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Home Improvement Ideas: 32 Ways to Upgrade Your Home
Last updated Jan 20, 2023
Looking for DIY home improvement projects? Whether you’re trying to sell your home or simply want to upgrade your space, these 32 home improvement and renovation ideas can help you get started!
Increase Storage Space
Photo via @melaniejadedesign
One simple home improvement idea is to include more storage space throughout your home. It could be as simple as adding floating shelves and bookshelves to your living room. Or you can go bigger with projects like expanding existing closets and building under stair storage !
Do Some Painting
Photo via @nest_twenty_eight
A quick and easy home improvement project is to paint your walls . Opt for light colors like gray, beige, and white in small rooms to help the space reflect light and feel more open. If you want a more dramatic look in your home, paint with darker colors like navy blue and deep purple. Don’t want to paint the whole room? Accent walls are an easy way to add a pop of color to your space without a ton of work!
Boost Natural Light
Photo via @diariesofmyhome
If you’re looking for tips for home renovation, think about improving the natural light throughout your home! Pull out old windows and install large floor-to-ceiling windows. Build skylights into your bathrooms. Or go simpler with your project by just painting interiors white to help light reflect better throughout your home!
Design an Open Floor Plan
Photo via @hestershomestead
Especially if you’re selling your home, consider remodeling your living space to be an open floor plan, as this is a common home feature buyers want ! This remodeling project also improves the flow of your home by eliminating unnecessary walls and doorways, making it easier to move around your space!
Create a Master Suite
Photo via @curedesigngroup
Planning a bedroom remodel? Turn your room into a master suite! Common master suite features include a double-door entry, a seating area, a master closet , and an ensuite with a double vanity.
Finish the Basement
Photo via @briemarie1023
A large home improvement project you should consider is finishing your basement ! Not only does a finished basement give you more livable square footage that can be used for a family room or entertaining space, but it also has a great return on investment and can help you sell your home faster!
Transform the Attic
Photo via @hemmainteriors_com
Don’t forget about your attic when completing home improvements! You can customize the space to be whatever you want, such as a kids bedroom or playroom, home office, extra bathroom, or other living area. You may consider hiring a professional to help you plan this project, though, as finishing the attic can be more difficult due to its structural and insulation needs!
Add a Sunroom
Photo via @designbykatalin
Room additions are an excellent way to build onto your home! Sunrooms in particular are amazing if you want a controlled environment where you can enjoy the outdoors while still being inside. This space can serve a variety of purposes, such as a breakfast area, playroom, workout space, or greenroom.
Make a Statement with a Feature Wall
Photo via @highandtightdesign
Want to make a room in your home stand out? Create a focal point with a DIY feature wall! Try adding board and batten , putting up printed wallpaper, or painting the feature wall a bold color like black or bright green.
Change Up the Ceiling
Photo via @roehnerryan
If you want to update a room and give it a modern look, give your ceiling a makeover! For DIY projects, consider painting your ceiling an accent color, adding faux beams, or installing ceiling tile. For a larger remodeling project, hire a professional to help you incorporate vaulted ceilings !
Go for Crown Molding
Photo via @branaghdevelopment
Crown molding is one way to give your walls and ceilings a makeover, and there are different materials to choose from, including wood and plaster. Or if you’re on a budget and looking for an easy DIY project, you can opt for peel and stick crown molding , too!
Say Goodbye to Carpet
Photo via @featherglass
Looking for a simple way to update your home? Replacing carpet with hardwood flooring can help you create a modern yet timeless look in your home. Plus, hardwood floors are low-maintenance and easier to clean than carpet. On a budget? Save money by installing wood floors yourself with this DIY project !
Opt for Laminate Wood Floors
Photo via @citygirlmeetsfarmboy
Updating your floors with laminate flooring that looks like wood is an easy and affordable DIY home renovation idea! They’re quick to install and can be finished within a few hours. Plus, laminate floors are resistant to stains, making clean-ups a breeze!
Photo via @making_number2_new
One of the more important house improvements you can make is upgrading kitchen and laundry room appliances. Refrigerators, washer-dryers, dishwashers, ovens, and other appliances have become more energy-efficient in the past few years, so buying new can help you save money on utilities!
Update Kitchen Cabinets
Photo via @sandradeco__sweet_home
A kitchen cabinet remodel could be the perfect way to enhance your home. A cabinet upgrade can open up the space in your kitchen, give you more storage, or create a more modern look in your home. On a budget? Painting your current cabinets is an affordable DIY project that can have a big impact!
Break Up Space with Open Shelving
Photo via @henhurst
Open shelving is a simple way to free up space, especially in a small kitchen where cabinets can feel bulky. Not only does open shelving make it possible for you to keep dishes, spices, and other kitchen items organized, but it’s also fairly easy to install yourself if you’re on a budget!
Try Glass-Paned Cabinet Doors
Photo via @love_lives_here
Don’t want to do a traditional cabinet update? Go with glass-paned cabinet doors! You can choose from quite a few options like clear or frosted glass; plexiglass is also a great solution if you’re on a budget. These cabinets are easy to clean and an amazing way to show off your favorite dishes!
Install a Unique Backsplash
Photo via @construction2style
If you’re looking for kitchen makeover ideas, don’t skip the backsplash! There are endless designs and colors you can go with, and it’s a fantastic way to have your personal style represented in your home. Not only that, but a backsplash helps protect the walls underneath and makes cleaning much easier!
Put in a Breakfast Bar
Photo via @styleathomemag
A breakfast bar can be the ideal update to your kitchen, especially if you’re in need of more countertop space. The extra space will give you a place to eat breakfast, prepare food, entertain guests, and more. Plus, there are many ways to make your breakfast bar stand out, such as using a contrasting bench top or vintage bar stools!
Give Door Handles a New Look
Photo via @stayhomewithstull
One of the best DIY home projects that only takes a day or two to complete is updating your door handles. Change out dated brass knobs for handles with a sleek, matte finish! If you’re on a budget, you can even use spray paint to give your handles an upgraded feel.
Makeover Your Bathroom Walls
Photo via @ipatrickdesign
Need to make long-lasting bathroom renovations? Give the walls a makeover by adding ceramic tile . These are easy to clean and, best of all, resistant to odors and stains! Keep it classic with white subway tile or make a statement with bright-colored tile!
Refurbish the Shower
Photo via @kimberleykayinteriors
Finish off your bathroom remodel by refurbishing the shower. Replacing your shower head with a water-saving fixture, adding in shelving or seating, and installing new tile are just a few ideas to get you started. If your shower is slightly outdated, this is a smart project to complete!
Go Modern with a Floating Vanity
Photo via @melissa_sacco_interiors_inc
A floating vanity is great if you’re going for a modern bathroom remodel. This type of cabinet can be the perfect addition to a smaller bathroom, as it can make the space feel bigger. This sleek look even makes cleaning floors easier, too, as it eliminates tight spaces where dust bunnies tend to hide!
Switch Up the Bathroom Floor
Photo via @mymodularfarmhouse
If you’re looking for ways to increase home value, don’t forget about the bathroom floor! Porcelain tile has an average of 70% resale value , and there are tons of design options available. Also, this type of flooring pairs well with radiant heating and will give buyers an incentive if you plan to sell your home!
Try a Sliding Barn Door
Photo via @ourtxnest
A space-saving home improvement option is a sliding barn door! This stylish addition to your home can be used as an entrance to a laundry room, dining room, master bedroom, or anywhere you see fit! Plus, installation is easy enough to complete on your own!
Restore Your Front Door
Photo via @renovating_the_broadway
Want to improve your home’s curb appeal? Give your front door a makeover by painting your old door a new color or installing a brand one. Not only will a new door look great, but it can increase the energy-efficiency in your home by eliminating any drafts as well!
Replace Garage Doors
Photo via @rockstargaragedoorservices
If your current garage door is old and deteriorating, replace it during an outdoor home renovation project! Whether you want the traditional roll-up garage door or a tilt-up garage door, you can customize your garage to complement your home and improve energy-efficiency!
Modernize the Garage
Photo via @concretecottage
If your garage doors are in good shape, but you want to give them a fresh modern look, think about making some simple updates. Need some inspiration to get you started? Try adding decorative hardware like hinges and handles, installing windows, or painting it a different color.
Build a Deck
Photo via @mcneill_photography
Building a deck is a home renovation project that can boost home value and give you somewhere comfortable to hang out outside of your house! While wooden decks have a great return on investment, which can be good if you plan to sell your home, other materials like vinyl or composite can provide a low-maintenance, budget-friendly option for adding a deck!
Create Some Privacy with Fencing
Photo via @deconome
Add both style and privacy to your yard with a fence! Go with the classic picket fence look, opt for composite or vinyl, or stick to the standard vertical closeboard. Want something more modern? Build a fence with horizontal boards where you can install planters—this is ideal for landscaping a small yard !
Landscape the Lawn
Photo via @maritimewestconstruction
Landscaping is an essential project for outdoor home improvement, and it can even improve your home’s resale value ! There are tons of landscaping ideas out there. You can add a stone pathway or install a water feature. Or you can go big with backyard ideas like outdoor kitchens and pools!
Wow with Window Boxes
Photo via @ccbella.t
A simple way to add some color and beauty to the outside of your home is by installing window boxes! Plant flowers and greenery like petunias, geraniums, ivy, and others to give your home a classic look.
Need to store furniture and other items while you make home improvements? Extra Space Storage has convenient storage locations throughout the U.S. Reserve self storage for a home renovation !
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50 DIY Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Weekend
Take your home from builder-grade to custom-made with low-cost home upgrades you can tackle in a weekend or less.
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Paint the Front Door
The front door is usually the first thing people see when entering your home. Make a great impression with a bright, welcoming front door color. Not sure what hue to choose? Take our quiz , then follow the step-by-step instructions below for a total entry overhaul.
LEARN HOW: How to Paint a Front Door
Classic Carriage Doors (on the Cheap)
Carriage house garage doors are highly sought after in home design and renovation, but these charming additions quickly add up in cost. One carriage-style garage door can run upward of $1,400. Luckily there’s a budget-friendly alternative: these magnetic hinges and handles will take your door from drab to fab instantly for just $12 — no hardware required.
Buy It: Amazon, $11.68 (Originally $19.99)
Install a Shiplap Accent Wall
Do you love the look of old shiplap walls and ceilings, but live in a new(ish) home? Add a gorgeous shiplap accent wall in any space for $50 or less by trimming down plywood into planks, then attaching the boards to your wall using construction adhesive and nails. Finish it off by painting the panels, and admire your DIY shiplap on a dime.
Learn How: How to Install Shiplap
Set the Mood With String Lights
Hung over a patio, porch or backyard, globe cafe lights instantly turn any outdoor space into a gathering spot, increasing your usable square footage. This extra "room" comes in handy when entertaining or in the summer months when warm evenings are best spent outdoors, drink in hand. No fence or pergola to hang your lights from? Try this low-cost DIY .
Outdoor Globe Lights: Amazon, $15.99
DIY Glass Cabinet Inserts
Brighten up your kitchen and put that gorgeous wedding china on display by replacing interior wood cabinet panels with inexpensive glass sheets . Not brave enough to go totally open with your cabinetry? Try this project on just the set of cabinets flanking your stove or the cabinet over the coffee counter.
GET THE HOW-TO: Update Kitchen Cabinets With Glass Inserts
Stencil Your Patio
Has your concrete patio seen better days? You could cover it with an outdoor rug or try this long-lasting DIY. With a can of concrete stain, a plastic stencil, a high-quality stencil brush and a few hours of work, you can totally transform the look of a porch, sidewalk or patio with a stylish, custom tile design.
