Congratulations – you are moving into your new home! Whether you are starting with a plain new build or an older resale home, there’s no better way to make it yours than by putting your stamp on it. Invest a weekend or two into warming up a featureless space or refreshing someone else’s old homestead. It’s easy with our 10 steps to home sweet home.
Step 1: Change the locks
Secure your home by changing the locks as soon as you take possession.
Even DIY beginners can change a deadbolt lock. A replacement deadbolt set can be installed in place of the current lock – no drilling required.
Another alternative is to rekey the lock. Purchase a rekeying set from the same manufacturer as the existing door lock, and reset it for a new key.
Step 2: Get a professional deep cleaning
Hire professional cleaners to deep-clean and detail your home before you move your possessions in. Without any furniture to work around, they’ll have access to every nook and cranny. Yes, you’ll have to clean again after moving day, but the heavy lifting (scouring, scrubbing and scraping) will have already been done!
Step 3: Clean the guts of your home
Years of dust, pet dander and detritus collect in the mechanicals of any home. One of the most effective ways to refresh a resale home is to get right into the guts of it: the mechanicals. Have your ducts, furnace and air conditioning unit professionally cleaned. Change the filters as required to maintain that clean, fresh air.
Step 4: Apply a fresh coat of paint
Painting provides the most bang for your home improvement buck. Whether the walls of your home are dingy or you’re simply not feeling the magic of “beige,” it takes just hours to repaint your space with a colour that makes your heart sing.
Step 5: Freshen up the floors
Worn out floors can put a damper on that new-home buzz.
If your hardwood has seen better days, hire pros to refinish it, or tackle the project yourself by renting a floor sander and varnishing over a weekend.
Steam-clean wall-to-wall carpet and clean laminate flooring with special laminate floor cleaners, although if either is too far gone, you may want to replace it.
Personalize your space while protecting your floors by adding area rugs and runners throughout your new home.
Step 6: Neutralize any odours
Resale homes, particularly fixer-uppers, can come with lingering smells. Steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 will dramatically reduce any unpleasant odours. Stubborn odours require spot treatments, such as the following:
- Put dishes of activated charcoal, also called activated carbon (available from aquarium stores), in musty, damp basements. Run a dehumidifier during the spring and summer.
- Place a sock filled with dry coffee grounds or baking soda in closets, refrigerators or freezers to absorb stale odours.
- Pour white vinegar down a stinky drain.
Step 7: Give your windows a new view
Dirty windows and screens can make rooms feel dingy. A thorough cleaning will have your windows shining, and your indoors will feel brighter and fresher, too.
If your home came with the previous owner’s window coverings, be sure to clean or launder them (it’ll remove allergens as well as reduce any lingering odours). Or consider replacements more specific to your design tastes.
Step 8: Brighten your lights
A well-lit home feels inviting and warm. If your rooms feel dim, replace the existing bulbs with bright, energy-saving CFL bulbs. Dated lighting fixtures can foil your redecorating efforts, so consider replacing them. You can donate them to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop – after all, your taste may be urban-contemporary, but someone else may be looking for the perfect retro pendant!
Step 9: Replace the switch plates
A screwdriver is all it takes to swap out lighting switch plates. This easy change gives an instant lift to any room. With a little DIY expertise, screwdrivers, pliers and a voltage tester, you can install energy-saving dimmer switches, instead.
Step 10: Display your art
Finally, dress up your walls with your favourite artwork and family photos. Get your kids’ kindergarten masterpieces onto the fridge, and deck out your mantel with family photos.
There’s a reason why we remove personal photos and mementoes when selling a house: it’s so potential buyers see a clean slate. Now that you’re in your own home, go wild and make it yours!