For hands-on advice from designers and pro DIYers, plus more scrappy before-and-after transformations, subscribe to Reno. Let your in-box do all the hard work—for now.

The main reason people buy a fixer-upper over a turnkey home might have to do with saving money, but after that it’s all about gaining experience. You know, picking up a hammer or paintbrush and diving into the work yourself. At least that’s how 35 percent of homeowners feel, according to a recent survey by Buildworld. There’s something satisfying about elevating a dated space on your own, especially if it only takes a few cosmetic changes to bring it up to speed. Next to any essential plumbing or roofing repairs, these are the four updates fixer-upper owners tackle first. 

Work Wonders With Paint 

paint1
Breakfast Room Green, Farrow & Ball
Shop

Sixty-three percent of the 1,200 respondents polled about their home-buying preferences said paint would be the first task on their punch list. Our advice: Dunk everything from the walls and the trim to the doors and (yes!) the radiators in a saturated hue that makes you feel happy. Our style director, Benjamin Reynaert, chose Farrow & Ball’s Breakfast Room Green for his new fixer-upper. 

Start Fresh With New Bathroom Flooring

El-Fenn-Blue-1-600×600
El Fenn Blue Tile, Riad Tile ($4)
Shop

For oasis-worthy vibes, swath your bathroom in a bold Moroccan tile (59 percent of people want new bathroom flooring). Try Riad’s El Fenn option (inspired by the El Fenn hotel in Marrakech), and take it a step further à la Garance Doré by covering the walls in it, too. 

Replace the Kitchen Appliances 

Big Chill_Fall Edit_Azure Blue_Copper Trim_48 Classic Range (1)
Classic Stove, Big Chill ($7000)
Shop

A little over half of the respondents also suggested they’d replace their appliances. Given we’ve all been cooking at home more than ever these days (and will likely continue the trend), it’s important that the products are hardworking (think: energy efficient and space saving) but also reflect your personality. 

Mix Up the Bathroom Fixtures 

Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 3.09.16 PM
DoBrass Bathroom Shower Faucet Set, Amazon ($170)
Shop

You’d be amazed at how many chic-looking faucets and showerheads you can find on Amazon. This matte black bath set makes putting in the elbow grease worth it in the end. You can’t get this from a turnkey place. 

Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.