GET THE HOW-TO: How to Stain & Stencil a Concrete Patio
Fake the Look of Marble
Make a worn dining table or old countertops look luxurious by transforming them into chic (faux) marble focal pieces. This unique and crafty DIY combines leftover project paint, ultra high-gloss epoxy and basic craft supplies to recreate the veining lines and texture found in real marble. Patience and a designated project day will save you anywhere from $500 to $3,000 when dreaming of your very own marble furniture piece.
Learn How: How to Paint a Faux Marble Tabletop
Try Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
Want to go bold without the risk? Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a temporary way to add a burst of vibrant color or pattern to a room without tearing up the walls. To keep this project affordable and doable, try papering a focal wall or a small, low-humidity space like a powder room or closet. Find our favorite, trendy removable wallpaper patterns here , then check out the link below for installation tips and tricks.
LEARN HOW: 10 Tips I Learned Hanging Removable Wallpaper in My Apartment
Hang Curtains the Right Way
Make your home look bigger and instantly more luxurious by hanging floor-length drapes 6" to 12" above the window frame or all the way to the ceiling, and extending your curtain rod out 3" to 6" on each side. For a pro look, curtains should puddle slightly or just kiss the floor.
MORE TIPS: Do's + Don'ts of Designer-Worthy Window Treatments
Remove a Popcorn Ceiling
Do you hate the look of your popcorn ceilings? Not only are they unsightly, but they're also unsanitary — a veritable landing pad for dust, dirt and cobwebs. Luckily, they're easily removed with the help of a wet/dry vac and a drywall knife. Note: If your home was built before 1979, test for lead and asbestos before starting this project.
LEARN HOW: How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling
Update Ceramic Floor Tile With Paint
Give outdated floors a refresh with our step-by-step guide to painting and stenciling ceramic tile. All you need are a few basic supplies and a free weekend to totally transform the look of a laundry room, bathroom or anywhere in your home that's plagued by old or dirty tile. The best part? You can do it all for less than $50 and with no special equipment.
Learn How: How to Paint & Stencil Ceramic Tile
Paint Your Doorknobs
Is your home plagued by dated doorknobs? While swapping them out for new might be tempting, it can add up quickly — especially when one oil-rubbed bronze knob costs around $30 a piece. And that's not to mention the matching hinges and door latches. If you're looking for a cheap, long-lasting alternative, consider painting the knobs in your house for the cost of a can of spray paint and a weekend's worth of work. Learn How
Update Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
A simple white kitchen is made instantly glamorous by the addition of brushed gold knobs and pulls. Pro tip: Measure the width of your existing cabinet pulls before ordering. Also, be prepared to sand and touch up small dings and scratches that may occur while removing old hardware.
BRUSHED GOLD KNOBS: Wayfair, $5.55
Add Bling to Closet Doors
Make a small bedroom look larger by adding mirrors to plain closet doors or the back of a bedroom door. Simply pick up a couple of cheap, framed floor-length mirrors for less than $10 at your local big-box store, then paint the frame to match your space. Attach to your closet door with construction adhesive for a permanent look or use removable picture-hanging strips if you're renting. Feeling extra crafty? Glue thin trim pieces to the mirrors for a high-end look.
FLOOR MIRRORS: Target, $49.99
Whitewash a Brick Fireplace
Give your dated brick fireplace a cozy cottage makeover with a paint and glaze application that mimics the look of the classic German schmear seen here. Learn how at the link below.
LEARN HOW: How to German Smear a Brick Fireplace
Swap Your Shower Curtain
Your shower curtain takes up the single largest piece of real estate in the bathroom. So needless to say, swapping it out makes a huge impact for very little money. Choose a fringe-style curtain for a boho look, go bold with large, moody florals or opt for a soft, modern ombre like designer Kerra Michele Huerta did here. We also love how she upped the drama by installing a shower curtain on each side of the tub.
BUY IT: JCPenney, $34.99
Give builder-grade light switches a custom look with this hack. Pick a picture frame that's the same size and color as your switch cover, then attach the frame to the wall with adhesive putty. Pro tip: 3.5" x 5" frames will fit a standard 1-gang switch plate.
BUY IT: Michaels, $10.49
Give Your Fan a Makeover
Has your celing fan seen better days? Upgrade a boring, old fan by coating the blades and metal components with high-heat black spray paint.
LEARN HOW: Fake Fancy With These Easy + Cheap Home Upgrades
Try Peel-and-Stick Tile
If you're on the internet at all, you've likely seen these amazing, sticky vinyl tiles. They usually come in 12" x 12" sheets or a 9-foot roll in a myriad of styles from Moroccan to subway tile. So what's the catch? Well, they might not hold up in high-traffic areas like the bathroom or kitchen floor long-term and can have an adverse reaction to heat. But they're a great low-cost option in small spaces like a laundry room, den or as a kitchen backsplash. And because they're removable, you can play with trends without the commitment.
Buy It: Amazon, $9.98
Make an Old Couch New Again
Are you squeezing every last bit of life out of that couch from college? While you're saving up for your dream couch, there's no need to skimp on style. Give your sofa a mini refresh by draping it in blankets and loads of fluffy throw pillows, strategically placed to hide stains.
SEE MORE: 30 Sofas Made for Hours of Lounging
Frame the Bathroom Mirror
Could your bathroom use a little TLC? Add a quick and easy dose of style by framing a builder-grade plate glass bathroom mirror with decorative molding.
LEARN HOW: Bathroom Update: Add a Frame to a Mirror and Paint a Vanity
Build Wood Shelving
Break up endless cabinetry in the kitchen with a wall of open shelving you can make yourself. To pull off this lovely look, Jasmine Roth hand-charred pine boards, sealing the wood without the use of chemicals. Because this technique requires the use of fire, we recommend doing your research and buying proper safety gear before starting this project. Learn How
DIY Sliding Barn Door
Turn any door into a unique statement piece by taking it off the hinges and installing it on a sliding barn door track. Snag the hardware here for less than $40 , then learn how to hang it using our step-by-step instructions below. If you want to use your existing builder-grade door for this project, follow these instructions: Learn How
GET THE INSTRUCTIONS: How to Make a Sliding Barn Door
Wow With Window Boxes
Don't forget your exteriors! Add color and interest to the front of your home with DIY wood window boxes filled with overflowing, seasonal blooms.
Make It Rain
Turn every day into a spa day simply by swapping out your showerhead. For less than $50, you can recreate this high-end look at home with a matte black rain head and matching extension arm.
BUY IT: Amazon, $36.99
Want to add lived-in character to your builder-grade home? Swap your basic pantry door for a charming antique find like designer Jasmine Roth did here.
MORE IDEAS: 20 Old-Home Design Elements to Add to Your New Build
Make Planter Posts for String Lights
Want to add cafe lights to your outdoor space, but don't have a pergola or fence to hang them from? Try this budget-friendly project that turns wood planter barrels into stylish light posts.
LEARN HOW: How to Make Planter Posts for String Lights
Customize Your Cabinets
Make your standard kitchen cabinets look like built-in furniture pieces with the addition of furniture feet painted to match. Measure the height from the floor to bottom of the cabinet, then find unfinished "bun" feet online or at the craft store to fit your measurements. Pro tip: Take one of your kitchen drawers with you to the hardware store and a paint expert can mix the exact shade you need.
SEE MORE: Fake Fancy With These Easy + Cheap Home Upgrades
Double-Up on Porch Rugs
Pull your front porch together with this designer tip: Layer an outdoor area rug beneath a standard porch rug for an extra-luxurious look.
Give doors and windows a total overhaul by framing them in farmhouse-inspired trim. Not only is this project much easier to DIY than you think, but it's also surprisingly affordable, coming in at just $30 per door. Get the step-by-step instructions below.
Learn How: 5 Easy Steps to DIY Farmhouse-Style Trim
Stencil Stair Risers
Give your staircase a lift by stenciling risers to look like they've been adorned with vintage tile. The easiest way to get this look on a dime? Measure your stair risers, then find a stencil online (we've linked some low-cost picks below). Instead of stenciling directly onto your staircase, save your back by cutting plywood boards to size, painting and stenciling them at a work table, then installing directly to your stairs using a nail gun or removable picture hanging strips (great renter-friendly option).
Moroccan Stencils: Amazon, $11.99
Boost your curb appeal instantly by giving that old, tired mailbox a quick, inexpensive spruce. Eileen of Just Measuring Up updated her mailbox for just under $20 with some basic supplies from the hardware store and a fresh coat of paint. Pro tip: Before installing a new mailbox, remember to check with the postal service for current installation guidelines. Learn How
Jazz Up Kitchen Cabinets With Beadboard
Is your kitchen lacking charm? Add a major dose of it by installing beadboard around cabinetry, like designer Sarah Richardson did here.
Put House Numbers on the Front Door
Skip the standard kick plate and install chic house numbers on the bottom of your front door instead.
Modern House Numbers: The Home Depot, $8.23
Say "Buh-Bye" to Boob Lights
And "hello" to a profusion of new, trendy, flush-mount lighting designs like the pretty schoolhouse-style pick shown here.
Buy It: Amazon, $41.70
Replace Outdoor Lighting
If you've got 20 minutes and $40, you can totally transform your home's curb appeal with a new set of outdoor lights.
Buy It: Amazon, $39.89, 2-pack
Give Cabinets a Lift
Add height and interest to your builder grade cabinets without paying the hefty price tag of custom cabinetry. Interior designer Sarah Macklem from The Yellow Cape Cod achieved this rich, tall cabinet look in her own kitchen by adding pre-primed MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and decorative crown molding to the tops of her cabinets. Learn How
Pretty-Up Your Pantry With Baskets
Do pictures of organized pantries bring you joy ... and jealousy? Give your messy closet a pretty, practical overhaul by placing pantry staples in dedicated bins. These woven beauties will only set you back about $8 each, leaving plenty of wallet wiggle room for the handy clip-on labels .
SNAG THESE WOVEN BASKETS: $7.99
Hide Outdoor Eyesores
If a vent pipe or meter is ruining your garden bed aesthetic, disguise it with an oh-so-natural-looking faux rock that fits perfectly over top.
BUY IT: Amazon, $46.90
Furniture-Saving Scratch Board
If you have a kitty that loves to use its little claws on your couch, then you’ll both dig this clever scratch pad project. Refurbish an old frame by giving it a fresh coat of paint, then replace the art with a patterned doormat trimmed to fit the frame. You’ll need a deep-set frame and heavy-duty tape to secure the mat inside the frame. Once completed, hang it with proper anchors and hardware so it’ll stay put during playtime.
More Ideas: 15 Adorable DIYs for Cats + Cat Lovers
Hang a Plant Shelf
Look up! A simple shelf overflowing with low-maintenance house plants acts as a second window treatment above this kitchen sink.
SEE MORE: 30 Indoor Plants for Low Light
Panel a Plain Door
The easiest way to make a designer-worthy impact in your space? Update the doors. If your home is plagued by one-dimensional doors, consider transforming them into gorgeous, Shaker-style doors with plywood panels and a fresh coat of paint. Since most Shaker varieties can retail for over $200, we’ll call this project a steal! Learn How
Just Add Plants
A cluster of lush, green plants adds instant style to any space, especially when potted in sleek containers and arranged on colorful, thrifted stools. Pro tip: This quick trick works great in a sunny bathroom where plants get plenty of light and humidity.
Set the mood in your kitchen by installing soft, inexpensive lighting under the cabinets. A three-pack of LED puck lights costs around $30 and they're ultra-easy to install.
