Spec homes are designed and built to sell to “speculative” buyers (get it?). While there’s nothing wrong with that, it means the design choices are generally suited to the masses—often using options that are the lowest common denominator, or the least expensive one for the builder. Even once you move in and get settled, the space can feel a little generic.

To overcome that run-of-the-mill, builder-grade look, you can update areas of your home over time. The right updates in your home can significantly enhance its appeal and market value—and not to mention, you can customize it to suit your taste in decor and make it more functional to the way you live.

A whole-home makeover is overwhelming to take on, so start by prioritizing these five key updates:

#1: Mirrors

This may seem like an obvious first suggestion from a custom mirror company, and perhaps it is. But here’s the truth: Mirrors are so much more than a functional piece to use as you style hair or shave a beard. Mirrors can create the illusion of space, making a room feel larger and brighter than it actually is. Strategically placed mirrors not only enhance natural light in a space, but bring a style element front and center.

The go-to for most builder-grade homes is a plain sheet mirror. If the mirror is in good shape, there’s no need to throw it out. Personalize it to fit your decor scheme by using Add A Frame®, our custom frames that adhere directly to the surface of your mirror and install easily (even if your mirror is resting on a backsplash).

If you want to replace your mirror entirely, our Custom Framed Mirrors are the place to start. Create a mirror that looks professionally designed and is built to suit any space—even an odd-shaped one. With a wide range of styles and finishes to choose from, you’ll be able to transform your space into something that feels much more “you.”

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#2: Window Treatments

Window treatments like blinds, curtains, and shades play a role in aesthetics as well as light control and privacy. Though not necessary, window treatments can make a room feel completely dressed—and it may look naked without it. 

To add that finishing touch, consider the room’s purpose. Is it on the first floor, where neighbors might see inside? Is it South-facing—how much light does it get? Would the drapery need to be functional (like blackout curtains in a bedroom), or would they merely be decorative, like in a dining room? All of these questions can lead you down the right path. Then comes the fun part: Picking fabrics and materials! 

PRO TIP: Opt for window treatments that are easy to maintain. Otherwise, spring cleaning will feel doubly hard every year.

upgrade window treatments in your spec home

#3: Interior Doors

This upgrade is often overlooked, but it’s one that can make a big impact on the home’s overall aesthetic and value. Beyond dividing spaces, interior doors are your chance to incorporate your own design details directly into the home and add cohesion from room to room. 

It’s important to consider the architectural style of your home when you are sifting through interior door options. Whether you’re modernizing the space or looking for something more traditional, you don’t want the inside to be a total departure from the rest of the house. 

Note: If all-new doors just aren’t in the budget this year, consider swapping out just the hardware on all of your doors for an updated, seamless look. 

upgrade interior doors in your spec home

#4: Bathroom Fixtures

Speaking of hardware… bathroom fixtures are notoriously “blah” in spec homes. The good news is that it’s a relatively inexpensive swap, depending on the brand and style you choose. On the whole, bathrooms are stand-out spaces for potential new buyers, so it’s a savvy upgrade whether you’re staying put for awhile or not.

From the faucet to the shower head to the vanity drawer pulls, fixtures can add a touch of luxury and elevate an entire bathroom design. They don’t have to be matchy-matchy, either. Decorating with mixed metals adds intrigue and interesting layers to a space (though there are a few best practices to follow).

RELATED READ: 5 Tips for Decorating with Mixed Metals

upgrade bathroom fixtures

#5: Light Fixtures

Well-designed light fixtures can transform the atmosphere in a room, highlight architectural features, create a welcoming ambiance, and enhance the functionality of a space. Upgrading the lighting has a major design impact, but can get expensive quickly if you aren’t careful. 

Consider the scale or the room, and don’t feel beholden to the direction the builder original chose. Rewiring and rearranging lighting will cost more, as you’ll likely need to get an electrician involved, but a simple cosmetic swap can still make a huge difference in the look and feel of the room.

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to make the switch to energy-efficient LED bulbs to save on energy costs!

upgrade light fixtures in your spec home

Going from spec home to standout style is possible, but it does require patience. You don’t have to tackle everything at once! Be strategic with your upgrades and you’ll soon have a space that feels entirely, uniquely yours.