We’ve been looking for homes for about two months now, and I swear if I say “I’m just looking for something with character” one more time, my husband may leave me for Karen, the girl who thinks HGTV is a medication and is totally OK with a popcorn ceiling (**gasp**). With that said, it’s not lost on me that we live in one of the most expensive cities in America, and we don’t exactly have the budget to match the emotional affair I keep having with Zillow.
I’ve come to the realization that if the house doesn’t have character, there are boat loads of DIY solutions. Yes, it requires work, but it’s easy and most are pretty affordable. If you’re interested read on, and if you’re not, is your name Karen? I kid, I kid…
1. Faux Fireplace
I absolutely adore a good fireplace. To me, it makes a home feel more intimate. Unfortunately the reality is that many homes don’t have them. There are countless DIY options like the one pictured here that I saw on one of my favorite accounts to follow Life At Starkey Ranch. They have some incredible tutorials on their page. You can also pull up a simple google search of pre-made ones you can order.
2. Faux Craftsman Windows
One thing my eyes are really drawn to, especially here in Pasadena with all the historic homes, is windows. However, you don’t need to live in a craftsman home to have beautiful windows. Something I learned quickly while following Life At Starkey Ranch on Instagram, is that if your windows don’t have that charm, you can simply add it. (like the DIY solution to the windows above).
And check out this before and after from Angela Marie Made
Look at the difference it makes…
This gives me all the feels.
3. Faux Brick Wall
There is something about brick that is so elegant. And if you don’t have brick in your home, there are so many faux brick options. This stunning wall is from The Restoring House. This is just one example, but you can do so many different colors of brick too (including white).
First of all, I didn’t even know what a transom was until I saw it on Philip Or Flop’s Instagram. He is another one of my favorite DIYers to follow. He has some of the best tutorials, and is constantly adding so much character to his lovely home. The picture above is from his home.
5. Antique Doors
You guys, antique doors are my jam. I have never seen one I didn’t like, and that did not become the focal point of any room. This picture, from The Victorian Farmhouse, is one of the many charming spaces they have in their home. If you love a home that doesn’t look like every other cookie cutter home, then this account is for you.
There are so many other examples, but here’s just one more of how antique doors become the center of the attention in every room. This is from reDesign Home.
6. Update doors
Look, sometimes antique doors can break the bank. And if you can’t afford one, there are other alternatives. A simple coat of paint and some new hardware can give your doors an entirely new look. You can do anything from a nice matte black, to a nice bold color like yellow or turquoise. Have fun with it! These beautiful doors are actually from a new build home I follow on Instagram called The Fox Family Den. I fully intend to copy this look.
7. Faux Wainscoting
I didn’t even know what wainscoting was until recently when I fell in love with a craftsman home that I lost to another offer (que dramatic music). While I cried like a baby thinking I’d never find walls like that again, I quickly learned that you can pretty much do anything with your walls to really make them feel richer. The picture above is from another one of my favorite DIY accounts to follow on Instagram called Making Pretty Spaces.
And I can’t mention a good DIY without mentioning another one of my favorites, Chris Loves Julia. Look at the before to this picture above. What a difference that made!
I have to admit, I was the first to cringe when I saw wallpaper. However, now I can’t seem to get enough of it. Whether it’s the entire wall, or just a portion, it adds so much charm to any space. The bathroom above is from White Shanty At Home.
Look how cute that wall in the laundry room is from Grace In Magnolias, Nicole has one of my favorite homes on Instagram. And look how she incorporated wallpaper into a closet below. How neat is this??
I would have never thought to put wallpaper in a a closet before. I live for these details. And if you’re curious where this wallpaper is from, it’s from Wallpops.
9. Cabinets (Kitchen or Bathrooms)
When I walk into a kitchen now, I try to imagine what cosmetic changes I can make. Just like with the doors above, a simple coat of paint and a hardware change can really give a kitchen the facelift it needs. My new favorite option, is a two tone kitchen like this one from simplysuzys. Or like the kitchen from Chris Loves Julia below.
For a good before and after of a simple paint and knob update, check out Cabinet Painting Vancouver.