Buy It: The Home Depot, $27.99, 3-pack
Fake It Till You Make It
These containers are filled with faux flowers. You read that right! When arranged correctly, faux blooms can look and feel like the real thing, without the upkeep. If you struggle to keep plants alive, mix faux boxwoods and faux annuals with real, drought-tolerant (read: hard-to-kill) vines for a low-maintenance look that will last all summer.
More Tips: This Outdoor Planter Hack Will Save You Time, Money & Sanity
Washi Tape Accent Wall
This gorgeous accent wall was created with just two rolls of black washi tape. And since the tape is so easy to remove when the time comes, this beauty is a fabulous option for renters. Learn How
Glam Up the Grounds
Decorative fence post caps aren't just for looks — they add years of life to your fence by protecting the posts' end grain from the elements.
Buy It: The Home Depot, $3.97
Amp Up the Color With Shelf Liners
Self-adhesive shelf liner isn't just great for drawers — use it to give glass-front kitchen cabinets or open shelving a big (inexpensive) pop of color and vintage-style charm.
LEARN HOW: Give Your Kitchen a Colorful Makeover (Without Paint!)
Cheap + Chic Headboard
Who says a one-of-a-kind focal piece has to break the bank? Make your very own stylish, cane headboard with just a few simple supplies and basic tools. Follow the step-by-step instructions below, then get more DIY headboard ideas here .
Learn How: How to Build a Framed Cane Headboard
Create a "Built-In" Bathtub
Give a basic bathtub a cozy cottage makeover with charming beadboard trim. This project requires roughly one 4’ x 8’ sheet of beadboard (which comes in just under $20) and zero hardware (only glue!), making this thrifty upcycle ideal for moderate DIYers.
Learn How: Update a Bathtub Surround Using Beadboard
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21 Home Improvement Projects to Tackle in 2022
A new year means a new start on home improvement projects. Tackle these to-do list items this year.
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Add Curb Appeal
Redesigning your front yard can completely change the feel of your house. Something as simple as planting flowers in the entryway will draw in party guests, and, when the time comes to sell, curb appeal is attractive to prospective buyers. Improve your front landscaping , paint your front door , power wash the front walk or complete another curb appeal project this year.
Silence Floor Squeaks
With a bare floor, you can eliminate floor squeaks the easiest, most effective way: by driving screws into the floor joists. Existing nails or screws tell you where the joists are. Walk around the room, pencil in hand, and mark squeaky spots. Drive screws 6 in. apart and add more screws if needed until the squeak is gone. In most cases, 2-in. screws are best; for subfloors thicker than 3/4 in., use 2-1/2-in. screws. If you want to prevent squeaks from developing, add screws along all the floor joists.
Put Up Motion Detector Lighting
Motion detector lights are a proven crime deterrent , and standard hard-wired models cost as little as $15. If running a power supply would be difficult, buy ones that run on solar power. The downside is the cost. Don’t stop at motion sensor lights; install a full home security system to match.
Removing Radon, the Silent Killer
Radon is a radioactive gas that moves through spaces in the soil and can enter a house through any opening, such as cracks in the foundation or the concrete slab. At elevated levels over long periods of time, radon can cause lung cancer and is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking. Radon is estimated to cause 21,000 deaths annually in the United States. It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless, and often called ‘the silent killer.’
Even if your neighbor’s house has a high level of radon, that doesn’t mean yours does. Each house is different, and age doesn’t matter and can be found in new homes. Radon test kits are available at home centers and hardware stores for about $10. They usually involve setting a collector in your home for a week or so and then sending it to a lab for analysis. You’ll get results in about a week. (One manufacturer is Pro-Lab and charges $40; includes a postage-paid envelope.) Conduct the test in the lowest livable area.
If two tests give a high reading, consult a radon mitigation contractor (from a list provided by your state health department). These contractors can professionally test the house and install a mitigation system for reducing radon to a harmless level. The most effective system is a vent pipe placed in the sump pit or a hole made under your concrete floor slab. The vent runs up through the house and out the roof, or out the side of the house and up to the eaves. A special in-line fan for radon is placed in the attic or outside the house to suck air through the vent. Any openings in the slab or foundation are sealed to keep out radon. Pros usually charge up to $2,000 for installation.
For more information, contact your state health department, the EPA radon hotline or the Air Chek’s Radon Information Center .
Weatherstrip Hatches and Doors
After sealing the attic bypasses, push the insulation back into place with an old broom handle or a stick as you back out of the attic. Then finish up by sealing the access hatch with self-sticking foam weatherstrip . You may have to add new wood stops to provide a better surface for the weatherstrip and enough room for hook-and-eye fasteners. Position the screw eyes so that you slightly compress the weatherstrip when you latch the hatch. Use a similar procedure if you have a hinged door that leads to the attic.
Update the Bathroom
When it comes to projects that will give you a great return when you sell your home , look no further than a minor bathroom remodel . Give your bathroom vanity a makeover, replace the toilet and faucet if needed, update the shower head for a better shower experience and re-caulk the bathroom tub.
If the carpet in your living room is looking worn, remove it and install some hardwood flooring. Quality hardwood flooring can cost anywhere from $3 to $8 per square foot and you can save some money by installing it yourself. If the carpet is still good, give it a good DIY carpet cleaning .
Choose a paint color and give a room a fresh look. Be sure to choose a high-quality paint, which will cost you $30 to $60 a gallon, but is totally worth it. While you have the painting supplies out, brighten trim with a light-colored, high-gloss paint.
Improve the Landscape
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to outdoor projects , begin with some easy plants . Build a wooden planter box to add some color to the front of your home, plant some colorful flowering shrubs and add some bee-friendly plants to your yard.
Give the Kitchen a Simple Update
You don’t have to go big when it comes to kitchen projects. Install new kitchen cabinets or give current cabinets a refresh. Upgrade old kitchen countertops and add a kitchen backsplash for a new look.
Make Exterior Improvements
One of the easiest projects you can do is give your front door a fresh coat of paint . Replace vinyl siding that is cracked or broken, paint exterior trim and window shutters and fix any sidewalks that are chipped or pitted.
Countertops can be a tell-tale sign of a dated house . Participants of a Maytag survey prioritized upgrading their countertops to something more on-trend. If your laminate kitchen countertops are worn but still sound, give them a fresh, new look by resurfacing them . A variety of colors are available, and the process is no harder than painting.
Make Your Home Safer
It’s better to be safe than sorry, which surely applies to your home security ! If you want to add more safety features to your home but can’t seem to follow through, make it one of your top priorities in the new year. A security camera system will give you peace of mind, providing a whole video surveillance system that’s connected together by a series of security cameras and network video recorders, so you can have 24/7 reliable video monitoring around your home and/or business.
Reolink is a solid option. Its security camera system allows you to browse by 16-channel and 8-channel PoE security camera systems, for super HD reliable videos. See live view, stay informed when an invasion happens and replay video records on your phone and computer with the NVR camera system.
Upgrade Light Fixtures
Twenty-three percent of homeowners want to spend the colder months taking care of home renovations . The survey found that homeowners would rather complete home renovations during the fall/winter so they can travel in the spring/summer. Simple upgrades like adding a new light fixture , such as the semi-flush sputnik chandelier , to your foyer can make a bold statement.
Upgrade the Laundry Room
Aside from the weeks around the holidays, homeowners find the colder months a valuable time to make necessary upgrades. In fact, according to the Maytag survey, 44 percent of millennials and 41 percent of parent homeowners plan to remodel their laundry room or kitchen (compared to 29 percent of all homeowners). If you’re in need of new laundry appliances , Maytag’s high-efficiency top load washer and gas dryer with INTELLIDRY sensor are ideal for big loads. Sleek design, commercial technology and quiet as a mouse, this duo makes your laundry room look sparkling new, and your clothes too!
Replace a Torn Window Screen
Whether it’s from a fallen branch, a pair of over-eager paws, or simple wear and tear, sooner or later most window screens will require a repair. And it’s possible to patch a small tear, but you can also replace an entire screen . This is a great beginner DIY home improvement that will help keep insects out of your home and make your windows or screen doors more attractive.
Why it’s a great starter project: Removing the window screen will help familiarize you with the mechanics of your windows. And this will come in handy down the road, when it’s time to do some maintenance on the windows themselves.
What it gives you an excuse to buy : The materials for this repair are inexpensive and will last for more than one window, which means you’ll have them on hand the next time a screen is damaged. A roll of replacement screening and the rubber spline that holds it in place are easily obtained. And a spline roller makes the replacement quick and easy. It’s possible to secure the spline without using a roller. Often times a flat screwdriver or old credit card can pop the spline into place. But the spline roller makes things go smoother and decreases the risk of damaging the spline during installation. And a spline roller lasts forever!
Over time the caulk that seals seams and gaps can wear out or collect dirt. So whether it’s for aesthetic or practical reasons, re-caulking a shower or bathtub is a great way to freshen up your bathroom while learning an essential home repair skill.
Why it’s a great starter project : Clumpy, blobby caulk lines are unsightly. And laying a proper bead of caulk is an acquired skill, and you won’t learn it unless you jump in and give it a try. The link above covers the removal of existing caulk, and these tips for caulking provide techniques that it takes most pros years to acquire.
What it gives you an excuse to buy : If you don’t already have a caulk gun, this is the time to pick one up. And spend a few dollars more for one with a smooth action and no-drip stop; you’ll be glad you did. As long as you wipe off any excess caulk when you’re done working, the caulk gun should last a decade or more.
Garage Storage Shelves
Expand your storage space and learn the basics of home improvement woodworking by building and hanging custom shelving in your garage . Each garage is unique to the home, and storage needs are unique to each homeowner, so custom shelves make the most of your space.
Sink Trap Clean-Out
Over time, the sink traps in kitchens and bathrooms become clogged. Disassembling one, cleaning it out and reassembling it will teach you how the pipes go together, while also helping ensure that your sink drains correctly. And if your trap is an old metal assembly, this is a great time to upgrade to PVC . And fair warning: traps collect gunk and grime, so the cleanout home improvement process can be messy and foul-smelling, but the education is worth it!
Why it’s a great starter project : Just as faucet repairs are a great way to begin to learn how plumbing works, drain cleanouts are a low-risk, low-cost way to begin understanding drain line structure.
What it gives you an excuse to buy : If you didn’t already grab a pair of channel lock pliers for faucet repair, you’ll definitely want to pick some up for this task.
Under-sink storage can lead to stains and spills. When the floor of your sink cabinet needs a spruce-up, lay down squares of self-adhesive vinyl tile. They’re about a buck a square at home centers and provide an easy-to-wipe-clean surface.
Raise an Adjustable Entry Door Threshold
Those big screwheads in the threshold of a newer entry door aren’t just decorative; they raise or lower a narrow strip set in the threshold. So if you’ve noticed a draft under the door , try this: On a sunny day, turn off the lights and close nearby curtains. Lie down and look for daylight under the door. A sliver of light sneaking in at both corners of the door is normal. But if you see light between the threshold and the door, grab your screwdriver and raise the threshold .
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30 High-Impact Home Improvement Ideas That Cost Less Than $150
Tackle common home improvement projects and transform often-overlooked spaces with simple and budget-friendly updates. You'll be surprised at what a big impact these changes can have on the style and function of a room. Try one (or a few) of these affordable mini makeovers to help your home look better and work harder.
Boost Accessible Kitchen Storage
Whether your kitchen is large or small, ample storage is always a selling point. Take advantage of an unclaimed wall or corner space with open shelves to keep dishes, spices, and frequently used cookware within easy reach. If you're an entertainer, consider mounting a wine rack next to or under upper cabinets.
