The 5 Dated Features Homeowners Hate—And How to Fix Them

One tip is as easy as layering rugs.

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Photography by Jessica Alexander; Design by Layne Kula

A house with old-school charm—think: mirrored walls, salvaged beams, and stained-glass windows—is something most of us can love and appreciate. Then there’s just old. A recent survey from HomeAdvisor revealed the dated features that American homeowners said would be the first to go, and we weren’t at all surprised by the culprits: Carpeting, kitchen cabinets, countertops, bathroom tile, and vanities topped their to-replace list. Fortunately, most of the respondents (76 percent, to be exact) suggested they aren’t afraid of a bit of DIY, and luckily for them these areas can be updated on a shoestring budget. Ahead, we’ve pulled together five low-lift changes you can make to each one. 

For Carpeting You Can’t Replace 

Photography by Yuki Suguira

Whether you’re bound by a lease agreement or a tight budget, you may not be able to rip out tired carpeting, but you can dress it up with creative layering. An oversize area rug or a collection of thoughtfully overlapped flat-weaves works wonders to disguise the landlord special. 

For Instant Open Shelving 

Photography by Jessica Alexander; Design by Layne Kula

If you dream of airy kitchen storage but dread the idea of a knockdown, try this: Grab a screwdriver, remove your cabinet doors…and voilà! Open shelves in minutes. Give the interior a paint job with an accent color or put your favorite ceramics on display, and your bare cupboards will instantly feel polished.  

For a Fresh Take on Shower Tile

Photography by Amy Neunsinger

When Leanne Ford needs a clean slate for a bathroom project (including her own), she simply slathers over the existing tile with a layer of SureCrete—a trick that’s quickly become part of her signature lived-in style. The mixture, which can be colored with a pigment pack and becomes waterproof with a sealer, adds a handmade texture to any space for a fraction of what a new tile job would cost. 

For a Double Vanity That Needs a Facelift

Photography by Amy Peters

Need one more piece of evidence that it doesn’t require a demo to make a drastic difference to your bathroom? Take a look at this before-and-after. By swapping out the old sheet mirror for two arched ones, covering the backsplash in Beyond Paint, and replacing the glass sinks with crisp white basins, this vanity got a complete makeover that was as minimally invasive as it was wallet-friendly. 

For Countertops Worth Keeping 

Courtesy of Anita Yokota

With just $40 and a little patience, designer Anita Yokota transformed her dark and dreary kitchen counters by wrapping them all in marble-patterned contact paper. The peel-and-stick material isn’t heatproof and will show a bit of wear and tear after a few years, but she swears by the idea as a quick upgrade for that natural stone look. And so far, her guests have never been the wiser.