You can do this to your bathrooms too for a simple and affordable update! And FYI this is so not an ad, but they really have some great before and after shots.
10. Updating Bathroom Tile
There are some incredible DIY tile options out there. Whether it be peel + stick, solid color, or stenciled patterns, there are endless possibilities. The tile above is from Colors + Crafts, and the tile below is from Farmhouse 4010.
These are just a few examples, however, a simple google search will populate so much more.
11. Bathroom Mirrors
I have seen quite a few bathroom mirrors lately, and I find myself HATING most of them. I never understood why most people don’t swap them out. It’s such an easy, and affordable fix. I know mirrors can be expensive, but they can also be super cheap. A simple online search or a trip to a flea market or Homegoods can get you some good-looking mirrors. This bathroom is from City Home Collective.
12. Ceiling Medallion
If you’re like my husband, you’re likely not the type to ever notice this. However, if you thrive off details like me, this will make your heart pitter-patter. Did you know that many of them are under a hundred bucks? I have no idea how much this one cost (or if it’s original), but it is absolutely stunning. This beautiful space belongs to The Whale House, and every single square on that page is like a fairytale.
I had to use my friend Ryan’s picture from the Texas Forever Farmhouse when I typed this up, because she’s the one that taught me the term sconces. I was like, is that the thing you eat with tea? I thought it was called a wall lamp, but no, even the name is fancy.
Lighting can be such a cheap and easy fix, and makes such a huge difference. Whether its a pair of cute sconces or a beautiful chandelier, it’s totally worth the investment and the time. I find poor lighting to be such an eye sore.
This is what nightmares are made of folks.
14. Faux Beams
Beams are all the rage right now, and this annoyingly beautiful space is from my good friend Kristin’s house at KG Designs. Her entire home is actually beyond gorgeous, so if you’re into that type of thing, you should really check her out. Just remember if you do, you will always be #TeamDeema. And if you have no idea what that means, then you should really start following me on Instagram to get in on this drama.
15. Built-In Shelves
Talk about character and sophistication. I could say that about Katie’s entire house FYI. This beautiful space was a simple ikea hack and from one of my favorite accounts to follow, Pretty Domesticated. Her entire home is a dream.
And why not add a built in desk while you’re at it?
This desk was built by Angela from Angela Rose Home. You guys, she’s a beast. She is one of my favorite DIYers and I cannot wait to use her tutorials when I find my new home.
16. Add A Bench
I don’t know what it is about benches, but they can transform an entire space. Build a bench under a bay window, in your kitchen, your living room, or in a kids room. It can be such a practical addition that really makes a space so cozy. This space was designed by my FAVORITE, Joanna Gaines.
17. Update stairs
Give your stairs some flavor. The picture above is a DIY that Mama And The Tribe did on Instagram using Cement Tile Shop. The picture below is from one of my favorite (and one of the funniest) people to follow, Nuckingfutsjen.
Here’s another example below from Old Salt Farm, another one of my favorite accounts to follow.
Lastly, that’s Erin Gates, designer and author of one of my favorite books, Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life on her infamous leopard stairs.
18. Paint A Wall
A simple coat of paint can change an entire room. I have been so in love with all the dark moody colors I see lately. The picture above is from Stagedit.
19. Add A Mural
This may be one of my favorite pictures from Jenna Sue Design. And that’s a pretty bold statement, because her entire account is such a dream. I’ve never thought to add a mural to my home before I saw this picture.
20. Add Decals
I want to preface this by saying, this is not an ad. I searched decals and I found this account and fell in love. These decals, and all the ones below, are from Urbanwalls.
These are the cutest touch of character.
Did those decals just serve as a backsplash? Yup, I think they did.
And put them on the ceiling while you’re at it! #Swooning.
And that’s it for today. I hope this helps you look at your home, or any future homes, with a fresh set of eyes. I know that I have a new perspective on all the possibilities as I continue this agonizing home search. And if you haven’t checked out my most recent posts on my home search process, I hope that you do:
Until next time, I’d love to hear what you thought about this post. Drop me a comment, or send me a DM on Instagram.