Embellish the Entrance
Millwork adds rich character to rooms throughout your home, so why not use it to dress up your curb appeal , too? Pull elements of indoor style outdoors to give your exterior a sophisticated look. Frame your front door with millwork, and paint it to coordinate with your home exterior .
Restore Shine to a Wood Floor
The versatility and warmth of wood are incomparable to other flooring materials, but regular exposure to dirt, dust, and high foot traffic can leave it looking dull and distressed. Restore your floor's shine factor by polishing with a product that is specifically designed for hardwood floors. A wooden floor should be polished once a year and every four to six months in high-traffic areas of the home.
Give the Fireplace a Facelift
Give a boring brick fireplace a modern makeover with a fresh coat of paint . Before you begin this home improvement project, thoroughly clean the fireplace to loosen grime. Apply a stain-blocking primer to the clean fireplace before you paint to help cover any soot stains. Consider a high-gloss paint for a beautiful, contemporary look.
Try a New Hue
With the simple addition of color, you can give your bathroom cabinets a brand new look. All you need are the right tools, a bit of time, and a paint color that inspires you . Watch and learn how to paint cabinets like a pro .
Stop Clutter at the Door
As one of the first rooms guests see, the entryway has a big job to do: make a good first impression and keep drop zone items tidy . Outfit your entryway with added function by creating a do-it-all storage system . Enlist the help of furniture to perform double duty, such as a bench that also acts as a shoe caddy. The right combination of storage solutions (including wall hooks, lockers, and cubbies) will help your entryway stay organized and inviting.
Highlight Your Space with Lighting
Beautiful light fixtures can go a long way in energizing or soothing a space, and smart designs can ease eye-intensive tasks. Successfully light a room by creating layers of light with task, accent, and ambient lighting. An interesting pendant, sconce, or chandelier instantly boosts a room's sophistication. Here, an industrial fixture not only makes a style statement, but it also provides a targeted light source for the table.
Banish Closet Clutter
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to how you use your closet storage . Before rushing off to the store for new closet organizers, measure your closet space, take an inventory of what's being stored, and consider your current and future lifestyle. Once you know for certain what's supposed to be in there, hit the store and look for ways to maximize your closet capacity. Cut the clutter to make the space work better for both your routine and your stuff.
Add a Sink Filter
An undersink filter gives you clean, great-tasting water without cluttering your sink or countertop space. Even better, you can easily install a water filter without hiring a professional. Before starting your project, make sure the undersink space is large enough to accommodate a water filter system.
Go Modular with Shelving
If space is at a premium in your humble abode, boost a blank wall's style and storage capacity with a modular shelving unit. Available in all shapes and sizes, they're sure to fit almost any willing space. Books and display pieces can add colorful interest to open shelves , while cubbies are also a perfect fit for baskets, boxes, and bins for accessible yet out of sight storage.
Accessorize Your Entrance
Polish the look of your front door with small accessories that pack a big punch. Details such as house numbers , outdoor lighting, and a letterbox can make a lasting impression and give your exterior a distinct personality. Matching finishes on these accessories will give you a tailored look, while mix-and-match accessories, such as vintage or upcycled fixtures, will create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.
Build Your Own Entry Organizer
Transform a bookcase into a versatile entryway organizer . The best units are those with adjustable shelves that let you utilize space how you need it: slim slots for shoes and an open area for coat storage, for example. You can add additional function with hooks in just the right places. A simple, inexpensive, box-store bookcase may do the trick, or an older unused cabinet could be the perfect fit. In either case, you can increase the style with eye-catching paint and accessories.
Have Carpets Professionally Cleaned
When was the last time your carpets were cleaned; like really cleaned? For a little bit of money, you can revive the look of your carpets and improve your family's health with a professional carpet cleaning. Weekly vacuuming removes topical dirt, dust, and hair, but a carpet-cleaning service will remove stains , allergens, dust mites, and grit. If you have carpet in high-humidity areas of your home, start there, as carpet cleaning will also fight mold and mildew growth . A good deep clean will help carpets wear better and last longer.
Add a Backsplash for Less
A backsplash not only contributes a dose of character to a kitchen, but it also protects walls from splashes and spills. Beaded-board panels and decorative tile backsplashes are easy to install and can be done without the help of a professional. Even someone new to remodeling can do it! Use our step-by-step guide to learn how to tile your own backsplash in a weekend or less.
Accentuate with Crown Molding
Trimwork and crown molding are jewelry for walls, doors, and windows. Whether you're replacing old trim or adorning your walls for the first time, you can transform a room with trim in just a weekend. Give your home a complete look for less with affordable, off-the-rack moldings from a local home improvement center. For a deluxe custom look, you can layer pieces of crown molding around entryways and ceilings.
Make a Roman Shade
Give windows a custom look at a cheaper price using DIY window treatments . With a mini blind and midweight upholstery fabric, you can create a charming Roman shade to block out the sun and boost your color scheme. Choose fabric in an eye-catching complementary pattern to make the window a focal point.
Add Some Greenery
A landscaped walkway suggests an inviting home. Create natural beauty and texture with an assortment of perennials . Whether you're putting them in the ground, potted, or a mix of both, you can install an enticing introduction to your home in one afternoon with a quick trip to a local home improvement center, greenhouse, or farmers' market.
Replace a Shower Head
Start your day with the perfect shower experience by switching out your shower head . A multi-function shower head will give you a more customized experience: an invigorating pulse to wake you up, or maybe a concentrated stream to clean up after outdoor activities. A handheld or sliding bar model is easy to adjust for different heights, whether for tall adults, small children, or pets. Plus, newer models are typically more water-efficient. Choose a model that matches your current plumbing for a quick home upgrade.
Create a Hub for Entertaining
An unused hutch, armoire, or bookcase can quickly transform into an entertaining or beverage station with a little creativity and organization. Store bottles and beverage glasses on open shelves for easy access, or free up space by outfitting the underside of a shelf with hanging storage for wine glasses. Use drawers or cabinets for serving trays, utensils, and linens.
Encourage Hassle-Free Game Time
Designate a zone to serve as a central area for often-used games and media . A dedicated cabinet, closet, or other storage space keeps family members from having to search for games, toys, and other accessories. Divided shelves and a combination of shallow baskets, bins, and photo organizers help the space stay organized. Labels make sure things go back to the right place.
Editor's Tip: Face DVD or video game spines outward so they are readable at a glance.
Build an Outdoor Path
Savor warmer seasons with a simple path that leads the way through your yard or garden. An understated path of irregular-shape flagstones creates a casual, welcoming atmosphere. If you're feeling crafty, outline a path with painted stones, bricks, or old garden edging.
Install a Bathroom Vent Fan
If mold creeps into your shower stall or your bathroom mirror is consistently foggy, it might be time to replace your bathroom vent fan. You can install new ventilation in about three hours, and the outcome will leave your bathroom dry and odor-free. To learn how to install a bathroom vent fan, see our step-by-step guide.
Create a Small Appliance Hideaway
Small appliances like stand mixers, slow cookers, and food processors can end up on the countertop because they're heavy and awkward to move when needed. If you're tired of wasting valuable countertop space on these appliances, install an appliance lift in a base cabinet. Fancier models with soft-close and lift-assist features could put this project out of your budget, but the basic spring-loaded hardware and required wood supports should be just right. And it's not only for unused or cumbersome appliances; when countertop space is at a premium, it's a smart solution for things like toasters and coffeemakers, too!
Add Window Boxes
Window boxes have a little something for everyone: They add color to the exterior of your home and attract birds and butterflies that can be admired from indoors. There are a ton of window boxes and baskets available, so you'll easily find something that fits your style. But if you've got tools and materials already, build a window box and save the project money for creating a floral showstopper.
Upgrade a Small Appliance
Small, accessible appliances lend a big hand in the kitchen. Streamline efficiency at the hub of your home with a new small appliance, such as a toaster, blender, coffee machine or electric kettle. Replace one of your current appliances that's underperforming, or purchase a new gadget your kitchen routine would benefit from incorporating. (Just remember to make room for it before it comes home!)
Pay Attention to Details
Details make the difference, and you can prove it with high-impact, low-effort improvements that you'll enjoy every day. Upgrade builder-basic outlet covers, light switches, or door knobs with something that better fits the overall character of your home or the fixtures in the room. These small changes won't go unnoticed by you or your guests.
Prep for Additional Home Improvement Projects
Once you get started, it's hard to stop identifying places around the home that need a little TLC. To make things easier on yourself, organize your home improvement supplies with common household items. For example, repurpose spice containers or mason jars for storage of pesky pieces like screws and nails. Although you can purchase these for cheap at the store, you might already have some at home to get you started. Use these ideas for garage storage and organization (many of which can be adapted to basements, potting sheds, and other home improvement spaces) to inspire you.
Simplify Laundry Day
Jump-start laundry day by streamlining your sorting ritual. Separate laundry bins encourage organization as a daily routine. The open design with easy-to-read labels helps the whole family see where to place items, saving you time on washday. Small-space solution: Opt for laundry bags that can hang from over-the-door hooks rather than hampers that take up floor or shelf space.
Light the Night
Illuminate your deck stairs or patio drop-offs with low-voltage lighting. If you don't already have an outdoor lighting system that you can tap into, there are a variety of solar options. Look for stick-in-the-ground pathway lighting or stair-mounted solar units. Deck and outdoor lighting adds safety and beauty to alfresco spaces and allows you to enjoy time outside well past sunset.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Regulating your home's temperature is a breeze with a programmable thermostat , and it will save you in the neighborhood of $150 in utility bills each year if used correctly. Modern thermostats are mercury-free and more energy-efficient than an old manual thermostat. Smart thermostats go one step further, not only offering programmable settings but also technologies that adjust the temp based on whether the house is empty and let you change settings from your phone.
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If you’re an avid DIYer, you’re already on your way to saving money. But with the right planning, you can transform the feel of a whole room with a single project that only costs you a few hundred bucks.
Easy Home Upgrades You Can Do on a Budget
Pick from our round-up of value-boosting upgrades that all come in under the $500 mark—some well under. Not only will they be soft on your wallet now, but some of these will even save you money in the future. Check out our easy home improvement ideas below.
1. Refresh Your Rooms With Paint
You can give your drab, washed-out walls a burst of brilliant depth (or wash away your decorating sins with virgin white) just by picking up a paint can and having at them. That’s the power of a coat of paint: It rearranges your reality. Which is why painting is the most oft-tackled DIY home-improvement upgrade.
While you don’t have to be a pro to learn how to paint like one, there is more to a good paint job than just slathering some color on the wall. See our how to instructions to coat your walls expertly in one weekend, from the first scratch of the pole sander to the final feather of the brush.
Cost: About $150
See How to Paint a Room for full step-by-step instructions.
2. Add Crown Molding the Easy Way
Crown molding makes it to the top of most remodeling lists because it adds charm and value to a home, not because people enjoy spending a Saturday trying to get the corners just right. Luckily, there’s a simple way to beat miter-saw frustration.
Trimroc molding from Canamould Extrusions is a lightweight polystyrene foam coated in hard plaster. It cuts smoothly with a handsaw and it goes up in a flash with joint compound. No coping, no tricky angles, and ragged joints disappear with a dab of mud. So in just a weekend, you can upgrade a plain room to an elegant space—and still leave plenty of time for the rest of your list.
Cost: About $120.
See How to Install Foam Crown Molding for full step-by-step instructions.
3. Install a Low-Cost Stair Runner
Want to get a good grip on slippery stairs? Try a DIY runner. After getting a quote of $2,500 to carpet her dangerously slick oak staircase, TOH reader Jaime Shackford took the project into her own hands. Using just two off-the-shelf woven runners ($125 each) and supplies from a home center, she gave her stairs an non-slip upgrade.
