice-style or painted fan screen.
  • Change out the mantel. If you long for a more rustic look, replace your thinner mantel with a thick, rough-cut plank. Or, pick up a vintage mantel at your local antique store. For a truly updated look, go mantel-free and hang a substantial piece of art above.
  • Paint the brick and surround in contrasting colors. Make certain only to paint with heat-rated preparations near the firebox. Try gray walls, pewter on the brick with black on the surround. Or use various shades of warm taupe with bronze or copper. If the metal surround is removable, it’s easier to use spray paint for excellent results.
  • Resurface with tile. A fine herringbone or hexagon mosaic pattern adds interest, or hand-crafted or painted tiles create a distinctive focal point. For a very modern look, consider basket weave or vertical tiles. But, to give your home a historical aspect, consider narrow subway tiles with a subtle glaze.

Turn it into Art

If you don’t burn fires your fireplace, consider turning it into a display for your collection of brass candlesticks, a floral arrangement, or a grouping of urns and vases. Prepare the fireplace for non-use: To reduce heat loss, make sure to turn off the gas, then close the damper. Place a section of fiberglass or foam insulation the width and depth of the opening into the flue. Paint a piece of cardboard black and use it to wedge the insulation in place. Clean the firebricks with your favorite household cleaner and a stiff brush so that soot doesn’t damage your decorative items.If you’re thinking of removing your fireplace or permanently closing it up, take a moment to check with a local property professional to make certain it doesn’t reduce the value of your home.


Each year, Remodeling Magazine gathers data from nearly 150 markets on the average cost for 21 of the most popular home improvement or remodeling projects. Along with the expenses, they tally the resale amounts of those home in 100 markets in the United States to compare the cost versus the resale value of those improvements.

Each year, as compiled in the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, the researchers share the mid-range and upscale trends from the prior year, and which gave the most return on investment (ROI) for the homeowner.

Here are the highlights from 2018

Top prize for ROI goes to the upscale garage door replacement with nearly 100 percent return for most regions. Other items appearing near the top of the list include mid-range steel entry-door replacements and adding a manufactured stone veneer to your exterior. Farther down the list are the usual suspects, with a minor kitchen remodel and wood deck addition (mid-range) in the lower eighties.

While updating a bath continues to be promoted as a big-seller with a mid-range remodel just over 70 percent, both a mid-range and major upscale kitchen remodels net just above half of the cost and as do bathroom additions in both categories.

View the charts at Remodeling to review region-specific information where the contenders resort according to the local region and city-specific data. Regional price differences in both materials and labor costs; and home sales pricing affect the percentages of return, so the top three or four may change positions in your region. 

The idea that a remodel or upgrade ROI never tops 100 percent may be shocking for home-sellers looking to recoup their expenditures. Remember, however, that what constitutes a dollar for dollar return does not factor in what can mean a higher return for you. If your remodeled bathroom or new artistic garage door speeds up the sale time so that you're not trying to make two mortgage payments while you wait for a home to sell, your personal return is more valuable to you than just the selling price over remodeling cost. And, if you've lived in the house after the remodel and enjoyed its benefits personally, the ROI is incalculable by statistical standards.

If you plan to place your home on the market, review the Cost vs. Value Report for your region and city before undertaking significant additions or improvements. Then, consult a realtor specializing in your neighborhood to see what trends may improve the bottom line for your home.


One of the most satisfying aspects of being a new homeowner is the process of "making it your own."

That could include everything from painting walls and hanging pictures to replacing window treatments and assembling shelves. (Then, of course, there's the unpacking, furniture arranging, organizing, and room cleaning!)

For some people, one of the biggest challenges in getting unpacked, set up, and fully decorated is keeping their motivation high. While momentum is usually highest during the first few weeks of living in a new home, a lot of distractions, interruptions, and competing priorities can quickly vie for your attention.

