10 Budget-Friendly Interior and Exterior Beach House Upgrades

When it comes to updating your beach property, you don’t have to remodel your entire home or spend a fortune. There are still plenty of ways to quickly revamp it in a way that can attract more vacationers if you considering renting it out, or simply for family vacations.

It’s really all about the first impression when compared to the before and after, especially the one you make to guests. By doing just a few basic things to your beach house, you can really set it apart from the rest.

In this blog post, I’ll break down 10 simple interior and exterior upgrades outside of remodeling. Many of these upgrades cost less than $1,000 and can a long way in turning an outdated or bland beach house into something more desirable.

1. Update your kitchen to impress potential renters of your beach house

One of the most important factors people look for when considering spending a week or more on vacation is whether or not there is adequate room in the kitchen. So many people have meal preferences, beverage preferences, and all of these depend on a solid kitchen.

If you’re looking to rent out your property, it’s important to create the perfect kitchen. One of the biggest reasons why guests choose to rent full homes instead of hotel rooms is because they want to be able to cook at home, so creating the right kitchen environment is important.

Refresh cabinets and countertops

While upgrading your kitchen appliances is generally a good idea, you can start by adding some modern-looking tile, laminate, or solid surface countertops.

contact paper for cabinets or backsplash

You can even try installing new cabinet doors, knobs and contact paper to freshen up drawers, shelves, and countertops.

While painting over old wood is a popular option, contact paper can be removed if needed and can help you achieve just about any look you want.

This guide shows how to use contact paper, and can save you a ton on the project. Replacing an entire cabinet can cost $30-$100 per cabinet, but an entire roll of contact paper typically costs less than $10.

2. Revamp the bedrooms, especially the master bedroom

beach comforter and bedding

Even with the beach in their backyard, some guests will want to lounge in the bedroom to relax. For this reason, try to make sure you invest in new linens, cozy sheets, and contemporary bedding to give the room a relaxing feel.

Especially for guest bedrooms, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on new mattresses, you can create a luxurious environment by simply finding the perfect mattress topper.

This list breaks down what to look for in a topper, and has options from just $59. If you really want to go above and beyond, Evolve also suggests installing blackout curtains for those who want to sleep in.

Bedroom window treatments

If your bedrooms also give guests a view of the ocean or deck, consider installing windows that are easy to open and resistant to rust. Many older beach homes I’ve stayed at over the years really don’t do much with windows or curtains, so this is a simple project that shouldn’t set you back very much money.

What’s the first thing most guests do upon arriving in their bedroom? Open the window! You can find some really great options for curtains on Amazon for less than $50 like these and is one of those small things that can really make a big difference.

3. Optimize the layout of your beach home sleeping space

bunk beds for beach home

With the master bedroom perfected, it’s time to move onto the other bedrooms. Fortune Builders, a popular real estate blog, insists it’s important to “optimize sleeping space” to ensure you can fit larger families in your rental property.

For example, consider going with bunk beds and pull-out couches where you can. This will be much cheaper than knocking down an extra wall to create a bigger bedroom and will allow you to advertise to more customers online.

4. Replace windows with hurricane windows or similar

hurricane windows

Some of the most important fixtures in beachfront properties are windows, especially high-impact hurricane windows. If you haven’t updated your windows in a while, it’s always a good idea to do so to avoid any saltwater corrosion — especially if you have metal trims. Installing vinyl windows will cost less than wooden options, and also fare a lot better near the beach.

This DIY guide breaks down the costs of replacing windows which can include purchasing new glass and hiring someone to perform the installation, so make sure you research exactly what you’ll need and don’t end up paying for materials you already have.

Investing in energy efficient models can mean seeing savings in your electric bill, and insulating or weatherproofing in the fall can keep seasonal customers returning throughout the year.

While this is one of the more expensive items on the list, considering the energy savings, it can be well worth it.

Starting with a single upstairs window may be a goods starting point, since these can be installed for under $1,000 and keep guests much cooler in the summer.

5. Make things more comfortable at the beach with ceiling fans

celing fans for beach

Another great way to save on seasonal air conditioning is to install window fans. Many guests will favor the balmy feeling of a fan over AC, and the fans themselves are an easy way to update the room. If you want to take it a step further, consider replacing all your light fixtures as these, and a move towards warm lighting, can quickly redesign a room’s mood.

Keep in mind that if you’re paying someone to install your fixtures, the labor should only cost about $50 – $100 an hour. Of course, if you’re going with a niche type of lighting like a Pendant Light or Chandelier that price may change so consult this full breakdown of light fixture labor pricing to make sure you know what to expect.

6. Coastal landscaping ideas to add curb appeal

As soon as your guests arrive, your property’s front yard is going to seal their first impressions. In order to ensure the best results, do what you can to monitor your landscaping and pull any dead plants or weeds. Take a day to pressure wash the driveway and always make sure the area surrounding it is clear of clutter.

palm in planter

Potted plants on your deck are always a good touch to add that coastal feel, and can always be planted in your yard at a later date.

In addition, a fresh coat of paint on the front door and window trims will probably bring you the most success — so don’t take these projects lightly.

7. Your deck and backyard

Regardless of where your guests choose to hang out, photographing a great backyard can generate a buzz on any online vacation platform. If you have a deck, take the time to pressure wash it and apply a new stain before summer sets in.

If your patio furniture needs an update try to shop for new goods in end-of-season sales. Even something as simple as a fire pit can bring in more guests, so try to think of your backyard as just another room in your home.

Getting your deck in presentable looking condition for guests often times just takes a few coats of a stain and sealer. Check out this post I created for a quick overview of what products to use on dock and deck wood.

8. Add peace of mind at your beach home with a smart security system

One of the main frustrations in deciding between hotels and vacation properties is weighing the amount of security needed. When guests arrive in an unfamiliar area, the promise of a reliable security system is going to give them peace of mind. “Rented” suggests looking for a system that uses discreet sensors in and outside of your home to make sure you’re creating the safest environment possible.

If this is your first time choosing a security system you’ll want to read up on what features are available, and exactly how much coverage your home really needs. This Consumer Reports guide provides an objective breakdown so you can make an informed decision.

9. Upgrade your gutters

It’s not enough to clear your gutters every now and then, especially if you’re not able to visit your property regularly. Instead, make sure to install extensions to downspouts to channel water away from your house.

This is a very affordable process and will protect your home from water damage, extend the life of your exterior paints, and ensure your guests can easily make it through a storm.

With rainy conditions and moisture obviously common near the coast, it’s a good idea to opt for copper or stainless steel gutters for coastal homes if you can afford it.

Depending on the look you are going for, wooden gutters are still effective and can be a more affordable option.

10. Rethink your flooring

It’s one thing to remove carpet and replace it with tiled or wood flooring — which is an absolute necessity if you’re looking to rent your place out online — but it’s another to look into specialized options that can add extra value to your home.

These can be as foolproof as epoxy flooring for your garage, which is slip-resistant and very durable so it’s a great option for beachside living. Especially if your home is on stilts, having a waterproof surface that can hold up when exposed to the elements is a great investment.

While hardwood is a great option, you can save money with linoleum in less visible areas like bathrooms.


As you begin to hone in on the renovations you want to make, it will be important to do your research and figure out which investments you want to put your budget towards. While it can be frustrating to take a chance and pay it forward, remember that each upgrade provides a return on investment.

You’ll obviously want to keep in mind that whatever renovations you end up making, they should add appeal to your home for both guests, potential buyers, or renters. While many beach homes do feel to be dated when over 30 years old, there are things you can do to make your beach home transform from simply outdated, to quaint and charming.

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