Extra Time on Your Hands During COVID-19? Here’s Some Quick Fixes for Your Fixer-upper Home

June 2, 2020

Perhaps being at home for weeks on end during the COVID-19 pandemic has you noticing some things in your home that could use some TLC. Or possibly these are items that have long been on your to-do list. Either way, with some time, patience, and a bit of elbow grease to make it into the home you’ve been dreaming about.

Because renovations are often costly and involve a lot of planning, many buyers find themselves ‘making do’ with décor that’s dated, worn out, or simply not to their liking. Thankfully, there are a lot of smart, inexpensive changes you can make while you’re waiting for the right time to start your major renos. 

Problem: Ugly Floors

If your new-to-you home is plagued by dated floors in the kitchen, mudroom, or bathroom, there’s no need to wait until tile or hardwood fit your budget. If you’re only looking for a temporary fix, two often-overlooked solutions (which are less involved and less expensive than even laminate hardwood flooring) are vinyl and linoleum. Before you picture the kitchen you grew up in, groan, and stop reading, consider the benefits: 

  • Both come in a variety of modern colours and patterns that can mimic tile and hardwood 
  • They can be purchased for relatively low costs 
  • They’re moisture resistant
  • They’re fairly easy for DIYers to install in a day (laminate comes in large sheets, while vinyl can come in sheets or smaller tiles)
  • Most of the time, all the tools you’ll need are a square, a utility knife, and a 100lb roller

Problem: Ugly Walls

Few interior design elements are quite as powerful as wall colours and coverings, so if you’re not a fan of what’s on your walls, it can have strong negative effect on your overall enjoyment of the new home. Why grin and bear it until you’re ready for a major makeover? Instead, start loving your new walls with some easy options that’ll make a world of difference:

  • Paint over wood paneling and wallpaper. Yes, we’re serious. Painting over these offenders will completely change the mood of the room with SO MUCH LESS effort, time, mess, and cost than stripping wallpaper and pulling down paneling. 
  • Hang paintable, deeply textured wallpaper over less-than-pristine walls. Not only does this kind of paper hide a host of evils like rough plastering and surface-level damage, but it also comes in peel-and-stick varieties! 
  • Paint like you’re not a perfectionist. Yes, we’ve just suggested painting for a third time, but the last part of the sentence is key: spend too long choosing just the right colour or get too precious about cutting in with perfect lines, and you’ll be more likely to give up on what should be quick-and-dirty efforts. The idea is to make sweeping changes that will tie you over, so do your best not to focus on minute mistakes. 
Wall paper in living room being installed

Problem: Ugly Hardware

If your new house is bedecked with switch plates and light fixtures with crackled-black finishes, or doorknobs and hinges that are brass- or gold-coloured, it’ll be hard not to feel like you’re living in the past. Changing your hardware is a simple, fast, and effective way to update your home, so we love recommending it to homeowners! Of course, it can get costly – a single doorknob can run between $20 and $40 at popular hardware stores, and you’ll probably be stunned at how many doorknobs you have once you count them. As always, you have options to make shorter-term improvements possible:

  • Shop online to find hardware that’s inexpensive and more suited to your style.
  • Spray paint your fixtures with a universal metal paint in a nickel or black finish – it’s a bit of work, but you can easily accomplish it in a day.
  • Consider making this the one décor element you invest some money into and keep for the long run.

Problem: Ugly Kitchen

Since kitchens are usually the biggest and most expensive renovations to make, homeowners often wait the longest to start working on them. But the kitchen is also a room you’re likely to spend a lot of time in on a daily basis, so why torture yourself for months – or even years – with décor that makes you lose your appetite? Bridge the gap with some creative solutions to help you love your interim kitchen:

  • Paint dark or outdated cabinets in a fresh, modern hue. While it’s not quite a “quick” fix, it’ll make a huge difference to how you feel about the room without a massive demo or dent in your wallet.  
  • Replace dated pulls on cupboards and drawers. Like the hardware throughout the rest of your house, it’s a small detail that goes a long way.
  • Install a molded plastic backsplash to hide one that’s woefully out of date (backsplash trends tend to come in and out of style fairly quickly). This easy-to-clean option often comes with self-adhesive backings, can be cut with scissors, and can be installed overtop of most existing backsplashes. 
  • Consider tiling or painting your countertop, especially if you need to hide stains, water damage, or that faux-wood formica finish that seems to have been so popular once! While these methods take a bit of research and planning, they’ll help you feel more satisfied and confident about the surface where a lot of your food preparation will take place. 
Contemporary White Kitchen with Gold Accents

Make your new home feel more like yours

There are countless reasons you might buy a house that doesn’t thrill you in every regard: maybe you needed to prioritize location, or you love some of the more charming characteristics of older homes, or it’s really the best you could afford. Most buyers end up having to make some compromises, especially if they need to save up for renovations. But, with some determination and little creativity (and a lot of online research!) you can make your new, not-so-dreamy house into a place you’ll be eager to come home to.


Need help selling or buying a home? Purplebricks can help. 

Find your perfect home by going to Purplebricks Home Listings and setting up alerts for homes that align with your wish list. By working with a Purplebricks REALTOR®, you can sell your home and save thousands in commission or buy a home and get $2,000 cash back*! Call 1-855-999-9740 to get started.

On December 1, 2021, Purplebricks rebranded to FairSquare Group Realty. Blog articles published before this date were created under the Purplebricks brand but remain the property of FairSquare Group Realty.

In January 2019, ComFree Commonsense Network Brokerage rebranded to Purplebricks.