Cost: About $300.
See How to Install a Low-Cost Stair Runner for full step-by-step instructions.
4. Install a Dishwasher to Conserve Water
That old dishwasher could be wreaking havoc on your electric and water bills. Time to switch it out for a new Energy Star-qualified dishwasher, which can save you more than $30 a year on power and almost 500 gallons of water. If you don’t have a dishwasher at all, you’re using 40 percent more water washing by hand!
The biggest cost saver of all? You can install a dishwasher yourself in an afternoon. No plumber, no electrician—and no worries that you’re squandering your retirement money on a load of clean dishes.
Cost: About $450+
See How to Add a New Dishwasher or How to Replace a Dishwasher for full step-by-step instructions.
5. Rewire a Vintage Entry Lantern
Many hanging lanterns from the first half of the 20th century were humble by design, looking as if they’d been crafted by blacksmiths rather than machines.
Popularized by tastemakers of the time, such as Gustav Stickley and the Roycroft crafters, these rustic lanterns exemplified a back-to-basics design sensibility. If you’ve scored one such find at a yard sale or have one stashed in the attic, you can invite guests to “come on in” by putting back into service a vintage lantern. It’s an easy, affordable job once you get the parts.
Cost: About $140.
See How to Rewire a Vintage Entry Lantern for full step-by-step instructions.
6. Renew Old Flooring With Paint
The burgundy red floor in the master bedroom of Sara and Andrew’s Massachusetts farmhouse didn’t fit the fresh and energetic personality of the newlyweds. But refinishing wasn’t an option on a limited budget. So to update the space, they painted the floor in a light checked pattern, using beige and white to warm up their cool blue walls.
Here we show how a little measuring and a couple of coats of durable floor paint can add a lot of personality to a room for a small price.
Cost: About $75.
See How to Paint a Floor for full step-by-step instructions.
7. Make Shade and Add Privacy With Interior Shutters
Sunlight streaming through windows can be an annoying distraction. Not to mention the neighbors who have more evening hours to look into your brightly lit living room. You could install shades to foil prying eyes, but swinging wood shutters would definitely be more beautiful.
Interior shutters were the original “window treatments,” commonly used in Southern and urban houses, and they’re still a great way to add architectural and historical detail. They also help keep out winter’s chilly winds or summer’s oppressive heat. And they’re easy to install on any window because they attach to a thin frame that either sits inside the window opening or around the outside of the casing.
Cost: About $150 to $400.
See How to Hang Interior Shutter s for full step-by-step instructions.
8. Give Kitchen Cabinets a Flawless, New Finish
Your cavelike kitchen feels that way because the dark cabinets have sucked all the light out of the room. But a brighter makeover doesn’t necessarily mean replacing those gloomy boxes with all-new one. As long as the frames and doors are structurally sound, you can clean them up and brush on some new paint—and within a weekend take that kitchen from dreary to sunny. All you need is some strong cleaner, sandpaper, a paintbrush, and a little elbow grease. What you don’t need is a whole lot of money, as the transformation will cost you a fraction of even the cheapest new cabinets.
Cost: About $200.
See How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets for full step-by-step instructions.
9. Get More Flowers Without Spending a Dime
Dividing perennials every three to six years is a great way to thin clump-forming varieties, like the daylily (shown here), which blooms from late spring to late summer. This technique can also be used to control plant size, invigorate growth, and multiply the number of specimens in a garden. A good rule of thumb is to split apart spring- and summer-blooming perennials in late summer or before the fall frost.
See How to Divide Perennials for sull step-by-step instructions. And don’t forget to check out How to Propagate Plants at no cost for even more ways to multiply the plants you’ve already got.
10. Install a Water Filter and Ditch Expensive Bottles
Millions of households have switched to bottled drinking water because of concerns over the purity or taste of their tap water. Such problems exist across the country, regardless of whether the water comes from municipal pipeline or ground well. However, there’s an easier, less expensive way to obtain clean drinking water: install an under-sink water-filtration system.
Cost: About $250.
See How to Install a Water Filter for full step-by-step instructions.
11. Lay an Eco-Friendly Layer of Insulation
It’s bad enough to have to get up in the morning, let alone get up and experience the icy shock of a cold floor. What you need is some warmth underfoot, a little cushion as you pad across the house. Enter cork. Resilient yet durable, stylish yet earthy, a natural cork floor can turn any cool room into a cozy haven.
Cork is also a lot easier to install than traditional wood flooring. Manufacturers now offer products in engineered panels that snap together without glue or nails. These floating-floor systems sit well over plywood, concrete, or even existing flooring. In one afternoon you can turn a floor into a comfortable mat where your toes can roam free without fear of the big chill—or expensive area rugs.
Cost: Average is about $6 to $8 a square foot.
See How to Lay a Cork Floor for full step-by-step instructions.
12. Refinish Your Home’s Handsome Wood Door
The years and the elements hadn’t been kind to the exterior of this 94-year-old, thick, cypress door. Flakes of varnish still clung to the wood in spots, while the rest of the surface was rough and dried out from the effects of water and sun. Wood entry doors everywhere suffer from the same assaults, and many end up in the trash, replaced by low-maintenance, mass-produced metal and fiberglass surrogates. But you can breathe new life into your old door with a few affordable supplies.
Cost: About $50.
See How to Refinish a Door for full step-by-step instructions.
13. Put Down a Fresh Bead of Bathroom Caulk
You’ve seen the ominous signs of aging caulk. First it was the brown tinge along the edges. Now its smooth and supple skin has turned brittle and cracked, opening the way for stubborn colonies of mildew to take hold, or for water to seep through and turn wallboard and framing mushy. Whether it’s around your sink, between a tub and its tile surround, or covering the joints of your shower stall — it has got to go.
Fortunately, caulk is cheap, and applying it isn’t difficult. All you need is an hour, a few common tools, and materials easily found at any hardware store. But as easy as it is, you still have to do it right, or you’ll be caulking again next year, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.
Cost: About $10 to $50.
See How to Caulk Around a Tub for full step-by-step instructions.
14. Revive Your Old Deck
By the time contractor Stephen Bonesteel arrived on the scene, the condition of this pine deck was bleak. Twenty years of harsh upstate New York weather without a lick of care had turned its once-bright boards a weatherbeaten gray, flecked with slimy algae and black leaf stains.
Still, even wood this neglected can be brought back to respectability. Over the course of a week, he power-washed and hand-scrubbed the deck back to a semblance of newness, then brushed on a protective coat of semitransparent stain to protect it from the elements.
Cost: About $80 to $120.
See How to Restore a Weathered Deck for this pro’s full step-by-step instructions. In addition, you’ll want to make sure your structure is stable by doing a Deck Check .
15. Add Architectural Interest With Stair Brackets
The newel post and balusters get all the attention, while the exposed side of most staircases is largely ignored. But with the addition of decorative stair brackets, a bland stringer can become an elegant eye-catcher. Here we used simple-to-install, affordable wood brackets that go up with adhesive and nails.
Cost: About $150 to $250.
See How to Add Shapely Stair Brackets for full step-by-step instructions.
16. Lay Low-Cost Flooring in Laundries and Mudrooms
Long before the advent of resilient sheet flooring and plastic-laminate planks, there was vinyl tile. Originally produced as an alternative to linoleum, vinyl tile grew in popularity because it was colorful, easy to clean, and crack resistant. The 12×12-inch tiles come in dozens of colors, patterns and textures, making it easy to create checkerboard designs and floors with contrasting borders. Here we’ll show you the right way to put in self-adhesive tiles for a professional-looking and durable floor.
Cost: About $2 a square foot and $80 to $100 other materials.
See How to Lay a Vinyl Tile Floor for full step-by-step instructions.
17. Protect Walls With an Easy-to-Clean Backsplash
If installing a traditional tile backsplash feels a little out of your DIY league, putting up one made from a single sheet of solid surface material may just be your saving grace. Shaping, cutting, and gluing up this inexpensive stock material—available from companies such as Swanstone, which makes the beadboard backsplash shown here, in a variety of colors and patterns—is a weekend project most amateurs can conquer with confidence. And when you have your sleek backsplash in place, you’ll think it such a stylish protector from splashes and splatters you’ll wonder why you ever considered tile in the first place.
Cost: About $25 a square foot.
See How to Install a Solid-Surface Backsplash for full step-by-step instructions.
18. Prevent Mold Growth With a Bathroom Vent Fan
Installing a ventilating fan in your bath does more than just eliminate fogged-up windows, steamy mirrors and stale odors. It also helps prevent moisture-related problems, such as the growth of mold and mildew, that can be costly to remove and lead to health problems. Avoid all of that with this affordable upgrades. Here, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows the proper way to install a bath vent fan. In this particular installation, Tom ran the exhaust duct into the attic and through a sidewall to the outdoors.
Cost: About $120 to $175.
See How to Install a Bathroom Vent Fan for full step-by-step instructions.
19. Build a Custom Tool Bench
Amy Paladino is a pro at juggling the demands of her job and family. But as with many of us, when it came to organizing tools for DIY projects, she needed a little assistance.
Here is a plan for a size-it-to-your-space tool-storage bench that doubles as a work surface. Though it may look complicated, the construction couldn’t be simpler. And you’ll be protecting your valuable tools in a custom chest, while saving on the outrageous cost of store-bought storage.
Cost: About $150.
See How to Build a Tool Bench for full step-by-step instructions.
20. Ceiling Fans for Summer (and Winter) Savings
The popularity of ceiling fans continues to grow as more and more homeowners discover dramatic, year-round energy savings. In summer, ceiling fans create cooling breezes, which reduce the strain on air conditioners. In winter, they circulate heated air to keep the room warm.
Installing a ceiling fan is relatively simple, especially if the space above is accessible from an attic. However, even when it isn’t, the job is still quite doable. Here, we’ll show how to replace an old light fixture with a new ceiling fan and light, in a room with no attic above. The advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to run new wiring. The fan connects to the existing cable from the old light.
Cost: About $50 to $350.
See How to Install a Ceiling Fan for full step-by-step instructions.
21. Cut Costs With a Programmable Thermostat
Going digital with a model that automatically changes the indoor temperature setting is fairly easy, and it can trim about $180 off your annual heating and cooling costs. Simple models that only control heat are sold at home centers for around $25. But units like the one shown here can handle many more functions, including cooling and humidifying. Typically they’re purchased through and installed by HVAC contractors, but you can get a good deal on one by buying online and install it yourself in no time.
Cost: About $475.
See How to Install a Programmable Thermostat for full step-by-step instructions.
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- Interior Design
25 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements
On television, home improvement projects go from start to finish in 60 minutes or less. the good news is, you don’t need to spend a lot of time to spruce up your home. here are some ideas for quick projects that deliver big results., freshen up an old room with paint.
Pick a bold paint color , then use it to paint just one wall in a room. Covering only one wall will cost less and won’t take as much time as painting the whole room.
Related: 9 Paint Color Trends You Might Regret
Switch Out Your Faucet
Sick of your drab, leaky faucet? If you can wield a wrench, you can easily install a new faucet. Before you start the job, turn off the water supply. Then just unscrew the connections from your old faucet and screw in your new faucet. Add an aerator, available on Amazon , and you'll lower your water bill at the same time.
Related: 10 Plumbing Tips Everyone Needs to Know
Clean Your Dryer Ducts
If your dryer doesn’t work as quickly as it used to, lint could be the culprit. Buildup not only affects efficiency, it also increases your risk of fire. To clean your ducts , first you’ll need some muscle to move your dryer away from the wall. Then you just need a vacuum. Unplug the dryer, disconnect the ductwork, and vacuum out the ducts as well as you can.
