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How to Upgrade Your Builder Finishes

You just bought a brand new home in a subdivision. Your mortgage is signed. You ran the numbers through a mortgage calculator, your payments are now scheduled, and you’re all moved in. Every corner of every room is done and finished. Now what?

As much as you might love how new and fresh everything is, some homeowners can’t help but notice that every other home on the block looks exactly the same. And if you’re like me, that’s not cool! While there are usually restrictions placed on what you can do to the exterior of a home in a subdivision, that doesn’t mean you can’t do whatever you want to the interior. Here are a few simple upgrades you can do yourself to set your home apart from the rest, all without breaking the bank.


Paint is an interior decorator’s best friend – a fresh coat can make any room look dramatically different. By being able to pick and choose your favourite colour combinations, you can customize your space and really put your personality in each room. If you don’t have the energy to paint your whole house, why not start with an accent wall? If you like how one wall turns out, you may be inspired to tackle the rest of the house.

Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are another easy upgrade you can do on your own (or with the help of a friend). By swapping out standard fixtures with some more unique pieces, you can both customize a room and add a focal point for the rest of your décor. Personally, my favourite stores to find new light fixtures are West Elm, CB2 and IKEA – each of them offers designer looks that won’t hurt your wallet. I have also found some great scores at Home Depot and Rona.

Window Coverings

Putting up blinds and/or curtains is yet another way you can bring your own personality into a room. And you don’t always realize it, until everything is installed, but the right choices can also bring a feeling of warmth and comfort into your home. While purchasing window coverings can sometimes be expensive, the most costly mistake is not taking measurements, and needing to buy new sets of things when your first set doesn’t fit. So take proper measurements and make a trip to one of my favourite stores for window coverings: Bou Clair, IKEA or Urban Barn.


I’m sure the new hardwood floors or carpeting are nice – but rugs are a relatively inexpensive way to bring colour to a room, again, personalizing your space. Rugs can also make even the most cookie cutter home seem cozy. And, in the case of carpets, adding a rug can actually help you keep your floors cleaner longer. A trend I’ve been seeing lately is layering rugs which, if done right, can really define a space. The best part of buying rugs is, if you get sick of them, you can move them to a different room and/or swap them out for a new one.

The following article was written, Aleksandra Oleksak, a Toronto realtor from Sage Real Estate.