From Builder-Grade to Upgraded: 7 DIY Projects to Update Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/28/17 11:11 AM

Topics: Home Ownership

Builder-grade is a bit of a misleading term. When you think of home builders, you likely think of custom grade products, but on the contrary, builder-grade materials are on the bottom of the pyramid, as far as quality goes. Nevertheless, builder-grade homes are common and give you tons of opportunities to revamp and update them to your own style. See our list of builder-grade updates that will give you a big return without draining your bank account.



Frame Your Mirrors

Vanity mirror a bit bland? You can pay a pretty price for new or frame it yourself for around $40. See how this DIY-er did it on Making Home Base.

Paint Your Vanity and Cupboards and Replace Hardware

Painting cabinetry and vanities is nothing new in the world of home renovations, but if you’re sticking to a remodeling budget, it’s the way to go when tackling outdated fixtures.

This is a DIY project that takes some time and elbow grease, but the finished product is worth it. See the Better Homes and Gardens step-by-step here.

Add Board and Batten

The aesthetic problem with builder-grade homes is they lack architectural interest. Adding board and batten to an entryway, dining room, hallway, bedroom or home office is a great way to break through the blandness.

Check out this $57 tutorial from Young House Love, which they say was “one of the biggest bang-for-your-buck” upgrades they’ve made to their home.

Add Some Planks

Shiplap is all the rage – thanks Joanna Gaines! It’s versatile style-wise and you can achieve the look with a small investment. This DIY-er from Hooked on Houses did an entire room for under $150.

Get some shiplap inspiration for your home here.

Add Contrast


Image via Pinterest

If you have an untouched builder-grade home, it likely seems very two-dimensional. Adding stark contrast through furnishings and staircases will make your home feel more custom-built.

Liven Up Baseboards, Add Ceiling Moulding and Paint Window Trim

Does your builder-grade scream oak, oak and more oak? You can do without replacing window trim by painting or staining. If your baseboards are thin or simply not your style, replace with a version that complements your interior style.

Add Statement Lighting



Builder-grade light fixtures should be one of the first things to go when you start your remodel. Splurging on new light fixtures through your home will give a cohesively modernized appearance.

Looking to complete some major home renovations? Download our free Rehab & Construction eBook for ways to incorporate the costs of your remodel into your mortgage.

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide

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