Related: 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your House
Inspect Your Electrical
Conduct an audit of your electrical outlets. For childproofing purposes, insert outlet covers into unused wall and power strip outlets, and secure any loose wires. For general safety, look for overloaded circuits and power cords, and adjust as necessary. Frayed cords should be replaced as should any light switch that is hot to the touch.
Related: 10 Things Never to Plug into a Power Strip
Build Raised Flowerbeds
You can build an 8-foot-square garden bed in less than an hour, using eight 8-foot-long sections of pressure-treated lumber, screws, construction adhesive, and landscape adhesive. Using a saw and a drill, cut pieces to size and secure them together. Add landscape fabric, available on Amazon , to the base to prevent the growth of messy-looking weeds.
Related: 10 Reasons You Don’t Need a Green Thumb to Have a Beautiful Garden
Scrub Your Pathways
Sidewalks, walkways, and driveways can become stained by wet leaves, mildew, and automotive leaks. Get rid of these eyesores with a thorough power-washing.
Update Your Hardware
Once you select new doorknobs or cabinet pulls, installation often requires nothing more than a screwdriver. To mount pulls on doors that never had them before, create a template to ensure that you drill your holes in the same spot each time.
Related: 10 Total Kitchen Makeovers—and What They Cost
De-Grime Your House
With a pressure washer, there’s no need to crawl on the roof to clean your gutters—just aim and spray. A pressure washer also cleans grime off your gutters and your vinyl siding as well. It can even be used to clean your second floor windows. Just be sure that all your windows are securely closed before you start. Many home centers have pressure washers available for rental, or you can purchase one from Amazon .
Weatherstripping will make your home more comfortable while ensuring that your furnace won’t have to work so hard to warm your house. Permanent weatherstripping, which has adhesive, is recommended around doors and windows that are opened throughout the season. For windows that will stay shut until spring, consider temporary weather seals or sealant that peels off when it’s no longer needed.
Related: The 50 Best Products for Surviving Winter
Replace Your Furnace Filter
To improve air quality as well as furnace efficiency, check your furnace filters for dirt monthly and change them at least every three months. A new filter will substantially reduce the number of airborne dust particles. If you have allergies, you might want to invest in a better filter. Replacement is a cinch. Just swap the old one for a new one, and you’re done.
Related: 6 Signs You Need a New Furnace
Drain Your Water Heater
Water contains sediment that can collect at the bottom of your water heater. These particles create insulation over time that forces your heater to work harder when it's generating hot water for your shower. The extra temperature stresses the metal, causing leaks. To counteract the sediment buildup, simply drain a quart of water from your hot water heater once every three months. Check your owner’s manual for instructions.
Related: 7 Health Hazards Lurking in Your Basement
Install a Programmable Thermostat
If your home is one of the millions in America that still has an old-fashioned dial thermostat, it’s time to switch. Programmable thermostats, like this one from Honeywell , allow you to automatically vary the temperature in your home throughout the day. They're easy to install and relatively affordable. To experience the joy of waking up to a warm bedroom while still saving money on your heating bill, all you need is a screwdriver, drill, and (possibly) touch-up paint.
Switch Your Switch Plate Covers
Replace boring beige switch covers with something more decorative. There are lots of options that can be purchased online ranging from antique brass to modern plastic options imprinted with vibrant graphics. Or, you can let your creativity run wild (and save money) by covering your existing switch plates with decorative wallpaper, duct tape or fabric, by using decoupage, or by simply spray painting them a striking color.
Shampoo Your Rugs
Enlist a few family members to move the stuff out of the way, then rent a home shampooer to bring your carpets back to life . Most industrial machines take less than 20 minutes to do a room, so in an hour you could have three rooms of freshly shampooed carpets. You're going to be surprised how much brighter your carpets will look… and how dirty that water will be!
Related: How to Get Rid of Every Carpet Stain
Install Lamp Dimmers
Nothing says “designer home” like soft and warm ambient lighting. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on track or recessed lighting. Instead, turn any lamp into your home into mood lighting by installing a dimmer cord, like this one available on Amazon . Simply plug the cord into the wall, then the lamp into the other side of the plug. Use the slide switch to get the lighting just right, every time.
Related: 8 Common Lighting Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes
Start a Compost Pile
Just because you don’t eat it doesn’t mean your garden won’t! Turn your left over food into a rich and nutritious meal for your plants with very little effort by starting a compost pile . You'll save money on mulch, avoid scary gardening chemicals, and end up with a heap of rich soil. Don’t have a yard? Look into a plastic kitchen composter to give houseplants fertile dirt.
Related: Composting 101: What You Should and Shouldn’t Compost
Create a Chalkboard
Thanks to chalkboard paint and chalkboard contact paper, available on Amazon , you can pretty much create a write-on surface anywhere your imagination takes you. Consider painting the inset panels on doors to leave notes for the kids, or transform the insides of your cabinet doors into message central. Cut contact paper into unique shapes, apply to fridge and you won’t need post-it notes anymore!
Apply Window Film
Do you have a window that has an unattractive view or one that needs to give you a little more privacy? If so, consider covering them with window film, like this option from Amazon . Window films come in a variety of opacities and patterns that mimic everything from etched glass to rice paper. The work requires precision, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be zipping along in no time!
Transform a Floor With Vinyl Tiles
If you’ve got an unattractive concrete or old wooden floor in your home, you can give it a new lease on life with peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, such as these from Amazon . Today’s vinyl has come a long way from the ancient linoleum in your grandparents’ house. Now it’s available in patterns that resemble stone, wood or even metal. You’ll be amazed at how good it looks and how fast it goes down!
Stop the Squeaks!
If you live in an older home, chances are good that you have doors and floors that squeak. You can restore your peace and quiet quickly and cheaply in under an hour. For squeaky door hinges, all it should take is a short squirt of WD-40, which you can purchase on Amazon . To stop the floors from creaking, simply sprinkle some talcum powder on them and sweep it into the cracks. There—the sweet sound of silence!
Related: 7 House Sounds You Never Want to Ignore
With everything being made “smart” nowadays it can be difficult to determine what’s worth the upgrade and what’s not. One thing that definitely is: a smart lock. Available in a variety of beautiful hardware finishes, a smart lock looks good on the front door and eliminates the hassle of fumbling for your key. This smart lock, available on Amazon , also includes a security camera, so you can see who is at the door whether you’re home or not.
Upgrade Exterior Light Fixtures
Giving your home exterior a facelift doesn’t have to be as complicated or costly as new siding or fancy landscaping. Updating smaller details, like the outside light fixtures can make all the improvement. Buy new fixtures that add more charm or go the DIY route and spray paint your current ones for a new finish.
Paint the Door
From the weather it endures to the constant coming and going, fading and damage is bound to happen to the front door. Make a good first impression with a fresh coat of paint. Whether you want to pick a new color or just apply a few touch ups of the original shade, a little paint can rejuvenate your home’s curb appeal.
Upgrade the Shower Head
Swap out your old shower head for a new one. With an upgraded nozzle you can improve water flow for a more pleasurable experience. Not only that, but if you pick a shower head that has EPA’s Water Sense label, like this one from Home Depot , you will conserve water and money.
Conceal Scratched Floors
Try as you might to protect your hardwood floors, it’s inevitable that they’ll endure some wear and tear. Luckily, there are ways to fix nicks and scratches that don’t require getting brand new floors. For scratches, give wood markers, like these from Amazon , a try. You can blend and mix shades to perfectly conceal the marks. Fill in small gouges with specialized putty, which you can pick up from Home Depot . For a total refresh without the effort or cost of refinishing floors, try Minwax Hardwood Floor Reviver available on Amazon . The easy-to-use gloss revitalizes worn-looking floors.
You can really make your home more livable in an hour or less.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!
Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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7 home improvement projects that add value (and 3 that don't).
Remodeling and renovating your home can make your home more enjoyable, and— if done right—increase your home’s value along the way. But not all renovations are created equal. While some projects can add significant value to your home, others can actually reduce the sale price. So what’s a homeowner to do?
Projects That Boost Your Home’s Value
1. remodel the kitchen..
Updates to the kitchen pay off. Many prospective homebuyers are looking for modern, updated kitchens.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2018, you can expect to recoup 62.7 to 81.6 percent of your investment on a kitchen remodel. But don’t go overboard. Adding an $80,000 kitchen to a $125,000 home isn’t a smart move.
When remodeling a kitchen, start small at first. Replace the kitchen faucet, add new cabinet hardware, and replace old light fixtures with modern, energy-efficient options.
Rather than replacing cabinets, paint the cabinets a new color or hire a refacing company to refinish the cabinet boxes and install new cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. These small updates will improve the overall look of your kitchen.
2. Upgrade the appliances.
If your appliances don’t match, consider ordering new doors and face panels from the manufacturer. This will give your kitchen a more cohesive look without the high costs of replacing the appliances.
Consider replacing older appliances with new energy-efficient models, which are better for the environment and use less energy. You many even qualify for a rebate through Seattle City Light . Potential buyers are often looking for ways to save money when shopping for a new home.
3. Boost the bathrooms.
Bathroom remodels will recoup 87.7 to 93.5 percent of your investment, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. Like the kitchen, don’t go crazy. Install new fixtures, brighten the room with paint, and re-grout the bathtub. A new mirror and light fixtures can easily transform the look of a bathroom.
4. Remodel the attic or basement.
Adding square footage to your home can quickly escalate and end up costing more than originally budgeted. Instead of trying to add on, renovate the existing space in your home. Imagine the attic as another bedroom or a workout area. Convert the basement into a family room. The more versatile the room, the more appeal to potential buyers who can personalize the space.
5. Get decked out.
A high return on investment makes adding a deck worthwhile. One reason for this is decks increase the living area but cost less to build per square foot.
According to the Cost vs. Value report, in the Seattle area a wooden deck that costs around $13,084 to build will recoup an average of 106.7 percent of its value at resale. A composite deck costs around $19,227 and will recoup an average of 122 percent of its value at resale.
6. Boost curb appeal.
First impressions count. Enhancing your home’s curb appeal can be as simple as scrubbing your home’s siding or as intricate as adding a new walkway. It does not need to be expensive to be effective.
Installing a new front door is a fast, inexpensive way to instantly improve your home’s appearance. A new front door is one of the top ranking home improvements on the Cost vs. Value Report.
Prune shrubs; surround bushes and trees with mulch for a finished look. Add a touch of color with a flowerbed or pots of geraniums.
Scrub your home’s siding to remove years of dirt buildup. Retouch any worn areas.
Like most items on this list, don’t go overboard. Creating a backyard paradise is nice, but it won’t add to your asking price. A well-kept lawn and some well placed shrubbery and vegetation is all you really need to boost the "wow" factor.
7. Improve energy efficiency.
A home inspector will note if your home lacks solid insulation or has drafty doors and windows. All of this leads to higher energy use, which costs the homeowner. You can start with small updates, such as adding extra insulation to your attic. Seal cracks around doors, windows, light switches and electrical sockets to prevent energy losses.
Drafty, single pane windows may turn off potential buyers. Installing Energy Star -rated windows can help save money on heating and cooling costs. Upgrading to Energy Star-rated also qualifies you for a green energy tax credit .
Since buyers expect windows to be in good condition before they buy, replacing them might not significantly add to your asking price. But not replacing them could decrease it.
