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Affordable Ways First Time Buyers Can Update a 1970’s or 1980’s Home



With the New Homes market taking longer to deliver houses locally than expected, first-time buyers and families trading up are increasingly turning to second-hand houses.  While period homes are a dream to aspire to, the practical reality for most buyers is more likely to be a 1970’s or 1980’s bungalow or dormer in need of modernisation.


Congratulations, you’ve bought your new (old) home, so what’s next?


As it is an older home, there are probably some renovations needed to bring your house into the 21st Century. However much you love your older home – we know that it has charm – a little work will go a long way in making it stylish, fresh and on-trend. Here at Kinsella Estates, we have seen some amazing transformations over the years and we have put together just a few of the best tips to brighten up your older home on a budget.


Do it yourself


Are you good with your hands and well accustomed to a bit of DIY? Then, make it your personal mission to bring your older home into the modern era. No-one is suggesting you should be doing electrical work or plumbing, however, if you are handy with a paint brush, take some time to do it and you will be pleased with the results. If anything, you will appreciate the effort more – just don’t start in the main living area or kitchen, perhaps practice in the utility room!




Older homes have lower energy efficiency or performance due to their old brickwork and dated, if any, insulation.  The most straight forward way to improve the efficiency of older homes is to retrofit quality insulation.   It’s worth noting here that there are State grants available to carry out the work.  Not only that, the works will add to the value of your home while saving your money by reducing your energy bills; it’s a eco-friendly win-win. On average, a home loses 20 – 30% of its heat through the walls, which rises even further if they are not insulated. For example, up to 30% can be lost through a poorly insulated attic. The addition of double glazed windows will benefit your home as it works in the same way as insulation. The magic happens in the space between the two panes of glass that make up a double-glazed window. This gap prevents heat transfer because the space is too small to allow circulation.  Here are a few resources to get you started:


Experiment with colours


Getting out the paint brochures and going through your home room by room is a good way to start. Plan for each room, though you may not be remodelling and decorating each room plan as if you are; instead of painting your bathroom blue with a gorgeous indigo tile before deciding that your bedroom is blue too. Be creative and try balance different colours for different rooms. Here are a few ideas:


Add modern touches


Kitchens can be incredibly innovative with the addition of sliding cupboards, deep drawers and smart fridges – not to mention moveable walls. Large Belfast-style sinks are big right now and not just in the literal sense! Splashes of colour and mixed metals will brighten any jaded kitchen. For the bathroom consider a new bathtub that is freestanding, which can be a real focal point, or perhaps a bedroom with stylish bay windows set off with quality curtains and furnishings.  You might get some inspiration here:


Be creative


Remember that this home is now your home; it will be your creation and therein lies the permission to be daring and live life in your home as you wish to. Don’t dismiss new or innovative ideas that seem faraway as every home benefits from creativity, imagination and personality.


Renew, revive and repair


If your budget is tight, which is the case for most new home owners, simply work with what is already in your home and make the best of it in an affordable way. Large windows can be stunning with the right fittings or curtains.  Consider placing a sit-down area surrounding a beautiful window, especially if there is a great view to match. Repair fixtures and fittings where you can instead of replacing everything as it will keep costs down, provided you know what you are doing – YouTube has become a pretty credible source of DIY ‘how to’ video tutorials.  Embrace your natural home and try and create a living space that best compliments what is there already.

Finally, take your time, enjoy the process and your home can be modernised while still retaining the elements that charmed you into buying it.


If you are considering buying or selling in the South Wicklow and North Wexford areas in 2018, call into one of our offices (located in Carnew and Gorey) and chat to any of our expert team or you can contact us online at We are happy to facilitate overseas buyers and sellers via Skype or similar, outside of regular office hours.

Alternatively, email me directly on or telephone : +353 53 94 21718



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