There are many, many perfectly valid reasons you may need to do an “in-the-meantime” fix-up for your home.

Maybe you’re sitting around your apartment staring at that boob light in your kitchen for the 746th time, wondering why it even exists. Or maybe your Judgy McJudgerson (but loving!) mother-in-law is sailing into town next week with her white dust-hunting glove, armed and ready to go. Or maybe you half-heartedly raised your hand at the last book club meeting and offered to host the next gathering at your place, fully expecting Karen to do it as always, but she quietly sipped her tea and now you have to do it!

An in the meantime fix-up is simply a quick cosmetic shapeup of your home. It can take place over a couple of hours, a couple of days or more. It’s perfect for renters who don’t want to spend a lot of money, homeowners who want to save before plunking down the big bucks for a huge reno, and anyone who’d like to freshen up their space.

Although it’s not a full renovation, the impact that it can have on your home can be magical. The smallest fixes can be transformative, affordable and easy to do. Now you simply need some ideas!



You may have heard it mentioned a four zillion times, so hold the exaggerated sigh because it’s absolutely true; adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls is the number one way to make it look like you’ve walking into a brand new space.

Paint is so transformative that even if you do nothing else, it will look like you’ve done ten different things to your space. Paint can magically make a cramped room seem larger, make ceilings seem taller, infuse a room with coziness and brighten up a dark space.

Before you cheap out on a paint brand, be aware: you may gawk at $60 a gallon for a high-quality paint, but that one gallon may give you the coverage of three $20 gallons. Whichever way you go, the transformation can be complete within days.


Transform your walls

You can do so much more to your walls than simply paint them.  Adding decorative elements can turn a simple wall into a museum-quality landscape.

Decorative paneling

When designers speak about transforming your walls with elements like decorative paneling, they’re not talking about the dark, dingy basement paneling from your grandparents’ basement or 70s teen horror flicks.

There is the brushed aluminum paneling that, when applied to even a single wall, will turn your ho-hum living room into a modernist lounge. There’s also the brick paneling that will give you the brownstone kitchen of your dreams even though you live in the middle of the Valley.

There are literally hundreds of panel style options in stores like Home Depot, Loews and local retailers. Panels can be used to make feature walls, create a headboard, separate a space…anything! Many of these panels come with peel-and-stick backing or are attachable with hooks or glue, making them super easy to apply with nothing but an X-Acto knife and a ruler for even the shyest, most risk-averse novices.

Temporary wallpaper

Temporary wallpaper, wall decals and murals can be put up, enjoyed and taken down when you get bored with it or when you move. This is not your older sister’s temporary wallpaper. The stuff that was hot 5 years ago has been made even better.

From contemporary, modern patterns to crazy stripes, temporary wallpaper will give your space the edge you’re looking for. Put up a Bansky decal, and tell people you don’t know how it got there!


Change a floor, change the world

Flooring is literally the foundation of a room from which all else springs. You might not change the whole world, but you’ll definitely change yours by replacing ugly, depressing flooring.

Click vinyl flooring

Click or floating vinyl plank flooring is literally a snap to put on. In textures that mimic everything from checkerboard to that wide-plank maple you’ve been eyeing, click vinyl plank flooring is affordable, beautiful and in many cases can be applied directly over your existing flooring.

Floor decals

Exotic floor decals from companies like Bleucoin can be applied to your bathroom floor, turning the whole thing into a Moroccan spa.


Switch out your lighting

Bland, dull lighting equals a bland, dull house.  Head to Craigslist, Remains Lighting or your grandmother’s attic and find the fixtures that will replace the builder specials and give your rooms the jewelry they deserve.

Related: How to Stage Your Home When You Have a Pet