Projects that Can Negatively Affect Value
Some home improvement projects can actually negatively affect the resale value of your home. The general rule is the more customized the project is to your own personality, needs, and taste, the less likely it is to have a positive effect on the resale value. While you may love your home recording studio, a young family might not see the appeal. Having to redesign the room could turn them off from the home completely.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t do any of the projects on the list. Just don’t expect a potential homebuyer to pay extra for your $10,000 kitchen range or the marble floors in the bathroom.
Here are some projects that can have a negative resale value.
1. Swimming Pools
While an in-ground swimming pool may seem like the ultimate luxury to you, it could negatively impact your home’s value. Families with small children may consider pools to be safety hazards. Some prospective buyers aren’t interested in paying the additional energy and insurance costs associated with pools. Also consider whether it’s usable all year. If you live in southern California or Florida, a pool might be a nice selling point. But a pool in Seattle? Not so much.
2. Luxury Upgrades
While you may love your bathroom’s marble flooring, a buyer might not be interested in paying more for it. The highest quality upgrades often don’t have the same resale value as quality mid-range upgrades, unless you’re in a very high-end home. Instead, invest in quality appliances, flooring and upgrades that appeal to a wide audience.
Try to keep your upgrades on par with your neighbors. You don’t want your home to be the most expensive on the block.
3. Garage Conversions
Converting garages can add square footage to your home’s living area, but most buyers want garages. This won’t increase your home’s value.
It’s Still Your Home in the End
Start by focusing on smaller projects that make your home more appealing and energy efficient, but remember that it’s your home after all. Enjoy the house while you live there, but be aware that not all projects will pay for themselves when it comes time to sell. To see what you can expect to recoup, visit Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report .
Need a home improvement loan?
If you need financial support with your home improvement projects, Seattle Credit Union offers home equity loans at competitive rates and without many of the "gotcha" fees you'll find at other banks. Our mortgage lending experts will sit down with you and talk about your goals and work to find the loan that works best for you. Call us today at 206.398.5888 to get started.
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Personal loans can have lower interest rates than credit cards and they offer the flexibility of using the funds as you see fit. We know that getting approved for a personal loan—especially one with a low-interest rate—can be challenging if your credit isn’t in great shape. When you pre-qualify for a personal loan, you can get a snapshot of what you could qualify for, which can help you make financial decisions.
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18 Home Improvement Ideas You Can Do Yourself
Simple interior updates, 6. reveal and restore hardwood floors, basic bathroom upgrades, quick fixes in the kitchen, save when you refresh the exterior, the bottom line.
- Home Ownership
Do-It-Yourself Projects to Boost Home Value
A little sweat equity can go a long way
Amy Fontinelle has more than 15 years of experience covering personal finance, corporate finance and investing.
Marguerita is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®), Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®), and a Chartered Socially Responsible Investing Counselor (CSRIC). She has been working in the financial planning industry for over 20 years and spends her days helping her clients gain clarity, confidence, and control over their financial lives.
Whole house renovations can add value to your home , but there are ways to upgrade your home without going into debt or ransacking your savings. Painting, re-grouting tile, and power washing the outside of your home won’t cost a lot of money, but these do-it-yourself home improvement ideas can add real value to your home.
With some sweat equity , a DIY attitude, and a few dollars, you can list your home for more money if you’re ready to sell. And if you’re not quite ready to put your home on the market, you can enjoy having a more beautiful place to live. Here are some low cost, high value home improvement projects to consider.
- Typically, kitchens are the most expensive room in a house to renovate, according to the Houzz & Home renovation trends study for 2021 and 2022.
- The study found that primary bathrooms are the second most expensive room in a house to renovate.
- Experts recommend limiting do-it-yourself home renovations to cosmetic improvements, such as painting, landscaping, and changing out fixtures.
From interiors to exteriors, bathrooms to kitchens, there are small upgrades that you can do yourself to improve your home and increase its value. The most popular home improvement ideas include:
- Paint the walls
- Install crown molding
- Update simple fixtures
- Install ceiling fans
- Install new window treatments
- Uncover and refinish hardwood floors
- Clean the fireplace
- Install new bathroom tile
- Update bathroom fixtures
- Paint the kitchen cabinets
- Update knobs and pulls
- Install a new front door
- Replace your doormat
- Clean the gutters
- Power wash walls and decks
- Repaint the exterior
- Clean the driveway and walkways
- Tidy up the landscaping
1. Freshen up the walls
If your walls have scratches and dirty paint, an outdated color, or fading wallpaper, a little elbow grease and a few cans of paint can make a dramatic difference. To maximize the value of your home for a sale, choose a neutral color scheme that unifies the entire house, makes space look more prominent, and appeals to a wide variety of potential buyers.
2. Install crown molding
Putting in crown molding is a surprisingly easy task that can add character to your rooms. Buy the molding from a home improvement store, cut it to the size that fits your room (or have the store cut it for you), and attach it to the top of the wall with a nail gun. These decorative strips may even come already painted. Installing crown molding does involve a bit of woodworking skill as well as the right tools, but it is very inexpensive to do yourself.
3. Update fixtures
Switch plates, outlet covers, curtain rods, light fixtures, and doorknobs are often boring or overlooked, but you can add significant pizzazz for just a few dollars. Attractive metal switch plates and outlet covers can cost as little as $5 apiece but look much more expensive. Light fixtures and decorative curtain rods can be a little pricier, but sometimes you can make an inexpensive one look elegant with a can of spray paint. Again, if you plan to sell, be sure to choose items in colors and finishes that will appeal to a broad audience.
4. Install ceiling fans
Everyone likes to save money on electricity bills, which makes ceiling fans an appealing addition to any home. Ceiling fans cut down on air conditioning costs, and they can also reduce heating costs by circulating warm air away from the ceiling. A primary fan costs about $50, and you can get a nice one for no more than a couple of hundred dollars. If you don’t already have wiring from overhead lighting, you may need to hire a professional, which can significantly escalate the cost of this project.
5. Improve window treatments
The cheap vertical plastic blinds, paper shades, or horizontal aluminum blinds that may have come with your house don’t add value to your home. Consider replacing them with plantation shutters, wooden blinds, or drapes. Again, if you are selling, choose neutral options that can help you get a better price for your home.
Older homes, in particular, are likely to have hardwood floors lurking beneath carpet. Squeaky floors are a sign that you may have wood floors. If you’re not sure, pull up your carpet in an unnoticeable corner and check. If you do have wood floors, there’s a good chance you’ll have to refinish them to restore them to their original splendor, but it will be much less expensive than installing new flooring from scratch.
7. Clean fireplace brick
If you have a brick fireplace and burn wood in it, chances are some of the brick is stained with soot and creosote. Because a beautiful fireplace can be a significant selling point in a home, make yours look as attractive as possible. Use a damp rag to wipe away some of the soot, then follow with a fireplace cleaner designed to remove creosote. It will take some scrubbing with a stiff brush and possibly several applications, but you’ll have that brick looking spiffy when you’re finished.
Some homeowners take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to pay for renovations, but it's possible to spruce up a home without taking on debt.
1. Redo the bathroom floor
DIY installation can save you a lot of cash. If you don’t know how to install flooring, look for a class at your local home improvement store. Saving money on labor will allow you to choose more beautiful flooring than you could otherwise afford. Opt for a neutral-colored tile to add the most value.
2. Update fixtures
If you have generic, cheap, or outdated fixtures, replacing them with newer, more customized versions can make your bathroom sparkle and look more high-end. For about $40 to $100, you can substitute a shabby bathroom vanity or ceiling light fixture with something elegant.
A similar cash outlay will get you a new sink faucet. A spa-style chrome shower head adds a touch of luxury for about $80. Towel bars are a cheap and easy fix at about $20 to $30. Sometimes an upgrade can be more energy efficient , increasing not only the aesthetics of your home but “greening” it up as well.
1. Paint or stain kitchen cabinets
You could buy all new cabinets and save money by purchasing prefabricated (rather than custom) cabinets and installing them yourself, but that’s more work and money than painting or staining your existing cabinets. White cabinets will brighten a kitchen, don’t usually go out of style, and are easy for a future owner to repaint if they want something different. You’ll need to remove all the hardware from your cabinets, including the doors. You’ll also need to clean the cabinets first, so dirt and greasy residues won’t ruin your work. Consider sprucing up your bathroom cabinets as well.
2. Upgrade cabinet knobs and drawer handles
It’s surprising how a seemingly innocuous element such as a cabinet doorknob can make your kitchen look cheap or dated. Updating this hardware can give your kitchen a facelift, whether you redo your cabinets or not.
It may be easy for you to ignore your home’s exterior when you spend most of your time inside, but it’s the first and sometimes only impression that others get of your house. Here are a few simple ways to make it look its best.
1. Install a new front door
A fundamental steel front door costs about $100, but for another $100 to $200 you can get a door with a lot more character and improve your home’s curb appeal. If you can’t afford a new door, a fresh coat of paint in an attractive color may be all you need.
2. Replace the front doormat
When you’ve had the same doormat for years, it can be easy to overlook how worn out or dirty it’s become. As it’s one of the first impressions people get of your home, this is one place where $20 can make a big difference.
3. Clean the gutters
This task relates more to maintaining your home’s value than increasing it, but it’s essential. Without properly functioning gutters, which are designed to carry water away from your home, rain may seep inside or pool around the foundation, causing problems such as mold and mildew. Eventually, water damage can compromise the house’s structural integrity, leading to costly repair bills.
4. Power wash the exterior of your home
For less time and money, a good pressure washing can make your home’s exterior look almost as good as a fresh coat of paint.
5. Repaint the exterior
If washing the exterior of your home didn’t brighten it up as much as you’d hoped, consider a new paint job. With the ladders and heights involved, this may not be a DIY task for everyone, but even if you have to hire others to do this job, it’s still pretty inexpensive as far as home improvements go and can make your house look almost new from the outside.
6. Power wash the driveway, walkways, and patio
As long as you’re renting the power washer, you might as well clean your driveway, patio, and any walkways. You may be surprised by how new they’ll look afterward.
7. Upgrade landscaping or clean up existing landscaping
Flowers and other plants are a great way to brighten your home’s exterior. Use greenery in front of your house and/or along walkways to draw attention to your home. To get the most for your dollars, choose perennial plants, which come back year after year, rather than annuals, which, as their name suggests, last a year or less. Patch any bald spots in the yard with fresh sod (or plant grass seed if you have time) and trim existing trees and bushes to complete the yard’s new look.
Upgrading your home doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, and it doesn’t have to involve contractors. A variety of projects for all price ranges and levels of skill and enthusiasm can improve your home’s value , whether for future buyers or, perhaps more important, for you.
Putting a few of these home improvement ideas into action will help you get the most value out of one of your most significant assets, whether you’re planning to stay or selling . And before a DIY project can even be considered, you need to make sure that any new additions or changes will still fit the house's overall aesthetic, which the best home design software can help you with.
Houzz & Home. " Overview of U.S. Renovation in 2021 & 2022 ," Page 17.
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40 Home Improvement Ideas for Those On A Budget
Need to do some updates around the house but think you lack the funds for any worthwhile home improvement projects? It is true that home repair and renovation can be expensive, but there are also some cool things you can do on the cheap. Check out these step by step tutorials for some inexpensive ways to update and improve your home, but on a budget. From DIY kitchen decor ideas to ways to update your bathroom on a budget , cheap living room decor to bedroom furniture, you are sure to find one or more projects to try out this weekend. Recently, I updated my bathroom vanity using the concrete countertop suggestion, and it looks so amazing. Trying to decide which easy home improvement project to tackle next, and super excited knowing I have some affordable options. Cheap home renovation projects and home improvement ideas that are sure to fit your budget, there is now no excuse for not having the home of your dreams.
