If you have an older house, you may be faced with trying to reverse some of the less successful home renovations which have been done in years gone by. Here are some easy renovations that can quickly brighten up a house.
Using wood paneling on walls and even ceilings was popular in the 1970s. These panels can look dated and often make a room look darker than most modern tastes. While you can get panels replaced, it can be an extensive (and expensive!) job and it may reveal other problems when removed. If you don't have the time or budget for removing the panels, you can often paint these with a white enamel or bright paint to make the room look more modern as a short term solution.
Another common trend in the 1970s was a spray-on texture know as 'popcorn' ceilings; this is especially common in apartments since it helps lower the amount of noise that is transmitted from floors above. However, it can easily get dusty and dirty, it can be hard to clean, and it often looks quite dated. It tends to be challenging to remove, so the easiest thing to do is lay a false ceiling below the textured surface with standard ceiling plasterboard. This can be done as DIY job if you are a confident renovator but is affordable to outsource if you are not.
Removing yellow wallpaper can become an extensive job, especially if previous owners have layered the wallpaper on top of previous wallpapers creating many layers of glue-y paper mess. As a temporary fix, you can try painting the walls with an opaque, high-quality paint. As a bright pattern wallpaper may easily bleed through paint, it is a good idea to try a corner and leave it 12 hours before painting the entire room. If that doesn't work, you can try tacking fabric (such as bedsheets) against the wall as a temporary solution.
Removing many layers of wallpaper can be challenging. It can help to leave the room steaming with an industrial steamer for a while until you can easily scrape the corners of the paper back to the underlying wall. After the wallpaper is removed, you can scrub the walls with sugar soap and apply new wallpaper or paint.
If you are looking to hide some ugly renovations, it can often be useful to meet with a contractor to discuss your options.