Whether you are looking at do-it-yourself projects to freshen up your home or to upgrade your condo to offer it as a vacation rental, updates need not be extensive or expensive.

With some planning, you can make changes that will matter without breaking the bank or having your home torn apart for months. Here are some basic tips to ensure your project goes smoothly.

Prioritize, plan, purchase

It’s always a good idea to plan your project, prioritizing what you want to do, then make your purchases. Do you need to replace appliances or furniture, or is a good cleaning in order? Is it time to replace pillows, linens, or accessories? If you need to replace the refrigerator or washer, perhaps changing lamps should be further down on your replacement list. Knowing the cost of replacing or upgrading your home or vacation condo will help you budget for the purchases, keeping your costs manageable.

Larger purchases

You don’t have to have the latest appliances or furniture but having up-do-date technologies and trendy looks will go a long way in keeping guests happy, ensuring top review ratings.

Before getting rid of older furniture, think what you could do with it. Can it be repurposed or could parts of it be used to make a functional piece? An old wooden box could make a stylish place to hold mail or remotes, especially with a coat of light stain to give it a finished, but weathered look.

Avoid excessive replacements

This is part of the planning process. When purchasing sheets, blankets, or towels, don’t buy plain or light colors – they show dirt and you will find it necessary to replace them frequently, especially if you are using your condo as a rental. The exception would be crisp white sheets and duvet covers- these can be bleached!

The most important spaces

Other considerations, for your own enjoyment or for guests, includes updating your kitchen or bathrooms. These areas have the most significant impact on whether a rental is viewed positively or not. Contrary to common thinking, upgrades to these spaces needn’t be expensive, but do require extra planning. A shower head replacement may be all that’s needed to give the bathroom a clean, updated look. Another easy fix is switching door handles or cabinet pulls refresh the room’s look and is not expensive. Repainting cabinets may be a little trickier, but will give these spaces a clean, updated look.

Use other wall-hanging options

A no-screw rule is a good idea for long-term wall conditions. Without it you will find scattered holes when you rearrange things which will require extra time and effort to fix. Pictures and even some mirrors can be hung with adhesive hooks, or if the items are small, add it to a table or lean it against a bare wall.

A fresh coat of paint is still one of the most economical ways to brighten and refresh your space, while giving it a trendy look. Choosing the correct color for the mood you want to set is important, from calm and relaxing to exciting and carefree. Take some time to look through all the color choices available at your local paint or hardware store.

To wallpaper or to not wallpaper is a personal choice, but it could help cover an area of non-removable stain on a visible wall. You may want to put wallpaper on just one wall to create a focal point or think about placing wall decals or stickers. They come in all sizes and colors to match your décor.

Tighten loose screws

These can be a hazard if they hold heavier items, so double-check them. If a screw is so loose that it’s barely gripping, remove it, wrap its threads with a few strands of steel wool, and screw it back into its old hole. If a screw has been ripped out of its hole entirely and the hole is too big for the threads to gain hold, slide a wooden match into the hole and then replace the screw.

Nothing can derail progress on a project than the inability to loosen a tight screw. If you make repairs or updates that have such a nuisance, once you get the screw out, twist into a bar of soap to make it easier to insert. This will save you a heap of frustration next time.

Hammer Help

Most projects are likely to include the use of a hammer. Protect your digits from a hammer blow by using a comb to “hold” the small nail, tack, or brad. You could also use tweezers, a bobby pin, or a paper clip to hold the nail. A little modeling clay or gum will hold a nail in place for the first two or three strikes when you are working in a tight spot.

Rusted Nuts and Bolts

Updating rusted hardware shows attention to details that condo renters will appreciate but may initially give you a headache. Hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice or cola poured over the rusted fastener may help. Wait 30 minutes to allow the mild acid to dissolve the rust enough to turn it freely.

Utilize small spaces

Add creativity to small spaces by creating a cozy space to relax, read, or take a little nap. Find an unused corner and place a comfy chair, ottoman and small table for books and a beverage. Save space by putting a floor lamp in the corner behind the chair. An alternative would be a built-in, cushioned window seat with pillows and storage under the seat.

A spot for some individual relaxation will appeal to guests and look great on listing photos.

Don’t forget curb appeal
Neglected outside spaces, such as peeling paint on an entry bench or overgrown flower pots, will detract from a renovated inside space. So, take extra care to keep things looking spiffy outside, especially at the front entrance.

In the end, your goal is live in or offer a comfortable yet modern condo with as little investment as possible. It’s important to make updates but think through which ones will have the best return, whether for your own enjoyment or in increased bookings.