In addition to using good time management skills and setting self-imposed deadlines for getting projects done, here are a few other strategies for staying on track with your decorating and home improvement goals:

Purchase needed supplies ASAP: It's easy for a project to get derailed or put on the "back burner" when you don't have all the tools, supplies, and materials you need to get started. Painting walls and ceilings is the perfect example because you can't get fully underway until you have a variety of brushes, rollers, paint trays, drop cloths, painters' tape, and a sufficient supply of paint -- often more than one color. If you have holes or cracks to fill, you may also need additional supplies like joint compound, a putty knife, and sandpaper. When you have immediate access to all the supplies you need for a particular project, it eliminates potential delays, excuses for getting started, and interruptions in your work flow.

Arrange child care: Sometimes the best approach to keeping your children supervised and entertained while you're working on the house is to hire a responsible teenager to babysit. If you have one or more older children in the family who can help take care of the younger ones for a few hours, then that's even better. In either case, you'll be able to stay focused on the task at hand and get a lot more accomplished.

Make it a priority: The problem with continually postponing a home repair, a landscaping task, or a painting project is that weeks can easily turn into months! Before you know it, years have gone by and you still haven't organized your basement, cleaned out those clogged rain gutters, or applied a fresh coat of paint to your outdated bathroom walls. By blocking off a specific period of time for getting a project underway or completed, you'll be accomplishing your home maintenance goals and beautifying your home faster and more efficiently.

Commit it to writing: When you write yourself a reminder note, create a to-do list, mark it on your calendar, or even text your spouse about your plans to tackle the project on Saturday, you've increased the probability that it will get done. Verbally telling people about it, such as when they ask you what you're doing this weekend, will also help fuel your motivation and nudge you to get the job done in a timely way!


In today’s world, a more significant number of people work non-standard schedules. These new schedules can be anything from weekends and early mornings to completely nocturnal. Most alternative lifestyles are easy to plan for and work well with standard home designs, but overnight living requires some extra design work and planning. This article contains some tips to make your backward schedule easier on your body and your daytime family if you have one. 

Design Ideas to Help You Sleep

One of the first things you need to do is invest in full-coverage blackout curtains and curtain rods. Full coverage curtain rods curve around the outside of the window instead of just going straight across. This allows the curtain to wrap around the window and touch the wall on both sides, blocking the majority of the light from outside. You can improve the ability to hinder light even further by attaching snaps or Velcro to the edges of the curtains and the wall and securing the curtain flat along the sides of the window. Getting the right curtains is necessary. You can double up on usefulness by getting insulated blackout curtains that block both light and temperature, helping keep your cooling and heating costs down.

Keeping Up the Sleep Cycle

It's essential to have clear “going to bed” and “waking up” routines that you use every day to keep yourself on track. Doing the same activities each morning before you go to sleep will help create and maintain habits in your brain, telling it that its time to increase your natural melatonin levels. In the evening when you wake up, having a similar waking up routine can help your brain increase your cortisol or “wake-up hormone” levels. 

You can manage your sleep and waking hormones artificially as needed, especially if your schedule changes regularly, by using taking low doses of melatonin 1-2 hours before you want to go to sleep. Taking a dose of melatonin tells your body its time to start producing it. Between the synthetic melatonin and your body’s natural production, you can manage your own sleep cycle and switch it up as needed by just changing what time you take the melatonin.

Maintaining Relationships and Health

It's critical to ensure that if you have daytime family members or other relationships, you are awake for at least some daytime hours to maintain those relationships. This is where artificially adjusting your sleep schedule really comes in handy. It's also necessary to keep your Vitamin D levels high enough. One of the riskiest parts of being an overnight worker is that you don’t get enough sunlight to create enough Vitamin D for your body. You can efficiently resolve this by ensuring you take high doses of Vitamin D regularly. If you are concerned about taking high dose vitamins without the input of a doctor, you can get exactly the right amount by asking your healthcare professional for a blood test to determine your current levels.

Shopping for the right home to support your overnight lifestyle can be tricky. Make sure to let your real estate agent know about your overnight needs to get the best property for your lifestyle.