DIY Home Improvement Projects
1. paint your cabinets.
Are you thinking about updating your kitchen, namely your kitchen cabinets? Repainting them is easy, but only if you know what you are doing. Proper surface prep is crucial if you want this home improvement project to turn out right. Learn how with this step by step tutorial with this DIY idea for kitchen cabinets .
2. Faux Shiplap Backsplash with Peel ‘n Stick Flooring
Another easy home improvement project idea that you can make without spending a ton of money or time, this faux shiplap backsplash tutorial uses adhesive flooring to create an easy backsplash. No serious woodworking or carpentry skills required and of course, no tile cutter needed. If you love the look of a pretty tile backsplash, but can’t exactly lay tile yourself or afford it, try this cool tutorial. For DIY countertops you’ll love, look no further than this cool home improvement hack .
3. DIY Your Old Bathroom Cabinets
If you are suffering with dated looking cabinets in the bathroom or kitchen that look 80’s faux oak here’s a special DIY just for you! Of all the DIY home improvement ideas we’ve seen lately, this one is truly a standout. If you are going for a high impact DIY project for the bathroom, one that is cheap to do but worth your time and money, check out this step by step tutorial for a bathroom cabinet makeover . Make old cabinets look new with this cool technique. For the DIY bathroom of your dreams, this project will definitely have you on your way.
4. Easy DIY Window Trim
No special fancy tools or hardware required for this easy DIY window trim. I really thought you needed a contractor to do anything remotely like this, or at least needed serious woodworking skills . Before you go thinking the same thing for any longer, go check out this easy step by step tutorial that should prove to you that installing a window frame yourself is totally doable. Home improvement DIY does not get any better than this, save money and get something that looks fantastic. Update your old windows now with this cool do it yourself project.
5. DIY Vanity Concrete Countertop Overlay
Nothing says modern chic decor like concrete austere fixtures. So if you have a totally outdated countertop that needs replacing, you could try some tarting up before you make a big investment by adding a DIY concrete countertop to the bathroom vanity and makeover that awful old counter you are so tired of looking at. With this easy step by step tutorial, you can learn how to make a concrete countertop the easy way. The outcome looks very Georgio Armani! 😉
6. Paint Tub & Tile
I moved into a 1950’s ranch style home that was packed full of old-world charm, but the bathroom was covered in pink ceramic tile. As you might know, ripping out ceramic tile can be a ton of work and/or costly. We don’t have the extra time or money to focus on this bathroom right now. I would rather have furniture and a new kitchen, so I started thinking up ways to just get by until we are ready to tackle it head-on. I figured I would stick to my paint everything method. Again, painting was just a temporary fix for us so that we could save up for two more years for something more long-term.
7. Dresser To Kitchen Island
I absolutely love this DIY kitchen island for a fun and easy furniture makeover idea . I found an old dresser from the 1950s on Facebook Market Place and knew it would work perfectly for this idea. Because we are in the process of remodeling our kitchen . I have wanted an island or workspace since we have limited counter space and I love to craft, cook and bake. I decided with the help of my significant other to create a mobile kitchen island from a dresser. With his help this DIY island dresser was simple for me. As I worked up the idea and he used his wood working skills. Then I finished with my painting skills. I think we make a good team. We pulled a vintage dresser from the garage and decided to give it new life. First by re-purposing it and then making it pretty with Chalk Paint. This was my first time tackling a project like this and using Americana Chalky Finish Paints. If you love this chalk paint idea, be sure to check out our list of the best chalk paint furniture ideas . If you don’t have money to buy expensive chalk paint and want to try your hand at making your own, we have an easy chalk paint recipe , too, which can help save lots of money on a project like this!
8. Make A Pallet Wall
Pallets are the ultimate useful item in the DIY repurposing arsenal. I love the look of rustic cabins, but I live in a 1970s condo in the middle of the city. So what could I do to update my bedroom walls from ordinary sheetrock to farmhouse country chic for practically no money? I found the dream tutorial, that’s how! This DIY pallet wall is cheap, easy and simply amazing looking! If you love DIY pallet projects , you need this cool rustic plank wall in your home.
9. Add Wood Accents to Furniture
We recently updated our Master Bathroom by making a few simple changes. I have shared a few of the changes in some past posts as it is a work in progress. We are almost to the point where we can officially add it to the “finished project list”. But we still have a few little things to work on, and if any of you have ever done a little remodeling, you know how long it can take to get to some of them. Today, I want to share with you how we went about updating builder grade cabinets. This is was a really easy addition that really made the regular old cabinets feel a bit more upscale. We simply added a couple of finial feet to the base of the cabinets. That is it.
10. DIY Painted Bathroom Tiles
Have you all seen those cement tiles that come in so many cool prints? I’ve fallen in love with all the graphics. Not wanting to replace all my tile got me thinking about how I could accomplish this high impact look for less. Follow this simple tutorial for all the tips on how to create this amazing new floor space. Add a cute DIY rug and your room will instantly transform in just a few hours.
11. Concrete Countertop DIY
Nothing says modern chic decor like concrete austere fixtures.
12. $60 DIY Barn Door Hardware
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- 10 Home Improvement Projects With High Roi That You Can Do In 2023 Without Breaking The Bank
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10 Home Improvement Projects With High ROI That You Can Do In 2023 Without Breaking The Bank
Table of contents, 1. focus on the kitchen, 2. paint refresh, 3. refinish hardwood floors, 4. update mirrors, 5. new hardware, 6. exterior improvements, 7. more green outside, 8. create functional spaces, 9. finish an attic or basement, 10. update the bathroom.
If you’re looking for home improvement projects that really pay off , you don’t have to go for a full renovation with a hefty price tag. Instead, there are plenty of home improvements that are affordable and can be wrapped up in just a few hours. From the kitchen, bathroom and even unused spaces, we’re covering home improvement projects that will boost your home’s value.
Whether you’re looking to put your house on the market or you want to add value to your home sweet home, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most affordable and best ROI home improvements.
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A complete kitchen renovation isn’t always necessary when you’re looking for a sizable ROI. If your kitchen has good bones, work with what you already have and add a few upgrades.
“Updated kitchens and bathrooms provide the highest ROI when considering home projects. Assuming your kitchen cabinets are in fairly good condition, there are a few updates that provide a big impact that don’t require renovation and can be incorporated fairly easily into your existing [space],” says Shoshanna Shapiro, Owner and Principal Designer at Sho and Co.
Adding “key upgrades such as new pendant lighting over the kitchen island , new cabinet hardware and a unique backsplash ,” are all ways to transform the look of your kitchen.
Looking for a bigger project that can still be worked into a smaller budget? Consider painting or refacing your cabinets , changing out the flooring, upgrading appliances or opting for new countertops.
Planning A Kitchen Remodeling Project?
Avoid the stress of doing it yourself. Update your countertops, cabinets, sink, and more through top-rated kitchen remodeling services from Angi.
The quickest and easiest way to get some bang for your buck is to give any room in your home a paint refresh. While the cost of a can of paint can vary based on brand and quality, you can expect to pay anywhere between $15 to $40 a gallon .
Interior Designer Jessica Love of Urbane Design says a project she always recommends to homeowners is adding a new color to their bathrooms. “Paint your bathroom walls or vanity a fresh new color,” says Love. “I like to stick with neutral, zen colors for the bathroom .
While painting, don’t forget to add a new coat to the trim and the ceilings for an all over clean look.
Tired Of Looking At Dull, Faded Surfaces?
Book painting services and compare quotes form highly rated painters near you. Find local pros on Angi that offers both residential & commercial painting services.
Breathe new life into your existing hardwood floors by resurfacing them or installing new hardwoods in your home to see an average ROI around 70% to 80%. There’s no denying that beautiful floors make a great first impression, and with a variety of stain colors, your hardwood floors can be timeless or trendy.
Whether you choose to turn this into a DIY project or hand it over to the professionals, skip the wall-to-wall carpet and opt for hardwoods instead.
Compare Quotes From Top-rated Local Flooring Contractors
If the bathrooms in your home still have the borning builder-grade mirrors, it’s time to evict them. Swap out the mirrors for ones that have frames that match your decor and hardware. From a high end to a discount store, you’ll find plenty of mirrors that match your design aesthetic and budget.
If you’re changing out the mirrors, just make sure the hanging hardware can hold the weight of the new mirror.
Looking for an easy project? Love suggests adding some personality to your existing mirrors by adding a custom frame by using DIY framing kits. She says they’re easy to order, customize and assemble.
From the kitchen, to the bathrooms and on every door—old hardware can make your home seem outdated. Another budget-friendly project that can make a big difference in the look of your home is fresh hardware.
“Switch out your current hardware for something more modern. Mixed metals are trending right now; we’re seeing black with brass and brass with chrome,” Love says.
Don’t stop inside your home, consider changing out the hardware on your home’s exterior as well.
Make a great first impression with a front door refresh. Often a new coat of paint will do the trick, and don’t feel like you have to stick with the original color.
“For a home in need of an update, or simply to add personal style, a bit of paint can go a long way. For a shorter-term project, give new life to the front door with some paint,” says Mel Bean of Mel Bean Interiors. “When selecting a color, consider the style of your home and any materials you need to work with, such as original stone or brick that will not be painted, roof color, hardscaping and the environment surrounding your home.”
If your front door has seen better days, replacing it for a new style is also a great and affordable option.
While you’re working on the front door, fixing cracked or broken siding and trim and tending to any steps, sidewalks or patios that have cracks, chips, uneven pieces should also be on your to-do list.
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“For outdoor patios, adding greenery gives the space a new look immediately,” says interior designer Brittany Farinas of House of One. “I love using planters made of stone, or ceramic planters with a fun color or design that ties in with the rest of the color scheme.”
Adding shrubs, flowers and trees can make your outdoor space more welcoming, create privacy and give you a place to entertain and relax.
When it comes to adding value to the great outdoors of your home, experts agree the one feature to stay away from is a pool. While fun during a warm summer day, a pool is not a feature that offers up a strong ROI.
From creating a mudroom, a home office, or adding much needed storage solutions, turning unused or underused spaces in your home into new functional spaces will make your life easier and be appealing to potential buyers.
When making these changes, just make sure you aren’t stealing the spotlight from another room, and instead, you’re adding useful spaces to your home. Meaning you don’t want to transform the only closet on your second floor into a small home office. Instead, find inspiration by using wasted space and giving it a new purpose by adding shelves for storage.
While these projects will take up more of your budget, if the attic and basement of your home are unfinished, you can personalize the spaces and transform them into bedrooms, home office, or an additional living room.
Not only are you adding livable space to your home, but you’ll see a ROI for these new rooms.
Compare Quotes From Top-rated Basement Contractors
If you can’t commit to a full demolition in your bathrooms– there are still plenty of places to work your home improvement magic for a big return. Starting with replacing the tub, toilet and the sink or vanity. Even replacing the showerhead will make bath time more pleasant and add more value to your home. If you’re ready to take on a few DIYs, consider these projects.
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Amanda is a writer and content creator. When she’s not hosting national and local TV segments, creating DIY and life hacks videos, or writing articles that cover home, parenting, and everything in between, she’s at her favorite job, being a mom of three.
Samantha is an editor who covers all topics home-related including home improvement and repair. She edited home repair and design content at websites like The Spruce and HomeAdvisor. She also has hosted videos on DIY home tips and solutions and launched multiple home improvement review boards staffed with licensed pros.
Home Improvement Ideas: 32 Ways to Upgrade Your Home · Increase Storage Space. under stair storage space with shelves and woven baskets photo by
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